Being the science fiction nerd that I am, I’ve been keeping an eye on the progress of the two biggest franchises in the works right now – Star Trek and Avatar. One is based off the beloved 60s television show, the other is a not so original 3D look at a the colonization of an alien world. Both are set in space, the final frontier. And both are taking for freaking ever to get made. It sort of makes sense, after all both productions will require a little extra time to create the killer CGI effects that will be wowing us in theaters. But waiting for them still sucks. Which is why any new information on either of these movies is exciting, because it brings us one step closer to that day where we can enjoy them on the big screen. Here’s the latest:
Star Trek 2
In 2009, J.J. Abrams (who is the creator of one of my favorite shows, Alias) successfully re-booted Star Trek, to the delight of fans everywhere. Unfortunately now it’s taken him 3 years to get going on the sequel, and even now the project is surrounded by secrecy. We still have no idea who the villain (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is going to be, and no details of the plot have been released. But we now know one thing for sure: the title of the sequel. According to ComingSoon and TrekMovie, Paramount has trademarked domain names for Star Trek Into Darkness. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a title and it doesn’t have a colon. According to Damon Lindelof (writer and producer for the movie) talked about trying to decide on a title and mentioned via Filmonic, “everything that people are turned off about when it comes to ‘Trek’ is represented by the colon.” I don’t necessarily thing that’s true, but I think it’s cool that they were able to make a title without one. It certainly goes against the grain when it comes to sequels and re-boots.
While we don’t have any specific information for Star Trek Into Darkness, the cast has been talking a little bit about the tone of the movie. According to Zachary Quinto, Spock in the series, who talked about his time working on the film, “it was bigger. It was bolder, I think, than the first one, and that was pretty big and bold from my standpoint” (via The Wrap). Bigger and bolder can mean a lot of things, especially with a title like Into Darkness. But Chris Pine, who plays Captain James T. Kirk, has made it clear that doesn’t mean a dark and gritty sequel. According to Pine, who spoke with Total Film, “We’re not making Batman. That’s not our deal…there’s comedy, which I think J.J. does a great job of, but, like the first one, there’s some serious issues being dealt with. And I’d say the threat is even greater in this one.” Given the success of The Avengers (which beat out the more intense The Dark Knight Rises in box office revenue), I’d say the comedic aspect is pretty important when it comes to bringing in an audience.
I hope that Star Trek Into Darkness is as much fun as the first movie is. With the time that it’s taken to get into production, I’m sure J.J. Abrams is going to make sure we’re not disappointed. Chris Pine went on in his interview to say, “The force [the Enterprise crew] are met with is much more frightening. It’s relentlessly action-packed and in terms of character development it goes places you’d never expect. The arc is huge for all the characters. It’s a really big story – I can’t hype it enough!” I don’t know about you guys, but I trust Captain Kirk. Even if we still don’t know who he’ll be fighting against. Star Trek Into Darkness is scheduled to premiere May 17, 2013.
James Cameron’s Avatar might be the highest grossing movie of all time, but it’s sequels should probably get the award for the longest we’ve ever had to wait for a follow-up. It also premiered in 2009 (the same as Star Trek), and was amazing to see in theaters. I went to go see it for my birthday, it was my first 3D movie. Even if the story is a little bit of Pocahontas mixed in with Fern Gully, it still looks cool as hell. I’ve seen it more times than I can count, because my Dad insists on watching it whenever it’s on an HD channel. I have to admit that even after the 200th viewing, (SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen it) when all those animals show up at the big epic battle I still get a little teary-eyed. I’m excited to see what Cameron does with a sequel, you know, if I’m haven’t grown old and senile by the time it hits theaters.
Now Avatar 2 and 3 are in pre-production, with the plan being to shoot both movies at the same time. But according to Cameron (via E! Online), “we’re in the very early stages of that. We’ve spent the last two years building tools and software to make it a very smooth pipeline for what will be a very big and difficult project.” If it’s taken two whole years just to get the SOFTWARE ready, that’s not a good omen for the films being done in a timely manner. In fact, James Cameron is still working on writing the script saying, “I’ve got the outline and I’m fleshing it out.” I don’t know about you guys, but I think he needs to speed things up a little bit. Especially since the movie is bound to spend a few years just in post-production making those awesome effects.
The best thing we can say about waiting for Avatar sequels is that Cameron is at least willing to talk a little bit about what the story will be about (unlike SOME directors we know… cough.. J.J. Abrams). The latest news isn’t about the first two sequels, but about the fourth one down the line. When talking to MTV Cameron spoke about what comes after the Avatar trilogy:
I haven’t really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na’vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world… Because when we drop in, even in the first film in ‘Avatar 1,’ as it will be known in the future, we’re dropping into a process that’s 35 years in to a whole colonization,” Cameron continued of his interest in an “Avatar” prequel. “That will complete an arc and if that leads into more, we’ll start, not imitating ‘Star Wars,’ but it’s a logical thing to do because we’ll have completed the thematic arc by the end of three. The only thing left to do is go back to see what it was like on those first expeditions and create some new characters that then become legacy characters in later films. It’s a plan.
I’m kind of glad that James Cameron is conscious of other prequels that weren’t as well received, that way he can avoid some of the issues that made things like Star Wars not work as well. With the other two sequels not due out for several years, it’s unclear when we will actually get to see this film. But if Cameron is willing to devote the rest of his life making Avatar sequels and prequels, then I’m willing to go and see all of them. Especially when they look so amazing in theaters.
I suppose I should cut James Cameron some slack. The director joked about taking so long to write the scripts during his interview saying, “You know, Peter Jackson had it easy, he already had the books. He had the books. Now if I had a time machine I could go forward and watch the movies and then come back, but I don’t!” Ah, James Cameron making a Peter Jackson reference. That’s just all kinds of awesome. Avatar 2 is set to appear sometime in 2015, with Avatar 3 and 4 following it.
What do you think of the Star Trek title Into Darkness? How do you feel about an Avatar prequel? Let us know below!