Star Trek 11: Doomed

By Phil Plait | April 23, 2006 3:25 pm

In the last entry, I wrote about a new Trek movie in the works, and I was somewhat enthusiastic about it.

My enthusiasm has suddenly evaporated.

According to Trek Today (via Orac):

The as-yet untitled new film will be written by Abrams … Abrams is the creator of television series such as Felicity, Alias and Lost, and will soon be making his debut as a feature film director with Paramount’s Mission Impossible: III. He’s also written the scripts for films such as Regarding Henry and Armageddon.

Well, that’s that.


Comments (46)

  1. Geoff

    Thanks Phil that was the laugh I needed but if it makes you feel any better, you judging a movie by the screenwriter is like blaming a bad vacation on the travel guide writer.

    As the old joke about the blonde who wanted to make it in Hollywood… she slept with the screenwriter… and Armageddon was ‘written’ by 5 others.

  2. Aw, jeez. Could this mean that even the Star Trek physics will be ignored?

  3. Grand_Lunar

    To quote Scott Bakula, “Oh boy.”

    I can see it now; Bruce Willis as Kirk, Ben Affleck as Spock, and they’re on a an abadoned ship that’s on a collision course with a planet.

    Hope he’s not the only choice.

  4. P. Edward Murray

    Doubting Thomases all I see:)
    This is the reason I never listen to
    critics because they usually have some
    axe to grind…

  5. Andy

    because star trek has always been such a bastion of good astronomy?

    i’m compfused.

  6. gopher65

    How dare you say Star Trek has bad physics in it! Star Trek physics are perfect!!!!!!!!1one11!!!!!


  7. Melusine

    ~Sigh~ I watched Star Trek after school when young, but I never got into it like some of you here have…definitely diehards. 😉

    I still laugh at what I thought was the funniest movie I saw last October at the MFA in 3-D: It Came From Outer Space. Everybody in the theater was in tears. I prefer older sci-fi stuff as I don’t think newer bad sci-fi will have the same kind of longevity: Armageddon was humorous to me when it first came out in the theater, was ICFOS? ~musing~

  8. Michelle Rochon

    And thus Star Trek is doomed. Whoops.

  9. It might not be too bad if they get these guys acting in it.

  10. Bad Albert

    No Star Trek movie will never be able to top that SNL sketch with John Belushi as Captain Kirk and Chevy Chase as Spock. It’s a scream.

  11. icemith

    Bad Albert, did you really mean the double negative in your comment, or is there a missing comma after the first word,” No “.

    Or what?


  12. HawaiiArmo

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but Star Trek definately kept my interest in the sciences fueled during my youth in the academically deficient Los Angeles Public School System.
    I’m sure many people, not the least myself, have a lot of gratitude to the writers and the actors who helped make our lives a little more entertaining and helped send our imagination in thousands of different directions.
    Enjoying Star Trek, and hoping that a new movie does the franchise justice doesn’t necessarily make it the sole occupying force in our lives. There are things to be passionate and fanatical about (such as science, debunking anti-science, educating the ignorant, etc), and then there are other things that entertain us; give us an escape from the stressful situations in our lives, even if for a few hours. Star Trek, I believe for the most of us, even the Trekkies and fans, happens to fall into the latter category.

  13. I remain hopeful that the inevitable Bad Science in Star Trek 11 will be confined to the usual treknobabble. We know that Trek can survive the quantum subspace field interplexors and the coherent dekyon beams. (Did Nemesis exhibit suckage because of the “thaleron radiation”, or because of problems elsewhere?) As long as they don’t parade their willful ignorance like a peacock mating display — *cough* sonic mines *cough* buzz droids *cough* — I think we could live with the consequences.

    Sometimes the fake science is very good indeed — two words: “Genesis probe”. Even the hardest of Hard SF can be allowed to make stuff up now and then, a random example being the communication between universes in Asimov’s The Gods Themselves. If the fictional science is extrapolated from current science in a reasonable way, and if the consequences are explored in a consistent fashion (you predict the automobile, then you also predict the traffic jam), it can be highly instructive.

