STAR TREK Producer Talks KHAN, Sequel Plans, Easter Eggs

Newsarama got a spot on the red carpet for the DVD/Blu-ray release of at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles last night and we got a sec to chat with producer Roberto Orci.  Sadly his publicist was standing right there, so we couldn't use the thumb screws to torture a sequel plot line out of him.  But we did get something that sounds as if they are considering a Khan (Khaaaaaaaan!) origin story.  He also mentioned Spock possibly playing Nirvana on the harp.  I think he might be kidding.  But he's serious about the R2D2 cameo in the first film.  Sorry Trekkers.  It's true.

Newsarama: Are you still blown away by the reaction to this film?

Roberto Orci:  I am.  I expected better, but I'll settle for this.  [laughs]

Nrama:  Oh, so you'll settle for the overwhelming positive response?

Orci:  Yeah, I guess.  

Nrama:  I'm dying to ask you about R2D2's appearance in Star Trek...may give some Trekkers a heart attack.  Is he really there?

Orci:  Oh yeah!  When they drop out of warp in Vulcan, go frame by frame, over the shoulder shot, and right there on the view screen, you'll see R2D2 floating among the debris of destroyed crap.  No disrespect meant.  I'm sure R2 is fine.  

Nrama:  Poor R2!

Orci:  He always survives.

Nrama:  Now that you know people are happy with the reboot, are you guys coming up with more nods to the series to stick in there?  Do you feel like you can do more of that now?

Orci:  Yeah, you know, because we do our homework, and now the whole team has done their homework and read a bunch of stuff, you can't help but have that bubble up.  Because you invariably come to some situation and say, 'Someone should come in and, oh!   It should be...oh!  That's perfect!'  We don't even have to try for that at this point.  As we go through the story, the story will tell us what needs to come out and hopefully we'll still have the knowledge accumulated to do it justice.  

Nrama:  Sooo, are we admitting anything about Khan yet...?

Orci:  [shakes head]  Cause in a way, even if we do Khan, or not, we're trying to approach the story as just what's best for it, and then can that character become Khan or not, you know.  You're not trying to rely on previous knowledge or love of it, so you almost want to strip all the names away and just come up with the emotional forces and the scientific forces that are going to come into play, and then start letting the details kind of bleed in.  

Nrama:  With the whole reboot and taking it in a different direction, you've kind of opened it up to do whatever you want...

Orci:  Exactly!

Nrama:  So how difficult is it to sort of take what fans expect and stories that they know, versus a new direction you may want to take it?

Orci:  Well the first time it was a little bit easier because they didn't know what we were going to do.  Now that we're all in the same boat, I think expectation is more...they're smarter about it this time, so it's going to be harder to trick everybody.  [laughs]

Nrama:  Are you taking any fan suggestions?

Orci:  I read all the feedback, because I'm a fan and I frequented the sites as well, as a fan.  So I'm not going to stop now.  You know?  So absolutely.  I mix it up and I read all the opinions and, you know, they must affect something.  You can't read stuff and not have it affect you somehow.  

Nrama:  Well, as a fan, is there some little thing, some little Easter Egg or reference that you really want to get in there?

Orci:  Yeah, I mean, a million things.  A million.   I mean, we already got the Tribble in there...

Nrama:  Thank you for that.  [laughs]

Orci:  What else do we have...I want to get Spock's harp in there.  Don't you want to see him playing the harp?  And he could play, like...he could do Nirvana on the harp.  Wouldn't that be good?

Nrama:  That would be amazing.

[Orci:  to publicist]  Would you write that down?  Nirvana on the harp?  [laughs]

Nrama:  So, Shatner accepting a Scream Award for JJ Abrams...does that mean anything?  That he might show up in the sequel?

Orci:  Well, we wrote a scene for him in the first one and I got outvoted in terms of where it ended up.  I'll write another one and we'll see what happens.  [laughs]  

Nrama:  Any chance he'll do the “boldly go where no one has gone before'?

Orci:  We'll see.  We'll see.

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