You’ve said that you guys kind of had this in mind for the second movie, even before you’d finished the first one, but you didn’t really lay any breadcrumbs, kind of like the way Batman Begins lays that breadcrumb for the Joker. Do you feel yourself setting up for something in the third one that we may not be able to see yet? Did you put anything in the movie that when we see the third movie could be like, “Oh wait a second. That actually ties in.”
Damon Lindelof: I would actually not necessarily agree with your premise. I think that in the first movie the destruction of Vulcan, essentially completely and totally set the stage for everything in this movie to happen. If Vulcan had not been destroyed, Marcus never would have come across the Botany Bay and he never would have started Section 31. All of those things happen as a direct result of actions that our crew is directly involved with in the first movie.
There are things that happen in this movie, particularly on Kronos, that will snowball, potentially, into the third movie. Does that mean that the Klingons are going to be the big bad in the third movie? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s certainly one of the things that we’re very cognitive of when you make moves like that, is you don’t get away clean. If everyone is telling him, “This is very bad, what you did down there,” there’s going to be a time to come and pay the piper for it. The third movie owes the ramifications of those story moves that we made in this movie. So, I would say that’s not going to be some completely and totally disconnected new adventure. At the same time, I would say that these new Trek movies should play a little bit like Bond movies, where there’s not a direct serialized thread between them.
Bryan Burk: In doing this film, it was important for this not to be a sequel in the sense that-- it’s the reason why it doesn’t have a number. We wanted to make a film that had you never seen Star Trek or you’ve seen it before and thought it wasn’t for you or you hated it or yada, yada, yada, you could go into this film and be pleasantly surprised that it’s not what you thought it was going to be. If you happened to have seen the last film, let alone been a Star Trek fan for 45 years, you’ll bring something different to the film, but it definitely had to be something that would appeal to as many people as possible.
And is that how you guys plan to go about as many Star Trek films as you’re able to make, that people can jump in on the next one without having to see the first one, on the 7th Star Trek movie or the 20th Star Trek movie?
Bryan Burk: I think we worked differently on different things, like Lost was a show where if you missed an episode, you were screwed, but by the same token as we move forward with Mission: Impossible or Star Trek or whatever it may be, there’s been twenty-something Bond movies and unless you are a diehard Bond fan, I would challenge that most people do not know the order of what came first and all the way through. Hopefully, if we do our job right, there’s a version of watching these Star Trek films in order, let alone, if we’re fortunate enough to make another one or if we keep going and there’s many of them, you’re able to jump in and experience them on their own.
Damon you mentioned that creating a new character out of Nero was successful in some ways and not others on the first Star Trek. I’m wondering if there is anything else from the first Star Trek that you kind of went into this one saying, “I’ve heard the people talking. Here’s what they say. Here’s how we can work around it this time.”
Damon Lindelof: I think that Nero was really--and by the way, I think that was a by-product of so many other things that had nothing to do with Eric Bana or the design of the character--but at the end of the day, Nero was just a walking talking McGuffin. He was the way we were going to break the gap to say, “All of that happened. All of the old Star Trek happened, but we need to be able to go our own way.” So, he was a device, and in fact, there was a lengthy sort of subplot involving him and you can see it on the DVD, that we ended up excising from the film, because the movie was just saying it wanted to be about Kirk and Spock and the rest of the crew coming together. So, I think that’s one of the lessons we learned from the first one, is that the good one isn’t really that important in Trek unless the villain is of critical importance and it would also have been very difficult for the audience to accept a new villain. I think if you look at the Trek films in particular in terms of what are the iconic villains of the Star Trek movies and then you say, “Ok, let’s just widen up the spectrum and say who are the iconic villains of all the Trek series?” You come up pretty short. There’s not a laundry list of amazing villains in Trek..
There is always a conversation of, “What are the fans going to think? Then also, “Is this going to make sense to people who are not fans, with a minimal amount of dialogue?” I always return to when I saw The Wrath of Khan for the first time. Wrath of Khan, I think I saw when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. I’d never seen any Star Trek before. I was aware of Dr. Spock, as I called him at the time, not Mr. Spock, but I didn’t know anything about Star Trek and I went and saw that movie and they get down to Ceti Alpha Five, Chekov and Paul Winfield, and they come across the Botany Bay and they come across this very creepy guy who takes his mask off and then proceeds to monologue for what feels like five minutes and all I got out of that monologue was they’d crossed paths before and this guys really, really hates Captain Kirk. That’s all I really needed to know to movie forward and it’s not like I went rushing home to find "Space Seed." I got it. Ultimately, I think the same challenge is always presented to us in these movies, which is, “Can we make something that is a cool callback for Trek fans, but have to make sense on an initial viewing for people who aren’t as familiar with the universe?”