Screenwriter Roberto Orci Talks STAR TREK 2; Says They’ve Written a 70-Plus Page Outline [UPDATED]

     May 23, 2011


I feel a little bad for J.J. Abrams.  He spent the past year working on Super 8, a film that isn’t based on a pre-existing property, doesn’t have major stars, and wants to honor Steven Spielberg’s Amblin films even though it will also be judged against them.  And all anyone wants to talk about is “Yeah, that’s all well and good.  What’s up with Star Trek 2?”  With Abrams still busy with Super 8 and the press that film will require, co-writer Roberto Orci (above on the right) is stepping up to talk about where they are in the script phase.  Orci tells TrekMovie:

Just been waiting for JJ to be free to really decide if he likes the story and hear his suggestions before we finish the script. Once he says go, we’ll have it in no time. Meanwhile, our outline is detailed enough (70+ pages!) to do some prep.

I’m not exactly sure what a 70+ page outline looks like.  It obviously extends far beyond plot beats and I’m left wondering what details are included.  Hit the jump for more on what Orci had to say about the project.  Optimistically, Paramount still has Star Trek 2 set to open on June 29, 2012.

Update: Deadline is reporting that Paramount is considering a Holiday 2012 release date for Star Trek 2 due to the script not being ready.  However, nothing is certain until Abrams commits to directing the sequel, which should be very soon.  Original report after the jump.

Unsurprisingly, Orci tells TrekMovie that Abrams has been involved in the development of the script despite his obligations to Super 8:

In the meetings we’ve had with JJ, he’s already given us amazing input and ideas, and that’s been while he’s been up to his eyeballs in Super 8.

Orci is co-writing the script with writing partner Alex Kurtzman and the duo will be joined by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof who contributed to the story on the first Trek.  Abrams told Gregory Ellwood at HitFix that he “hopes” to direct Star Trek 2 but he’s still waiting on the script.  That’s an odd remark since Orci says they’re waiting on Abrams’ go-ahead to start writing the script that Abrams is waiting on.  Still, with Abrams in the final stretch of Super 8, I don’t need the guy to immediately leave that film behind and start chatting up Star Trek 2.  All the information on that film will be doled out in due time.


  • Lord Hoffman

    The Jerry Goldsmith theme music from the Star Trek Insurrection end credits should have been used at the end. Even Russell Watson’s ‘Where My Heart Will Take Me’ (the album version which is one of the greatest, most inspirational and underrated songs of all time) should have been included in the film. The Original Series theme music and new theme music in the movie was unnecessary. The soundtrack was disappointing overall. ‘Labour of Love’ was the best part of it.

    I hope James Kirk will have better fighting skills in the sequel and be a hardcore badass like Liam Neeson in Taken. I hated watching him lose the fights against the Starfleet officers, Spock and Nero. In particular, the fight between Kirk and Nero was pointless and anticlimactic. A wasted opportunity for an amazing and action-packed fight which would have made Kirk’s triumph at the end by avenging his father all the more emotional and uplifting. The Picard/Shinzon fight at the climax of Star Trek: Nemesis was more satisfying and even the Riker/Reman Viceroy showdown.

    Four stunningly beautiful and talented actresses were wasted in the last movie and should have had more screentime. Jennifer Morrison only appeared at the beginning and we don’t find out what happened to her, Rachel Nichols was only in it for three minutes and we don’t find out what happened to her, Winona Ryder was in it for nearly ten minutes and was needlessly killed off and Diora Baird was nowhere to be found (except in a brief cut scene).

    • Abs

      @Lord Hoffman

      “I hated watching him lose the fights against the Starfleet officers, Spock and Nero.”

      I think the movie was far better at portraying Kirk as the worst of the fighters. His skills were so ridiculous in the original series; he was always winning almost every fight, no matter how strong his opponents were. It was just insulting to the viewer frankly, and this flaw continued through all the Star Trek variants until the new movie.

      Any Vulcan or Romulan should have been able to crush Kirks skill in withouth breaking a sweat. Any Klingon should have mopped the floor with Kirks face. I think the new movie got it right, and frankly I wish they would have implemented some of the deleted script parts where the charactor Spock’s fighting capabilities were completely Captain Insano.

      It seemed to me having Kirk lose every fight in the new movie was a running joke to mock how ridiculous it was for him to win all the fights in the old series. I say well done, because if it were real life he would get kicked to the curb in all those situations.

    • Sarah

      Romulans and Vulcans are genetically over 3 times stronger than humans. Even a 9 year old girl could easily beat up Kirk.

      And when Kirk lost the fight at the bar, that was 3 against 1. Plus those guys were already in Starfleet and trained while Kirk was just some loser in a bar who thought he could fight.

    • Sarah

      Also in the Original Series, Kirk never won against Spock in a fight.

    • Tol

      I think we can safely assume Rachel Nichols died with the Fedeartion fleet when it got destroyed by Nero’s ship.

      We didn’t need to know what happened to Kirk’s mum. Her only purpose in the movie was to give birth to Kirk. She was working off planet when Kirk was a boy, is all we know.

