The Secret Guild of Movie-Writers
Episode 1: Stupidly Treking Into Darkness
Mere days after the release of J.J.Abrams’ Star Trek reboots the franchise to huge success, three key members of the Guild of Movie-Writers (we’ll call them Misters A, B and, er, C) meet to discuss plans for the follow-up-
Mr A. Well gentlemen, its official- Paramount have contacted JJ and they want a sequel pronto. Any ideas?
Mr B. Well, I have an idea. I was looking at my girlfriends DVD collection-
Mr C. I always said, the best place for ideas is a DVD collection…(Mr A nods sagely)
Mr B. –yes, well, I saw this disc on the shelf, it was Star Trek 2: The Wrath of… er, Wotisname…
Mr A. Hmmm. I think I know the one you mean…
Mr B. Yeah, its supposed to be a fan favourite, and the critics quite liked it. Maybe we could use that. I mean, its movie #2 and everything, its like a perfect fit. Does half our work for us. And if the fans liked it the first time, they’ll love it the second time, right? I mean, its, like, the ‘Golden Law of Hollywood Sequel-making’ or something isn’t it? Give it ’em once, give it ’em twice, give it ’em thrice!
Mr C. Yeah, we could. The beauty of these reboots is that you can freely remake…
Mr A. I hate that word. ‘Remake‘ is such a dirty word. I prefer ‘re-imagine’…
Mr C. -ahem, I mean, find inspiration from other peoples brighter ideas. Its not a if we even had to create characters for that first film, it was all done for us. Fantastic. Did that script in a weekend. Wotisname… er, Kang was it? He could be a cool villain. We could lift whole scenes from that movie, maybe twist things around a bit, obviously. It ain’t a remake or anything. Maybe make Kang a woman maybe! Or British!
Mr B. I dunno, I thought Kang was some kind of Oriental Super Soldier in the tv show. British?
Mr C. The best villains are British, everyone knows that.
Mr A. Well, I had a cool dream last night about the Enterprise racing around underwater.
Mr B. What? But it’s a spaceship, not a bloody submarine.
Mr C. That’s my fault. Well, I was telling him the other day about Cameron setting Avatar 2 in the Ocean…
Mr A. Well, there was big fire-breathing dragons chasing the Enterprise under the sea to Beatles music, but that’s not important. You see, I had this cool image of the Enterprise rising out of the sea. Really. It was so cool even in my dream I thought, wow, beauty-shot for trailer!
Mr B. Yeah, that’s true, the marketing boys would love that for their trailer. Wonder how we fit that into our film though?
Mr C. Well Bond had pre-credit action scenes, and JJ had one in Trek with Kirks daddy biting the Big One. So we have a big, big pre-credit action sequence, loads of explosions and shouting and CG shit. Yeah, cap it off with the Enterprise rising out of the sea and escaping into space. Bingo! Blow 20% of the fx budget. Mega-CG quota filled in first ten minutes, the geeks will be wetting themselves for more. Genius!
Mr B. But I still don’t know why they are in the sea, sounds stupid, it’s a space movie, after-all…
Mr C. Nah, they’ll love it! No-one expects an under-water Space movie! The Enterprise in the sea- like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea man, I loved that show! Yeah. Man, I always said you don’t need to know jackshit about Trek to write a Star Trek movie.
Mr B. Well, the success of this first one proved that.
Mr C. Yeah. Infact, it proved that the best person to write a Star Trek movie is someone who knows nada about Star Trek. I never watched any of those ‘sixties shows. Not one. I said to JJ, “JJ, I’m your man! I don’t know my Kirk from my Yoga,
Mr A. Yoda.
Mr C. Yeah, Yoda. I said, “JJ I’m perfect for your project!” Actually I said the same to Ridley the other day, he’s canvassing ideas for a new Alien movie and I think I got the gig. I said, “Ridley, I never seen your Alien tv show and I couldn’t tell you when it last aired, but I got this idea about ten-foot tall bald guys ruling the universe…”
Mr B. But I still don’t know what a spaceship is doing being a submarine…the Trekkies will go nuts. When you had the Enterprise being built in the desert in that first one, a lot of them wanted to know what the hell happened to the Space Dock in that Motion Picture.
Mr C. Ah, screw ’em. Don’t worry about the Trekkies. I saw this review the other day for Star Trek. It said, “A Star Trek movie for everyone who doesn’t like Star Trek!” man that dude nailed it. Screw the Trekkies. What they got to do with it?
Mr A. “Keep it secret, keep its safe!” (Giggles) I love that man, that gay wizard is so cool.
Mr B.What? Is that Tolkien?
Mr C. Peter Jackson.
Mr A. “Keep it secret. Keep it safe!” Its a spy mission or something. The Enterprise is on a cloak and dagger mission and its hiding in the sea!
Mr B. But that doesn’t make sense. Surely the best way to keep hidden is stay in orbit and beam the crew down.
