This weekend marks the 48th anniversary of the premiere of the very first Star Trek episode on TV. The celebrations are unquestionably low key; I couldn’t even find any acknowledgement of this on the startrek.com website. But I expect things will be very different in two years time. At least, that is what we Trek fans hope. By then, it will be the fiftieth anniversary and we know for certain that at the very least a Star Trek film will be out in two years.
That is much better than what happened during the iconic show’s fortieth anniversary. Nothing happened then. Paramount Pictures didn’t put out a film because of the failure of Star Trek Nemesis, while CBS Television Studios also followed suit since Star Trek: Enterprise was just canceled a year before on UPN.
During that time period both companies felt that the Star Trek franchise needed a rest from the public eye. As we all know, Paramount rebooted the film franchise in 2009 with Star Trek and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness was released last year. While both films were successful, there is a feeling of unease among a large segment of the fanbase. Under director J.J. Abrams’ guidance, they feel as if Star Trek has strayed far from what it’s meant to be; a story of space exploration and encountering the unknown. Instead, they say that the past two films were just modified Star Wars films. That is a hard viewpoint to argue against, since the films emphasized action and thrills over the more cerebral fare that creator Gene Roddenberry championed when he created the original show and Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG).
The Star Trek reboot was supposed to reinvigorate the franchise and raise public awareness, but how successful was that goal? How much in the public eye is Star Trek? It’s there for sure but a lot of attention is being paid these days to the latest superhero film or the return of Star Wars, while any news of the upcoming Star Trek sequel gets shrugs. This was really clear when Paramount announced this year that the screenwriter for the past two Star Trek films, Roberto Orci, was tapped to direct the next sequel. He isn’t a big-name director, actually he hasn’t directed anything at all. Yet, he is being entrusted by Paramount to guide the next Star Trek film, which is coming out in the fiftieth anniversary of the original series. You would think that with that much attention the franchise will receive then, that the film studio will want to ensure that a topnotch director will handle the reins. But who knows? Maybe Orci will deliver the kind of Star Trek film its fans have been clamoring for.