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January 5, 2016

Star Trek Beyond and Trek’s Future

by Reggie's Take

With the release of Star Trek Beyond in July the science fiction franchise will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, but despite the milestone can the franchise keep the old and the new fan-base equally happy?

The 2009 reboot movie directed by J.J. Abrams brought Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction franchise back to the big screen for the first time since 2002’s Star Trek Nemesis.

The 2009 Star Trek movie was a re-imagining of how the original crew of the starship Enterprise came together and despite some minor criticisms was a moderate success at the theaters and was good enough for Paramount to move forward with a sequel.

Fast forward to 2013 and “Into Darkness”. J.J. Abrams returned to the director’s chair with what would turn out to be the highest grossing Star Trek movie to date. “Into Darkness” brought back an iconic Star Trek villain, “Khan” played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Though it did well at theaters “Into Darkness” created a huge divide, at least in some peoples mind, about the direction and tone Paramount was taking Roddenberry’s creation.

I’ve stated before that I have no major qualms with the new Star Trek movies other then a few minor issues and the fact that Paramount really should of stayed away from using “Khan” I’ve been a supporter.

I’ve been a Star Trek fan my entire life. I have watched all the television shows, seen all the movies and own it all on home video. I consider myself a Star Trek fan and maybe even a “trekkie” or “trekker”, but I’m not so closed minded that I feel some fans have become.

Some of the “hard core” fans of Star Trek feel the last two movies are an atrocity to what Gene created and they may have a small point, but not enough to say it’s and atrocity. Star Trek was created in the 1960’s and through science fiction and television was able to make comments on society in the U.S. and the world as a whole.

Star Trek’s message then was that mankind could have a future where everyone has put aside their differences and can live in a Utopian world of peace and harmony. That same basic message I believe was always there in the background through all of the television series and majority of the movies.

That message is what I believe the “hard core” fans feel has been missing from the previous two movies directed by Abrams and to some extent they could be right. I’ve said this before that today’s movie paying public would not support what I would call a normal Star Trek movie.

What do I mean by normal? I’m talking such movies as “Star Trek IV The Voyage Home. I loved “The Voyage Home” and it’s still one of my favorites, I’m just of the opinion that today’s movie public would not appreciate it as well if that movie was made fresh in the 21st century.

I will admit that both Abrams directed Star Trek movies have been a little heavy on the action, but at the same time the attention span of today’s audience is shorter. The original television show all the way up through “Enterprise” had one huge interconnected time line. If you were a loyal follower of the shows and movies it all made perfect sense, but to someone new there was a lot to take in and understand.

Having the rebooted movies set in a different timeline I felt was a good move for the franchise. It gave Paramount the ability to have a clean slate with out ignoring what had happened in the original.

Simon Pegg, “Scotty” who has co-written Star Trek beyond made some interesting remarks concerning the up coming third film.

“The thing that makes that Star Wars more science fantasy is there’s a lot of special effects, a lot of fighting. Star Trek never could afford that, in a way. Which is why it had to concentrate on other aspects of production. We can do both now now. So I think it’s kind of finding a way of having that really fun, spectacular event cinema, but grounding it.

Because explosions don’t mean a damn thing if you don’t care about who’s involved in the explosions. You can see that most incredible fireworks on a cinema screen. But if you don’t fundamentally care about the people that are in jeopardy then they’re so unimpressive. You see that time and time again these days.”

I’m of the opinion that “Star Trek Beyond” will finally start bringing this newer version of Star Trek a bit closer to what some of the fans remember it being. If “Beyond” can begin to make Star Trek, Star Trek again it will be a huge boost to Paramount and for the franchise as a whole.

If your a “hard core” Star Trek fan and your reading this just remember that the 21st century version of Star Trek may never get to what it once was. In order for the franchise to survive and have a place on the big screen and even television Star Trek will have to make changes and some of those changes not everyone will agree with.

Star Trek Beyond hits theaters July 22, 2016

Check out some screencaps from the trailer below.

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