Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Star Trek 2: The Klingons

No, no, no, no, no! I have no idea about what the next Star Trek film will be like. I have no idea who or what will be in the next Star Trek film. This is just my imagination. Never, ever say that I told you that Klingons will be in the next J.J. Abrams Star Trek film. It would be a lie. I haven't the faintest idea what's up his sleeve.

I did just read the latest blog on the next Star Trek film including a quote by Zoe (Uhura) Saldana:

"I know it's gonna be amazing. We still haven't gotten a script yet," she said of progress on the film, which Access has confirmed with a source will begin shooting in mid-January, and won't be called Star Trek 2. "We're very excited to read it and get back into space."

"I know it's gonna be amazing. We still haven't gotten a script yet." Cute.

So, who or what should be featured in the sequel to Abrams' 2009 runaway hit? I once read an article about Star Trek that said its success rose and fell by the use of its villains. That's probably true. When a Trek film or TV episode doesn't have a definitive "bad guy", it isn't nearly as interesting. I think that's what made Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) so much fun. It's not the best film in the world, but Ricardo Montalban must have had an absolute blast playing Kahn.

So who are the 23rd century's best Star Trek baddies? The Romulans and Klingons, of course. Don't even suggest the Borg or any of Picard's other playmates. For lack of anything better to do, the rather disappointing Star Trek: Enterprise series threw in a bunch of races that weren't supposed to even be a whisper in the 22nd century, and it screwed up the Trek continuity even more than it already was. The idea of a Star Trek reboot is to wipe away all of that stuff and start from scratch.

But not completely. One of the things that "Enterprise" did right was to bring back cool races like the Andorians and the Tellurites (see the STTOS episode Journey to Babel for details). I think that's at least a portion of what the Abrams films should do, preserve the best of the original and clean up the leftovers.

OK, I'm tossing the Romulans out of the second film just because a bunch of futuristic Romulans were prominently featured in the first film. That leaves the Klingons (and remember, I know nothing...nothing). This would be a good time to try and get Klingons straight. For instance, when first seen in the original Star Trek series, they were a bunch of swarthy thugs with no redeemable social qualities. No honor. No glory, No Bat'leths. They were just interstellar jerks (although Michael Ansara as Kang was pretty good). Romulans were a lot more compelling (especially since Mark Lenard played a Romulan before he ever became Spock's daddy).

By the time the first (awful) Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) came along, somebody decided to change their appearance to make them seem more alien, probably because the film had a $40 million budget and they had money to burn on a little extra latex (and Mark Lenard cameoed as a Klingon in the beginning of the trivia bit). But no one ever explained the change in appearance.

It came to a head in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Episode Trials and Tribble-ations where Worf and the DS9 gang travel back in time and invade the original series episode The Trouble with Tribbles. Worf is a 24th century Klingon. The original "Tribbles" episode is full of old, 23rd century TV Klingons. The two look nothing alike. The only comment Worf makes is: "We don't like to talk about it."

Thanks to reboot city, all of the inconsistencies that have built up in the Star Trek timeline just go bye-bye. Any mistakes that happen now belong to Abrams and company (and they already screwed up by "disappearing" Jim Kirk's older brother George Samuel Kirk).

The Klingons and Romulans were introduced in the original series as a parallel to the cold war era and the U.S. "relationship" with the Soviet Union and Communist China. If Abrams keeps the same basic history (and Klingons were briefly mentioned in the first film), then there was a Federation/Klingon war at some point. It didn't go well for either side and a rough truce was formed. There's a neutral zone between the two "empires". It's the cold war all over again with border skirmishes, spies, political intrigue, and all that cool space 007 stuff.

Or the war hasn't happened yet. Abrams could decide to go big and have the Earth/Klingon relationship start off hesitant and untrusting but not outright hostile...until the second film. Then all Sto'Vo'Kor...uh, hell breaks loose. Either way, rewriting history and reinventing the Klingon race into a more complicated, not entirely evil but always dangerous enemy would be fabulous.

Of course, that's only one possible option. If Kirk meets and has a relationship with Carol Marcus this time around, maybe there'll be a future David to be killed by the Klingons all over again in 30 years or so. In the meantime, Kirk could still get to kick some alien ass, make plenty of enemies, and seduce his way across half the quadrant like in the good old days.

We'll just have to wait and see. None of the principal actors have even seen the script yet.

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