    On the other hand, in this degenerate age can we really hope for another Wrath of Khan? Perhaps unbridled pessimism is justified after all.

    When I’m not thinking about all the ways that Star Trek can die, I’m trying to keep my hopes low for the Honor Harrington movie, because I can think of too many ways to ruin it entirely.

  14. By the way, has anyone else noticed that when text is in italics, the lowercase letter r still stands straight up? Or is this just a bizarre font problem on my end?

  15. It’s just a bizarre font problem on your end.

  16. Tom K

    My girlfriend finally “persuaded” me to watch Armageddon a couple of years ago. The “sience” in it was every bit as horrible as I expected, but after careful consideration I thought, “Well, it wasn’t really any worse than the average Star Trek episode.” No space-oriented movie or TV show that I’m aware of other than “2001” has ever really approached anything resembling reality.

  17. Tom K

    Excuse me – “science”, not “sience”. Doh!

  18. Supernova

    And yet…

    … we’re all going to go see it anyway.

    *sigh* The burdens of being a geek…

  19. Gary Ansorge

    I’ve enjoyed the Trek series since I saw the first one, 42 years ago. It was closer to real SciFi than any previous tv attempt. At least the rockets worked despite having no air to “Push Against”,,,and the stories and acting were truely professional. They usually followed John W. Campbells dicta that there be no more than one “impossible” idea in each story, which was a tremendous improvement over the 1930s style of space opera, wherein the hero rushes to his lab and whips up a planet destroying ray gun in, oh say, 30 seconds. I always wondered if they had some kind of time stretcher available.

    I keep hoping for a new “Wrath of Khan” quality Trek, but perhaps all the really good writers have died and gone to Trekkie heaven.


    Gary 7

  20. CR

    I used to be a Star Trek fan, and still am to some degree, but I’m not going to bother seeing this new film. (Missed the last one, too, and don’t regret it.)

    Now, I’m just going to go to my secret hidden bunker to live for the next few years until everyone offended by what I just said has calmed down! :)

  21. Patrick

    The guy who did Lost, huh? Does that mean the film is going to be fifty percent flashbacks?

  22. SFwriter

    Reveals content of ST:Nemesis

    How can you not LOVE Nemesis for one of the most perfidious and pernicious puns ever perpetrated on the public? (I just phrased it that way to show I was alliterate) :mrgreen:

    During the fight scene between Jean Luc and his clone, the latter is “run-through” with a deadly pointy object to the extent that he is lifted right of the ground by Jean Luc!

    He was hoist by his own Picard!

  23. There’s been a saying amungst fans going back as far as I can remember.

    “Even numbered Star Trek movies don’t suck.”

    Through #6, it was true. #8 was iffy. 10? Feh.

    11 is an odd number…

  24. Will. M.

    Has no one above seen the Discovery channel’s paen to Star Trek with Kirk/Shatner “accused” of authoring the current techno revolution? The premise is that many scientists as youngsters were inspired by the “technology” of the future as displayed in the series. Shatner narrates/stars in the two(!) hour program with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek as he interviews the now-grown scientists on the technology in Star Trek which inspired them. The BBC had something to do with this program also. So it seems that even with the bad science often displayed, the ideas were plausible enough to cause some budding geniuses to begin pondering the possible…

  25. Toren

    Weird. I just watched Regarding Henry and ST: Nemesis this weekend.

  26. Will. M.

    I forgot to mention that the entire Star Trek franchise – the various television series and the movies – are also discussed, but rather shallowly, by some of the cast members in the two-hour program I mentioned above.

  27. Kim

    According to, this is nothing more than an internet rumor:

  28. Walt

    Only one trip to will comfirm that it is reality…

    But I wish it weren’t.

    I am a big fan of the genre, but this is a bad idea from the start. The movie might aptly be named:

    Star Trek XI: When Kirk met Spock

    Basically that’s the premise (read it on the site!) — Kirk and Spock in their academy days.

    To me, this is as bad an idea as “Star Wars 3.5 – Luke’s boyhood days”.

    For the first time in my life, I’m not looking forward to more Trek.

