We haven’t heard that much from STAR TREK BEYOND scribe Doug Jung, who teamed up with co-writer Simon Pegg for the final version of the script at the beginning of 2015 (after Bob Orci and the other writers were let go from the project).

Today, however, a new interview with the Writer’s Bone podcast gave Jung the forum to talk a bit about his career to date, and of course, his involvement with BEYONDWhile the entire interview lasts almost forty minutes, the Star Trek discussions starts at about 24:00.

In addition to talking about the now-well-known short lead time that he and Pegg had to take BEYOND from script to screen, Jung also gave his perspective about taking on such a well-known property:

I was hesitant to take [the job] because, I mean, you’d have to be kind of an idiot to not see that opportunity – but it’s a little intimidating. There’s just a huge amount of information and so many years and layers that go into [the Star Trek] canon.

Once he and Simon Pegg began their work, it wasn’t just another job — their shared history with Trek had an impact.

There were definitely times when we were sitting there together and we would both be like, “All right, this is just weird. We need to think of a really good Spock line.” Or whatever – A really good Bones quip.

We’d have some cool idea, but think, “Did they do that once in some Next Generation episode? Is that what’s coming to us? Is that where we’re getting it?”

It was stuff like that that came up.

Doug Jung with BEYOND director Justin Lin in Dubai on September 30, 2015.

Not only did they do their own research when needed, they also welcomed feedback from other Trek experts during the writing process:

[We had] so many people who were such fans of Star Trek, who knew it so well; [we were able] to lean on those people a little bit. We had this guy who did all the alien dialect, and in the script where there was something about Vulcan theology, and I got it wrong…

He sent me an email saying “In the Original Series, we did establish that Spock…” And I literally was like, “That’s great!” How fantastic is it that?

We would take that from anywhere we could get it.

Jung also spoke at length about the writing partnership, and how Pegg’s familiarity with the material added to their efforts.

What I liked about [Simon’s] point of view is that he is an actor in the new reboot franchise, and he could kind of take a different point of view on it at certain times.

That was really cool, because we would be doing scenes where there was heavy back-and-forth dialogue, and he could sometimes say, “You know, I don’t think he’d say that.”

He knew the characters and the actors really well, so he would even sometimes tailor things to certain actors, as Simon knew what their strengths were.

Jung (right) on location with Lin and Saaed al Jahani of the Dubai Film & TV Commission.

Lastly, he also talked about the pair’s work to try to build the characters of the Enterprise crew in this new outing:

One of the other things were trying to determine while we were doing it, was what are all the inter-dynamics between these characters? I remember we were talking one day… “Have Chekov and Sulu ever had a conversation on-screen?” We went through the other two movies and they actually, literally, never had a conversation on-screen.

So just because he was there, he knows all that how it sort of went down and we were able to go, “Oh, there’s an opportunity.” Something where we can maybe build certain relationships that haven’t been explored before.

STAR TREK BEYOND hits theaters this July.


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  • Muzer

    Argh. It’s so hard trying not to be excited about Simon bloody Pegg writing about this film! Come on, Muzer! Managed expectations, then you won’t be disappointed if it’s not amazing!

    • 😀

    • Cabo 5150

      Muzer, *I am* super excited about this movie – as I was with the previous two! Thus far, I haven’t been disappointed, as I adore both ’09 and STID.

      As for managing expectations, if you expose yourself to the majority of genre sites/fan boards you’re going to get an OVERWHELMINGLY negative appraisal of the last two movies, along with unrelenting, preemptive whining in advance of Beyond.

      I don’t have a problem with it, as, IMHO, that small, yet commensurately vocal online minority form only the tiniest fraction of overall fandom and the movie going public at large – and are certainly not representative nuTrek’s extremely positive widespread critical standing.

      • Muzer

        I WAS super-excited about the previous two films, and I was… mildly disappointed. Both films were, on balance, OK. They were about average for the Star Trek film series, which is surprising given that most previous films have either (IMHO) been very good or atrocious!

        Once the initial “OMG JJ ABRAMS IT’S AWESOME” factor had worn off after seeing both 2009 and Into Darkness, I thought that they were both well-executed action films, but only mediocre when it comes to Star Trek. You saw good ideas trying to break through (IMHO in the second film more than the first, which is why I’m willing to cut it more slack than others are prepared to do), but failing due to a lack of good characterisation (especially of the villain) in the first, and a lack of a good running theme of development for the second.

