A mysterious scooper has given Robert Sanchez of IESB.net some information about the first couple of pages of the script for Star Trek XI*, which is being produced under the auspices of Mr. JJ Abrams, of Alias, Lost and Mission: Impossible 3 fame. IESB reports that while the first few pages of the script don’t give too much info away, it does include some character names. As has been rumored – and essentially confirmed by William Shatner – there’s a young Kirk and Spock in there. Sanchez also reports that Scotty shows up. And here’s the big one, although any Star Trek fan worth his Man Trap Salt Vampire must have been thinking about this character: Captain Christopher Pike.
For those of you who grew up watching football games on TV and not cursing them to end so that the midnight repeats of Star Trek could start, let me tell you about Pike. He was the captain of the Enterprise before James Kirk, and Mr. Spock served as his science officer. This bit of continuity came about because the original pilot for Star Trek didn’t star William Shatner but rather Jeffrey “The Searchers” Hunter in the role of the captain of the ship. The pilot, called The Cage, was scrapped and a new pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, was shot, minus Pike and plus Kirk. Spock stuck around and got a promotion to First Officer. Later, footage from The Cage was incorporated into a two-parter called The Menagerie, which not only established Pike in continuity as the original captain of the Enterprise, but also showed him in the “present” as a guy covered in burn make-up and inside a wheelchair covered by a cardboard box. It’s the 23rd century and the only way this crippled wreck of a man can communicate is by a light that beeps once for yes and twice for no! Imagine if Stephen Hawking was stuck in a box like that?
Aaaaanyway (he said, ashamed of being able to write all of that without looking it up), while the news is technically small, it gives a hint at the level of continuity Abrams et al will be sticking with. IESB also says that the script shifts time periods, but I am willing to bet that this is only to accommodate older Kirk and Spock reminiscing about how the young James T ended up becoming the captain of the Enterprise.
By the way, what’s cool about this is that the original The Cage pilot established Spock as a much more emotional character. I wonder if this script keeps that version of Spock or has the more familiar, coolly logical version.
*How is this possible? Star Trek is a Paramount franchise, not a Fox one! How did Tom Rothman get this script??!