Bob Orci and JJ Abrams spoke with the Los Angeles Times on the set of Fringe, and the reporter snuck in some Star Trek 2 questions, such as: what will the plot be? Of course the secretive guys wouldn’t answer that – even if they could, since apparently they’ve only had two story meetings. But Orci did say this:

We haven’t decided anything but we’re starting to circle around some
ideas. We got a lot of fan response from the first one and a
considerable amount of critical response and one of the things we heard
was, ‘
Make sure the next one deals with modern-day issues.’
We’re trying to keep it as up-to-date and as reflective of what’s going
on today as possible. So that’s one thing, to make it reflect the
things that we are all dealing with today.

Which led the reporter to ask if ‘we might see Starfleet grappling with the ethics of
torture or dealing with a rising terrorist threat or perhaps a painful,
politicized war with the
Klingons.’ Orci’s reply:

“Well yeah, those are the kind of issues we’re
talking about. Wow, you’re good! But seriously that’s the way we’re
thinking, that’s an approach. So if you have any ideas … “

Allow me to simply say: ugh. I don’t think this is a terribly good idea on any level. First of all, torturing prisoners is old news. We stopped doing it. And being in an unpopular war… well, we’re trying to get out of ours right now, so that just doesn’t feel relevant. But both of these concepts will also do something that I think hurts the new Trek: remove some of the optimism.

Here’s your story, Orci. Feel free to steal it. The Federation is on the brink of war with the Klingons and someone in the Federation Senate or whatever trots out explosive evidence of a Klingon superweapon, and is using this to push the tides of public opinion. But Kirk and the gang know this is bullshit, and they head into Klingon space to prove it and avert the war. Sure, fake WMDs is old hat, but the spin here is that the actions of a few good people can change the world for the better. And the Senator would be outed as a total dick and all of the Federation would hate him, so it isn’t even like the Federation itself is tarred in the process. Seriously, you can have this one for free.