June 18 2024


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Foster On Star Trek Into Darkness Novelization

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When it comes to writing a novelization of a movie, for author Alan Dean Foster, it’s about “filling in the blanks.”

Foster is no stranger to Star Trek novels, having written the Animated Series Star Trek Log novelizations as well as the story for what became the first Star Trek movie, but after thirty years, he had thought that his Trek days were behind him.

When asked to pen the novelization for Star Trek (2009), Foster was “was surprised because it had been so long. I was not surprised because I’d been doing book versions of movies all through those decades right up and through to films like The Chronicles of Riddick,” he said. ” So it’s not like I’d been away from the work, but I’d just been away from Star Trek.”

Foster explained what he felt was the core of Star Trek into Darkness. “It’s all about personality conflicts,” he said. “There are people who love science fiction who will say it’s insufficiently science fiction, and there are people who will say that’s what makes Star Trek great, and always has. For me, good writing and good story has always been centered on characters and everything else, however well developed, is window dressing. Certainly, Star Trek Into Darkness, if anything, is even more character-centric than the previous film.”

Being able to add to the story, showing more of the characters’ thought processes during events is enjoyable for the author. “People think that one of the main things that novelizations do is to expand existing scenes,” he said. “That’s true to a certain extent, but the fun part of it, and the important people of it, I feel, is to fill in the blanks. One of the biggest blanks in any existing film, assuming it isn’t fifteen hours long, is to show what the characters are actually thinking. When they’re doing something on screen it’s just, well, ‘Sulu moved the lever forward.’ That’s about as short a sentence as you can come up with. But I get to show what he’s thinking, why he’s moving the lever, what’s going on in his head while he’s moving the lever, what the possible consequences might be for moving that lever, and on and on and on. To me, that’s one of the joys of doing it. I get to make my own director’s cut, in other words.”

The Star Trek into Darkness novelization came out yesterday.

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16 thoughts on “Foster On Star Trek Into Darkness Novelization

  1. If Alan Dean Foster is behind the novelization, it is bound to be an interesting read.

  2. Quite possibly it’ll be better than the movie itself. God knows the TAS adaptions he did that expanded a single episode into a whole book were more interesting than the episodes themselves.

  3. Foster’s novelization of ST09 was not very good. Not nearly the quality of his TAS adaptations – it was like he phoned it in and mainly transcribed. I was sorely disappointed and will pass on this one.

  4. I am saddened to hear that. Perhaps all the years of being Hollywood’s go-to writer for novelizations has burned him out. A tragedy. Like his style or not, he at least used to be very good at fleshing out skeletal, sketchy, illogical stories and paper-thin, dubiously-motivated characters into something that would at least make some sense.

  5. One wonders how he’s going to make the motivations and actions of “Harrison” make sense…

    Just one example, he wanted to hurt Admiral Marcus for having “killed” his compatriots, so he does the one thing Marcus wants and gives him the cover for the conflict he wants to start with the Klingons? That made no sense…

    Him then giving himself up because of the existence of those torpedoes makes no sense… He thinks they’re dead. He knows the torpedoes still exist. Why does he give himself up? He has no reason to believe his people are still in the torpedoes.

    And lastly, one wonders about the plot hole this creates for TWOK: Namely, if his blood is a super-cure for just about everything, including death, why doesn’t he just save his wife instead of getting pissy and going after Genesis in the first place?

    And that’s just 3 of the massive holes this story has… there are plenty, plenty more… and I doubt a novelization can fix them.

  6. There you go with that logic sense and reason stuff again. Completely outmoded and useless. It’s for old fogies who actually like sitting around watching NexGen, or even worse, the original series.

  7. His Novelization of ST ’09 wasn’t bad, but was far from his best work. I enjoyed his writing in the “ST: Logs” of the Animated Series, and based on that I’ll pick this one up. I’d love it, though, if Vonda N. McIntyre returned to the novelization game – her work on Treks II, III, and IV is still the high-water mark.

  8. It’s impressive how you can say things that make no sense and yet feel as if you are pointing out plot holes. And then someone else pats you on the back, both congratulating each other for the attempts to put down a movie that was widely loved by the public and the critics.

    1) Harrison put the tubes in the torpedoes, in order to try and sneak them out (in a shipment, presumably.) We see the torpedoes in the section 31 building which Harewood then blows up. So they were to be taken out of that building and the explosion was to be the cover for their disappearance. But Harewood betrayed Harrison and warned Marcus, causing the shipment to be intercepted and Harrison to nearly be captured. He then escaped alone. This is all obvious enough if you actually pay attention to what’s going on in the movie in detail.

