Monday, November 12, 2007

Star Trek Storyline Confirmed is reporting they have confirmation from studio sources on details of the storyline for Star Trek XI. The leak pretty much confirms the Romulans travel in the past to kill Kirk with the older Spock following close behind. The how they get in the past is a different story though.

SPOILER WARNING - stop reading if don't want to know more.

Ok, the how the Romulans get into the past if based upon what most consider the greatest episode in Star Trek history "The City on the Edge of Forever" which first aired on April 6, 1967. In this episode, the crew discovers the Guardian of Forever which, if you ask the right questions, will allow you to view and travel to any point in time. Dr. McCoy, delusional from a drug overdose, jumps into the portal and changes history for the worse. Kirk and Spock go back into time and attempt to McCoy from altering history. They succeed but at the cost of Kirk's only true love.

For the movie, the Guardian of Forever makes another appearance. The Romulans, led by Nero (Eric Bana) use the Guardian to travel in the past to kill James T. Kirk. Considering his "history" is safe to say his death would probably leave Earth destroyed (due to V'ger in STI and the Probe (in STIV among other things). Spock (Leonard Nimoy) learns of the plan and travels through the Guardian also and recruits his younger self (Zackary Quinto) to stop Nero.

One scene mentioned is a heart to heart between the older more experienced Spock with the younger emotionally rigid Spock explaining the friendship that developed over the years. Cool way to explain the change in behavior from Pike's Spock to Kirk's perhaps other then network orders at the time.

The first time that Kirk is seen on screen is while taking the Kobayahsi Maru no-win scenario. This scenario is "famous" for Star Trek fans as Kirk is the only cadet to win the scenario.

The Maru is the name of a civilian ship in virtual reality test for Starfleet cadets to determine their character and command abilities when facing a no-win scenario. The Maru crosses the Klingon Neutral Zone (think of it as a border crossing between countries) and disabled by a mine. The civilians need to be rescued but Klingon starships could attack and crossing the zone violates treaties that could lead to war. The scenario is set up so victory is not possible as you can't rescue the civilians and get out of the zone with the starship intact. So the choices are do nothing saving the ship or attempt a rescue that may save the civilians but will destroy the ship and its crew. Kirk achieves a win by cheating. He reprograms the scenario to achieve his victory earning him a commendation for "original thinking" that helped his ascension to captain of the Enterprise. This also fits the character whose career is cheating death at every opportunity.

Lots of explanations for Star Trek newbies, but to sum up, Spock goes in the past to stop Romulans from killing cadet Kirk who is taking the Maru test.

Now a new wrinkle has been added to this whole idea in the name of Harlen Ellison the writer of "The City on the Edge of Forever" and who somehow owns the concepts and creations used in that script that are not pre-established Star Trek characters. He wants his cut of course to use those creations for the movie and more then a bit angry about not being informed of their use.

"Would someone go to that site, and suggest to those people there, that "City" and all its elements EXCEPT specific Star Trek characters, belong to Harlan Ellison--author of that much-lauded episode--by terms of the Separation of Rights clause of the Writers Guild's Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), and if Mr. Abrams--with whom I'm currently on strike--or anyone else, at Paramount or elsewhere, thinks they're going to use MY creations--whether the City, the Guardians, Sister Edith Keeler, or any other elements CREATED BY HARLAN ELLISON...they had damned well better lose the unilateral arrogance, get in touch with me, or my agent, Marty Shapiro, and be prepared to pay for the privilege of mining the lode I own."

I don't know how much is true or not as I always assumed that while writers get royalties for the money gained by their scripts, the contents within are owned by the studios. I guess that either wasn't the case in the 60s or maybe never was.

My understanding of Ellison's history with Star Trek is very contentious to say the least so more then likely he will try to use the opportunity to deal with past grievances. As much as I would love to see a reprisal of the Guardian of Forever on the silver screen I am thinking for the studios it would simply be easier and cheaper to do a rewrite as there is an endless supply of way to perform time travel. Yes there is a writer's strike but that means that WGA members can't write, anyone else can. So Abrams, a member of the guild couldn't retool the script but someone else can such as a producer could. Probably the simplest rewrite would be to invoke the slingshot around a sun effect from Star Trek IV. If Romulans know about the Guardian then it stands to reason they would know about how Kirk rescued Earth with time travel.

Hopefully things will be worked out with Ellison (but not holding my breath) as I really like the idea of the Guardian being used once again. Should note though that Ellison would have been better off not saying anything as he has given Paramount a chance to remedy the situation without necessarily paying him. If he waited until the movie came out, it would have been too late and he would have had a much stronger case to get a piece of the film and DVD revenue.


  1. OH PLEASE! I have SO HAD IT with time travel in Star Trek. If this is true that the romulans go back in time to kill kirk..............whatta disappointment.

  2. It sounds like a great concept to me.

    Kind of an amalgamation of previous "best of" Star Trek themes blended with a touch of Terminator essence. . . a huge dose of special effects and the short attention span of a predominately TV oriented crew . . . it should be quick, bright and a very bold step in the re-launch of a foundering franchise. I am 57 and truly excited to see it

  3. I think they should create new content instead of relying on already created lore. It's too easy to assimilate (pun intended) storyline into the old, all you have to do is use the same crap and write another story that reinforces aspects of the old lore.

    I would have liked to see a new race, new technology, maybe a new Captain, maybe a REAL love story between the Captain, some REAL death (don't bring them back to life in a later movie) and just in general, something NEW people!