J.J. Abrams continues to arouse and confuse the geek film community more keenly than even Lt. Uhura’s famed erotic fan dance from “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” to distract a patrol of the Galactic Army of Light could manage. After months of avoiding the question of whether he’ll direct “Star Trek 2” like Little Miss Muffet avoids arachnids, Abrams has finally made known the world that he’ll helm the second instalment…but he won’t be sticking the planned release date set by studio Paramount. Just yesterday we learned that a less appealing sequel that nobody asked for – “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” – had been earmarked to take over the film’s June 29, 2012 release date, and Abrams has restated his commitment to being non-committal about the film's eventual release in an interview with 24 Frames.
Speaking to the site Abrams said, “There was a lot of desire [on the studio side] to fast-track a new 'Star Trek' and have it be shooting already. And in theory we could have done that. But what all of us [the creative team] were concerned about is the release date be the master we were serving. Nothing is more disheartening than something going in front of the camera before it's ready. The crew can feel it and the cast can feel it. It's just a heart-attack machine.”
It’s a refreshing admission from the filmmaker -- particularly from one who ordinarily seems to enjoy parsing out titbits like they were gold dust and places such a high premium on "secrets" -- and it's in contradistinction to the frenzied rush to bang out a few Marvel films every year, and reboot the X-Men and Spider-man franchises before their cultural cachet apparently goes cold. Like Guillermo del Toro, Abrams is an individual that’s never not busy, with work on two television shows for two different networks -- "Alcatraz" for Fox and "Person of Interest" for CBS – taking up his attention. The other principle creative forces involved with the production of the first “Star Trek” movie – “Lost” impresario Damon Lindelof and megabucks screenwriters Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman -- have their own plates full with “Prometheus” and “Welcome to People” respectively.
For his own part, Abrams isn't so much playing possum with his fans as making known his frustrations with the creative process. He's aware that garnering "staying power" for the project is something that doesn't arise apropos of nothing, adding, "We're working hard on that, making the kind of headway that frankly I wish we were able to make months ago. But you can't do everything."
All of this talk distracts from the main issue -- what the damn thing’s going to be about -- especially as talk around the project drifts to peripheral issues like whether or not it’ll take the plunge and be filmed in 3D. Of course, we’re as excited as anyone about “Star Trek 2,” as any rationally-minded mouth-breather should be. It’s hard to be equally enamored with this piecemeal drip of information, though if Paramount have any sense they'll back off and let him get on with it in his own sweet time, as Warner Bros seem to have done with Christopher Nolan and "The Dark Knight Rises." In the meantime, though, we'll have to be content with this giant metaphorical lens flare being periodically shone in our faces every couple of weeks, as "Star Trek 2" could potentially begin shooting at some indeterminate point in the future, but probably next year. Fans of well thought through preparation take heart.