Never has such a franchise gone from the wastelands of geekdom to the gold-lined streets of mainstream success. With the surprise hit out the way, a lot rests on the follow up to deliver. If I was making the sequel, I would ensure the story is a fresh one. So I’m sorry to the purists, but that means bye bye Khan! As I think about it, I’m not sure I even want a nudge-nudge wink-wink mention of him.
This is a new Trek universe. It’s a fresh, uncluttered drawing board to sketch and plan a brand new canon and mythos. It was rehashing old stories and plot lines that stalled the epic franchise for long enough. To do the same thing again will only lead to reviews containing such choice descriptions as “tired” and “stale” for the crew of the USS Enterprise. No, to keep the momentum going, we need new bad guys, new story arcs and new conflicts. This may seem harsh again, but this franchise is no longer the secret of the nerds. This franchise only hit the big time with the reboot, when the mainstream audience took Kirk and his crew to their hearts, too. So the sequel needs to appeal to them just as much as the die-hard fans.
Spock and Uhura was an interesting mix up from the regular canon of the Kirk and Uhura flirtations. This story needs further investigation. Could a story involve Uhura being kidnapped and sending Spock into one of his rages, as was evidenced in the first film? Could we see him go rogue in the hunt for Uhura and her captors? Maybe even get to see some of Spock’s fabled martial-artistry prowess that was frustratingly cut from the first film? Of course, on the flip side to that, Uhura needs her character fleshed out further, too. After all the significance that went along with the original role of Uhura, come the final cut, she ended up just being little more than window dressing for the USS Enterprise and eye candy for the audience. Zoe Saldana will need something more to work with to keep her interested in fulfilling her five-year mission.
Which comes to the next point, when should “Star Trek 2” take place – straight after the events of the first film or towards the end of the initial five-year mission? I’m inclined to think somewhere in between. Obviously, the final story that it settled on may have an impact on the timeline, but if you set it too far ahead, when they are experienced explorers and adventurers, there is bound to be less character development, less personal obstacles to overcome and, maybe, less for the audience to be invested in. However, set it a little after the events of the original — they are slightly more experienced, which can lead to more risky dogfights and heart-in-your-mouth moments but they can be dealing with things that can lead to a genuine threat to the crew and can make you get lost in the “will they survive?” storyline. Keep the “experienced crew” for part three of the trilogy. Where they can face the biggest threat the Federation has ever come up against, and only a crew as experienced as the crew of the Enterprise can deal with. It then makes it slightly more believable in that world. But, anyway, that’s for a future “If I Was Making…”
How about Kirk (played by Chris Pine)? Where can he go from the ending of “Star Trek”? What can rattle the king of cool? It’s too easy to take the damsel-in-distress-needs-rescuing road every time for the main hero. I would try and take Kirk down a different route. We see evidenced in this year’s “Iron Man 2” that Tony Stark, as much as a hero as he is, begins to start dealing with his inner demons in the form of his burgeoning alcohol problem. Could Kirk, a man who can easily deal with the in-your-face enemies on the outside, win the battle with the enemies within himself?
Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) should take a back seat from now on, too. Nimoy’s appearance was a welcome one that added gravitas to this fledgling reboot as it was finding its feet. His character gave the impression as the end of “Star Trek” that he wasn’t going to be getting in young Spock’s way, helping the refugees from Vulcan set up a new home. He can be made mention of just to inform the audience of his whereabouts, but leave it at that. Again, for a battle to end all battles in the third act of the trilogy, maybe bring him back. But for this installment, allow Zachary Quinto’s Spock to breathe, allow him to further cement his version of the character into “Star Trek” legend.
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