    2) Thinking his people dead, Harrison attacks the gathering of Starfleet officers. When that fails, he flees again. Why he fleed to Kronos is not 100% clear, but considering the Vengeance was almost finished and only those 72 torpedoes had existed as far as advanced new torpedoes go, it’s possible that he thought Marcus would not attack yet, and that thus, it was a good place to hide while preparing his next attack. (Another assassination attempt probably, which no doubt would have taken place had the Enterprise not come after him.) This part is speculation, but there are plenty of potential reasons.

    3) Do you even remember watching TWOK? The conditions the augments were living in? They would have been lucky if they had enough medical material to sew a wound shut, much less perform fancy medical feats. Khan’s blood was not magically injected to revive Kirk, they synthesized a serum from it, meaning, they required medical equipment (such as what we see Harrison using to make the stuff for the little girl in STID), and possibly material for performing a transfusion or something to inject the patient with the platelets.
    And even if they could magically just use the blood without having to synthesize anything, as a normal human, Marla might as well die from the potential infection etc. if they tried to perform garage medicine using whatever tubing they may have had access to on the planet…

  9. How was that clear from the movie when the name of the guy wasn’t even clear from the movie, let alone the notion that he ratted out Khan’s plan? If Khan had access to his people, why didn’t he just wake them up? And, once he thought his people were dead, why did he surrender to Kirk and tell Kirk to look in the torpedoes? If Marcus had been told the people were there, why leave them there? And why does Khan assume they’re there, when he had been told they had been killed for his disobedience?

  10. You can see in the movie Harewood sending the mail to Marcus before he blows up the place, and later Khan mention that he was discovered and had to escape alone. It might not be clear if you only watched once, or depending on whether you
    were paying close attention to some of the background details.
    The guy’s name you can get from the credits also… If you watch several times and look for the details you can piece it together and it all paints a pretty clear picture.

    As for why Khan couldn’t wake them up, no idea, it’s one of the mysteries we are left to wonder about. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a potential danger they might need some medical attention at first for people being awoken from such a long slumber maybe. Whether they did or not, maybe Khan thought they might need it and didn’t want to risk some of them dying.
    Or maybe thawing them was a lengthier process than Khan could afford to risk in the conditions he had to work with. If Marcus or his people caught him with a bunch of half awoken but still groggy and helpless augments, things would go nasty quickly, so maybe it was easier to just sneak them out as cargo.

    As for the surrender, Sulu mentioned “advanced long range torpedoes”. The older ones were not of that type, those are the torpedoes Khan developed, so it gave him hope that maybe he’d been wrong in his assumption that his people had been destroyed. Khan thought they’d been killed since he tried to sneak them out and then Marcus found out, but presented with the possibility he might be wrong of course he would want to investigate. To know more, he saved Kirk and the others so he could talk to them. Once they mentioned the number 72 there was no way it could be a coincidence and so he surrendered.

    As for why Marcus left them in there, the orders he gave Kirk were to fire the torpedoes at Harrison’s location. Kirk was furious and asking to be allowed to kill him, so it was the perfect combination. Marcus expected Kirk to fire them, destroy Khan + his crew + any evidence of what Marcus had done, and since the Enterprise was crippled, the Klingons would come looking for who was firing at them, and destroy the Enterprise. Thus starting the war Marcus wanted.
    There were no witnesses that Kirk was sent on this mission (since Marcus had them all leave the room before talking to Kirk, even fellow admirals lower ranked than him), so it’s rather probable Marcus would then blame Kirk for going out on a revenge trip and starting the war…

  11. They didn’t deserve my $10, let alone gobs more for me to figure out this stupidity, which was impossible to do when first viewing it… and it still doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. So… Harewood is the black guy who does the bombing, I presume? Well… if he betrays Khan in the end, why does he do the bombing? Khan had already done his part of the bargain, hadn’t he? Why actually do the bombing then? Particularly if you’re also going to betray Khan in the process… if the answer for why he went through with the bombing is that he didn’t want to unilaterally drop out of the agreement with Khan, I’d think Khan would contend he did just that if he warned Marcus and Marcus was able to withdraw the actual target.

    But you’re suggesting that the purpose of the bombing was to get the torpedoes. Does the movie actually say that? Because, as I recall, the movie suggests Khan’s purpose for the explosion was the transporter, right?