        It’s the thing I find with JJ Abrams films — they have so much “seat-of-your-pants” action as well as having just enough moderately surprising plot points and funny character moments that many people (including me) tend to really enjoy them on first watch, but on further reflection backed up by subsequent viewings, they really feel… insubstantial, by comparison.

        So, just to be clear, I don’t hate the first two films. I just don’t think they’re living up to the potential of the new universe, either.

        This is why I’m trying really hard not to get excited about this film. Because while Pegg is a good writer, I’m still not sure he’s able to add enough substance to the film that, IMHO, the film franchise seriously needs at this point.

        • Cabo 5150

          Fair enough.

          It’s really interesting how we all see things so differently though. For me, the Bad Robot movies get *better* with each subsequent viewing! Bringing TOS back to life before my very eyes in the most palpable of manners. All with a finely executed, modern cinematic gloss/veneer. Just perfect.

          More importantly, they bring a sense of FUN and pure escapism back to the franchise that’s been sorely lacking for many years. I couldn’t disagree more reference the “insubstantiality”, indeed, the stories/characters have been perfectly pitched for modern tentpoles IMHO – *plenty* of substance.

          Pine/Quinto/Urban is inspired casting, and the obvious on-screen chemistry always puts a grin on my face.

          I can take Star Trek akin to “The Inner Light” in very small doses – meh, it’s at best an (extremely) average segment. But multiple episodes like that would quickly bore me to tears. I sincerely hope Paramount never elect to use a Trek template of that ilk for motion picture – or even another “forced” and badly executed morality play like Insurrection.

          • robjoh

            So TOTALLY agree with you Cabo! I LOVE the new movies and every time I saw the first one at the movies,it was like watching it for the first time again and again and again,LOL! I only got to see it ten times at the movies,as I don’t go to the movies in this dump of a country and only saw it on my trips to the US. The second one I only managed to squeeze in four times at the movies,as I flew over to New York after seeing it in the UK a few days before and seeing it a couple of more times while in New York again. Fantastic FUN!

            And thanks for your post. All that negativity from……fans…..got real old and boring really fast,lol! Nice to see someone else who actually enjoy the new movies as well. Can’t WAIT for the next one!


          • Cabo 5150

            Ha Ha. I saw the films multiple times also – glad I’m not the only one!

            I live in the UK too, but I’m lucky enough to live in an area within easy driving distance of many excellent theatres in the surrounding locale.

          • robjoh

            Wish I lived in the UK again too. When I say dump of a country it is certainly NOT the UK I meant,LOVE the UK and come back home as often as I can. Usually every other month,lol.

            The next movie actually opens the same weekend as Comic-Con,which is FANTASTIC as I’m attending that,as always,so can see the new movie for days on end,lol! Comic-Con is great fun and have been hopping over to San Diego every summer for the last 18 years or so,lol!

          • kadajawi

            Insurrection was a good script, that needed a better director. It needed a director that could have made a proper movie out of the somewhat TV episode-ish plot. Someone like JJ Abrams. Though I do think the budget didn’t help… I can highly recommend the book Fade In by Michael Piller. It is about the making of Insurrection, and it’s wonderful and insightful.

          • Muzer

            I don’t think it was a good script. There were too many flaws in it. It was too one-sided. It was out of character for Picard, in terms of being an identical situation to with the Maquis where he behaved completely differently. The humour was very hit or miss. The “rural simplicity” joint-smoking ’90s “just, get rid of all the technology, and the world would be a better place, man” bullshit was absolutely sickening, obviously stupid (I mean, they’re actually using technology — they’ve just defined an arbitrary cut-off point at where technology suddenly becomes bad and evil, like the Amish), and (and I don’t like bringing this up because I actually love DS9, but I feel it’s more relevant here) completely counter to Roddenberry’s vision. I think the best director in the world could have turned it from a crap forgettable film into a good-looking film lacking in substance, but no more.

            I love Michael Piller, but I feel he really dropped the ball in so many ways with this film.

          • Muzer

            “Personally, I don’t conflate having a lot of action with a lack of substance.”

