Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Star Trek: The Beginning

AICN news has posted a summary of the initial reboot movie script for Star Trek: The Beginning by Rick Berman and others that would have attempted to reinvigorate the franchise. This is the rumored script that receded JJ Abrams joining the production and even precedes the Starfleet Academy rumors from a few years ago. The script, by Erik Jendersen (Band of Brothers) was 121 in its initial draft but didn't go anywhere due to a changing of the guard at Paramount.

Just note that Star Trek: The Beginning and JJ Abrams' Star Trek, at least based on leaked info, are in no way related. The Beginning's time frame is August-September 2159, so just after Enterprise but before the Original Series (by about 100 years I think) and chronicles the First Romulan War (hinted at in the Original Series but never explored in Star Trek).

To read about the script, click here.

Some highlights:
- Oddly the movie was militaristic in nature, taking place during a war that evokes thoughts of WWII movies with love letters, voice overs and the like that follows a few recent graduates of the United Earth Stellar Navy (MACO troops), itself the military arm of Earth, versus the exploration arm which is Starfleet.
- Earth is changing politically and socially with the infusion of alien races due to the formed Coalition of Planets (in Enterprise).
- Romulans have a war fleet in route to Earth.
- "Known" characters from Star Trek would be Shran (Andorian Commander played by Jeffrey Combs) and Skon (grandfather of Spock) as the Vulcan Ambassador to Earth.
- The principle character is Tiberius Chase (hmm the T. in James T Kirk) a Stellar Navy grad and pilot whose family history is one of xenophobia.
- The love letters and voiceover are from Chase to his love Penelope Gardner (who lives in Iowa, same place Kirk was from).
- The first attack, at the beginning of the film, ignites the war and devastes major cities worldwide. A major space battle between the Coalition and Romulans occurs in space while Earth tries to prepare for its first intergalatic war with a second larger Romulan fleet two weeks away.
- The Romulans goal is to cleanse the universe of their Vulcan cousins and Earth is the primary planet standing in the way of the goal.
- Chase devises a plan to fly directly to Romulus (thanks to first Warp 8 capable ship just off the line) and destroy their war making capability while the planet is virtually undefended with the fleet in route to Earth.
- The Admirality says nay, so or course does it anyway with Skal in tow after acquring a nuke (remember this takes place before deflector shields) and hijacking the USS Spartan. The crew gets kidnapped with some helping and others not. What occurs next isn't indicated.
- I assume he succeeds blowing up important stuff on Romulus because all their stuff would have been centrally located to make it easy, the main fleet turns back (rather then attacking in revenge) and peace prevails.
- Just note that this was a first and only draft, so rough stuff and holes would have probably been filled in if the movie had gone forward.

As the above shows, the story is definitly not traditional Star Trek. It has a strong miliatry and action core rather then the seeking out of new life. It involves a segment of Star Trek history never explored but probably needs to be. The Romulan War preceded and let to the birth of the United Federation of Planets, something that seems worthy of a movie to me. It also acknowledges and uses Star Trek canon effectivily while providing a new perspective on the Star Trek universe.

I have to admit I like to overall movie idea. One thing that Star Trek has lacked recently is scope. A grand scale to the events being told. The last time it was attempted was with the Dominion War in Deep Space Nine but nothing since. In part because the movies didn't have the budget and in the case of Enterprise the decision makers where not fans (until season 4 anyway). If your going to explore the origin of the Star Trek Universe, you have to have the decision makers who are first fans. Its a shame that this never moved forward. I think if Enterprise has gone more for this type of edge, had truly attempted to explore the existing universe (started to do that in season 4 but damage done by then) rather then manufacture new areas, then the recent calls to "re-invent" Star Trek wouldn't be necessary.

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