EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘Star Trek 3′ Screenwriters Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne · “We really bonded over our shared love of Star Trek.”

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Ever since Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne were first named as co-writers on 2016's Star Trek sequel – joining returning writer (and now director) Roberto Orci – the franchise fanbase has been buzzing with questions about these newcomers: Who are they? What other work have they produced? Just what do they know about Star Trek, anyhow?

Aside from a few brief conversations and video clips released back in March, we haven't heard much from this new writing team... and we thought we'd better change that!

The TrekCore team is proud to release our EXCLUSIVE, in-depth interview with McKay and Payne, the first conversation published ANYWHERE with the scribes who have been working tirelessly to shape the next adventures of Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise.

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TREKCORE: First of all, tell us a little about your backgrounds. How did you end up paired together as a writing team?

Patrick McKay: Well, J.D. and I have been writing together for about seventeen years. We met in junior high; we went to the same junior high and high school. We were on the debate team together, and sort of knew each other peripherally, and through other friends. I guess around our junior year in high school, J.D. had written a play, and he invited me to help direct it for the festival at our school.

At the time, you know, we had both been independently pursuing creative work.  I was very much a film buff, into Scorsese and other cool, edgy filmmakers, and was sort of making my own little backyard silly movies; J.D. was always writing short stories and novels and with a very Twilight Zone sort of sci-fi style.

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So we directed this play together, and it was a lot of fun, so we decided that for the next year's festival, we’d write one together from the ground up. We quickly found that it was sort of kismet, and that we both had talents that kind of... what's the right word for it, J.D.?

J.D. Payne: They complemented each other. It was the kind of thing where it was just instantly fun and easy and rewarding to do together. There were these things that I'd been working through in my own work that I hadn't quite known how to tackle, but Patrick came on and brought all of these other cool things to it.

Being able to find that kind of thing was a very special and unique kind of thing, and when you meet your writing partner that young, it's sort of like falling in love with your high school sweetheart, somehow. You don't even really know it, but figuring out how the two of you come together with all of the various creative instincts, and figuring out how you're going to tackle these problems is something pretty cool.

Patrick McKay: Definitely. And you're learning to do this at a young enough age that you're developing a voice together, and stumbling and seeing what works or doesn't work together… it was great, and very much a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. After finishing one of the first things we wrote, we were like, "Oh, wow – we like this." That led to more things through college, and the rest is history.

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TREKCORE: Speaking of that history, we know that you guys have been working on different projects for several years now but all the credits that the general public gets to see is whatever shows up on IMDB... which, to be honest, is a pretty sparse list at the moment.

Many fans have expressed their interest in knowing more about your prior professional work – could you talk about what you guys have been working on for the past few years?

J.D. Payne: Well, throughout our twenties, we wrote basically one screenplay a year – we wrote about seven or eight of them before we even got agency representation.

We tried our hands at a bunch of different genres, some of those indie, navel-gazing type of comedies, some period epics – you know, ‘love and loss in the time of revolution’ – we were all over the map, basically. We found that where we really came together in terms of our visions and talents were these big, big summer movies that also have a good amount of heart and emotion.

Around 2008, we were in this sort of conundrum where the things that the market was responding to most were these pre-branded things in the public domain; stuff that people already had awareness of. So we took the story of King Midas and did sort of a big origin story – kind of the Batman Begins version of King Midas, if you will.

Up until this point, it had been a fairly uncomplicated morality tale, but we were interested in seeing what would happen if we were to take that and make it into a sort of really cool, grounded, emotionally-epic kind of a movie? So we took it and turned into this big, dark, interesting epic story.

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Patrick McKay: It took a long time to write that script – something like two years.

J.D. had been living in Los Angeles, I was going to grad school for creative writing in Washington, D.C., and we'd been working on all these things in the background. J.D. had been handing our scripts to anyone he could get to read them out in Hollywood, hoping somehow to get somebody who could pass them on to an agent, or somebody in the industry, an actor, somebody.

Finally, it was this script Midas that started going from the people he gave it to up to those people’s bosses. People started reading it, they wanted to be a part of it and get it going – and out of that we got a manager and an agent. That script then became our calling card for a little while, but we weren't able to sell it to a studio or get any studio assignment work off of it, which is the way it normally works.

You write an original script, people like it, then they hire you to rewrite one of their project. This one didn't quite land, so we were then looking to write another script. What that one ended up becoming was a script called Goliath, which should be on the Internet somewhere with our names on it. That we sold in 2010, and that was sort of our big break.

Off of that one, we started working on assignment. We got a job at Paramount for a movie called Deadliest Warrior, which was sort of a big Magnificent Seven or Avengers-type action movie, where you took warriors from different time periods, and see who would win if they fought – like a ninja vs. samurai, or a Viking vs. an Apache from the Old West – sort of a greatest-hits team of warriors from throughout history; that was our first big assignment.

