Sunday 20 December 2015

Simon Pegg discusses some of Star Trek Beyond's themes

In another follow-up to the release of the Star Trek Beyond trailer, writer Simon Pegg has now chipped in, in an interview with the Nerdist, to expand upon what we have to look forward to in the next nuTrek film, with some very interesting sounding ideas about the setting and the characters.

He gave a pretty good summary of where the film stands both in-universe and in the real world, as it moves on from what the first two films in the series focused on, how it relates to classic Trek, and the demands of modern blockbuster film-making:
...we want it to be about them on that five-year mission. In fact, two years into that five-year mission, and how that impacted them personally and what it meant to be out in space that long. And we liked the idea of also, on the fiftieth anniversary, looking at Roddenberry’s original vision and questioning it. The whole notion of the Federation and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing and how productive is inclusivity and what is the true cost of expansion. That kind of stuff. So we went in with some big philosophical questions to ask … Star Trek’s had to evolve in order to exist in the current marketplace. A film that was totally in the mood of the original series would not be made today, or make money today. Because people want event cinema. They want [things] to be a little more brash and a little more action-oriented. So we’ve had to dial that into the Star Trek brand. But at the same time that doesn’t mean that can’t be fundamentalized by all the tenants of what Star Trek is, and how those characters have evolved over the years, and to really give its DNA a kind of authenticity.
As the trailer has also seemed to hint at, the wider ensemble crew looks to be getting a bit more love this time, with a particular focus on the McCoy/Spock relationship (yay!):
I felt like the Kirk-Spock thing, we’d done that now. Arguably maybe too soon in a way. I think there’s still a lot of time for those guys to become super friends. Maybe we’ll do that further down the line if we do more. I felt like now it was time to move away from the bromance thing and concentrate on the idea of the crew as a family living in a small space together, and what it means to all of them. I really love the dynamic between Bones and Spock, so that’s something we’ve kind of concentrated on a little bit with this one. Kirk’s older than his dad was when he died. All that sort of psychological stuff is playing on him. Scotty’s just still Scotty.
And that is important to what the overall story is: That a few years into the mission the crew are perhaps getting a bit tired. In fact the way Pegg talks about it, focus on that last sentence in this quote, it seems that's a really crucial story point:
It’s less that they’re done with it. Because they know that they’ve still got time to go. It’s more that they’re dealing with what would inevitably be the psychological impact of doing it. It’s not they’re, “Oh, I don’t want to do this anymore.” No one’s over it. It’s just that they’re doing their job. They’re going from adventure to adventure and it’s kind of tiring, and wondering what the end game of it all is. The idea of the movie, the story in the film, is that what they encounter helps to clarify what their job is.
Pegg also revealed details of one of the main settings, from early in the story, Starbase Yorktown, which one assumes is the city seen in the trailer:
Part of the story at least begins with them docking up at a new Starbase which is at the very edge of space. It’s a new kind of diplomatic hub. It’s called Yorktown, and it’s right on the edge of Federation space. It’s where all the most recent Federation inductees can come and mingle with each other and sort of learn about each other.’s basically a place where they can understand what being part of the Federation means, and it’s an important kind of tactical establishment for the Federation. They’re very, very far out, but it’s been built locally, so it’s very interesting to look at. It’s where the Enterprise docks up. For the first time in ten months it’s had proper contact with other people—that’s where the story begins.
You can read the full interview, which also gives some very intereting insights into the unusually fast developement of the film, on the Nerdist.

To keep track of all the latest information on Star Trek Beyond, check out my Star Trek Beyond guide page.


  1. Why does Star Trek need to 'evolve' but Star Wars can keep regurgitate old story lines? I'm upset that Abrams left Star Wars intact on the whole, but dis-embowled Trek.

  2. I'd see that as a very big reason why Star Trek is better than Star Wars... I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, but J.J. essentially remade A New Hope... And as much as I love Star Wars, compared to Star Trek it's very shallow.

    Star Wars is a fairy tale, but Star Trek has always reacted to what is happening now. Star Trek reinvents itself constantly; from episode to episode you can have almost completely different genres, from series to series very different approaches to exploring the same universe. Why have the same all the time when Star Trek has always offered us such amazing diversity in many combinations (to paraphrase).

  3. I would argue that Star Trek really only "reinvented itself" two or three times.

    First and most obviously was the more militaristic cast of the universe introduced in TWOK. Then, TNG changed things up again by making Star Trek much more of a utopianist vision. Arguably DS9 changed things up again by introducing (*gasp*) continuity, but other than that... Trek has been pretty consistent in what it is. Modern Star Trek really began with TNG and didn't really change much until 2009.

    At its heart Star Trek was about exploration (and discovery), the human condition, and our collective capacity to better ourselves.

    NuTrek, or JJ's Trek, or whatever you want to call it... really isn't Star Trek, because it is about exactly none of those things. It is about slapping a recognizable brand onto a blockbuster movie to bolster sales... while aping as much of the original brand as possible in order to appease fans who are silly enough to think that just because there's an alien with pointy ears named Spock, it's Star Trek.