With Star Trek entering popular culture not just as a franchise reboot but a cinematic moment in sci-fi history, talk has already turned to the sequel(s) and where the next movie will take the fresh new crew.
Online calls have gone out to J. J. Abrams and his crew. Slow down the pace. Let us see the story and characters evolve. Easy with the lens flare. And come up with something — new.
But there are all sorts of angles that the sequel’s screenwriting team of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof could go with. Talking to Mtv.com recently, Orci and Kurtzman seemed ready for the task.
Says Orci, “I’m trying to read every Star Trek book I can get my hands on. We did that a lot for the first movie… I’m starting to re-immerse myself again in what’s come before.”
Says Kurtzman, “All the characters that existed in the universe or canon we grew up with are essentially still around in some capacity. But their lives have been altered, so they may again intersect with our crew.”
Says Spock, “Logic is only the beginning of wisdom”.
Destiny may not be written, characters may evolve and change, baddies may or may not be different, but the worlds of Trek and beyond offer all sorts of possibilities for the continuing adventures of the USS Enterprise. Logically, they can continue for at least five more, with an original ‘five year mission’ as a blueprint, and an acting cast that has its oldest member at 38 years of age.
Here are the top 10:
1. THE WRATH OF KHAN… AGAIN
A treasure trove of Trek stories awaits to be rekindled, re-imagined and redone. One of the earliest suggestions was having Javier Bardem as Khan Noonien Singh, reprising the role made famous by Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek TOS and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan . Of course, two problems pop up with this suggestion. 1 – the crew of the Enterprise haven’t met Khan yet and 2 – we have actually seen that one before. But that doesn’t mean the boys aren’t thinking about it. Trawling through the entire canon of novelizations and TOS episodes is required background work for the team. Trekkies have mentioned several key other episodes as jumping off points for the sequel.
2. MIRROR, MIRROR, MIRROR
An alternate universe (“What, again?!”) has the Federation as an evil Empire that runs on bloody militarism, conquest and a brutal slay-as-you-go hierarchy. This worked in the original series because of the contrast between the beloved crew members and their newly found evil counterparts. Spock with a sinister goatee is one of the great Star Trek images. But can it work in a reboot that’s only just introduced us to the crew? Doubtful.
Probability factor: LOW
3. WELCOME ONCE MORE TO BABEL
Whatever happens we’ll more than likely be fully introduced to the aliens of the Federation, and its enemies. Andorians and Tellarites are goodies (but often quite hard to handle) and the most obvious baddies in the sequel will be Klingons, whom Kirk and co spent most of their Starfleet careers at war with. A plot line that covers the interaction of the major races, with Enterprise crew in the middle, rather than a ‘save a planet’ scenario (again!) seems a decent bet. Will the Romulans emerge as a threat using an excuse of Nero’s death to go all out against the Federation? Not a bad guess.
Probability factor: HIGH
4. SPOCK’S BRAIN
Why the hell not? Why can’t we scoop out Spock’s brain and use it to run a city? How awesome would that be? C’mon!
Probability factor: ILLOGICAL
5. NOW V’GER
Looking beyond original episodes as inspiration, one of the more fascinating Star Trek mysteries has been the ‘V’ger/Borg Scenario’. Unofficially introduced into Star Trek lore through an extra in a computer game, the idea goes like this — in Star Trek: The Motion Picture , V’ger, the massive living-machine that began life as the Voyager 6 probe, returned in 2273 to download its data to its creator (or destroy Earth, seemed a bit all or nothing, when you think of it) and was said to have been given its sentience by a planet of ‘living machines’. This sentience has been hypothesized to have come from The Borg, one of Star Trek‘s best baddies — half zombie, half machine, they plan to assimilate the universe into their ‘collective’. Truly creepy, and a worthy foe for any Enterprise crew. That said, The Borg were not part of the original series canon, and whilst they did have a few dealings with Archer and co in the prequel series, Enterprise, placing The Borg into the Alpha Quadrant at the same time as a young Kirk and crew is a real stretch. It would be a big nod to The Next Generation fans who see The Borg as ‘theirs’, unable to get a look in edgewise in a reboot that saw the action occur before the births of Picard and company.