  29. Astronomer: “In this picture the anomaly is first located, in this picture the anomaly is….”

    President: “Stop this anomaly crap, what is it?”

    NASA Director: “It’s a new Star Trek movie approaching earth with the speed of a warp and with a plot that will probably make it a failure the size of Texas, Sir”

    President: “Do you mean that….?”

    NASA Director: “Yes Sir, Kirk is… back”

  30. BigJohn756

    Anyone remember Tom Corbett and the Space Cadets? Quite accurate scientifically. I remember the episode where some evil adversary smashed their transmitter and Tom decided that they had to blast off and go into space so that they could use their vacuum tube transmitter in the vacuum of space because all of the bottles were broken.

  31. Bad Albert


    I meant to say, “No Star Trek movie will EVER be able to top that SNL sketch”.

  32. Alexander Case

    Yeah, and I knew right away that Serenity was going to be godaweful. After all, Joss Whedon wrote “Alien: Ressurection.” How good can he be?

    However, with a little research it isn’t hard to learn that Joss’s script bore little to resemblance to the final product. How do we know that the situation wasn’t similar with Armageddon, that Michael Bay didn’t keep the bits he liked in the screenplay and dump the rest? In fact, looking at the IMDB credits I see the following:

    Robert Roy Pool (story) and
    Jonathan Hensleigh (story)

    Tony Gilroy (adaptation) and
    Shane Salerno (adaptation)

    Jonathan Hensleigh (screenplay) and
    J.J. Abrams (screenplay)

    Further, since then Abrams has made much better work (Alias & Lost). So, either he has greatly improved, or his previous screenplays got frelled with by the director.

  33. icemith

    Alexander, ‘…frelled with…’ ? My dictionary says, ” ‘Frell’ could not be found “. But it seems a nice synonym for other words that start with ‘F’. Such as ‘fiddled with’.

    And to Bad Albert, what about ‘Never never’?


  34. Briarking

    Did Joss Whedon really write “Alien:Resurection”? I did not know that. He also wrote the Buffy and Angel series, and I cannot stomach either of those. Firefly and even Serenity were unbelievably well written, and everything else I’ve ever seen of Whedon’s sucks. So maybe the Trek writers will beat their odds. That being said, I still am not too hopeful about the new Trek. Prequels have always seemed like desperate marketing to me.

  35. SFwriter

    Pop over here and watch this 14Mb file. It is a wonderful fan-made video from Trek United to help us make people aware of the campaign to save Enterpirse (the show) by financing it ourselves. We raised 3.4 million dollars, but the studio refused the money saying they were much more interested in cancelling the show. The video was dropped off the site because of bandwidth constraints. I found a new place to keep it where bandwidth is not a problem. It’s the only file I have on there right now, so just click on it and watch it live…

    Feel free to join our new Enterprise:Direct to DVD campaign. This looks like it has a pretty good chance of success and won’t cost anything as D2DVD is highly profitable for the studio. Sign our petition at… And it might help head off this potentially horrible Academy Series… Not to put TOO fine a point on it, but Spock was already 65 when Kirk was born… It’s all STUPID — the series won’t make any sense.

  36. sfwriter– nice montage! I thought the music was First Contact, but the last few seconds were different than the opening theme. What was the music from?

  37. Tom K says: “No space-oriented movie or TV show that I’m aware of other than “2001″ has ever really approached anything resembling reality.”

    “Die Frau im Mond” (1929) German, Fritz Lang director with Hermann Oberth as technical adviser.

    “Destination Moon” (1950) US, George Pal producer, Chesley Bonestell and Robert Heinlein advisers.

    Together with 2001 (which had Fred Ordway as the main tech adviser) these three films are the only ones to dipict spaceflight correctly, at least within the limitations of knowlege at the time. For more on why, see “Spaceship Handbook” (modestly written by me, but now out of print).

    – Jack

  38. Will. M. says: “Has no one above seen the Discovery channel’s paen to Star Trek with Kirk/Shatner “accused” of authoring the current techno revolution? Shatner interviews the now-grown scientists on the technology in Star Trek which inspired them.”

    Including Seth Shostak of the SETI institute, on whose show our own BA frequently appears.