That was for Paramount, so off of that, we started looking for other work there – and one of Paramount’s big producers was J.J. Abrams at Bad Robot.

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J.D. Payne: Basically, we went in and had a general meeting with Bad Robot; they said to us, "You know, we don't have a ton of projects up your alley at the moment, but we do have this graphic novel we have the rights to called Boilerplate." It's the story of a late 19th Century robot that goes around meeting historical luminaries and having interesting adventures.

Patrick McKay: It's a faux textbook, purporting to be the 'true' historical story of this robot, where the comic book artists came up with the character and they insert him into old photos like Forrest Gump. It's really kind of cool, and when the executive at Bad Robot showed us the book, we fell in love with it and knew we wanted to write it. We got that job and wrote the script, and it was one of the greatest and most fun creative experiences we've ever had. It’s a great character and a fun world to play around in.

J.D. Payne: Also, it was a wonderful creative process. It was one we had a lot of inspiration for, but was also one where we felt a real sense of connection with the producers, which is a special thing. Finding a writing partner you really gel with is unique and special, but finding producers that you share common visions with is just as cool.

Patrick McKay: Following that, we did a couple of movies we that you might not have heard of; I don't know if there's anything about them online. One is a draft of a movie called Micronauts, which is based on a Hasbro property that Bad Robot was producing. That one is sort of a big space epic in line with Alien and Star Wars; it’s a big cool summer science fiction movie. We also did a movie for Warner Brothers called Law Zero.

J.D. Payne: That one's sort of like Blade Runner meets Vertigo. It's a very noir-ish kind of cinema, where we really started moving more towards ‘hard’ sci-fi. That has this crazy world where a robot uprising is building, a cool exodus story, and a bunch of other things along with it. We developed Law Zero with a couple of directors from Spain, Bruno Zacarias and Miguel de Olaso, and had a really good time finding the story and its emotional through-line.

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TREKCORE: Let's move on to your relationship with Star Trek. You guys are both big Next Generation fans going way back, but what is your experience with the Original Series, or the spin-offs – Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise?

J.D. Payne: Well, Patrick grew up watching the Original Series at home.

Patrick McKay: I would say that one of the things we really bonded over was our shared love of Star Trek. My parents were massive Trek fans before I was born – the kind who waited in line in the snow to see The Motion Picture in '79. They're true fans, so I grew up around them, loving all of the classic episodes, and going to see the movies in the theater, and you know, my parents also loved Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and all those other chestnuts from the period.

J.D. Payne: I always thought Patrick's house was the most awesome place because they had that telephone that was shaped like the starship Enterprise. That was just SO cool.

Patrick McKay: Completely true. I've probably seen every episode of the Original Series, I've seen the movies many, many times; I remember when The Next Generation was premiering, it was such a big deal. I watched at least the first couple of seasons – you know, I do actually remember watching "Best of Both Worlds" as it aired. That was great.

Then, I was becoming a teenager and – as many teens do, you reject whatever your parents like – so I went through a few years where I was like, "You know, I don't even LIKE Star Trek!" But I very much came back to it in a big way as I got older. But JD – now HE is the real die-hard Next Gen fan.

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J.D. Payne: Yeah, definitely. I sort of discovered Trek at this pivotal time for me. I was about fifteen and socially, I was just cool enough to know that Star Trek was kind of dorky – but I was also just dorky enough to know that it was pretty cool! For me, it was something I really discovered on my own; my parents didn't introduce it to me.

I think that the first episode I ever saw was "Frame of Mind," and it was like discovering jazz or something. How has this been out there my entire life and I'd never seen it before?! After that, I was just plugged into it. I would tape it off of television, edit out the commercials, and I had my own little library of Star Trek and got super, super into it. I just loved the sense it had for the possibility of what could be 'out there.'

After that, I definitely also got into Deep Space Nine and Voyager; I would watch those as they were airing throughout high school. When I went to college, though, I was so crazy my freshman year at Yale studying applied physics and dealing with school fourteen hours a day chained to my desk that I didn't even have a TV in my dorm room. I haven't watched much of Enterprise, but I've seen a few episodes.

Patrick McKay: I think Riker shows up in the Enterprise finale. I feel like I saw that one.

TREKCORE: Yeah, that's kind of a controversial thing; a lot of people look at the episode that aired the week before as the 'true' series finale.

Patrick McKay: (Laughs) Oh sure, I can believe that!

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TREKCORE: Over the last fifteen years or so, we've had four Trek films in a row where the evil guest star, bent on revenge, has this giant ship that the Enterprise crew has to destroy in order to save the day – and there hasn't been a Trek movie without a headlining villain since 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Do you think that the modern, “action movie” style of Trek film is a necessity to draw in today’s movie-going audience, or could a more intangible threat – like V’GER from The Motion Picture, or the “save the whales” time travel mission from Star Trek IV – still succeed in 2014?

