Film News

Roberto Orci Apparently Really Wanted to Make Up For Destroying Planet Vulcan in the 2009 Star Trek

Roberto Orci is no longer directing Star Trek 3, meaning Paramount is no longer letting a guy with no experience directing anything ever handle the Star Trek film currently scheduled to arrive sometime during the franchise’s 50th anniversary in 2016. Initially, it was unknown why Orci had stepped down, but now it is believed it’s because Paramount hated his script. He apparently wanted to use time travel to potentially undo the destruction of the planet Vulcan in the 2009 Star Trek, J.J. Abrams’ franchise reboot which operated from a script co-written by Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Huh. It occurs to me that I know of at least one person who would adore that plot. Allow me to explain.

My best friend used to go to Star Trek conventions, which was a bit odd for me since I’ve been a near-lifelong fan and never felt the need to go to a convention whereas she was flying up to Chicago to meet Leonard Nimoy and the rest at a convention less than a year after she became a fan. The result is that she has actually met far more actual Star Trek fans in person than I have at this point, and one of them really, really, really hated the J.J. Abrams version of Star Trek. Of course, this guy wasn’t unique since conference attendees in Las Vegas voted Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness the worst Star Trek film of all time last year. However, one of the main points of contention for this true, hardcore Trekkie my friend encountered was that he simply could not, in good conscience, accept the idea that 2009’s Star Trek reboot/sequel freakin’ blew up the planet Vulcan, pushing Spock somewhere close to “last of my race” territory. Spock and Uhura kissing was bad enough as was an Enterprise bridge coming off as a tired recreation of an Apple store or an Enterprise engineering section pulled straight out of a manufacturing plant. That all paled in comparison, though, to the high crime of killing all the Vulcan homeworld. For that, there could be no forgiveness!

The last time we saw the planet Vulcan

The oft-maligned Damen Lindelof was also involved with Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and in an interview with Collider he explained that the decision to destroy Vulcan was done to knowingly evoke 9/11 and increase the dramatic stakes for the new versions of these old characters.  He claimed that they were all very aware that many fans wanted to see more of the fallout from that destruction in Star Trek Into Darkness.

I had no idea that anyone cared that much about the Vulcans. Love Spock? Sure; that’s a given among Star Trek fans. You might even find those enamored with Jolene Blalock’s T’Pol from Star Trek: Enterprise, who was basically Spock with rather pointy breasts (a Vulcan striving to understand humanity and bickering with her ship’s Captain as prelude to a lasting friendship). However, to me the Vulcans were never anything more than the originator of the Star Trek stock character type of the outsider struggling to understand humanity, a lineage beginning with Spock and extending to Data (an android) on Next Generation, Odo (a changeling) on Deep Space Nine, Seven of Nine (ex-Borg) on Voyager, and finally T’Pol. That’s not to say that all of those characters were always attempting to become more human or even wanted to, but they all served a similar function. Prior to Enterprise, actual Vulcan society, however, was mostly relegated to the random TV episode dealing, such as Next Generation’s multi-parter depicting some kind of political uprising on Vulcan, ultimately involving Spock and his dad, or any number of episodes involving Voyager’s resident Vulcan, Tuvok. Still, to me the Vulcans were mostly the people whose especially stern faces formed the background for why it was such a big deal whenever the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock came close to cracking a smile.

What I failed to see is that many people responded to the notion of the Vulcans basically being a highly evolved version of us, containing all of the same baser impulses and anger issues as humanity but tenfold. Their serene nature was a result of a people constantly suppressing their natural instincts, thus preaching a message of self-discipline and self-meditation. So, if I thought the Vulcans were maybe a tad boring others thought they were immensely noble with a kick-ass go-to move in hand-to-hand combat what with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.  A similar dynamic occurred when Russel T. Davies killed off the Time Lords when he revived Doctor Who, pleasing those who never cared for autocratic, d-bag aliens who wore funny hats but annoying those who found the Time Lords to be an entertaining and fundamental element of Doctor Who.