  12. I disagree, I watched the movie 14 times in theater and would have gone for more if it was still playing… It may seem a bit excessive for any movie, but then again, I tend to do that with my favorite movies, especially when it’s Star Trek. I strongly believe in supporting the franchises we love and there’s no better way to do so than by injecting money into anything of which we want more being made.

    The pleasant side effect of seeing it so many times is that I spotted so many details I can even point out where the bathroom is inside the brig cells on the Enterprise… (Not even joking, I pieced it together from screencaps of a deleted scene + looking for the matching door when rewatching the movie.)

    As for Harewood, as a result of the e-mail he sent, he probably expected Marcus to catch or kill Khan when he’d go get his crew, and thus the problem would cease to exist.
    It’s possible he only did the bombing because he feared that visibly betraying Khan (before Khan was in a position where he would be caught anyway) might result in retaliation, if he had simply refused to do his part of the deal just after Khan gave him the blood to save the little girl.

    But yeah, I agree it was a crappy move of Harewood to agree to it and then stab Khan in the back. Either do one thing or the other… Khan saved the guy’s daughter but the guy didn’t let Khan get his own family out. And Harewood’s way of going at it sucks also for the other 41 Section 31 people who died in the explosion of the fake archive.

    The movie never mentioned anything about the transporter in relation to that building, Scotty just mentioned that his transwarp equation (the one Spock Prime revealed to him in the previous movie) had been confiscated by Starfleet, and now “this madman is using it to hop across the galaxy, where do you think he got it from”, ie., he realized Harrison could do this because Starfleet had been messing around with the transwarp equation. They never mentioned anything about that in relation to the building though.

    It is not stated in an open sentence that he bombed the building to get the torpedoes out, but it is stated there exist only 72 of the new torpedoes (Carol says they were all gone when Marcus gave them to Kirk; meaning, all the ones that exist are all the ones where Khan hid the cryotubes), and when Harewood walks through the building before bombing it you see some of those exact same torpedoes in the background, apparently in between being carried somewhere.
    Which means, Khan’s crew was in that building. So it’s inevitable that this is the reason he targeted it.
    Later on, Khan mentions that he tried to sneak his people out but was found out by Marcus, it didn’t work, and he had no choice but to flee alone.

    If you piece it all together you get that Khan had Harewood send out the torpedoes (or someone else that was working with him, but it’s likely it was Harewood, given the circumstances, we just don’t know at what point he did it) and then bomb the building to make it look like they were dead/cover up the tracks. Presumably Khan then went to the rendezvous point and was met not with his torpedoes but with Marcus’ men. He managed to flee, but was then convinced he’d been betrayed and Marcus had eliminated his crew, and thus, he tried to kill him at the meeting at Starfleet.

  13. You may have seen it 14 times, but much of what you just said simply wasn’t in the movie… not without connecting dots that actually don’t exist. You talk about Khan going to a meet-up where he was supposed to get the torpedoes, but was intercepted by Marcus’ men… No such meeting ever was mentioned, seen, or even hinted at.

    And I thought he was using the bombing as a means to get the transporter tech… that’s why he was actually at the bomb site, wasn’t it? And wasn’t that why he was carrying that case through the rubble?

    Look, I understand the desire to try to make this work, but you writing half their movie for them and pretending it was onscreen simply isn’t the same as them presenting it themselves. Does your explanation work better than the movie? Indeed it does. But what you’re saying wasn’t what was visible onscreen. And it’s not my fault that they didn’t put it up there.

  14. It’s obvious enough if you connect the dots. Not every movie spells everything out in the open. People might not even care as much to see some of those slower scenes anyway… From what was mentioned and shown in the movie it seems enough that they didn’t need to show those other scenes anyway. They showed more interesting and more important things anyway.
    If you still can’t see it despite all the details from the movie which i mentioned, then it’s not my fault.

    Similarly, if you insist in seeing something that was not at all in the movie, (the bombing being for the sake of getting the transwarp device, something that makes no sense whatsoever and that they never said or showed anywhere), it’s not my fault, nor is it logical at all, considering you refused to see the much more likely things but want to see something that is not at all there.

    I’m not rewriting anything, I’m just actually paying attention while watching, rather than seeing nothing of what’s going on and then hating on the movie due to not having understood it.

    No offense, but if you watch a movie once, don’t pay attention to any details, remember things wrong (the transwarp device) and then refuse to see the connections between otherwise obvious things just for the sake of continuing to put down the movie… well. I don’t really see this going anywhere…

  15. I’ll be rewatching this soon enough, and at that time, if I see it differently, make no mistake, I’ll say so. Until then, I suppose.

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