            I find this is a common strawman argument, committed (probably unintentionally) by those who love the films. I’m NOT saying that the action is what made the film lack substance. On the contrary, some of the most action-packed Star Trek films (Wrath of Khan, First Contact) are among my favourite, and some of the least action-packed (The Motion Picture, Generations, Insurrection) are among my least favourite. You CAN fit in a MUCH better story, complete with characterisation and themes running through the film like a tapestry, without sacrificing action scenes, as long as you ensure the action scenes always complement the story, rather than it seeming the other way around — that the story is there only as an excuse to get to the next action scene. At TIMES (not all the time, it’s important to emphasise that), that’s how the new films feel to me — weak in story, putting in the bare minimum effort to string us along until we get to the next action scene. Not with a thought-provoking and well-thought-out story from which the action scenes naturally come, like in Wrath of Khan.

            And, with your The Inner Light comparison, again — The Best of Both Worlds. Chain of Command. All Good Things. These are just a few TNG episodes that spring to mind immediately when I try to think of quality, action-packed episodes. All of these episodes show that you DON’T have to sacrifice action in order to have a strong plot with strong characterisation and important themes. And, equally, The Inner Light IMHO shows that not every non-action-packed episode will be dross like Insurrection.

            Again, if you think the new films are amazing, fine — we clearly have different tastes, and that’s fine. There are probably story elements that don’t work for me that you find it possible to look past, or even things you’ve seen in it that I have missed. But please understand that the reason I don’t think the new films are amazing (so far) is because I genuinely think the plot and characterisation don’t hold up to the standard I expect, and that FOR ME, I find the films lacking in overall substance or meaning. It’s not just because I think they have too much action.

          • Cabo 5150

            No, I definitely wasn’t making a strawman argument, just commenting on what, to me, came over as yet another fairly standard swipe at the Bad Robot movies – a variant on a theme I’ve seen used many, many times – often with very little thought.

            But, you’ve fully clarified your position and rationale, and I respectfully accept it. Again, fair enough!

            Everyone’s entitled to their opinion of course, and if fans genuinely dislike the movies, that’s their right and prerogative. However, I do think there’s an element of “peer pressure” being brought to bear when it comes to the reputation of these films.

            I sometimes feel it’s almost become “a badge of honour” to take a default “I hate Abrams/it’s not real Trek” attitude in order to “fit in” with the “real” Star Trek community. I’ve personally experienced some fairly extreme, and quite nasty/aggressive vitriol directed toward me for merely stating I like the Abrams films on occasion. I’ve certainly witnessed others suffer the same fate on more than one occasion.

            It’s just ridiculous, it’s like living in a Prime Trek Universe “police state”. Conform or be cast out as the lyrics of the song some may recognise go. I hate to say it, but it’s often TNG/DS9 fans of a certain age behind it. I get it, I really do, that’s the show they grew up with – it’s “their” Trek. But, sometimes, the “attitude” to the new kid on the block is almost identical to that of many TOS fans back in the day when TNG hit the airwaves.

            I sometimes have a little chuckle as I’m old enough to remember it in the various fanzines and fan groups of the time. Same reactions, different iterations! IMHO, many TNG fans have unwittingly become clones of the very close-minded TOS diehards they railed against back in ’87.

            You’re right, we do appear to have very different tastes, but it’s all good. Vive la différence!

          • Muzer

            I certainly agree that it does seem this way. There do seem to be people who hate the films for no adequately explored reason — I’ve spoken to people who have genuinely told me that they will hate the new film (this was before even the trailer came out) because it’s in the new universe. Never mind that the writers and director are different. They’d just written it off straight away, presumably for no other reason than because it’s cool to hate the new films. I certainly don’t agree with this. IMHO, no matter how bad the warning signs, you should always give a film its fair shout. If you’ve seen what you interpret as a troubled preproduction and decide that it’s probably not worth your time, fine, that’s your prerogative. But to just presume that the film will be awful without having even seen it, before it’s even finished, or hell, even saying it’s awful just from the look of a trailer that was clearly both rushed and tailored to cater to the mass market, is frankly ridiculous.

            Equally, I’ve spoken to people who love the new films, but don’t seem to be able to tell me what they like about them. There are some people who seem to have decided that the new films beat every single bit of Original Series canon — the TV series and the original films. And that seems a bit over the top as well. If you’ve carefully considered every single episode or even the series as a whole, as well as all six original films (or at least, the three outstanding ones), and decided that, on balance, you still prefer the new films, fine. I strongly disagree with you, but you’re entitled to that! But there are some people who just seem to believe that “the original series is old and dated, and this isn’t, therefore it’s better” is the be all and end all of arguments, and anyone who disagrees with them is clearly stuck in the past.

