While the J.J. Abrams-directed "Star Trek" managed a strong showing at the box office and amongst critics, I definitely had one complaint upon disembarking from this new USS Enterprise. The film's setup is fantastic, its characters are well-established and I care about the universe... but I didn't have my fill. I wanted more.
Luckily, Abrams and the movie's co-writer Roberto Orci agree with that assessment. In an interview with the LA Times' Hero Complex, the helmers of the new "Star Trek" franchise spoke about what a potential sequel might entail and, more to the point, what a sequel needs -- which is, in a word, relevancy.
"[The sequel] needs to tell a story that has connection to what is familiar and what is relevant," Abrams said of the next "Trek" film. "It also needs to tell it in a spectacular way that hides the machinery and in a primarily entertaining and hopefully moving story. There needs to be relevance, yes, and that doesn't mean it should be pretentious."
"We got a lot of fan response from the first one and a considerable amount of critical response and one of the things we heard was, 'Make sure the next one deals with modern-day issues,'" Orci weighed in. "We're trying to keep it as up-to-date and as reflective of what's going on today as possible. So that's one thing, to make it reflect the things that we are all dealing with today."
If "Star Trek" is planning on following the "Battlestar Galactica" model -- focusing on issues of terrorism, racism and general xenophobia through science fiction constructs -- then I couldn't be happier. The "Trek" universe is beautifully poised for this after the destruction of planet Vulcan; there's a displaced race out there that could be looked at with skepticism or scorn, something that would seem unusual for the logically-minded people. That could be an interesting avenue to explore.
But the "Trek" team also needs to steer clear of heavy-handed metaphors -- in other words, no need to focus on the United Federation of Planets' economic collapse, or a financial scandal centering on Admiral Ernie Badoff. Still, entwining the franchise with familiar elements is definitely a good idea.
At its core, the first "Star Trek" was an excellent set-up film filled with phenomenal eye candy. While it wasn't lacking in heart, it did lack some substance. More than anything, that's what "Star Trek II" needs: substance. Can you think of a better place to find such a thing than the real world?
What sort of real world topics should "Star Trek II" explore? How could you see such topics being framed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!