Star Trek XI movie news roundup, 8/3/2007

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in 1979's Star Trek: The Motion PictureLeonard Nimoy has signed aboard to play Spock in 2008’s Star Trek XI, it was announced last week. Also portraying the same character is Zachary Quinto (Heroes). However, Quinto is not the first actor besides Nimoy to take on the role of Spock. Including Nimoy, five actors appeared on screen as the character in 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.

Star Trek XI is currently in pre-production and will be directed by JJ Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Lost, Alias).

It is looking more and more likely that the actual title of the eleventh movie in the franchise will simply be Star Trek. Co-writer Robert Orci (Transformers, Mission: Impossible III) previously indicated that is their intended title, but Paramount was still officially undecided. Out of convenience, I am going to keep referring to it as Star Trek XI for now.

Somewhat overshadowed by the Spock casting news, Paramount released the second teaser poster for the movie last week as well. Two teasers already and the release date is not until December 25, 2008. Check both of them out over at the official site: 2007 teaser poster #2, 2006 teaser poster #1

I have to say, as teasers go, I love both of the Star Trek XI posters. I am excited to see Star Trek going back to its roots, or perhaps regrowing some of those roots as the case may be.

So, now it is confirmed, (at least) two Spocks are in the movie, with at least one James T. Kirk (not yet cast). Mix that up with at least one USS Enterprise (to be created by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic), and Paramount has quality ingredients for its movie.

Now that the cat has stuck his paw out of the bag and is tentatively peeking out, more insider quotes about the film are showing up around the web.

At the San Diego Comic-Con announcement, Nimoy had this to say about Star Trek XI, “This is really going to be a great movie, and I mean that. You know I don’t say these things lightly. It’s a wonderful script and a great team putting it together.” (Source: this week posted a two-part interview with the star (part 1, part 2). Here are a few of my favorite excerpts of Nimoy’s replies:

“(The Star Trek XI writers) have a real sense of the characters and the heart of Star Trek and what it is really all about. It is the camaraderie. I am talking the original Star Trek. I can’t speak for The Next Generation or Enterprise or Deep Space Nine or any of them. I am talking about the original concept of the camaraderie between these people, the professionalism of these people, (and) their sense of humor, which I think is terribly important.

And the idea that these are very professional people that work together to solve problems. And the problems are not between these people and amongst themselves, but the problems are from outside forces of various kinds that they have to encounter and deal with.

These are people who you enjoy rooting for and you have confidence in and I think that is terribly important. And also to know that when they joke with each other, it is out of respect for each other. They respect and admire each other and count on each other.”

Nimoy has summed up Star Trek for me right there. His confidence in Star Trek XI gives me confidence in the film. Bring it on! I’m ready for real Star Trek again.

More from Nimoy, who turned down directing and appearing in 1994’s Star Trek Generations when producer Rick Berman would not listen to his script concerns:

“Bill (Shatner) was disappointed that as of now he is not in the film. He was reported as being ‘furious’ and that is not accurate at all. I think he is appropriately disappointed, but I think he has come to a kind of understanding.

After all, and Bill and I talked about this, the fact is his character did die in Generations. He said ‘Yeah, but you died at the end of II.’ And I said, ‘But I was resurrected. That is the difference between you and I.’

I also said to him that if I had been in Generations, I would not have let him die. And that is a fact. I thought it was gratuitous. I didn’t see why. What was the point? I thought it was a waste of a very important character.”

Nimoy’s candid critique of the TNG era did not end there, though:

“At one point during The Next Generation television series I contacted the Paramount television people and said ‘I am looking at some of these shows and I don’t understand them.’ These technobabble scenes where people sit around a table and pour out information that has no dramatic impact, that is not in character. It is just people putting out information to try and explain what is going on, but it doesn’t explain, it is just boring.”

And that just about sums up much of the TNG-era for me, too. Nimoy promises no technobabble in Star Trek XI.