Star Trek Into Darkness is finally upon us and online reaction to early screenings has ranged from generally positive to decidedly lukewarm. Despite the writers' famous participation in fan forums and years of promising a story more like the Original Series and relevant to our times, it seems they've once again fallen back on the villain-seeks-revenge motif (like Skyfall in outer space) instead of something having more to do with actual exploration and discovery... the basis of Roddenberry's initial concept. Will 's bold new vision for Star Trek display staying power or prove to merely be a temporary fix until someone more passionate makes Star Trek live up to its potential again? More than that, should the extremely busy Abrams and team even return for a third and probably final film in this already huge and glossy series of films?
I'm still excited to see the movie, which comes out the day before my birthday. Regardless of how well it does or how much I like it, though, I'm of the mind that Abrams and maybe the writers of the first two films should step away from and let a director and team with both the necessary time and conviction guide this new cast to glory in at least one more film. Whether Abrams returns or not, I doubt there will or even can be but one more film with this cast. Star Trek movies were expensive to make in 1978 when production began on the $40 million dollar-plus Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The following films were only made possible because of TV producer Harve Bennet's thrift and ingenuity, which ultimately influenced when tasked to be the executive producer of _Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991, the original cast's final voyage. This isn't the 80's anymore, though, when such franchises were still fairly new and producers like Bennett could get away with cheaper sequels. Nowadays, rented props and single bridge sets redressed to resemble two won't cut it. Since the merchandising became so important after 1989's BATMAN, today's studios rely on these franchises for a sizable portion of their annual returns, which invariably means that the cost of each sequel and prequel, its cast and crew, can only ever go up... way up. At this rate, it's likely that a third and final film by this group could only disappoint. Despite maybe having some good opening weekend numbers, any failure to live up to expectations would probably plunge the franchise back into mothballs.
If Paramount wants to keep making successful Star Trek movies after STID, I think they should retain Abrams as a producer and consultant and replace him in the director's seat along with at least one or two new writers that can do more than just give the franchise a new coat of paint and a slew of lens flares. That said, the actors in these movies seem to be fiercely loyal to Abrams. said in 2009 that he couldn't imagine playing Spock with anyone else directing, so whatever happens, the road ahead is uncertain at best. [[poll]]