The Vulcans clearly have their fans. After all, everyone who sports Vulcan ears at Star Trek and similar nerd conventions can’t simply be dressing up as Spock, right?

star trek kirk-and-spock-shirtless-300x245
And now, for no reason, here’s a picture of Kirk and Spock having shirtless buddies time together

Interestingly, among the trio mostly commonly credited as being responsible for the new Star Trek – Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci – Orci is the one believed to have been a huge Star Trek fan prior to his involvement with the films. So, the exact plot he had put together with Star Trek 3’s two screenwriters was apparently going to do what Star Trek does best: Time Travel. According to BadAssDigest:

My sources tell me that the script Orci was working on saw the Enterprise, the Vulcans and a new alien race competing to get a time travel device. The Vulcans want to go back and stop the destruction of their planet, and the time travel schtick is what would allow Chris Pine and William Shatner to share the screen […] I’ve been in touch with some folks and it seems like the script was one of the problem factors. Paramount shut the production down last month, sending home all the design people while they battled over the direction of the screenplay. I imagine all this stuff is gone now.

Orci will still officially be involved with Star Trek 3 as a producer, but the industry scuttlebutt is that Paramount is now targeting Edgar Wright or Joe Cornish to direct. Whoever they hire will likely get to start with a story from scratch, which honestly sounds like the best idea. If Devin at BadAss is right, the script Orci had whipped up sounds like a story worth telling in maybe an officially sanctioned tie-in novel but not in an actual movie. Star Trek purists might even quibble over whether or not the high and mighty Vulcans, their lives forever ruled by logic, would even want to bend all of time and space to erase history, and anyone who remembers Star Trek Into Darkness could argue, “Wait, that movie was all about the impending war with the Klingons. So, how in the world does Star Trek 3 not finally involve the Federation Vs. The Klingons?”   Plus, they spent two freakin’ movies finally getting around to sending our new Enterprise crew out on their 5-year mission. Can we finally get to that, please?

I say all of that, though, as someone who does not particularly care for the Vulcans, but I know there are those who adore them. Does Orci’s plot focusing on the Vulcans and a mystery alien race actually intrigue you? Or should we simply be rejoicing that Paramount has apparently scrapped all of this before this craziness went any further?   And are you even looking forward to a Star Trek 3 at this point? Let me know in the comments.

Source: BadAssDigest


  1. “Prior to Enterprise, actual Vulcan society, however, was mostly relegated to the random TV episode dealing”…

    Well, that’s true but we certainly learnt too much from “Amok Time” – Vulcan sexual rituals, Fon Parr. This leads to Star Trek III and the theory that Spoke and Saavik got it on during his growth spurt. Star Trek III had a fair bit dealing with Vulcan society too.

    Now, I’m on of the people who finds the fascination with Klingons pretty boring. I liked them better when they were the bad guys. I liked it better when Kirk was

    1. My view on the Vulcans is undoubtedly influenced by the fact that I came to know Star Trek through The Next Generation first, the Original Cast movies second, followed by Deep Space Nine and Voyager. I didn’t actually circle back around to The Original Series until a couple of years ago. So, what I knew of the Vulcans was mostly contained to the stuff with Spock and Saavik and the other random Vulcans in the Original Cast movies and random Next Generation episodes. The only film or show that seemed to truly be interested in exploring the Vulcans in considerable depth was Enterprise, and from what I understand a lot of fans really hated the way that show turned the Vulcans into glorified d-bags. I thought it was interesting seeing a somewhat new side of them, though.

      I’m with you on the Klingons, btw. I liked Worf fine enough, and the half-human/half-Klingon on Voyager got some very Spock-like stories of an alien outsider struggling to be either Klingon or human. However, there is a definite fun, very, very Cold War aspect of those original films when it always kind of seemed like the Federation was the US and the Klingons were Russia, the two sides forever at each other’s throat.

  2. PS To answer you question, I am not sure if I should be excited about Star Trek (reboot) 3. Currently, I am not. They don’t need to bring back Shatner.

