I’m Chris Clow, a resident diehard Trek fan (I don’t like getting into the 'trekker' vs. 'trekkie' debate), and writer of the Geek Beat here at Movies.com. The last time I brought you a countdown article was for The Dark Knight Rises, but I assure you: although I’m a big superhero fan, my obsession with Star Trek is just as unhealthy as my obsession with comics. When I was a kid, I pretended my blue Kool-Aid was Romulan ale. I own more than one Starfleet uniform (TNG, First Contact, TOS, ST09, all command division), I play Star Trek Online (Lvl 50 Tactical Admiral commanding a Defiant-class Escort), and always annoy my friends and family (mostly my family) with the Communicator app on my iPhone. At the end of my sophomore year of high school, where popularity is most precarious and fleeting, I even donned my First Contact uniform and gave a presentation about the “threat of the Borg” for an English project.
Yeah. That really happened. Ask Mrs. Helt (who gave me an A).
So, trust me: I’m the right guy for this job. My familiarity with all six series (don't forget The Animated Series!), 11 movies, a lot of EU material, and my obsession with the ideas of the entire franchise make me very proud to bring you this article every two weeks for the next few months until we arrive at the latest adventure for Captain Kirk and the Starship Enterprise.
Unfortunately, this maiden voyage for the new Countdown is going to start on a bit of a sour note, because of the big news to come from the Internet this last week (which almost caused its own matter-antimatter reaction in the process, am I right?).
How Trek Fans Can Deal With Losing J.J.
I think most people enjoy both Star Trek and Star Wars immensely, and not exclusively. Personally, the crew of the Enterprise tends to garner more from me in the end, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the struggle of the Skywalker family throughout the entire Star Wars saga. So, when I first caught wind of the fact that J.J. Abrams will be the director of Star Wars: Episode VII, I had two very conflicting reactions.
The first was happiness, because the man’s presence will undoubtedly elevate the anticipation, and even the height that the return of the Star Wars franchise will be able to achieve. Between Abrams, Michael Arndt, Lawrence Kasdan and Kathleen Kennedy, there is undoubtedly a powerhouse of creative brilliance onboard the next iteration of that story in a galaxy far, far away.
The second was sadness, because I was really hoping that Abrams’ tenure as a director on the series would go for at least three films before another mind was brought into the fold. When his first Star Trek film came out in May of 2009, it was very much a revelation to me. Although there are probably objectively better shows within the franchise, the original series was always my favorite. Those characters, that ship and those situations have a very special place in my heart. J.J. Abrams brought all the elements of familiarity with classic Trek and combined it with an unknown excitement of new territory together into one, successful revival of arguably the most enduring sci-fi franchise in history.
Does it hurt that he's leaving? Definitely. Although if you're a fan of other genres, or of sports, then these feelings aren't new to you. Whether it was a sequel you were really looking forward to that had some recasting, or a favorite player that got traded to another team, these are the realities that fans have to deal with, and they're not always pleasant. One thing we have to remember, though, is that it's unlikely that Mr. Abrams will be completely abandoning ship. While it’s uncertain where the franchise will go if Mr. Abrams is too busy at the Skywalkers’ house to play on the Enterprise again, it still all comes down to one, very basic question.
Will Abrams Still Be Involved After Into Darkness?
Making an educated guess on this, I think it’s practically certain that Abrams’ name will be attached, in some capacity, to the third new Star Trek film. If I were a betting man (which I’m not, largely thanks to being a kid and watching Quark swindle so many people on Deep Space Nine), I would bet that Star Trek XIII will still be a Bad Robot production. That means that we’re likely to see Abrams, his partner Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof all return to producing duties on Trek XIII. I have a hard time believing that a hard-core Trek fan like Roberto Orci will stay away from his scribing duties, which means that Alex Kurtzman will likely be coming with him.
The cast is all likely to return for a third film: Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, the incredible Karl Urban as Leonard McCoy, and everyone else. Will we really feel it if Mr. Abrams isn’t directing again?
Maybe not on a peripheral level, but I definitely think we would. However, someone in the know has a very different perspective on Abrams’ future Trek prospects. In an interview with the LA Times’ Hero Complex blog, Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore actually thinks that Abrams’ chances of not only producing again, but directing the next Trek film are actually pretty good. “J.J. will continue to develop projects for us including a new Mission: Impossible, and he is committed to produce another Star Trek,” he was quoted as saying.
The report also relays that because of the relatively long gap between Trek films, a similar happening for a third film may allow the director the possibility of stepping back into the role between Star Wars Episodes VII and VIII. If we do indeed see a third Trek film come along in similar fashion for a 2017 release, and presuming that Episode VII hits its forecasted mark of 2015, then the possibility does exist that he could direct again.
It all comes down to whether or not he’d want that kind of schedule in his life, and if he wants to return to the Star Trek universe again. Although, if we remember our history, we just have to see a third story that makes Abrams excited. Let’s not forget that for the 2009 film, Abrams was only going to be a producer. The man himself said in an interview in 2008, “it was really just that Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] wrote a great script and that I felt like I would be so agonizingly envious of whoever stepped in and directed the movie and I just thought I've got to direct this.”
By the time the team is gearing up to make act three, we can always hope that Mr. Abrams reads the script and has that same reaction.
Here's a new featurette that takes a closer look at Star Trek Into Darkness.
Star Trek Book of the Week
If you haven’t been reading the monthly comics from IDW that take place within the relaunched Star Trek universe, you are missing out! So that’s why this week, I’m going to recommend the paperback edition of Star Trek Ongoing Volume 1. Reimagining several classic TOS episodes and telling a few brand new tales, this series has been an absolute joy to read for me whose favorite series is TOS, and who loved the 2009 film. It puts both those things together, even more than the movie itself did. With snappy writing by Mike Johnson, a great team of artists and beautiful covers by Joe Corroney, you owe it to yourself to give Star Trek Ongoing Volume 1 a try. Pick it up at your local comic shop (click here to find one) or buy it electronically from your favorite comic-reading app.
Thanks for jumping back into the Star Trek Countdown here at Movies.com! I hope you enjoyed it, and that you come back again in two weeks. We’ll check in on the latest Into Darkness news, take a look at what else is happening in the world of Star Trek, and have a little fun while we’re doing it. Also be sure to check out my weekly piece the Geek Beat every Tuesday.
Thanks again, and live long and prosper!
The Enterprise Boldly Goes Into Darkness in 107 Days
Chris Clow is a geek. He is a comic book expert and retailer, and geeky contributor to GeekNation.com, Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic reviews and podcasts at BOF and MMM, regular blogs at GeekNation, as well as his weekly pieces The Geek Beat every Tuesday and the Star Trek Into Darkness Countdown right here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.