Patrick McKay: I'd sure like to think so!

You know, people always talk up "Wrath of Khan! Wrath of Khan!" – and while I love Star Trek II, and I've seen it so many times, I also REALLY love Star Trek III and Star Trek IV. Those are movies that have a little bit more of the character relationships and the humor and some more of the speculative sci-fi elements. And sure, there are certainly a lot of problems you can point to in The Motion Picture, but I love that movie too. I think it's a cool movie, and it's totally Star Trek.

There are big, ambitious, complex movies that also have a huge audience. Take The Dark Knight – certainly, that's a very villain-centric movie, but that's also very ambitious movie. Inception – does that one even have a villain? That's such a complex picture, and that ended up doing like $800 Million worldwide. There's a lot of ways to do it.

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J.D. Payne: Yeah, and that's one of the things that I think is so wonderful about Star Trek. It's a universe in which there are a lot of different possibilities in terms of what make a good story.

I look back at some of those Next Generation episodes where you have these shows that are as big and crazy as "Yesterday's Enterprise," "The Best of Both Worlds," "Chain of Command,” or "All Good Things," but there are also these intimate episodes like "Tapestry" and "The Inner Light” – or “Data’s Day,” where you have Data just hanging around with his cat!

(Editor's note: He didn't even need to pause for a second to name those episode titles.)

Star Trek can do so many different things and do it well, that you have just so many colors on that palette to paint with – and I think that for us, in terms of what we're thinking for the next one, nothing's really off the table.

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  • Sykes

    Thanks for the interview.

    • shanebroughton

      Yep, John Logan (writer of Nemesis) is a “big Trek fan” and that movie was crap. Didn’t help that they hired a hack editor to be their director of course.

      • danielcw

        “hack editor”?

        Nemesis was bad, imho, and Stuart Baird was ill-chosen to direct that movie.
        But he had and I guess still has a reputation as a good editor, who worked on some good movies.

        • Harry M.

          Baird was focused on trying to avoid the TMP problem of the movie being too long, too boring. Instead the movie was too short, too boring, and the best scenes were cut.

      • Paul

        I’d rather have Baird than orci though

        • Harry M.

          Never. Never again. He ruined ruined what should have been an epic send off (which I know it wouldn’t have been if the movie made money at the box office, but I’m not convinced ANY Star Trek movie could have made money given the circumstances being released that week).

          • http://www.scream-movie.net FightingMongooses

            I disagree. A GOOD Trek film would’ve found it’s audience and could have had a successful run at the theater. I was jaded by new-Trek at the time. Two terrible seasons of Enterprise, Voyager’s mediocre 7 years, and a couple of TNG movie misfires. So I never bothered to see Nemesis in theaters, I knew it’d be a dud. And my thoughts were confirmed when I bought the DVD. Thankfully there have been many, many good Trek books to enjoy over the years.

          • Harry M.

            Why…why?!? Why did you buy the DVD? That was a horrible, horrible mistake.

            If The Wrath of Khan went up against The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, maybe it makes 60 million in that run. Star Trek had no audience in 2002, just for the reasons you said – Enterprise, Voyager and a pair of TNG misfires.

            And yet, some how, JJ Abrams still ruined Star Trek.

            Uh, hello! It was ruined in the “new-Trek” Voyager/Enterprise era.

      • TallBoy6t6

        At least Logan finally cleared up the Romulus / Remus thing!

        • Harry M.

          Which is part of the reason I’m so disappointed in Nemesis. I was really looking forward to the movie, especially once the word of the Romulus / Remus thing got out.

  • kadajawi

    Oh my god am I excited (and that after the really disappointing ST 2009. 3 Star Trek fans, even of TMP (!) and DS9! And Twilight Zone). Lindelof is thankfully gone. This could be really, really good.
    Also, their previous scripts mentioned sound interesting too, I’d like to see those.

    • hypnotoad72

      If they can bring out what makes Trek unique and special as opposed to doing another cookie cutter “Die Hard in Space”, then that would be great!

  • CoolGeek

    Really good interview.I wish these guys the best of luck and hopefully they ignore the inevitable ” Nutrek SUCKZ! ” comments that come from the more close minded fans on sites like this.

  • OphidianJaguar

    I love sites that do weekend posts..especially regarding Trek 3.
    Excellent interview, nice to hear from McKay about Trek 3 as we have only heard from Payne.
    With all that was said here and what Bob Orci has been talking about in the past week or two, I am excited to boldly go into deep space.

    Warp 11, Make it so.

    • CoolGeek

      TUC is a good film but not a great one.The plot holes in that were ridiculous ( Not even one Starship guarding the peace conference and no shield to prevent someone beaming down and shooting the president ).

      • OphidianJaguar

        Those are technicalities, what Star Trek movie does not have plot holes. My point is that TUC imo had the strongest story.