    – Jack

  39. Joss Whedon wrote “Alien:Resurrection”, The crew of the spaceship “Betty” from this movie is person for person, with a few gender changes, basically the crew of “Serenity” from “Firefly”.

    Try just for fun to compare them.

  40. Buzz Parsec

    Random thoughts:

    I used to love the Tom Corbett books when I was in the 4th grade… But I thought
    the vacuum tube bit was a trick question on one of his exams. I remember it
    especially due to the fact that vacuum tubes were clearly obsolete at the time
    (early 60’s), so even in the 4th grade, it struck me as very funny.

    “Frelling” is from “Farscape”. It seems to mean about the same thing as

    Movies are almost always worse than the book. I wonder if this is also true
    of screenplays? The only exception I can think of to this rule is “Jaws.”
    “The DaVinci Code” may also prove to be an exception, but I don’t have high

  41. icemith

    Thanks Buzz Parsec, for putting me straight with the origin of ‘frelling’. I guess I will have to watch it as I noticed it is in our TV guide. Or did you mean the newspaper cartoon strip ‘Farscape’? I can usually expect a birthday card of that theme from my sister most years. Not really anything to do with Sci-Fi or Space though. But meaning “Belgium”?? I fail to see the connection, it’s got to be way out.

    And I would have to agree with Jack Hagerty, that ‘2001 – A Space Odessy’ was/is the most realistic portrial of space conditions etc. at least until the ending. I was never perplexed by it, explaining it to others was a problem though.


  42. Irishman

    “Frelling” is the Farscape’s version of the TV Sci Fi friendly stand in for another F word expletive and emphasizer.

    Battlestar Gallactica uses “Frack”.

  43. Star Trek – and Istress this is of course all strictly In My Humble Opinion Naturally – would have been much better off if it has stopped forever with ‘Voyager’.

    The Original Series was ground-breaking for its time.
    The Next Generation was a welcome revival.
    ‘Deep Space 9’ & ‘Voyager’ had their moments ..

    ‘Enterprise’ — errkkk — contradictory and really a backward step in many more ways than just chronologically.

    Movies wise – I didn’t think ‘Nemeisis’ was as bad as its been tarred but much preferred Isaac Asimov’s eponymous novel which had nothing to do with Trek! 😉

    If they were going to make another Trek movie (which I wouldn’t recomend really, IMHON, the franchise has become decidedly stale and past its used-up date)then isn’t it time one of the later spin-off’s got the nod?

    I enjoyed ‘Serenity’ and ‘Firefly’ but resurrecting Kirk and spock isn’t CPR but necrophilia …

  44. Frell, sorry about that double post -that wasn’t supposed to have happened!

    ‘has’ was intended as ‘had’ at the start there & well the missing spaces are obvious. [sigh]

    Wish we could edit our posts on-line here ..

    While on TV -SF & the works of Abrams & Whedon(again all IMHON & please remember all art is subjective) :

    ‘Lost’ started well but trailed off with too many flashbacks and absurdities.

    ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ were fun with good dialogue and some nice satire – not to mention eye-candy and the odd bit to make you think.

    Personally, my own favourite TV-SF shows were : ‘Babylon5’, ‘Dr Who’ & ‘StarBlazers’ (aka ‘Spacebattlecruiser Yamato’ a kids anime which took the idea of a spaceship somewhat literally but which got me hooked on SF.)

    As far as finding science (or viewing pleasure) goes in all TV / movie forms of SF, my advice is take them for what they are but as ‘Trek’ goes I’ve got to admit I feel I’ve taken enough.

    Let it rest Trekkies,its been a fun ride but let it rest in peace.


    I have a strong regarding suspition about the 11th chapter of the Star Trek universe. If they have the story. A strong story which bolds, bluntly to the franchise, they should go with it. too thumbs up… Plus the movie will have a great upcoming Writter/Director. Above all, long live the Franchise.

  46. Stone Age Scientist

    So Phil, is Star Trek 11 still doomed? :) Got this link, amongst many, while using the search function. I am looking for the article where you explained the (bad) science in Star Trek.


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