Mr C. What? What are you talking about?
Mr B. Well, you’re trying to tell me that flying from deep space into a planets atmosphere, re-entry and everything, and then crashing into the ocean and somehow flying around down there is quieter or more secret or safer than just staying up in orbit… well, the Trekkies won’t buy it for a second. Beam the crew down like they did in the tv show. In this last movie, you beamed people from one planet to a ship in warp and that’s already got plenty of Trekkies in a hissy fit, I seen those forums, This underwater stuff…
Mr C. Ah, screw ’em. Infact, I say we give those cretins the finger and beam someone from one end of the galaxy to the other, see what they make of that!
Mr A. Well, there you go! Settled then. We start with the Enterprise on a mission in the ocean and get it into space in a big jaw-dropping fx shot. And Mr.C, I think you’re onto something with that beaming across the galaxy thing. We could use that when the Kang guy has to make a dastardly exit. Cut out all that using a spaceship nonsense. That’s so old.
Mr B. How the hell does that work anyway? You beam someone instantly across light years of space that takes a spaceship at Warp 9 hours or even days or weeks. Where’s the mechanism, the power, how the hell does it even work?
Mr C. Yeah, well, that’s nothing, I’m all for having a space battle at warp-speed, you know, in that Hyper-Space or whatever they call it. Imagine how cool the CG fx wil be with all that glowing swirling space stuff and laser guns going badda! badda! badda! It’ll be like a spaceship gunfight on acid. Lucas will be choking on his cornflakes, it’ll piss all over his old Star Wars rubbish. Star Trek is so rock and roll man.We’re gonna make Star Wars look like some old black and white movie.
Mr B. Spaceships dogfighting in Hyper-Space? They REALLY ain’t gonna let you get away with that.
Mr C. We can get away with anything. Trust me, as long as the editing is tight and the sound is loud and the fx are bright and trippy the audience won’t even have time to think, they’ll be in a goggle-eyed trance chewing up all the eye candy. Transformers movies have been doing it for years. So we have the Enterprise in the sea, Kang beaming himself across the galaxy, a space-dogfight at Warp speed… oh yeah, Simon Pegg screaming “she canna hold together Captain!” we gotta do that, Simon’s so funny.
Mr A. I’ll tell you what else we need. Klingons. We didn’t have ’em in the first movie, they gotta be in the second.
Mr B. I don’t know, that Wrath of Kang/Wotsisname movie didn’t have Klingons in it, not that I remember anyway.
Mr A. Well, I tell you what. When Kang beams himself across the galaxy, hows about he lands on Krypton?
Mr B. Krypton? Don’t you mean Klingon?
Mr A. Klingon! Klingon yeah, I don’t know, all this geek stuff is so confusing. So he goes to Planet Klingon and Kirk has to chase over there and capture him and yeah, has to kick some Klingon ass to do it! Cool. More fighting, explosions. CG fx.
Mr C. Hey, I don’t mind telling you guys, this is sounding like one cool bloody movie. I’m talking Oscar here, no really. All we need is some pathos to mix with the flash-bang stuff. How about we make Kang a terrorist, that’s hip at the moment. Everybody knows every quality bad guy these days has to be a terrorist blowing shit up. Lets have him blow up StarFleet. No. Paris! No. London!
Mr A. I hate London. I had a holiday with the wife there a few years ago, pissed down all week and the people kinda smelled funny. Lousy, dirty, really ugly place, yeah, I vote we blow up London. And maybe have Kang kill someone Kirk knows. Make it personal.
Mr B. Well, that Pike guy is like a mentor to him, I suppose we could bring him back into it, have Kang kill him, or put him in that floating wheelchair.
Mr C. Wheelchair?
Mr B. The Menagerie. One of the tv episodes, nevermind, I guess its not important. So we get Kirk all vengeful. ‘Star Trek With A Vengeance!’, sounds like a good title.
Mr C. Can’t use that, Willis did something like that. Maybe ‘Wrath of Kirk’, yeah, that would put a clever spin on the original?
Mr B. I dunno, maybe we should have a script before we have a title. Lets carry on.
Mr A. That second film. Didn’t they kill Spock in that?
Mr C. You’re kidding. They killed Spock?
Mr A. Well, yeah, they brought him back from the dead in the next one, obviously, but yeah, they killed Spock.
Mr B. I don’t know, if we kill Pike and then we kill Spock, Kirk’s gonna be pretty pissed off with Kang, it’ll be all Apocalypse Now or something, really really dark, like, a Journey Into Darkness…
Mr A. Perfect. Star Trek Into Darkness!
Mr B. Does that even make sense?
Mr A. Who cares? We kill Pike and Spock, and then Kirk goes all Rambo in the Jungle after Kang. Yeah, I can feel that Oscar in my sweaty paw already. Sweet. That Chris Pine guy will love us. He’ll be able to frown and emote and shout and scream and over-act. Actors love all that.