        • CoolGeek

          I agree TUC is a good film too.I enjoy it despite the plot holes.The same reason i enjoy the JJTrek films.

      • kadajawi

        You could argue that there was no security because the place was supposed to be secret (fewer people in the know) and because it could, in such a delicate situation, be seen as a lack of trust and complicate things (you’d need two ships, one Federation, one Klingon, but what if they are not equal in strength, etc.).

      • MJ

        To me, TUC is perhaps the TOS Trek movie that has not stood the test of time very well. It comes across as dated now, and the characters say dumb lines out of context, and behave in a manner not consistent with their views and behavior from other movies/TOS.

        Spock saying, “only Nixon could go to China” is a really bad one. Most people under the age of 35 today would not get that, let alone someone in the 23rd century. And Chang quoting Shakespeare continually — just seems so silly now in retrospect. And the crew being so blatantly prejudiced just seems so forced now.

        TUC just isn’t as enjoyable and convincing to me now as it once was. None of the other TOS Trek movies have aged so poorly. Trek V is just a bad movie — so I am not counting that one.

        • hypnotoad72

          Most people under the age of 35 deliberately sleep during history class and believe history has no value to society.

          • MJ

            That is a different discussion.

            My point centers on the ludicrousy of what would be a very obscure reference for a Vulcan to make to Kirk in the late 23rd century.

            It’d be like going to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes next week, and seeing one of the apes say to Ceaser, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too,” and Ceasar nodding, as if that was some “wise sage” comment relevant to his current situation. That would be completely ludicrous.

            I consider myself a major history buff, but I also understand the context of history, and I know a “dated and forced” history reference in a movie when I see it.

            Star Trek, as best as it can, should be created in ways to minimize looking “dated.” TMP is actually least dated of the old TOS films, and yet it is the oldest. There is a good lesson there.

            Myer made fun late 20th century movies that happened to be Star Trek. STID fell into the same trap. TMP, ST-III, ST4 and ST-2009, were more “real Star Trek” movies that have and will stand the test of time better than then the two Meyer movies and STID.

          • Harry M.

            In “Spectre of the Gun,” Kirk and Spock are on a planet and are quickly able to surmise they are on a planet which resembles the 1880s Wild West. In “City on the Edge of Forever” Kirk and Spock seem pretty well aware of 20th Century politics; they are able to easily discuss the changes to the timeline because Keeler survives. They know 19th/20th Century history.

            Therefore, it is not strange Spock would make a 20th Century reference to Kirk, nor would it be obscure, at least to them, as well as the audience beyond the fourth wall. Is it dated? It is in the sense that a kid isn’t going to know what Nixon to China means – but it should be taught. Only Nixon could go to China, and that is a significant lesson to learn in it’s own right in a politics class.

            Regarding the poorly chosen false comparison: Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too? Really? Obscure US presidents who are only notable for being in office for 30 days and being the first Vice President to assume the office of President. (And Tyler is the worst president in history – worse than any 20th/21st Century president or Buchanan.)

            Given Nixon’s visit being of international significance, and Harrison and Tyler being obscure 19th Century presidents, that is a false comparison and a very badly chosen comparison at that.

      • hypnotoad72

        Sulu knew where it was held at. So the real hole is “Why was the Excelsior so distant, if certain ships are made known in the event of a possible problem while otherwise keeping as low-key and off-the-radar as possible?”

    • CoolGeek

      TMP is hardly different and original.It was a complete rip off of the original series episode ” The Changeling ”

      • OphidianJaguar

        As a motion picture in 1979, your damned right it is. But if you’re compering it to a TV episode you’re correct. But I’m strictly in the motion picture sense when compared to other Trek films, (not a TV episode). i.e. you could say that the probe in TVH is a rip off of V’Ger in a way. Again, I’m speaking strictly movies. You could argue that everything is a rip off of everything sci fi copies from sci fi, trek movies from trek tv shows. How many episodes of TNG were rip offs of TOS and DS9 and VOY rips offs of TNG, and Enterprise of all. Well then to hell with it all, there is no room for debate that way. But looking beyond all that, I see uniqueness in TMP, always have, always will.

        • CoolGeek

          Oh i agree.I like TMP despite its flaws and lack of originality ( The DC is the only one to watch though ).Its just that the JJ films are often criticised by some of the TOS fans for lack of originality when TOS often copied its own storylines ( how many times did Kirk fight a god like being for example? and how often did Kirk talk a computer to death? )

          • MJ

            I agree 100%

          • hypnotoad72

            Or parallel world development… and, yup, most TOS fans got annoyed at the bland, empty re-use of those tropes… only “The Paradise Syndrome” and, maybe, “Miri”, work for me – the others, of which many exist, aren’t memorable in any serious or engaging way.

