I am genuinely excited by the prospect of a new "Star Trek" film.

It's been a long time since I can say that's been true.  I like the original series, and I have enjoyed sharing it with my son greatly, but before 2009's "Star Trek," the movie series had been limping along for a while, and I can't honestly say I was looking forward to any of them.  I saw them out of the sense of obligation that comes from being a genre fan.

But the JJ Abrams film rekindled my belief in "Star Trek" as a franchise moving forward.  The cast was just right, and the spirit of the storytelling struck me as a perfect match for the material.  I've seen the first third of next summer's "Cowboys and Aliens," and I honestly feel like Kurtzman & Orci are in the second stage of their bigscreen career, where they're starting to craft some great popcorn films, movies that manage to mix a genuine love of genre with a respect for the importance of character and theme, things that are sadly lacking in the skill set of many mainstream filmmakers these days.

Kurtzman and Orci just spoke with Geoff Boucher about their plans for the sequel to "Star Trek," and they certainly say everything I would want the writers of that sequel to say.  These two answers really give me confidence in the direction the film is headed right now:

"AK: Well, we have broken the story, which is very exciting. I think one of the weird challenges that we’re facing on this one is that in many ways, with the first movie, I don’t think people knew what to expect, so when we were in the writing process, Bob and I really spent our time going to things that we loved about “Trek” and it was a very unfiltered process. It felt intimate and small. There weren’t a lot of voices other than [producer] Damon [Lindelof], J.J. and [executive producer] Bryan Burke. Now, that first movie has come up and did well and everyone wants to know what happens next. We didn’t have that pressure, exactly, on the first one.  That said, part of what we have to do is listen to it all, ask a lot of questions about what people’s expectations are — and then let all of that go when we sit down to write. We need to find our way back to the same kind of vibe that we had when we wrote the first one: What do we want to see here? What moved us about “Trek”? Where can we go from where we left off?

RO: One of the big challenges is all of the characters are together now. A prequel is a pain in the butt, but one of the nice little advantages was that you get to meet the characters as you go through the story and they get to meet each other. That’s fun. We don’t have that luxury of not having the entire family there together at the start of the story. So now you want the character stories to be good for everybody but also not just be there to be stories but also fit into the plot and be organic. We’re looking at a lot of the old episodes for inspiration, still. Whereas the last movie was all about breaking free from “Star Trek” and its canon, now that we can do whatever we want, we still want it to feel like good ol’ “Star Trek” even though it’s a new story."

The cast they have is tremendous, and I love that they realize that they dynamics between them are key to "Star Trek" being "Star Trek."

Right now, they're not going to start naming villains or giving away specific story, and frankly, I don't want to know all that stuff this far out.  I just want to know that they're going to take care of this thing they've built, and it sounds like everyone involved knows that they've got the potential for something really special here.

"Star Trek 2" is set for release on June 29, 2012.

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