Why Harlan Ellison May Be A Good Thing For New Trek

Oh, how we laughed when we heard that Harlan Ellison had offered to write the sequel to JJ Abrams' Star Trek, despite a recent lawsuit over his previous work on the franchise. But then we realized it could work.

Ellison may have a reputation as someone who doesn't suffer fools gladly, and he may have sued Trek owners CBS over royalties from his "City On The Edge Of Forever" episode from the original TV series (and written that the show "can turn your brains to purée of bat guano"), but it's his admiration for JJ Abrams that would make working on the next Trek movie an attractive proposition:

I would jump at the chance to work with the inordinately-talented J.J. Abrams on a new Star Trek film... Where the downside to getting topside of the radar of J.J. Abrams? This guy ain't Roddenberry. He's a writer I respect, whose work has frequently blown the lid off my box of supriseability. But then again, he already knows that. It isn't as if I'd kept my admiration chained in the darkest cell of the basement of Bedlam.

He suggested reworking his original pitch for the original Trek movie, but added that "[i]f the very smart Abrams didn't want to go that way, I would be wide-open to rethinking such a film from the git-go."

But before you reject this public offer as misguided or an unusual publicity stunt, consider the potential of an Ellison/Abrams/Kurtzman/Orci/Lindelof collaboration on a new Star Trek. One of the criticisms leveled at the new movie was that it lacked the intellectual element of the original series, replaced with special effects and action; wouldn't Ellison be able to bring some of that [back] to the table? "City" is one of the most famous Trek episodes, and not just for the controversy surrounding it, after all (Yes, we know that it was heavily rewritten; that's why we're suggesting an Ellison/Abrams/Kurtzman/Orci/Lindelof collaboration, and not just Ellison writing solo). Bringing Ellison into the Trek writers braintrust, even just in initial stages - with, of course, appropriate credit and compensation to avoid lawsuits down the road - could be a winning proposition for Abrams and company: It would potentially add a new element to the story, make a public display of reaching out to the old guard to appease old school fans still upset about the reboot and, if nothing else, get some great publicity for the movie no matter the outcome. Surprisingly, we're kind of all for it. Someone get Paramount on the phone!