      • MJ

        TMP was unique in that it was the only serious attempt ever to do Trek as Hard Science Fiction. And, whether we/your were entertained and “liked” TMP, we can’t argue that it is a brilliant different hard sf take on Star Trek. I love it for that aspect. It felt more real than a lot of other Trek movies or series, even though the entertainment value was not so high.

        • Matt_Cardiff_UK

          I totally agree. I loved the hard core sci-fi, no laughing, no messing, serious Trek that was TMP. But can you imagine how different and possibly amazing it would have been if Ridley Scott had directed it and Vangelis had scored it? No disrespect to Courage, Goldsmith or Wise there! :-)

          • MJ

            Interesting — yea, I agree, especially regarding Scott. Goldsmith’s score was pretty awesome though, but Vangelis would have been interesting for sure.

      • hypnotoad72

        And a couple others, but innovation involves taking existing ideas, doing something different, and hoping it gels.

        I too am hoping Reboot-III dares to do more than the last three flicks (2003, 2009, 2013) since the big bad going after Earth in a big ship is really, really trite. Just like in 1979, and the comic relief probably saved 1986′s entry… despite the big whales and big hair.

  • archer9234

    They sound fine for the job. Gives me hope the 3rd film will do interesting stuff. I hope no lame shock value things though.

  • Lenonn

    I’m sold. I just hope Paramount doesn’t interfere too much and let them create the best movie that they can write beyond just a summer blockbuster.

    • OphidianJaguar

      That is always my biggest fear. Not the writers or the director so much as Paramount suits.

      • The Extinct Journalist

        Yeah, that’d be the day: “The TrekCore team is proud to release our EXCLUSIVE, in-depth interview with the Paramount, the first conversation published ANYWHERE with the suits who have been working tirelessly to … (between the writing lines).”

        :-)

      • danielcw

        When have the suits ever been really bad to Star trek, especially its movies?

        • hypnotoad72

          Mostly during TOS, Voyager, and Enterprise, since they are the three that were made at the discretion of a parent network…

          Nichelle Nichols had fan mail removed, and other nasty things happen, that prompted her to quit. Martin Luther King compelled her to stay despite what she had to experience. But she, like other characters, had time and dialogue reduced so that the allusion to the brain (id, ego, superego) could have focus (McCoy, Kirk, Spock).

          Roddenberry had to quit in 1968…

          He was a suit during TNG’s early development, since people had to go by what he demanded…

          and movies?

          Mayer had to convince Paramount that his film would cost less, deliver more, and carry a real orchestra instead of digital noise for music…

          Insurrection, Nemesis, 2009, Into Darkness all share similar plot themes – the suits wanted “accessibility” so a big bad with a big bad ship is all they want. Bonus points for making Earth a target. All of these aspects, regardless of how little coherent logic was applied to the scripts, were irrelevant. Make them big and epic, regardless at how asinine they could be because audiences never want solid stories – just wham blam kerblam.

          2009 and STID both rely on superficial aspects of TOS, avoiding any brainy talking points when possible…

          • MJ

            You actually believe all of this?

            My “favorite” here is how you blame “the suits” for Insurrection, Nemesis and Into Darkness. Those movies had bad writing — that’s why they misfired (pun intended). Those misfires had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Paramount executives mucking things up.

          • danielcw

            Thanks for the story about Nichol’s letters, I had never heard that one before.

            To the movies:
            I think the Meyer case is just about his casting, so to speak.
            And the budget issues should have been Benett’s problem, primarely.

            In the case of Insurrection:
            There is a book-draft from Piller (?) foating around, that details the writing process and studio notes. I have not read it yet, but the examples I heard about (in SF debri’s review) are positive.

            Nemesis is a mixed bag (too many cooks) I haven’t heard much about.

            But you seem to think, that accessability is a bad thing.

            Where did you hear, that the suits demanded big bads and big ships for ST 2009 and STID?

      • MJ

        Bad Robot is making all the calls on the Star Trek movies now, not Paramount. That has been the case since JJ and Paramount established the multi-movie ST production deal prior to Trek 2009.

  • Sone Mukherjee.

    #PatrickMckay #JDPayne Ref: Star Trek 3 – Neil Mukherjee Said-”What if #YoungKirk hears a live voice transmitted from space. No image-just voice?” #VoiceOfPrimeKirk-4ST3 #MakeitSo – For The Captain may be somewhere in the depths of Space & Time. From Sean.

  • Christopher Roberts

    My ideal plot? Let time itself be the enemy. Present Kirk with an opportunity to avert the destruction of the U.S.S. Kelvin. Spock would try and stop him, even though ultimately he’d have more to gain.

    • danielcw

      Not my favourite,
      and the AU has something to offer.

      But I can see myself enjoying your idea and watching that.

      • Christopher Roberts

        Cheers. It’ll never happen, but it’s the story I’d passionately try and pitch to bring Star Trek full circle for its 50th.

        • danielcw

          There is always the 100th :)

          And your first 2 paragraphs could happen anytime, just with a different ending.
          Your basic idea is simple, but good, IMHO.
          Could become a really good movie.

