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Feature: Star Trek at 40

New and old

It’s official! Star Trek has been given a new charter to boldly go where no one has gone before with an eleventh feature film (teaser poster above left).
As the series reaches its 40th anniversary, we analyze the facts in true Spock style…

“Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise...”

That iconic mantra opened the very first episode of Star Trek back on September 8 1966, and it closed the very last episode of Enterprise when it ended on May 13 2005. In the intervening time there were the wilderness years, a spectacular rebirth, and a long, slow fade away into a cancellation that even many of the show’s ardent fans were forced to concede wasn’t exactly unmerited.

Which leaves the franchise in the awkward position of almost celebrating its 40th Anniversary this month with little more than memories. Yet if the theme of Star Trek is that the future is something to look forward to, then Paramount has embraced this by sending the show’s fans a small birthday present. A simple, blue and yellow teaser poster announces the green-lighting of an eleventh feature film, which will arrive in cinemas in 2008.

Star Trek XI will represent a creative reset for the series. Gone is guiding light Rick Berman, who commanded the TV show and movies for almost a decade and a half. Working on four different series and subsequent movie spin-offs, the man clearly worked himself to exhaustion – at least if the final results on screen during the later years are any indication. Paramount’s choice of replacement might not be a brave one, but it is certainly inspired: JJ Abrams, a writer who not only understands Science Fiction and Fantasy, but has a proven track record for translating it to a mass audience. In Alias, Abrams reinvented the action/adventure spy series: the show proved more imaginative, more witty than even recent James Bond movies, and ultimately led to Tom Cruise selecting him to helm this year’s Mission: Impossible 3. Brought in during the formative stages of Lost, Abrams helped devise the show’s flashback structure, a narrative tool that has not only ensured a longer life span but has also enabled viewers to explore the backstory of the island survivors. Whatever Abrams has planned for Star Trek XI, we can be sure that it will remain true to the legacy, while propelling the saga into brand new territory.

by David Richardson

Read the full feature in
Starburst #341

Image © Visual Imagination, Star Trek © Paramount
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #341
September 2006
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