      Winona Rider as Spock’s mum: Her death helped compromise Spocks position as Captain. Losing a planet is one thing, but it had to be a personal loss to make Spock show his anger.

  • Lorraine

    The sequel needs a larger all-star cast with many recognisable actors making cameo appearances.

    There need to be more planets and larger space battles with more starships.

    I hope that James Kirk has several (human) love interests like James Bond and that they are played by Hollywood’s most beautiful young actresses.

  • Shaw

    I hope that Lady Gaga has a cameo in Star Trek 12 as a singer and her character could have dark connections to the Orion Syndicate (the mafia of the Star Trek universe) who should be the villains of the sequel. With her futuristic music and style, she would fit right in.
Midway through Star Trek 12, I’d like to see Kirk, Spock and McCoy go undercover to a concert of hers on a distant planet like with Diva Plavalaguna in The Fifth Element (1997). When she sings Bad Romance, Paparazzi, Poker Face or Just Dance, her show could be raided by Syndicate henchmen who have a thunderous phaser fight with Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

    I was really disappointed that they killed off George Kirk in the last one. Chris Hemsworth gave a tremendous performance and the scene at the beginning of the film was heartbreakingly sad. It is unfortunate that they won’t revisit the character and now Hemsworth’s career is going to explode when Thor is released, it is highly unlikely he will ever reprise the role. It would have been good to have even done a film centred on George Kirk and shown how he got together with Jennifer Morrison’s character, Winona Kirk. When it was announced that James Kirk’s parents would be included in the film, it seemed that there would be several flashbacks with his parents in them but this did not turn out to be the case.

    There better not be any scenes cut from the sequel. All of the cut scenes should have been included in the last film. J.J. Abrams made a bad call removing the Rura Penthe scenes. He said that the test audiences were confused by those scenes in particular. I am at a loss as to what was so confusing about the inclusion of the Klingons in the film. It was absolutely shocking to leave such a huge plot hole regarding where the villains were for 25 years. It makes them look lazy and stupid on top of the fact that they were superficial. Nero and Ayel would have had more depth at least as well.

    Whether they admit it or not, when J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman came up with the alternative reality idea, they automatically came up with a way to include William Shatner in the film series. As this is an alternative reality, this new James Kirk can go on to live a long, full, rich and happy life, get married and have a family. A flashforward of an old James Kirk played by William Shatner would suffice just like when Harrison Ford made a special guest appearance on The Indiana Jones Chronicles television series.

  • chris

    Star Trek 2 (not 12) is in good hands … this a very talented group of producers, writers, and actors. let them do their jobs.

    people are great and telling other people what to do with their characters. put your money where your mouth is monday morning screenwriters and use your insight to write something original to publish.

    stop telling professionals how to make movies.

    • RoboDouche

      I agree. These guys did an awesome job with the first one and I trust them with the second for sure.

      All these weird fan-boy ideas would really screw up a good thing.

  • aaronsullivan

    I thought JJ said he was waiting until the script was written to decide if HE wanted to direct it himself, not that he was “waiting for a script”. In other words, he’s involved all the time, and it might be awesome, but it might not be something he’s wild about directing himself. Nothing these guys said contradict that.

    I’d love for him to direct the sequel, however. The energy in that film was exactly what Star Trek has been missing for decades. Now, with the character intros and new direction established, a deeper more thoughtful plot can be explored along with the great characters.

    Maybe JJ can do the Christopher Nolan thing where he directs a successful franchise in between his original works.

    As long as Super 8 is successful, I suppose he can do whatever he wants. :)

    • Vinyard

      If I had read your comments first, I wouldn’t have bothered with mine.
      Well said.

  • Vinyard

    There’s still no script and the film is supposed to be released in one year – give or take a few weeks?
    So, all of the cast had better have their schedules ready to start filming this when this is supposed to start filming… which is when, again?
    And ILM should be able to complete visual effects in roughly a few months after this wraps?
    And Chambliss better have production design done in time to shoot – without a script? And Giacchino is supposed to complete a score probably around late winter and early spring on next year?
    And the script is still not completed? Okay, fine.
    This “development” indicates J.J. is completely calm and assured of this franchise’s future.
    But it says to the fan that the screenwriters don’t seem to take this shit seriously. If a script can be knocked out in time, that’s understandable: but Orci and Kurtzman don’t even seem to have the story locked-in. And that, ultimately, is supposed to be the respect they show to the fans of this franchise? Fuck. Okay.
    Either Abrams knows he’s not really going to finish this in time or doesn’t seem to really care about making a good Star Trek film.
    Oh, and a good Star Trek film is simple. Just do what the original films did with faster pacing and better production value.
    Just produce this, J.J. and hire screenwriters and a director who want to make this and will put in the time.
    I’m mad. Maybe they need to clarify some of these details.

  • Beaky Smoochies

    The script isn’t finished, the director hasn’t yet committed, no production designs even started yet, no cast locked in yet, no production schedule yet, it’s nearly June, and the studio want the movie ready for release one year from now!?

    Isn’t this what killed the last ‘Star Trek’ movie incarnation- studio deciding on a set release date come hell or high water, writers busy on other projects and have to rush the script, production and post-production on accelerated schedules to meet the release date, and ILM not having the time to really deliver outstanding visuals!?

