I generally had favorable things to say about the new Star Trek movie by J.J. Abrams but also wish that he hadn’t created an entirely different time line. While some hard core Star Trek fans vow to hate the Abrams Star Trek universe, I see no problem with both liking the movie and having qualms about one aspect of it. Some Star Trek fans oppose the movie both because of the way Abrams changed the time line and because they see him as a Star Wars as opposed to a Star Trek fan. Will Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation (but don’t hold that against him) responds to both of these criticisms.
Wheaton sees the value (which I have discussed ) in creating a new universe without caring about the downsides (which I have also discussed). He also interprets some of Abrams’ comparisons between Star Wars and Star Trek in a different way than others have:
…even though he doesn’t love Star Trek as much as we do, he surrounded himself with people who did, and listened to them when he made his movie.
I could be completely wrong, of course, but I think the story in Star Trek supports this: Spock Prime says, “Listen, I know that I’ve messed with the timeline in your universe, and things are never going to be the same. But the universe that existed before I traveled through time is still there, and now it’s up to you to explore this universe.”
It’s like JJ is simultaneously telling us, “I respect you. I respect the people and starships and adventures and universe that you’ve loved for 40 years. I’m not going to tell you that it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to tell you that you were wrong to love it, and now it’s all gone because I have shiny new effects and actors. It’s all there, and it’s yours to continue exploring as long as you want to.
“But I do have this new starship and a new crew, and we’re going to go explore some different places where no one has gone before. If you want to come along with us, you’re welcome to aboard. If not, bon voyage. If you treat her like a lady, she’ll always bring you home.”
This is the fundamental difference between what JJ Abrams did with Star Trek, and what George Lucas did with Star Wars. Lucas told us, “Hey, you know all that stuff you love so much? That stuff that’s been a huge part of your life? Well, you’re stupid for liking it because I didn’t mean it. These are my toys, always have been, and now I’m taking them back. Ha. Ha. Ha. Fuck you, now give me more of your money.”
I hope that Star Trek‘s legacy is two-fold. I hope that it leads to more movies with these actors and this creative team, and I hope that it encourages more studios and film makers to follow the example laid out by people like JJ Abrams, Zack Snyder, and Peter Jackson.
I mean, can you imagine Michael Bay’s Star Trek?
Sorry. Sorry. That was cruel, and I shouldn’t have put that image into your head. According to some quantum physicists, though, just thinking about that created a universe where it happened, and I’d like to apologize to everyone in it.