Mr C. Or maybe… maybe we kill Kirk instead of Spock. Yeah, stay with me on this, think about it. We do the death scene like in that original movie, only… switch it, yeah? You know, its a reboot, not a remake, yeah? The same… but different?
Mr A. That’s so clever man I wish I’d thought of it. And that Spock actor can go all hell-for-leather crazy and scream and rage ‘cos he loves Kirk and… yeah, I know, we gotta be subtle with it but everyone knows the gay fans are a huge deal ticket-wise and Kirk and Spock are like, secret lovers or something… What? What are you looking at me like that for?
Mr B. You gotta be kidding me.
Mr C. I like it. I thinks its got Pathos. I got tears in my eyes already just thinking about it. It’ll be like the scene in Romeo and Juliet, we’ll bring the house down, even the Trekkies will be bawling their eyes out
Mr B. I’m sure they will. Spock is a Vulcan, zero emotions, remember? And besides, they hardly know each other. The beauty of that Wrath of kang movie was that the characters shared a decades-long friendship, the actors in real-life and the characters with years together in the story, years of adventures, through thick and thin. When Spock sacrificed himself in that movie it was a big deal, all the tv series and stuff. But in our reboot, well they haven’t even started the five-year mission yet.
Mr C. What are you talking about? Seriously, do you know anything about writing movies?
Mr B. But we have to be honest to the tv show, the franchise, we can’t just piss all over it.
Mr A. Did you even see the first movie? Man, when Mr C said bring you along into this because you’d seen a few episodes I thought it might be a good idea, save hiring that Research Girl with those funny glasses, but I dunno. I don’t think you are at all serious about this entire enterprise.
Mr C (snigger) That’s funny. I see what you did there.
Mr B. You guys are crazy. Kill Kirk? He’s the star of the movie. You’ll never get away with it.
Mr A. We will if we press the reset button and bring Kirk back from the dead, get our two lover-boys back together for movie three.
Mr C. Magic blood.
Mr B. What?
Mr C. We bring a dead Tribble back to life with magic blood and McCoy see’s it, and being a smart doctor and everything, says, bingo, lets inject Kirk with this magic blood.
Mr B. Magic Blood? Are you crazy?
Mr A. Well, maybe its Kang’s blood or something. He’s a superhuman or something, yes? Maybe it gives Kirk superpowers for movie three!
Mr C. Not bad, not bad. Maybe he can have X-ray vision and ogle all the broads…
Mr B. But this death scene, what’s Kirk doing down in Engineering fixing the ship? Isn’t he supposed to be fighting Kang? Where’s Scotty, he’s the guy always fixing the engines.
Mr A. Well, maybe we sack him, or he quits. Get him off the ship somehow anyway.
Mr C. I don’t know, I like that Simon fella. He’s funny.
Mr A. Oh, we’ll bring him back, maybe Kirk can call him from Klingon and Scotty will re-join the team. Only not in time to fix the engines, obviously.
Mr B. What, Kirk just dials his phone and calls Scotty who is across the galaxy having a coffee searching the classifieds for a new job?
Mr C. Sure. Smartphones are even smarter in the future, remember.
Mr B. But that’s just crazy. You are already beaming people across the galaxy, and now you’re ringing across the cosmos, chatting to someone over on Earth for help, with just a communicator. What the hell does Kirk need Uhura for if he’s dialing Earth for help on his own communicator? And won’t there be any time delay? I suppose you are saying the conversation’s in real-time across all those light-years?
Mr A. You’re just being picky, the kids will love it.
Mr B. But you’re creating plot-holes for every future Trek movie. Every time anyone is in any trouble, they’ll just need to ring Starfleet back home and get them to send in help.
Mr A. Actually this gives me an idea. Lets throw those Trekkies a bone. They like that Lennie Nimmoy fella don’t they? You know, he plays that old Spock that’s hanging around. How about we get him in the action again? Lets get our ‘new’ Spock to ring him up for a bit of advice during the movie.
Mr B. You’re kidding me. Spock give the old Spock a call for a quick chat? During all the action I suppose, tips on how to nail Kang.
Mr A. Yeah, that’s it. Now you’re getting it. That’s great man. He can tell our Spock about Kang’s Kryptonite. You know, his weakness, his Achilles heel.
Mr B. But every time in future Trek movies when they encounter something like the Doomsday Machine or something, Spock will be able to give the old Spock a ring and ask his advice.
Mr A. Doomsday Machine? That sounds good. Think we can fit one of them in this movie?
Mr B. This is going to be the stupidest thing ever.
Mr C. You crazy, Mr B. This things going to be the biggest, most successful Star Trek ever! Trust us, we know what we’re doing! Get the word processor out, Mr A, and set it for Stun!
Mr A. Thats Stun as in STUNNING Mr C!
Mr C. Right on, brother! JJ’s gonna love this….