            So yeah. I think “fans” on both sides can get caught up in the “us vs them” mentality and keep raising the stakes to a ridiculous degree until the whole thing is senseless.

          • Cabo 5150

            Ha ha – TOS is my favourite iteration of Trek by a country mile!!! I adore the original “six-pack” of movies also – all of them. Although, of course, I can certainly recognise the flaws in some – TFF [cough].

            The Bad Robot Trek’s bring TOS back to life for me in a joyous manner. But I understand you don’t agree!

          • Maya Quinto

            Senseless AND extremely off-putting.

          • Kayleigh

            Bravo to this comment. I remember reading an interview with Patrick Stewart, after he was asked bout the backlash towards STID. He did the same thing you did. Trek fans hated it.

          • Cabo 5150

            Thanks, Kayleigh! 🙂

            Very much appreciated.

        • kadajawi

          I’m curious what makes you say Pegg is a good writer? I like the guy very much, but I just don’t know if he is a good writer. Remember that all the good Simon Pegg movies were also written by Edgar Wright (haven’t seen Paul though). And I think Wright did a pretty good job in Ant Man. An amazing job in Scott Pilgrim vs the World, which may be one of my favorite movies of all time. I think the quality comes from Edgar Wright, while Simon Pegg adds some great jokes (Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg collaborations are funnier). Maybe Pegg can write more than comedy, but I don’t think we can tell at this point.

          As for how you see the JJ Treks I agree pretty much. I’d say 2009 was sub par, but Into Darkness is a pretty strong Star Trek movie. It is more Star Trek than many of the older movies. It is also deeply flawed, and deserved a massive rewrite, especially towards the end, but at least it tried to be a Star Trek movie.

          • robjoh

            You do know we never saw Ed’s Ant-Man movie,yeah? He left the project and some other guys came in and did their version. He still got credit for story and screenplay though,but Peyton Reed ended up directing it. It was a fun movie nonetheless,but would’ve been fun to see Ed’s version.

            And I still love both new Trek movies,lol!


          • kadajawi

            I do think what we saw was very close to Ed’s Ant-Man, at least in terms of script. Yes, a couple of additions for sure. I think we have an idea what was added, as Edgar Wright was opposed to the idea of trying to tie it in with the rest of the MCU… so would we have seen Stark Sr.? Would we have seen Peggy Carter? Surely we wouldn’t have had the fight between Ant Man and Falcon. But you know what? I liked those scenes. Keep in mind that Peyton Reed came in pretty late, there’s only so much he could have changed. Visually I think Edgar Wrights movie would have been more interesting, but as far as the script is concerned I don’t think we missed too much. But who knows.

          • robjoh

            Yeah,I really enjoyed what we ended up getting. I think it might’ve been a little different visually as well. Guess we’ll never know,lol.


          • Muzer

            I dunno. I thought Paul was a pretty strong film, though IMHO not up to the standard of the absolutely genius Wright/Pegg collaborations. I’m not sure, though, if he can pull off a Star Trek film. But I love the guy’s work, and so really want to believe he can.

          • Maya Quinto

            Rrrrreally too bad Edgar Wright didn’t get selected as “Beyond” director … as I recall he was one of those under consideration.

            Perhaps Lin is bringing us a great film, I hope so!

      • Maya Quinto

        I’m glad you say it’s an overwhelming minority of fans who are so negative (not to mention those who dismiss fans of the reboots as childlike idiots).

        Some of them do have very valid points regarding story cohesion and progression in the new films, and I reluctantly agree with that — to a point. I feel the characters — with the excellent acting and chemistry of the actors — deserve more time than JJ has given them amidst the relentless pacing and violent action sequences. And how many flippin’ times are we going to see the Golden Gate Bridge and/or San Fran in danger?

        I’d rather see more character discussions, interactions, arguments, and science-y stuff amongst the action sequences.

        Here’s hoping Pegg and Jung have got the balance right; I have high hopes there because Pegg’s movies always have a lot of heart. And I am clutching close the hope that Lin’s early love of Trek plays out in this film.

