Paramount is concerned. J.J. Abrams’ “Into Darkness”, the sequel to his Star Trek reboot didn’t fare as well as they hoped. “STID” only garnered $70 million domestically it’ first week and has a domestic total of 210.5 million as of June 16, 2013. While not bad, that’s less than Paramount expected.
So what went wrong? Apparently a lot! Web pages everywhere are exploding with the mistakes of “Into Darkness” and the way that J.J. Abrams has taken the culture off course.
Pause for a moment and let that last sentence sink in.
The culture is off course.
That’s where J.J. is making his mistake. He’s seeing the franchise as a franchise and not the philosophical culture it is. J.J. Abrams has recently said that he wasn’t a Trek guy and that Star Trek in general is “Too Philosophical” for him. He sees it as a product; same as Paramount. They want to entertain, get return customers, and have a high profit margin, but they are trying to get the results without having the complete formula. It’s akin to making a cake and not having eggs in the batter. Nothing holds together.
You need the culture.
The culture of Star Trek is its philosophy. I.D.I.C. – Infinite Diversity from Infinite Cultures. Star Trek was morality stories told through a science fiction angle. Having different aliens discovered allowed the audience to look at the event happening around them from an outsider’s point of view. This is what J.J. needs to get Star Trek back to in order to rebuild the excitement and passion for the franchise and its future. He needs to embrace the philosophy and culture that is Star Trek to save Star Trek.
But what about the youth audience? Those 25 and younger you ask. Studies have shown that the 25 and younger crowd makes up just 25% of the viewing audience. That means the other 75% has seen Star Trek in one form or another before the J.J. version. That means they know the culture even if some of them don’t consider themselves a part of it.
There is an argument to be made that today’s movies are now made with an expected total profit to be made in a 20% domestic and 80% foreign market with a focus on China. If that’s true, than it looks even worse for J.J.s Star Trek because while it did rank number 1 in the box office, “Into Darkness” only made 43 million its opening weekend in China. Not the 20/80 split they were hoping for.
This doesn’t mean we ignore these segments of the audience. Never. They are appreciated and desired, but they are a part of the continuum. –Ahem.
Luckily there is a way to get Star Trek back on the right path and jump start the passion that the fans so want to feel again. The next Star Trek movie.
Forget the title for now. I have no idea what it would be. The main point is to bring back the philosophical process to the story. This is how I would do it.
The Enterprise has just started it’s five year mission of exploration and discovery; unfortunately, due to the events of Admiral Marcus and Khan, the Klingons believe that Star Fleet is using the Enterprise as “The Tip of the Spear” to cut through their territory, subverting their influence and sabotaging their trade economy. Plus the fact that the Klingon culture would never let the insult of their planet and people being used as a puppet for war. Kirk has to figure out a way of letting the Klingon’s know that he and Star Fleet are not trying to destroy the Klingon Empire or rule it through subversion.
Sub Plot – Kirk:
Having almost killed the crew with his arrogance and inexperience, Kirk vows to protect his crew. He becomes over protective and tried to take all the risks himself. This becomes a stress point between him and Carol; which have become a couple since “Into Darkness”.
Sub Plot – Carol Marcus:
Carol is one of the high ranking science officer’s on the ship, second to Spock, but the crimes of her father and her relationship with Kirk cause members of the crew to misjudge and distrust her. (Think “Drumhead” from Next Generation) These events along with Kirks irrational actions of taking on every dangerous mission himself causes her to leave the ship and quit Star Fleet entirely at the end of the movie.
McCoy tries to talk to Kirk about his recklessness and to accept the limits he has.
“Damn it Jim! You’re a man, not God.”
“No Bones, I’m a Capitain. I play god with their lives every day. I’ll be damned if I kill them through my mistakes.”
Spock and Uhura talk about how Carol’s relationship with Kirk is hurting her career and discuss how to make sure that doesn’t happen to Uhura.
Checkov and Sulu discuss the Kirk Carol situation and Sulu states he will find a way to make a career in Starfleet and a relationship in life work.
“Everything in balance.” – Sulu
Scotty tells Spock the joys of loving the Enterprise.
“Why in the galaxy would you ever want to live with a woman? There’s no communicating with them, I tell you. Now a ship, she’ll tell you everything she needs and in return, she’ll take you to places you’ve never dreamed of.” –Scotty.
This is just the basics of what could be a great movie and new breath to the culture of Star Trek. You have action, drama, concern, hope, and philosophy. Everything that an episode Star Trek needs.
So J.J., if you are reading this, feel free to contact me. I’ve got a link on the top banner. I can save Star Trek and make the passion come alive.
LeVar Burton said that Star Trek is missing Gene. I think I can help there too.