When the original Star Trek series was cancelled by NBC after three years in 1969, no one could ever have predicted its incredible future success. As Trekkies and Trekkers well know, this sixties science-fiction show spawned an animated TV series, four spin-off TV series, countless licensed items, and a series of big-screen, blockbuster movies.
For the most part, the original cast and characters were retired from the films after the sixth movie entitled Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series headed the films after that (though William Shatner, the late James Doohan and Walter Koenig were part of movie seven) with mixed success.
The last Star Trek film was viewed as a revenue disappointment and the most recent TV series, Star Trek: Enterprise, was cancelled on the UPN due to low ratings. As a result, Paramount Pictures has been looking for a way to reinvigorate the franchise and have hired writer/director/producer JJ Abrams (Lost, Alias, Mission Impossible III) to helm a new movie.
Rather than utilize members of the casts of past movies and shows, its been said that Abrams wants to return to the original series for his inspiration. He reportedly wants to recast the original USS Enterprise shipmates and tell either a prequel story at Starfleet Academy or an early Enterprise adventure. I’m guessing that the ships, costumes and special effects would all be updated to reflect today’s movie-making capabilities (unlike the composite photo at top right). The story specifics are under strict wraps but Abrams has said, “Those characters are so spectacular. I just think that…you know, they could live again.”
One source has now stated that Abrams is eyeing Oscar-winner Matt Damon (The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Bourne Identity, Ocean’s Eleven) for the lead role as Captain James T. Kirk. It’s been said that Abrams has even asked for the approval of original series lead William Shatner and Shatner has given it.