          What’s the state of the temporal cold war in the AU?

          • Christopher Roberts

            My least favourite part of Enterprise really. I’d sooner not think about it. I loved that show, but how much better would it have been, without any TCW influences?
            Future Guy’s identity still bothers me. But any motivation the as-yet unrevealed character might have would be tied into that show, and can’t conceivably have anything to do with these Abramsverse movies. Those writers were talking about making him Archer, the last I heard.

          • danielcw

            How much better could Enterprise have been, if they had a plan, if they did the TCW well?

            Enterprise is still canon to the AU, so at least some reports of the TCW should exist.
            On the other hand, we can not be sure, that anything 24th century and beyond will happen in the AU.

            And apropos canonity:
            If our new crew travels back in time, let’s say to San Francisco in 1984, will they see Shatner-Kirk steal some whales?
            Maybe they have to steal the phaser Chekov left on the Aircraft Carrier :)

            Could they also meet Picard, Sisko or Janeway in the past?

          • Christopher Roberts

            Yes, I agree they should’ve left the Mirror Universe one and the same.

            The conceit they should be operating under, is that Shatner-Kirk and Pine-Kirk look the same. They do so for Nimoy-Spock and Quinto-Spock. In-universe the recast shouldn’t be acknowledged… with one exception. They should’ve shown the identity alteration Section 31 did to Khan. Clearly because Cumberbatch could never pass for somebody of Singh’s cultural background… while Montalban did in his “Space Seed” appearance.

            Data’s head should still be in that 19th Century cavern, back in San Francisco… if they ever want to show it in alt 23rd. It wouldn’t affect the Prime 24th. A kind of Schrödinger’s cat theory, but with an android’s head found in its place.

          • danielcw

            Yeah Data’s head would be a cool way to do a anniversary story.
            But Data is a really powerful and calm character, who would show restraint to get involved, so it might not be as much fun.

            Time travel to the past gives some options for a Tribble-esque anniversary, revisiting Star Trek 4 and Chekov’s forgotten phaser would be my favourite.
            (yes, I know, there is a novel that ties the phaser into the Khan storyline)

  • http://corylea.com/ Corylea

    Sounds like these guys can model the Kirk/Spock friendship after their own partnership, with Patrick as Kirk and J. D. as Spock. :-)

    They sound quite promising! I’m happy to hear that they’re Trek fans, though I hope J. D. will familiarize himself with at least Seasons 1 and 2 of TOS and not rely only on “The Next Generation” for background.

  • pittrek

    Dear Lord. A guy who is supposed to be a TOS fan and a TOS reboot movie writer says ” I’ve probably seen every episode of the Original Series” :-(

    • http://www.trekcore.com/ TrekCoreStaff

      What’s the criticism here?

      • pittrek

        Nothing, I just expected that he actually knows ALL of the episodes, and that he knows them WELL. It should be prerequisite before writing this kind of movie. It’s really nice that he knows TNG very well but they’re not writing a TNG movie.

        BTW thanks for the interview :)

        • The Extinct Journalist

          More questions to ask! ;-)

        • http://corylea.com/ Corylea

          Agreed!

        • danielcw

          I believe Nicholas Meyer had not seen all TOS episodes.
          His producer Harve Benett probably has though.

          • pittrek

            Good point. But I think they watched all episodes before doing the movie if I remember the documentaries

          • danielcw

            As I wrote above to another commenter, I remember it differently.
            Bennett watched them, Meyer did not.

          • hypnotoad72

            Meyer researched and saw all 79 episodes before going with Khan…

          • MJ

            He should have been forced to watch them all again before he worked on TUC. Apparently, instead, he got confused and read all the works of William Shakespeare and Henry Kissinger in place of TOS episodes.

          • MHackley

            Agreed, how dare he put classical references in a Star Trek movie!!!

          • danielcw

            IIRC correctly Benett saw all episodes and selected Kahn.
            But it has been a while since I saw the special features of ST2, so I might remember it wrong.
            (a cursory read of the Memory Alpha article seems to match my memory)

        • MJ

          Oh, come on. LOL Your are just being silly here.

    • MJ

      Huh? What is wrong with you, dude. That’s fantastic!

      • hypnotoad72

        Meyer had to sit through all 79 episodes, so he saw them all as well.

        Meyer was not a fan before it, it was researching a job so he could do something and try to do it well the way HE saw it as a creative individual. Had he failed, the criticisms would be there…

        And a TOS reboot, in a new alternate timeline, means these are not the same characters 100%. Motivations can be different because of timeline events. TOS Kirk broke the law when it helped others. TOS Kirk introduced love. Reboot Kirk is just a truly undisciplined thug, who has promiscuous sex for no reason except to get off. So far.