    I was excited about Star Trek (reboot) 2. At the end of the film, I could only think of one thing I really liked and it was that gratuitous shot. However, I could think of the many things I did not like such as how they brought Old Spock (unnecessary, lacking the great feeling of nostalgia and friendship in the reboot), the stupid super miracle blood, too much pointless fan service, Spock losing self-control for people he hasn’t know for very long (Pike, Kirk). Arg!

    1. I’m with you on Star Trek 3. This is a really interesting time for the franchise. Into Darkness made plenty of money, but it still came in under expectations and clearly angered the core fanbase of Trekkies. So, while Abrams helped kickstart the franchise into a new financial strata among Hollywood’s film franchises it’s still not quite up to the level of the elite players, not in terms of pure box office at least. Star Trek 3 needs to be dang good, then. It needs to win back fans, hardcore and casual alike, who may have been turned off by Into Darkness. It also needs to be the capper to whatever else Paramount might have planned for the franchise’s 50th anniversary. Then you read this rumor about what Orci and Co. had planned, and you can at least take comfort in the fact that Paramount shut all of that down. I agree that bringing Shatner back reeks of desperation. It’s a tough position for them to be in because they clearly want to do something special for the 50th Anniversary, turning Star Trek 3 into a potential multi-Captain film the same way Doctor Who does with its occasional multi-Doctor episodes. That being said, they’ve already gone the time travel route just two films ago meaning it seems too soon to do that again, yet I can’t think of any other way to include Shatner. I’d personally prefer they not force Shatner back in there. Let this new cast finally stand on their own if you believe in them, but I understand why they might be looking to throw in cameos.

      I actually recently re-watched Star Trek Into Darkness, hoping that maybe I’d see that I was too hard on it. I know Star Trek fans who really liked it. Maybe I’d need to do a Roger Ebert-like “Upon Second Thought” review admitting that Into Darkness was better than I thought. Yeah, that didn’t happen, largely because everything you said about Into Darkness is all the more glaring the second time around.

      1. I’ve rewatched Into the Darkness and I didn’t dislike it as much as the first time… but it’s still a strong let down.

        I agree that they can’t go back to time travel again so soon. It’s too much too soon. The only crazy idea I have for bringing Shatner back is as a voice over – like Daniel Stern’s older Kevin Arnold of the Wonder Years. Now that Kirk is immortal from the availability of superblood, we know that he’ll never die onscreen unless sufficiently vapourized and the audience has no expectation that he’s truly in danger.

  3. I hated the first one blowing up vulcan ruined events that happened in all the shows i grew up watching thats why it angered star trek fans and why its the most hated star trek movie. The second one wasnt much better it basically ripped off the wrath of khan. They both were more like something Michael Bay would do than a star trek movie and i find it surprising considering the intelligent cerebral quality of some of j.j.s shows but star trek was never meant to be lethal weapon in space. You would think J.J would have sat down and watched every episode and every movie of star trek to make a movie that respected the fans who have been watching the shows and movies for decades and would also bring in new fans but no he put out hollywood garbage and tried to pass it off as star trek ill be glad when they make the third movie then someone can make a new show or movie that is actually star trek instead of cliche hollywood crap i mean blow up Vulcan WTF

  4. With all the foofaraw over the J.J. Abrams movies, I have to wonder what a Star Trek movie written & produced / directed by Quentin Tarantino will be like. It will be violent & profanity – laden, but somehow true to the spirit of Trek TOS. This is pretty much a done deal, BTW.

    1. After everything that’s gone down with Tarantino recently I don’t know that anything with him can be considered a “done deal” right now. He stands accused of endangering his lead actress, enabling a sexual predator, and, as has always been the case, having a real case of foot-in-mouth disease (with his Polanski comments, which I know he’s apologized for now). It’s a complicated situation, but if the optics aren’t right for the studios some of his current deals could easily go away, particularly if talent starts walking away from him.

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