        I have enjoyed JJ’s movies; don’t get me wrong, but I agree with Muzer to some extent — lots of “seat of the pants” stuff in JJ’S Trek and Wars, a little too much “wouldn’t it be neat if we do this thing where–” sorts of things.

        All the same I love the new timeline and the reboot of TOS, because I love seeing my beloved characters through a slightly different lens.

    • madmadia85

      for me it’s hard to be excited about ‘Simon bloody Pegg’ writing this because I don’t like his writing and movies a whole lot. His bias about the male characters and lack of consideration for the women and their relationships too is very off-putting and not very encouraging. So far from what I read about the movie and what he says I have most of my concerns confirmed, I wanted to give him the befit of the doubt but he’s that predictable.

    • Shadowknight1

      Sadly, so far I’m finding it hard to BE excited for this movie and I loved the other two. The first trailer really rubbed me the wrong way and I think destroying the Enterprise is the absolute worst way to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary.

  • October_1985

    …”this guy who did all the alien dialect”…. Could he be talking about Marc Okrand? Is Okrand consulting on this?

  • I was pretty cynical after “Into Darkness,” but I’m cautiously hopeful about Beyond. And at the very least, Mr. Jung sounds a lot more humble than Bob Orci was. 🙂

    • Maya Quinto

      Let’s cross our fingers!

  • BotanyCameos

    It’s awesome that they’re talking about the process.

    Orci and Kurtzman are fans too and went through the same kind of thing, but because they didn’t talk about it like this, a bunch of jerks online pretended that it didn’t happen, that they didn’t care, that they didn’t know what they were writing about and other such nonsense, and fueled by ridiculous levels of self-righteousness, went in to harass the writers relentlessly.

    So hopefully preemptively making it extra clear this time around might help protect the writers from some of the harassment & bullying that the haters of any new Trek inflict on people who write for Trek.

    • Maya Quinto

      You’ve got that right — a REEDEEKULOUS amount of srlf-righteousness. Gawd that gets old.

      “Love/Like it or don’t but fer crissakes why be such a hater?” is a question I’ve wanted to ask a hundred times over the last seven years.

      But I’d get hounded for not being a True Trek Fan, which is such. Total. BS.

      • robjoh

        LOL! Just let it go…..just take a deep breath and say,screw these socalled fans who say they live by Trek standards and are so narrowminded and full of hate and not being able to embrace diversity and are stuck in the 60’s. CRUMBS,I sound like a total geeky nerd here. I’m actually not,lol! At best I’m a….casual Trekker,these days,lol.

        • Kayleigh

          I always found it fascianting that those so called fans hate the new movies because the script doesn’t have a “message” like TOS then go online and hate on the movie and fans who do enjoy it. Isn’t have the opposite of what they want from a Trek movie?

  • Lostrod

    Yea, but they couldn’t figure how to write a Shatner cameo into the script for the 50th Anniversary?

    • Benjamin Yoris

      Indeed ! 🙁

    • Tom

      Amazing that they did not include him

    • Muzer

      I can’t believe it wouldn’t have been either distracting or needlessly convoluted/bogged down, or both.

      • Tom

        That could be the case. However I am sure there will possibly be some useless elements in this film. We may in retrospect think that a Shatner scene would have indeed been better and worthwhile

    • madmadia85

      Shatner doesn’t accept ‘cameos’. He’d also want to play a big important role (he said that) and honestly the least thing this movie needs is getting turned into the Shatner’ show. Just let these characters be and tell their own story.

      • Lostrod

        He can’t turn down something he hasn’t been offered. Of course he wants to play a big important role, but It doesn’t mean he would not take a smaller bit for the anniversary. They should offer him something and if he turns it down, so be it. But to not even try, doesn’t make much sense to me.

        • madmadia85

          He literally just made another interview where he said he wouldn’t accept a cameo or small role..

  • madmadia85

    so he does exist then! finally a word from him too, I was getting seriously tired of reading only Pegg Pegg Pegg Pegg everywhere.

  • Section31

    @trekcorestaff: Do you have information why Paramount doesn’t have interest in promoting Star Trek – Beyond at the superbowl? Seems, they are advertising that turtles movie instead.

    source: http://screencrush.com/2016-super-bowl-trailer-guide/

    “If Paramount was going to push one of their upcoming franchise action movies, we thought it would have been Star Trek Beyond, but it turns out they’re going after the kids watching the game and pushing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows instead.”