        • CoolGeek

          ” TOS Kirk introduced love. Reboot Kirk is just a truly undisciplined
          thug, who has promiscuous sex for no reason except to get off. So far. ”

          Dude are you serious? TOS Kirk gets into fights and nails every chick he gets at every opportunity! Not to mention that i lost count of how many times he broke the prime directive.Reboot Kirk has done nothing TOS kirk has done many many times.

          • MJ

            Exactly. That was astoundingly hypocritical comment that showed a lack of understanding of TOS Kirk.

            Hypnotoad72, you are hereby signed to remedial watching of TOS….you seemed so concerned that Patrick McCay maybe only saw 76 of the 79 episodes, well, dude, it looks like you need to listen to your own advice. ;-)

            PS: Start with Elaan of Troyius, then review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytbkGPAopC4

        • MJ

          McKay said he’d probably seen them all. If he’s seen say 76 of them, that would be fine. You yourself have apparently forgotten how Kirk behaved towards women (i.e., how he was a classic ladies man aka Mad Men-like) in many of those episodes, so you might want to go back and watch many of them again now as well.

  • Darkthunder

    One thing that Trek does best, is writing a futuristic story, which references back to current events, using a sci-fi setting. I’d like to hope that the next movie brings back that method of story telling, without having a “big bad guy”, or a “must save Earth” type of plot. It’s a huge galaxy out there. It’s time for some real exploring.

    • danielcw

      I agree,
      but Orci’s recent interview
      and parts of this interview
      don’t make I look like that they want to go for a metaphor/parable/message.

      On the other hand,
      there were some possible parallels to current (political) events in STID

  • CoolGeek

    Just want to point out that there is a danger in having fans who are too passionate about a franchise they are writing for.Sometimes a situation like Bryan Singers Superman Returns happens and the result is a film that is WAY too reverential to the point that it rips off entire scenes and dialogue from the original.

    Nicolas Meyer was certainly not a fan of TOS and was distanced enough from the franchise that he was able to do his own thing and do things that fans would have balked at ( killing spock ).Its a similar reason why JJ Abrams movies were better for him not really being a fan of the series.

    I wish these new writers well but hope what they come out with isnt too ” fanboyish ”,

    • danielcw

      Your are right, there is a danger.

      But I also think, it isn’t necessarily good or bad.
      Star Trek is full of writers, fans and non-fans, who did good episodes.
      Meyer is a good director, Stuart Baird is not, or at least was not for Nemesis.

      Non-ST example with Singer (who was in Nemesis):
      a Superman fan: not so good film (I like it)
      a X-Men fan: good films.

      In the end, I think it is impossible for us fans to know, if somebody will do good work or not.

    • MJ

      In retrospect, Superman Returns is significantly superior to last year’s Man of Steel. So I am not sure your point really holds, as last years Man of Steel — the fresh type of approach you are alluding to here — was pretty mediocre.

      • hypnotoad72

        That’s true… mediocre and missing the point of Superman to an extent… enough reviews slamming “Man of Steel” point out every relevant nuance… fresh can be stale or smelly.

      • CoolGeek

        Well we will have to agree to disagree on that one.Man Of Steel is the best Superman movie ever made in my opinion.

        • MJ

          Wow??? He let thousands of people die in Metropolis. The “real Superman” would never have let that happen.

          • Jay

            I agree, Man of Steel was great. It was a fresh take on the old “boy scout” approach of Superman that’s been around for decades. Thousands may have died in the final sequences, but the entire planet was saved in the end. Remember, Supes had been in his uniform for only a matter of hours by the time Zod brought out the World Engine. Zod killed those people, not Superman. He was basically brawling with a trained and genetically engineered super soldier. You think two god-like beings locked in a bar room brawl wouldn’t cause some collateral damage? Not to mention most of the damage was caused by the world engine itself which Superman did everything in his power to take down ASAP. It’s ok to have different opinions, and yours doesn’t impact anyone else’s like or dislike of the movie, but this “oh, the real superman would NEVER have let that happen” or “that movie was just destruction porn” crap is REALLY getting old.

          • MJ

            Hmm, I just don’t see how the people of Metropolis would be thankful and like Superman much after the ending of Man of Steel. It’s much more likely that they would hold him responsible, right or wrong, for being the “bait” that led his kind to fight him in the middle of their city, causing thousands of deaths and injuries.

            I just can’t picture a few months later people saying, “we’ll forget the 10,000 dead, because he stopped a bank robbery and saved a falling lady last week…that just doesn’t ring true at all. They’d largely resent him and want him gone.

            No, they really botched the classic Superman story logic of him being the savior of Metropolis. That is gone now.

          • archer9234

            You’re right. But this is the first time a DC movie acknowledges this aspect of a hero movie. In their live action. To this scale. Batman is hated on. But since he can’t do what Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, etc. It can’t be that huge. In the comics and animated shows they did this all the time. The Justice League was constantly abused by being the “cause” of disasters. Instead of stopping them. Since people can’t yell at the bad guys.

