Lifestyle | 7 July 2016Star Trek Rebooted Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Throughout Star Trek’s long and storied history, few aspects are quite as divisive as the recent reboot feature films. Directed by J.J. Abrams the films serve to reboot the series, while still tying in the lore of the original series (including a cameo appearance from Leonard Nimoy as Spock.) While some were skeptical of the change in tone and direction, others embraced it, and the success of the franchise is undeniable. With the release of the third installment only a few weeks away, lets take a look back at how the rebirth of such a well loved series first got off the ground. The full story can be found in Robert Greenberger’s Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History. The two Spocks—Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy— meet at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2007. Fans went berserk. Associated Press In 2005, around the time that Enterprise was winding down, Paramount split into two divisions: Viacom and CBS Corporation, each taking control of aspects of Star Trek. Paramount president Gail Berman won eighteen months to revive Star Trek as a feature film before CBS took a shot at a new television series. Everyone saw the property as too valuable to abandon, but it was also clearly in need of rest and rethinking. Rick Berman, who had been caretaking Roddenberry’s creation since 1991, was relieved of command. At this point, Paramount was making the third Mission: Impossible film with the Bad Robot Productions group, comprising genre wunderkind J. J. Abrams, screenwriting partners Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and Lost producers Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk. Gail Berman approached them with the idea of rebooting Star Trek. Most were fans, although for Abrams Star Trek was all about Kirk and Spock. As had been proposed several times before, the story they came up with would feature Kirk, Spock, and McCoy meeting at Starfleet Academy. Orci and Kurtzman were huge Trek fans, crediting inspiration from not only the various television series, but also the novels Prime Directive, Spock’s World, and Best Destiny. To be respectful of Star Trek’s long history, they conceived of using Leonard Nimoy’s Spock to connect the original series to the relaunched franchise, then creating an alternate reality for the new crew and starship. Since Spock was last seen on Romulus, it naturally led the writers to use the underutilized Romulans, even though they had been the villains in the most recent movie. Abrams’s role as producer was revealed on April 20, 2006, and the screenplay was developed between August and December 2006. After reading a draft, Abrams accepted Paramount’s offer to direct as well. Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in uniform for the new production of Star Trek, which was a fresh take on Gene Roddenberry’s initial concept. Jill Greenberg/Corbis Outline A new cast was needed: Zachary Quinto, one of the stars of NBC’s Heroes, looked so much like Nimoy that he was a shoe-in for the role of Spock and was the first cast. Chris Pine overcame a bad audition to become the new James T. Kirk, and Lord of the Rings’ Karl Urban uncannily channeled DeForest Kelley as McCoy. Zoe Saldana, who played a Trek fan in The Terminal, became Uhura. After directing Simon Pegg in Mission: Impossible III, Abrams thought he’d make a good Scotty. John Cho from Harold & Kumar won out as Sulu and Alpha Dog’s Anton Yelchin was tapped for Chekov. They were supported by Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike, and all opposed Eric Bana’s Romulan miner-turnedterrorist Nero. Majel Barrett recorded the computer voice, a nice link to her husband’s legacy, just eight days before her death. TNG’s Wil Wheaton also provided background Romulan voices. A regular contributor to Abrams’s projects, Scott Chambliss stepped in as production designer and thoroughly reimagined everything about Starfleet Academy and the Enterprise; the starship was executed along with the special effects by ILM. The fresh design requirements allowed modern-day technology to be extrapolated for a new future, from control panels to communicators and phasers. Michael Kaplan designed all the twenty-third-century costumes and uniforms. Abrams’s frequent composer Michael Giacchino provided a score to the film, keeping Alexander Courage’s theme for the end credits. Filming lasted from November 7 through March 27, 2008. Locations included California’s Bakersfield (standing in for Iowa) and Long Beach and Utah. A Budweiser plant in Van Nuys controversially became the Enterprise’s engineering section. Claiming that the film would benefit from a summer opening, Paramount announced that the movie would open on May 8, 2009, rather than the originally planned Christmas Day 2008. One advantage to the extra time was that Alan Dean Foster, chosen by Orci and Kurtzman, could see the entire film before writing the novelization. On April 6, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse was supposedly screening The Wrath of Khan when the audience was surprised with a special advance screening of the new film, featuring appearances by the writers, producers, and Nimoy. The internet melted down that night as news spread: the movie was not just good. It was great. Diehard traditionalists could still have Roddenberry’s series to love while a new generation could fall in love with a new, optimistic vision of the future. The science was fuzzy, and the story logic didn’t entirely hold up, but it was a breathless thrill ride. Still, Paramount felt the need to heavily market the film, introducing a new generation of fans to the classic characters and premise. A teaser trailer showed the Enterprise being built, followed by more expanded trailers outlining the story. Nokia, Verizon Wireless, Esurance, Kellogg’s, Burger King, and Intel Corporation signed on as sponsors. Critics and fans adored the fresh new take on the beloved series and the film was a box office smash, grossing $385.7 million worldwide. According to Rotten Tomatoes, this new film was 95 percent “fresh,” the highest rating for any Trek film. It also ignited the largest merchandising wave in two decades. It was the first Trek film nominated for Best Picture, taking home Best Makeup, the franchise’s first Academy Award. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: An unauthorized history of Star Trek TV shows and films, celebrating its enduring popularity and devoted fans. Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History is a loving and candid review of the fifty-year franchise, a story as full of plot twists as its hundreds of episodes and films. Greenberger, author of over a dozen Star Trek novels and short stories, tells this fascinating tale as only an expert and longtime fan could. He examines the behind-the-scenes saga–from the struggles of Star Trek’s enthusiastic creator, Gene Roddenberry, to realize his vision on the small screen, to the franchise’s latest cinematic reinvention from J. J. Abrams–as well as the devoted fans who support its continued growth. Featuring sidebars by such Star Trek authorities as Michael and Denise Okuda, as well as contributions from well-known fans, including astronauts Thomas D. Jones and Mario Runco Jr., Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History captures the long and bumpy road to Star Trek becoming an international, groundbreaking phenomenon. Greenberger explores the many ways in which Star Trek has earned its enduring place in pop culture, evidenced by myriad comic books, audio dramas, software, board games, short stories, novels, Saturday Night Live sketches, elaborate fan productions, and well-known catch phrases. More than two hundred photographs illustrate the book. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.