We cornered Roberto Orci last weekend and asked him whether the second Star Trek would follow the same pattern as Transformers 2: the hero refuses the call to heroism. He explained why Trek will be different, and talked Fringe.
We caught up with Orci on the red carpet at the SyFy/Entertainment Weekly party, last Saturday evening, and we had a lot of questions for him.
First of all, we asked Orci about his statements the other day that Star Trek 2 and 3 might have a linked storyline — maybe with a cliffhanger, or a plot thread that continues from one movie into the next. Orci downplayed the speculation, saying he, writer Alex Kurtzman, director J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and producer Bryan Burk had had one meeting, lasting 15 minutes, and they had considered for a brief moment the idea of doing the next two movies as a linked story. But it's still way too early to say anything definite, and they're still in the phase of throwing ideas out there and seeing what sticks.
When we interviewed Orci and his writing partner, Alex Kurtzman, about Transformers 2, they pointed out that it's very common for the second movie in a series to feature the protagonist trying to quit the "hero" racket. (Think Superman II or Spider-Man 2.) Transformers 2 follows that pattern, with Sam wanting to go off to college and lead a normal life. So we were wondering if Star Trek 2 would follow that formula as well — would we see Kirk thinking about quitting the Enterprise and going back to Iowa?
But Orci says the formula isn't iron-clad, and it doesn't apply to every second movie in a series. In the case of Trek, he sees the Enterprise crew as being much more committed to their mission and to doing good in the universe, so that kind of "hero no more" story wouldn't fit.
Meanwhile, Orci says that the Fringe writing staff had originally wanted to wait a few years before unveiling the "alternate world" storyline — but doing it now forces them to be more inventive about what happens next, and to create an even larger world to explore. "Let us force ourselves to come up with a bigger world. So you get a little bit of both. We wanted to answer things and see where that leads.
As for Cowboys And Aliens, the movie with the world's most self-explanatory title, Orci says, "We're wrapping up another draft, and hopefully that one will be good enough."