            Marvel did it since day one. Several comics like the Fantastic Four are built around this main idea. They are constantly sued by people everyday. And spend millions on rebuilding things they are blamed on destroyed. She-Hulk, a lawyer as her normal job. Had to create superhero protection. And always defends them in court cases. She herself is constantly fined and sued, as well. The X-Men are hated because of their mutation. Marvel doesn’t make the world happy and perfect. Hulk is the embodiment of this as well. He is a hero. But thanks to him usually being in the wrong placr. Or bad propaganda from General Ross. He’s a “Monster”. Spider-Man is blamed for everything every day by J Johna Jameson.

            Man of steel had really dumb things. Like people running into their houses as cover. And the Daily Planet not being evacuated, till they got near their building. But the rest is what really should be done in a superhero film.

    • hypnotoad72

      Singer’s big mistake was leaving X-Men, a franchise he made his own*, while in his prime, to do another franchise. Good try, but no. It was hogwash. Years went by before another X-Men movie under his name would come out and the time and damage were done.

      * with the actors putting in effort to make their characters definitive – like Tobey MaGuire made Spider-Man, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Christopher Reeve made Superman… Julie Newmar = Catwoman, etc…

  • Martin

    I have high hopes for this film, it should be something new and original.
    But I want a closing scene at the end off the film, that is if Q or Trelane dose make an appearance. It would be good to make Zackary Quinto’s Spock laugh, like Q did with data in TNG. it should add comic relief to the film.
    Plus Q could give kirk a closing message about “what’s to come, it’s not safe in deep space”
    and ending it with a Cliffhanger, when the borg deep in the delta quadrant receive the subspace message from ENT “regeneration” . Then back to kirk ordering sulu to go to warp with the words “space the final frontier….”

    • hypnotoad72

      Didn’t “Voyager” come about due to fans talking on the internet?

  • Martin

    I would also like a tearfull farewell to Leonard Nimoy as spock prime, one last time.

    • shanebroughton

      No.

    • http://corylea.com/ Corylea

      Me, too!

    • MJ

      Nope. Shatner and Nimoy have now had more sendoffs than Christopher Columbus.

      That had their day, and we appreciate them. But those hand-offs have been completed now.

      We shouldn’t need our sentimentally assuaged any further on this.

      • hypnotoad72

        Wow. Imagine Kirk in all of the TNG flicks, to keep getting ego-driven sendoffs. meanwhile, in the 2009 reboot, the guy who wrote “I Am Not Spock” in 1975 or whenever keeps coming back, especially after liking the second Star Trek movie made (and by people who weren’t big fans but seemed to figure out what made it work), and then later wrote “I Am Spock”…? Cool.

        • MJ

          Actually, I think that is what a lot of fans would have liked to have happened. Multiple and endless overly-sentimental send-offs. Who cares if they are in their mid-80′s and one of them it closer to 300 pounds than 200 pounds — give them full action roles and keep putting them in movies…that is what it seems like I have been hearing from a lot of fans still through today since ST-2009 came out. They simply can’t let go and move on.

          Someone needs to be an adult here, and just say “no more.”

          • Paul

            Nimoy is still the best thing about the movies.

          • MJ

            He did a great job in Trek 2009. He looked a bit frail and not as convincing though in STID. Now the poor guy has COPD as well.

            It’s sad I know, but as far as new movies go, it’s time to move on from the great Leonard Nimoy now.

          • MET4LIFE

            How many Emmy awards do you have on your shelf? You buffoon!

    • MR

      Is it possible for the same person to exchange memories through a mind meld?, so we can see flashbacks of spock’s life would be a great way to celebrate 50 years of trek.

      • jack2211

        No celebrating 50 years of Trek, just make a good bloody movie. And these guys being fans isn’t an asset — the best Trek came from non-Trekkies, including Meyer and Nimoy.

  • mjdavid

    While I am not huge fans of the first two Abrams’ films – I do respect them, though, and I recognize their importance is restoring Star Trek to the modern audience so I certainly will not trash them – this interview gives me hope that these writers have a solid understanding of what Star Trek is supposed to be. I’m certainly not hoping they go in and try to resurrect the quality of TNG, DS9, and VOY, but I have the sense these two know enough about Trek to truly write something original and thought-provoking.

  • MJ

    Trekcore,

    Congratulations on this Exclusive Interview!!!

    It’s clear that you are the leading source on Star Trek news on the internet, including news on the new Star Trek movie.

    Well done!!!

    • http://www.trekcore.com/ TrekCoreStaff

      Thanks for the kind words, MJ!

  • Paul

    The semi sonic guys are the writers??? It’s ‘closing time’ on these guys

    • MJ

      “semi sonic”

      Huh?

      Maybe cut down on that crack pipe, my friend? (I’m kidding)