JJ Abrams boldly goes into space

The man behind M:I:III is taking over the next Trek movie

Now this is something no one could have seen coming. A year ago, the Star Trek franchise was well and truly dead in space, with the most recent TV incarnation (Enterprise) cancelled and little real development happening on the films.

The stars of the Next Generation had resigned themselves to the fact that no one seemed to want to watch another film with them in it and their leader - Patrick Stewart - is happier on stage or playing Professor X.

But now comes word that current Paramount golden boy JJ Abrams, who is drawing geeky acclaim for M:I:III, has been handed the reigns of the company’s most reliable workhorse. Yes, the man who created Alias and Lost is getting to play in Gene Roddenberry’s universe, producing and directing the 11th movie in the billion-earning franchise.

And he’s bringing some friends. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who worked on Alias and co-wrote M:I:III will pen the script, with Lost producers Bryan Burk and Damien Lindelof also involved.

So what’s the concept? It’s early days, but the film will apparently focus on the formative years of William Shatner’s Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock. We’ll see how they first met at Starfleet Academy and follow their first training mission in space. But that timeframe means that we won’t be seeing Shatner and Nimoy strapping on corsets and wigs to play themselves as younger men - this will require a new cast. And it also shuts out the crews of the various Trek spin-offs. But if it means that the Enterprise lot don’t get to be in a movie, then we’re doing cartwheels down the street.

Also not mentioned in Paramount’s release is Rick Berman, the man widely credited with helping to re-start Star Trek’s mass appeal and also loathed for driving it into the ground in search of the almighty fan dollar. Previous rumours had Berman assigning Erik Jendresen to pen a script based on the years before Kirk and Spock, but we can assume that idea is now flying out of the window at high warp.

So, greatest Trek idea ever or disaster waiting to happen? This one’s gonna clog the Internet for decades…