The Rebirth of Star Trek
Could it be true? It looks as though the unthinkable has happened- a new Star Trek movie that will bring the franchise back from the edge of oblivion. After Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis failed to set the box office alight, Star Trek: Voyager coming under fire from fans during its final years and the prequel series Enterprise being canned after four seasons, it looked as though the Star Trek franchise was about ready to fade away. After being one of the most respected and long running genre franchises in history (only outdone by Doctor Who), it was losing fans, ratings and attention in huge quantities. With the cast if the Next generation movies now out of their contracts and the studio seemingly out of ideas for the series, the only way to go was to start over again.
The notion of a prequel movie started to circulate as soon as the Enterprise series left the air. The main idea was a Starfleet Academy film featuring the early years of Kirk and Spock and the other original Star trek characters. This rumour proved to be closer to the mark than fans could imagine. JJ Abrams, of Alias, LOST and Cloverfield fame (amongst everything else he’s been involved with), was chosen to bring back Star Trek for the modern era. The original series was to become a brand new feature film from paramount, with an all new cast playing those iconic 1960s roles. This sent something of a stir through the fan communities. How could these roles be played by anyone other than their original stars? The characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and everyone else in the original crew have become such cultural mainstays that this was seen as nothing short of sacrilege.
But as news filtered through of casting for the new film (simply titled Star Trek, and not Star Trek XI or otherwise) and spy photos showed glimpses of design work, many fans started to wonder if this could actually be something rather special. With the casting of Heroes star Zachary Quinto as Spock, it became clear that the makers of this new vision of Gene Roddenberry’s legendary science fiction show were taking it seriously. This wasn’t just a cynical attempt at one last hurrah for the franchise- it was to be a bold reinvention for a new generation. With further casting came more surprises, Chris Pine as Captain James Kirk, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as McCoy, and so on. The faces and talents fit perfectly, and with the first teaser trailer, fans had something real to prove that this was actually happening. Star trek was coming back, and doing so in style.
Plot-wise, it is a time travel story, which the Star Trek universe has been known for since the start. The coup for this production came with the news that the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, was to reprise his famous role and interact with his younger self, to help combat the effects of what the film’s villain, Nero (played by Eric Bana) has put into play. As pictures and story details filtered through into the public domain, anticipation grew steadily, and here we are at a point where fans are still sceptical to a certain extent, but are extremely excited to see their beloved franchise reborn.
Star Trek, the gargantuan legend of TV, film, merchandise, comics, books and more, is being dealt yet another chance, and this time it looks as though it will be much more effective than the last few attempts. The legend is coming back, with a powerful new cast, a string new story, and a production that surpasses all that has gone before. As long as fans can keep an open mind when watching the film, then this may well be the start of a real ‘next generation’ for the legend that is Star trek. The mythos is in safe hands that are treating Roddenberry’s vision with respect while creating something new, vital and most wonderfully uplifting. Welcome back, Star Trek. We’ve missed you.
Andrew Hawnt is an expert on science fiction, books, TV, movies and science fiction memorabilia. He writes for the Starstore blogs and collectibles site www.starstore.com as well as being a published music journalist and science fiction author.