    Why don’t they just take their time with this and move the release date to June 2013, wherein a first-class movie will be made, everyone will love it, the studio will truckloads of moolah, and the franchise will be top dog all round… or am I making too much sense here…

  • blkyank

    Changing the release date to summer 2013 would be the smarter move.But I suspect this has much to do with Paramount Pictures not having any tent poles besides GI Joe 2 on the summer 2012 roster. No Transformers or Marvel studios films.They may need to push Mission Impossible from Dec of this year when it’s up against Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks to the summer of 2012 if Star Trek is not ready.

  • Philip

    I’m not sure how many people read these things, but I wasn’t on the Star Trek bandwagon. J.J. Abrams and his crew of writers either didn’t do any research in writing their holed filled script or they just didn’t care about any of the material that the great writers before them had established. I can only imagine the butcher job that’s in store for us now.

    First off, Abrams can’t seem to shoot an action sequence without a shaky camera. This is a distraction to anything that actually happens on the screen and ruins the enjoyment. Second, his overuse of lens flares was ridiculous.

    The script failed to address the fact that the Vulcans where exploring space decades before humans. They had fleets of ships. Where were they in the movie? You mean to tell me that the Vulcans, knowing who the Romulans are, knowing who the Klingons are, didn’t have any planetary defense system in place or starships to protect their space? Doesn’t sound very logical to me.

    I just hope that in their 70+ page outline that they try and respect some of the past that gave them their jobs in the first place. Are they going to address the human-looking Klingons that were brilliantly explained in Star Trek: Enterprise or are they just going to let their egos get in the way again? Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman can break their arms patting themselves on their backs all day but that doesn’t change the fact that they made an inferior product and if we fans of Star Trek are stuck with these clowns, I can only pray they do a better job on the next one. And J.J., they have an amazing device call a tripod. Try using one once in a while.

    • Jd

      Your opinion is yours but you should learn to accept change and enjoy the future of the franchise. Abrams et al. are the defibrillators of the Star Trek universe. Just be grateful they revived it before it was lost forever to the rick Berman creed of self importance.

      • Philip

        Hey JD, I can except change and there is a part of me that is thankful to the trio for breathing new life into Star Trek. I think my main problem was that there were plot holes and I’m not a fan of J.J.’s directing style. I found his camera work sloppy without any real focus on what was really going on the screen and I think this type of shaky camera work is what’s killing a lot of the action films that have come out in the last five years. Quantum of Solace suffered from this style making the action on the screen almost incomprehensible. The Hurt Locker was another film that needed more camera discipline. I got motion sickness watching that mess regardless of it’s best picture win at the Oscars. I felt the exterior shots of The Enterprise suffered from this style of directing as well. I lost the impressive majesty of the ship because of the camera’s abrupt movements. The camera work during Kirk’s conversation with Captain Pike in the bar was all over the place. Camera work should be subtle and should add to the scene without the viewer ever being aware of it. It was almost as if no one was watching the monitor during filming and every PA on the set was bumping into the camera. This is what really killed the film for me on top of the other things I pointed out. There’s nothing wrong with change as long as it follows a progression of logic. It was this lack of progression I found fault with. In spite of all that, I do look forward to next film. I thought the cast did a great job even through all of the lens flares (which DP’s spend more time trying to get rid of on their set ups.) I guess we’ll see what happens. That’s the wonderful thing about the human race. With so many people, there is a great variety in what constitutes entertainment. Thanks for replying to my post.

    • Tol

      There weren’t any Klingons in it were there? Only Romulans.

  • Digital

    I really hope Abrams takes maybe a month or two off after finishing Super-8, but before getting head deep in Star Trek 2. Taking a short break to spend time with his loved ones will most importantly benefit his family, but it will also benefit his fans and/or Trek fans. I think it is pretty much common knowledge across the world that being exhausted, and homesick is detrimental to all professions.

  • trekie

    this is not star trek 2. star trek 2 was the wrath of kahn. this is star trek 12, don’t ignore the past.

  • Coolerking

    Huge opportunity lost when Thomas Jane was not cast as Kirk. Instead, the producers look for a cast young enough to carry the series for over a decade. So they wind up with a cast too young for the first two movies, and by the time the third installment comes out, the original production team is moving on and the whole thing starts to unravel.
    Thomas Jane as Kirk, Gary Sinese as Bones, that would have been a great Star Trek.

    • Tol

      Young actors? Pine, Quinto and Bana were all in their 30s!

  • Andrew Sanders

    I loved the movie.
    I felt the only thing that let it down(slightly)was the soundtrack which was mostly forgettable.Admittedly,the original Goldsmith’s & Horner’s scores were very big shoes to fill!

  • Tol

    I have enjoyed Trek in all it’s forms, but it was in need of a change of energy and vision. The Franchise was dead, or on it’s way to the grave. The only way to revive it was to charge it up and give it some zing, which the new writers did.

    I look forward to the next one if it is anything like the last.

  • conor

    star trek 2 ? don’t you mean star trek 12

    • MrRich

      I think its called STAR TREK 2: Wrath of Shat

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