'Star Trek' Sequel Announced Before Franchise Reboot Hits Theaters

Contributed by Christopher Campbell

In an interview posted to MTV Movies yesterday, “Star Trek” producer Damon Lindelof was quoted as saying he’s hopeful his and J.J. Abrams’ reboot will be successful enough to warrant a couple more movies. “Ideas have been thrown around that are very informal at this point,” he said of potential plots for the future.

Well, it took only a few more hours for Variety to report that Paramount Pictures is in fact moving forward with the franchise, and the studio has hired Lindelof to collaborate on a script with “Star Trek” screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, which will be due this December in order to have the film in theaters by summer 2011.

Despite those ideas being thrown around, however, the trio will not begin a script for the sequel until they see what fans think of the first one. “Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month," Kurtzman said of the next film’s plot.

"With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We'll be ambitious about what we'll do."

Will such ambition lead to a follow-up comparable to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” which reigns as the most popular and esteemed of the Trek films? Kurtzman’s statement does seem to align the reboot with original installment “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” a debut often criticized for being a slow rehash of the franchise’s beginnings on the television series. It’s very possible that Abrams’ film will again feature too many origin-story drawbacks, particularly for the faithful Trekkies to stand.

But don’t hope for a “Khan”-like sequel in terms of continuity, because Lindelof and Co. have already admitted they’re taking the franchise into another direction. Or, in terms a Trekkie might prefer, another timeline. So, none of those thrown-around ideas is likely a callback to a specific television episode or film installment. Of course, if the new “Star Trek” film fails to strike a chord with moviegoers outside of Trek fandom, the filmmakers may want to try and appease the Trekkies more in a sequel -- that is if Paramount even lets the franchise continue without the chance of expanding the audience.

As a technically and literally even-numbered installment, the newly announced “Star Trek” sequel will be a better film than the upcoming reboot, which must unfortunately be a disappointment according to the rules of the “Star Trek movie curse.” So, let’s hope the new film at least does well at the box office when it opens on May 8 in order to see what else Lindelof, Kurtzman and Orci have up their sleeves.

Where would you like to see the “Star Trek” franchise go after the upcoming reboot? Do you want the writers to boldly go where no episode has gone before, or are you hoping they’ll change their minds about the continuity and reference your favorite plots of the past?