Probability factor: LOW
6. INFINITE DIVERSITY IN INFINITE COMBINATIONS
One of the more obvious places to look for sequel stories is in the new Star Trek movie itself, and the characters that we all want to see explored and fleshed out. Too obvious? Maybe. But here’s a few. First off — Spock. Given the horrific events in the first film, he not only has to face being one of the last Vulcans alive, he also has to deal with the death of his mother. Given that she was human, and that his father, Sarek, is now one of the keepers of the flickering flame of Vulcan culture, the psychic chasm within the half-human half-Vulcan Spock will widen to epic proportions. Wanting to honour a dead mother and a dying culture — and all the while in love with a human woman — Uhura — could get messy. Let’s hope it’s not Pon farr time during the sequel, or things could get really ugly. The again, maybe they should…
Probability Factor: LOGICAL
7. “I’M NOT A PRISON INMATE, JIM!”
Karl Urban’s bang-on reinvention of McCoy sees him as the front runner to be at the centre of galactic goings-on in the sequel. A love-able character, in peril, is precisely what Star Trek is built on, and having the diverse crew members coming up with solutions to help out is exactly the formula that the reboot movie repeated. Obviously, modern movie-making being what it is, our scriptwriting trio will seek to blend the tried and true with something new; McCoy in trouble gives Spock and Kirk the perfect chance to work together.
Probability factor: GOOD
8. “IT IS A PHASER — BUT I’M STILL PLEASED TO SEE YOU!”
Kirk. Poster child for alien love. If he does not, in some way, brush DNA particles with an alien of some form in the sequel, then an entire planet will be bitterly betrayed and refuse to follow any further doings of messrs Abrams and co. Whether this will be a major plot line, or a mere ‘tick this box’ element, remains to be seen.
Probability factor: HIGH
9. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!
It’s actually ALL GOING TO BE STAR WARS! Recent videos on the web have shown the basic similarities in plot between Star Trek and Episode IV — A New Hope . What does this mean for number two? Does Kirk have a dad we don’t know about (not the dad who died on the Kelvin, but another, you know, ‘Jedi’ dad)? Is there a Death Star floating in high orbit over Starfleet Academy? Actually, when you think of it, the Star Trek team could gather ‘what ifs’ from the interwebs and go with that. Ground battles (a la Hoth) have never been a major part of Star Trek, and would be a massive action injection, similar to the effect of having the Kirk-munching monsters on Delta Vega in the first film replace ‘dude with rubber on his forehead’ or The Gorn. Surely the Star Wars-ization of Trek, with a ‘used universe’ with dings and paint scrapes on star ships and shuttles will continue. Whether this will seep into story lines remains to be seen — and trying to convince us that Uhura is actually Kirk’s sister is going to take some doing.
Probability factor: LOW
10. THE FINAL FRONTIER
For the super-hardcore Trekkies, there is another possible story outline — discarded in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The end of the film was to include a giant rock creature (awesome) not dissimilar to the one faced by Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest. However, the wrinkle that Kirk, Spock and McCoy had to face was not just several hundred tons of smash, but that they were ‘inhabited’ by the god-like entity they were trying to fight, and all semblance of humanity sucked out of them. A fight to the death between three old friends was to turn Trek on its head — and because of this, was ultimately turned down as being a bit too ‘out there’. Given the hyperactive nature of the new Trek, a three-way showdown after a film that has just built them up as boon companions might just be the show-stopping scenario the Trek writers will be looking for.
Probability Factor: WHY NOT?
WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE?
Upcoming characters we might see in the sequel might include The Gorn, the mysterious Tholians, a god-like alien like Tremayne (or Q, if you know your TNG stuff better), more ‘down to Earth’ vagabonds like Harry Mudd, Orion Slave Girls (who haven’t made it into Starfleet), Jack the Ripper as an alien entity, mind-bending aliens who try to cage Kirk, gigantic space-borne creatures, revolting flying aliens not dissimilar to mynocks, half-white half-black guys who try to kill each other because they’ve got black or white on the wrong side of their faces, a time-travelling agent come to mess up the present called Gary Seven (and his cat, Isis), or if they want to go really wild, the Furlings. Which would explain why we’ve never seen the Furlings in Stargate — they’ve been in this rebooted Star Trek universe all along.
And then there was this recent comment from Bruce Greenwood, who played Pike in the film. Asked by The Examinerwhat he’d like to see happen in the sequels, he replied:
“I think these guys are clever enough to do at least two more and have the final one do a really hard dovetail into the beginning of [the storylines] for the original [Star Trek] series. The only thing I’d like to see, from a personal standpoint, is the mentor relationship between Kirk and Pike to continue.”