The wonders of WonderCon never cease, do they? Amidst all the news related to upcoming sci-fi and comic based properties was the shining gem of the whole event, the panel for JJ Abrams Star Trek. The panel, which was composed of Abrams, Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), writer Robert0 Orci and producer Brian Burk, was a clear attempt by Abrams to appease the Trek die-hards that are all over the web blasting away at Abrams for disrespecting Trek in seemingly every way possible. Yes, some people are that upset about the new take on Trek. And yes, Abrams was desperately trying to win back the Trekkies. Let me explain.
At the panel, Abrams aired footage which has been described by some in attendance as “stunning.” The trailer reportedly introduced us to a much grittier and flashier Star Trek than many might remember from earlier movies and the numerous tv series’. The trailer was full of ILM’s handiwork, and the visuals displayed in the trailer were said to rival those from even the most revered sci-fi works. The new trailer was clearly designed to wow the people in attendance. All of that really has nothing to do with my assertion that Abrams was desperate to win back the Trekkies. What came after the trailer, however, does. The six who made up the panel skipped a moderated session entirely and went straight for fan questions, which they proceeded to answer for the better part of twenty-five minutes. They wanted to address the crowd. Who do you think was in the room for that panel, aside from the press? Trekkies. That’s who.
Abram’s pathetic attempts to make Trek look appealing to die-hards were obvious. The Q&A with the fans opened with a bold question: “Is your Trek something for die-hards, or is it something accessible?” Abrams response? “if we were just to make the movie for fans of Star Trek, then we would be limiting the audience enormously.” Okay, I get that, but couldn’t you make a movie that adheres to the canon AND is accessible to the audience? I submit that you can Mr Abrams! He attempted to over a short amount of solace to the Trekkies, saying that the movie was “made for you,” you being the Trekkies, of course. “We love and are beholden to the existing fans of Star Trek.” Abrams attributed a “great range” in the producers, from those who never saw Star Trek, to those who were fluent in its many iterations, as a strength played on to make the film accessible to newcomers and acceptable to loyalists. He also assured fans that there are “a million references,” and that it “adheres to canon. I’m sure there were tons of references in the film, but that is not the same as making a movie acceptable to the loyal Trekkies! I don’t think that Abrams truly understands what is required of him to make a movie that is acceptable to the legions over Trekkies. And a boycott by the Trekkies could seriously hinder the film’s money making abilities.
At one point, Abrams tried to steer the conversation towards the late, great Gene Roddenberry, guaranteeing the crowd that they were “so aware” of him and “so indebted” to him. That, Mr Abrams, is to be expected when you work on a project based on Trek. I was not impressed in the slightest. The actors participating in the panel did their best to support Abrams assertions, as both Pine and Quinto said all the right things about stepping into incredibly large shoes. Pine called the task “totally daunting.” Quinto tried to offer a different way to look at the questions, stating that “wasn’t an endeavor to try to recreate what was created before us.” By far the quietest member of the panel was Saldana, but even she attempted to offer some calming words to us all. She said one of the best parts was meeting with and working with some of the original cast members, like Leonard Nimoy, and to see how excited they were about the new film. She said “they blessed the entire project,” and also stated her excitement for the younger science fiction fans. She claims that the movie is “an opportunity for them to be introduced into this world that’s lived for over forty years.”
All the members of the panel said all the right things. All the things you would think would be said in an attempt to win over the angry die-hards. Am I just crazy, or is it clear to all of you? I’m pretty sure that Abrams is aware of the numbers of Trekkies, and just how much money he could make if they all came out to the movie multiple times, as they most surely would if the film was good. He doesn’t have to do anything to get mainstream audiences to go to the film. He knows that, we all do. Right now the job is clear: Get Trekkies into the theater. And that is why the panel was conducted in that manner, and it also explains all the responses that seemed like they were planned out and written on cue cards. Explain Abrams steering the conversation in other directions, I dare you! He did it so he could say the things he already had planned out, and it would seem genuine and sincere because they “improvised” and went straight to the Fan Q&A. But I see through your lies Abrams! I hope you all do too…