Even before the new Star Trek movie became a huge hit, Paramount had commissioned a sequel.
But now, with the movie firmly qualified as a mega-blockbuster, the pressure is on for JJ Abrams and his collaborators to deliver something that surpasses the original.
Abrams and crew claim they already have a few ideas. Here's what we'd like to see...
1. War With Romulus
The Romulans, Star Trek’s other pointy-eared race feature significantly in the first film, but only via Eric Bana's bad/mad guy Nero.
There’s a whole planet of them out there (well, at least for the next 100 years or so) and we’re sure they’ll have been aware of what happened between the Nerada and the Federation.
So what if the Romulans decide that Nero was on the right track and try to take advantage of the Federation’s problems following the attack on Vulcan?
Using the original series episode Balance Of Terror as a jumping-off point, we’d explore a battle of wits between Kirk and his equal among the Romulans.
Problem: JJ and co might want to steer clear of a repeat appearance of the race in the sequel.
JJ Abrams has previously said that he’s open to the idea of a return for Star Trek II's Khan Noonien Singh.
"Khan and Kirk exist — and while their history may not be exactly as people are familiar with, I would argue that a person's character is what it is," Abrams said of the notion that his Khan could be just as evil, even if Kirk never stranded him on Ceti Alpha V.
"Certain people are destined to cross paths and come together, and Khan is out there ... even if he doesn't have the same issues."
We’re not saying we want another Wrath Of Khan – even with their success, the new Trek team should in no way try to emulate that classic – but it would be interesting to see the two Ks clash again.
Space Seed is a great episode of the original series to base the story on, the plot shifts of the first film don’t affect Khan's origin, and he’s certainly a better villain than Nero.
Javier Bardem as Khan, please.
Next: A Trip To The Mirror Universe
3. Mirror, Mirror...
The various Star Trek series have a long history of exploiting the dark, parallel universe first created in the original series’ second season.
And what better villain for the revitalised, rebellious Kirk than a darker, evil version of himself?
But it has to be handled properly – and as an extra twist, what if the alternate Kirk was actually a woman? It would be a great role for a young actress and help to give more satisfying female roles in the film series.
Meanwhile, after the loss of his planet and his mother, the revelation of a goatee-sporting Evil Spock could send Zachary Quinto’s take on the character back over the edge again - and we all enjoyed it when Spock was going nuts.
Oh, and they could explore the very topical ethics of torture in true Trek debate style.
Our only real problem? The fact that they’re already in a slightly alternate universe – it might be too much for the sequel to delve into parallel worlds.
Next: A New Threat
4. A Whole New Threat
Breaking with historical Trek canon was a ballsy move, so how about following that up with ignoring all the races already developed for the series and throwing in a new species?
The main problem with the idea is that Trek itself has a patchy history of formulating villains – some memorably threatening (The Borg, before they got watered down in Voyager) and some… not so much (The Ferengi – they were supposed to be the big new threat in the early years of The Next Generation).
And there have been so many races through the years that trying to dream up something new will be fraught with comparisons (“Meh. They’re not as cool as the Dominion...”)
But that doesn't mean the team shouldn’t try. What about a proper space dwelling race who decide that the Federation and co are encroaching on their territory and must be taken out?
Eco-messages and big, impressive battles ahoy!
Next: Gorn Again
5. The Gorn
Best known from the original series episode Arena (AKA 'the one where a shirtless Kirk fights a walking lizard'), the Gorn have been underexplored in general in the series and even in the novels.
The second Trek film would be a great opportunity to see more of their world and their culture – even though you wouldn’t get to explore as much as, say, a multi-episode arc on one of the shows, we’re sure it would still be a fascinating glimpse at the race.
Plus, given the vastly increased movie budget and effects technology, JJ would finally have the ability to portray the creatures properly.
But after the shonky CG version on TV’s Enterprise, maybe the men-in-suits approach would be wiser. Just make the suits better.
Next: Mudd In Your Eyes
6. Mudd’s Women
Plenty of fans – and non-fans, to boot – like the level of humour in Trek.
Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman brought lots of the funny to the first film, and there’s no reason the villain in the second movie couldn’t carry a less angsty, more comedic tone.
Nero was many things, but aside from his moment on the viewscreen (“Hi Christopher, I’m Nero...”), funny he was not.
One of the more beloved comical villains in the original series was Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd, a con man and scoundrel who crossed paths with Kirk and the crew twice.
He’s gone on to have massive popularity, appearing in comic books and spin-off novels.
More recent rumour guff has seen Jack Black in “negotiations” for the role, but regular Abrams collaborator Greg Grunberg (mind-reading cop on Heroes) has also mentioned he’d like to play the role.
“I would absolutely love to play Harry Mudd - that would be incredible,” he told Trek Movie.
“I would have to redefine the character and do it the way I see doing it, but that character to me has comedy and brings levity and I would be able to work with robotic chicks. How fun would that be?”
Fun? Yes. Robotic ladies? Maybe we’ll leave that bit in the ‘60s…
Next: Parasite Plan
7. Alien Parasite Attack!
Easily one of the greatest episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Conspiracy featured a nasty race of alien parasites that infested Starfleet command and saw Picard and his crew facing down their own commanders in a race to stop the creatures taking over the Federation.
We like it so much, we even made the parasites one of our favourite Trek monsters a while ago.
How about exploring something similar with Kirk, Spock and the rest, allowing the filmmakers to explore corruption and illegal wars, Trek-style?
McCoy could get infected, forcing Kirk and Spock to try to save their - ironically ailing - doctor friend...
Drama, tension and weird beasts sprouting out of flesh. Trek does Alien!
Next: Klingon To Something Classic
Okay, okay, we know… They’ve been overused.
But with a new universe comes new possibilities – how have the changes wrought by the space-time warping MacGuffin of the first film affected everyone’s favourite warrior race?
We’d like to find out. We know the Klingons are kicking about – they captured Nero in a subplot that was snipped from Abrams’ film, so why not have them come looking for a little vengeance (he destroyed several ships on the way out).
In fact, since Nero is a Romulan, you could combine idea No.1 and this and see the two races sparking off a conflict that drags in the Federation.
While we’re not sure we want the second Star Trek outing to fall into typical Bigger Must Be Better thinking, a blast from the past could be just what it needs.
Next: Personal Conflict
9. Spock vs Kirk
The latest Trek movie – just as its creators kept promising – focused heavily on the Kirk/Spock relationship and how it moved from fractious to friendship.
But we don’t think they should leave it in typical rom-com 'first they hate each other, then they love each other' territory.
Some of the more emotionally satisfying moments of the original series saw the two friends brought back into conflict, either through emotional means (Amok Time, which sees Spock’s mating urge lead to him battling Kirk on Vulcan) or necessity (The Cage, with Spock disobeying orders to help Captain Pike).
There's plenty in the new film that could lead to issues down the line – what if some of the surviving Vulcans decide that revenge for the destruction of Vulcan is logical and Spock decides to help?
We’ve seen he can be a callous git in his treatment of Nero at the end of Trek.
It would be another personal plot that would let Orci, Kurtzman and fellow writer Damon Lindelof explore the characters they crafted even further, without needing some huge, wannabe epic threat.
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