May 26 2024


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New Trek Writers Are Also Fans

3 min read


A new TrekCore interview with Star Trek 3 writers Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne gives fans some background on and insight into the writers, as well as their thoughts on where Star Trek 3 will go.

McKay and Payne, who met in junior high, were Trek fans from the beginning. “[My parents are] true fans, so I grew up around them, loving all of the classic episodes, and going to see the movies in the theater,” said McKay.

“I always thought Patrick’s house was the most awesome place because they had that telephone that was shaped like the Starship Enterprise,” said Payne. “That was just so cool.”

Although a villain often makes a good movie, it’s the characters and the relationship between them that counts the most. “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,” said McKay. “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.”

The pair was asked if Star Trek 3 will be a new story, or one based on an existing Trek story. “Well… we’re trying to make the best Star Trek movie we can,” said Payne. “That’s probably the easiest way to answer that one. The first two films did really, really well, and they really brought Star Trek to a much larger audience. It sort of expanded the tent a little bit out into pop culture, and put it out into the public consciousness a little more than it might have been with the previous incarnations.

“The first two have now set us up to be out on the ‘five-year mission,’ to go out and have the coolest adventures we can come up with.”

“We’re very much thinking about a movie that would stand alongside the first two, in a general sense,” said McKay, “but more specifically, I would say that in working with our wonderful co-writer Roberto Orci, it began very much as a conversation “Well, what would you guys like to see in the movie?” “Is there an area we all want to explore?” Nothing was off the table – all along, it’s been about the coolest, best movie we can write. There’s no sort of requirement saying we have to do this or that, I think it’s very much been a blank canvas.”

“What we keep on coming back to is the basic credo of Star Trek, that opening prologue you hear at the beginning of each original series episode,” said Payne. “That’s our mantra for what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

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16 thoughts on “New Trek Writers Are Also Fans

  1. Uh-oh.
    If, this early in the process, they’re already trying to compare themselves with blockbusters that made hundreds of millions, you *know* they’re still just looking at the bottom line first and foremost–in other words, they’ll simply continue the JJ Abrams trend of dumbing everything down and turning it into “just another dumb action movie” to draw in as big an audience as possible.
    As with the previous movies, they’ll get one movie ticket out of me, but nothing else, and I’m saying this as someone who owns every Trek series and movie on DVD, except for the JJ ones.

  2. Well, if these guys prefer TSFS over TWOK, they have my guardedly optimistic interest. So long as Bob Orci stays in the background during the scripting stage, there is slight hope this film will have some merit.

  3. As long as they ignore JJ and Orci, there’s (slight) hope. But I won’t bank on it.

  4. With Orci at the helm and the fact that it will be another Bad Robot production, I don’t have even a little hope.

  5. why don’t they get one of the better episode writers, or even the novel writers, to write a screenplay? Why do they always seem to go for untested or unfamiliar people to write Trek?

  6. Hell, they could call in the “Killer Bs” and it would be a great improvement.

  7. While I’m invlined to agree, I will hold onto a very small amount of hope for a worthwhile film, until I look into the track records of these two. Their mentioning DARK KNIGHT and INCEPTION says little, since those films didn’t impress me either way.

  8. Perhaps because the novels are glorified fanfic that attract no mainstream interest whatsoever?

  9. of course they’re fanfic, because the novels are written for the fans. That’s the whole point of the novels.
    My point is that the writers of those novels KNOW Trek. And a good writer can broaden his horizon and make a screenplay which is accessible to the masses yet true to what Trek is.

  10. Reading between the lines…because Abrams is involved in both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, expect a crossover film that has Spock hopping into another black hole to start mentoring Luke Jr. on the way to use Vulcan logic to master the Force. Meanwhile, the Enterprise mistakenly rams into a seemingly derelict Millennium Falcon because Chewie forgot to put the parking brake and safety hazards on. Plus, you’ll get all of the JJ special effects and witty witticisms that only a Disney-funded JJ Abrams production can bring! Look for R2-D2 to become the new icon for Bad Robot, too.

  11. Harve Bennett is alive. So are DC Fontana and David Gerrold. And George Clayton Johnson is still kicking at 84! Why not at least consult with them, if not hire them to script the next film? Paramount should go to them, hat in hand, and beg for advice…at any price.

    Okay, I’ll admit that I’m dreaming here, but it sure would be nice to see a ST film with their quality of story and script.

  12. I remember Bob Orci 5+ years ago saying how he was such a big fan. And then…

    Look, if these new writers really are fans, they will void the JJ-verse and bring the story back to the Prime Universe where the focus belongs!

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