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Does Abrams owe Trek fans an apology?

by on May 17, 2009
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To get it out of the way first and foremost, I watched J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek and really enjoyed it. It had what most of the previous installments of the franchise lacked and that was energy.

Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, I’ve dabbled in Trek and found that I could only really stomach the original series. The later series just didn’t have that certain magical quality the original had.

Abrams’ interpretation of Trek was intriguing. It has flair, non-stop action, cool as hell visual effects — all the elements of a certain saga set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

He pulled the ol’ switcheroo. He dangled Star Trek in front of us and when we weren’t looking gave us a Star Wars style tale. Bam! He went to all this trouble and still couldn’t come up with a creative way to include our beloved Starfleet captain?

I completely get crafting a Trek story with a Wars skeletal structure. What I can’t fathom is giving us a newly updated, hip, cool beginning to the franchise and not finding an inventive way to include William Alan Shatner. The slickest Starfleet captain in the cosmos and you leave him out? Show a little respect, sir.

For that fact alone, Abrams should call all Trek fans one-by-one and personally apologize. But to include a beloved astromech droid from another space saga is almost beyond repair.

The logic of “we would have liked to include him, but forcing him in would be cumbersome” doesn’t hold water. They did it with dialog throughout the film and that didn’t seem to bother them.

It’s Shatner; you find a way to get him in.

If Spielberg or Scorsese wants to direct your film, do you tell them no? If Connery decides to come out of retirement and eyes your project, do you say no? I don’t think so.

It’s a matter of respect. I’ve read about the lost scene of old Kirk that was cut out of the film and it would have worked brilliantly. It would be a voiceover in hologram form that would reveal to young Spock the depth of Kirk and old Spock’s relationship. The voiceover would go over the final scenes where Kirk gets his medal and his commission on the Enterprise.

Roberto Orci stated that they decided to abandon it because it wasn’t enough to justify wasting his time. Really? Buttoning up a recharged Trek with Shatner providing a weighty voiceover sounds like a waste of time?

Great call.

Abrams has said it was a matter of Shatner not wanting to do it; Shatner says he never saw the scene.

It’s easy to sit back and say what you would have done in the situation, but it just logical. Maybe Shatner truly didn’t want to do just a cameo, but aim at the horizon.

“Alright, listen Bill, we would like you to do a cameo in the first film — now, now hear me out — but we would like to expand upon that after we reveal our alternate timeline. It would get the fans excited to see you as Kirk and then we can give them even more in the following films.” BOOM! It’s that simple.

J.J., I hope the check is in the mail.

I mean no disrespect to Chris Pine. Pine is a star. He captures the same arrogance and quick wit as Shatner and I think he does a great job with the character, but I think he would even agree with my view.

Abrams did everything right to revive a film franchise that set on the brink of oblivion, but the one thing he excluded cast an enormous shadow over the entire film — William Alan Shatner.