Thursday, March 13, 2014

#701. Star Trek Continuum: a franchise film

Unless you have been living under a rock (which due to its popularity in these types of situations, is apparently a lot cooler than it might seem), you know that there has been a whole series of films in Marvel's cinematic Avengers franchise.  The Fast & Furious series is another recent example of characters from different settings coming together.  There was also the recent news that Star Wars, when it returns to theaters, will become the source of spinoffs, too.  In other words, the age of a unified story is at an end, although divergent plots have also been increasingly popular when it becomes clear how they fit together.  Big story, meet little story; little story, meet big story.

As a long-term fan of Star Trek, I can't help but see a giant opportunity here.  Now, you probably know where I'm going with this, considering it's in the title of the post and everything.  This wouldn't even be completely revolutionary in the franchise.  Characters have been crossing over from setting to setting for years there, even in the J.J. Abrams reboot, which saw fit to include the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, in his new continuity.

Call me crazy and hopelessly obsessed and delusional that I might still see official new material featuring some of my all-time characters from franchise lore, but I think Star Trek could easily embrace this new era in blockbuster filmmaking.

But don't listen to anymore of my flimsy justifications, here's the flashy concept that will never happen but still sounded pretty cool to me when I dreamed it up:

  • At the beginning of this movie, Star Trek Continuum, we are in the Mirror Universe.  It's necessary to be there because of a character who needs to be alive, one of my favorites, Charlies "Trip" Tucker III.  Trip was killed off in the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise.  Upset a lot of fans, actually.  The Pocket Books continuity cooked up a convoluted way of explaining he didn't really die.  But he did.  So we're in the Mirror Universe.  Trip in this reality still has a relationship with T'Pol (here I'm going to assume even though it's unlikely that a lot of people cared enough about this show to remember the same things I do) and still has their hybrid daughter Elizabeth to show for it.  Except Elizabeth is kidnapped, brought across time and realities to our familiar one.
  • Wesley Crusher, meanwhile, as Star Trek Nemesis briefly hinted at, has returned to Starfleet and in fact now teaches at the Academy, and his star pupil is Miral, the daughter of Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres from Star Trek: Voyager, whom Wesley suddenly leaves with one afternoon, employing his Traveler powers.  Is he also the kidnapper of Elizabeth?
  • Jake Sisko, as he did in the classic episode "The Visitor" from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, never got over losing his father Ben at the end of that series.  He recruits O'Brien and Bashir (which finally gives us both Colm Meaney and Alexander Siddig in a Star Trek movie) and resurrects the decommissioned Defiant to investigate the Bajoran wormhole, which hasn't opened since the elder Sisko disappeared.  This is the longest sequence so far. They succeed.  Tearful reunion.  But Ben Sisko knows something's wrong.  He was going to come back anyway, and in fact had been calling to his son for weeks, in his dreams, in visions.  He knows about the breaches in time and reality.  He knows he has to do something to set things right.  One of his chief stumbling blocks, though, is an old friend, current chancellor of the Klingon Empire, Martok, who under intense pressure has had to declare a state of emergency while Miral's whereabouts are investigated.  Unlike Worf, Miral has been embraced from the start by other Klingons.  She has long been considered the answer to an ancient prophecy, after all (this is real information from Voyager, folks).  He can't ignore something so grave.  Once more, Sisko and the Klingons approach the brink of war...
  • But there's more!  Q visits Picard.  (It had to happen in the films!)  He knows and Guinan knows, something isn't right.  Picard's son, another curious hybrid, strongly hinted at to be his and Guinan's, is caught in the middle of all this, too.  Picard is worried.  He can't risk his family again.  He reluctantly has to trust Q.  Except Q tells him that he must sit this one out, trust others for a change.  (This doesn't prevent one of those franchise moments long in coming, though, the first Picard/Sisko scene since Deep Space Nine began as they discuss matters.)  And so this is when Picard realizes the responsibility he has had all along for another son, one that wasn't his own but was long under his care: Wesley Crusher.  He turns to the one man who might be able to reason with Wesley, if they can find him, Tom Paris.
  • Here's where I mess with continuity a tiny smidgen.  Actor Robert Duncan McNeill famously played a cadet classmate of Wesley's, and then a totally differently but completely similar character as Paris in Voyager.  In this movie, Paris finally admits that both characters are one in the same.  The other identity was part of his need to break away from an overbearing father, which itself is a well-established facet of Paris's.  It's only when Wesley finally confronts all the abandonment issues a dead father and his experiences with great power as a Traveler that he walks away from whatever it was he'd been attempting (either that's figured out in another draft, or fodder...for a sequel!) that he gives up Miral, and Elizabeth.  Possibly, he stole a Mirror Universe individual to finally bring that one and the regular one back, painfully, together, a matter Deep Space Nine always danced around.  (And maybe the sequel could blend these two realities!  One more time!)
  • So Miral is brought back home, war is averted.  And Elizabeth is returned home, and Mirror Universe Trip and T'Pol begin the resistance movement Spock would one day mainline at Kirk's prodding, which would conclude under the direction of Deep Space Nine characters.
  • And on a concluding note, we flashback to a totally unrelated note, back to the last time regular continuity was featured in the movies, the controversial Star Trek Nemesis.  We see Dr. Soong create B4, hear his own words, his own intentions, his own dreams for this apparently flawed creation.  And then go back to the ending of Nemesis, where B4 has become half his own brother, Data.  Picard, in a nod to words he has exchanged with Q previous in the film, provides his usual quiet wisdom, a soliloquy such as he never quite got in the movies.  I mean, you have Patrick Stewart.  Let him go the full Shakespeare.  If he's not the action hero this time, let him be the philosopher.
  • And everyone wins.  Until, perhaps, Zombie Kirk, or something.  Because we didn't have any original series actors in this thing.
   Crazy and cockamamie, I know.  But fun!  Fun thoughts for an unabashed Star Trek fan, anyway...

6 comments:

Pat Dilloway said...

Any project involving Wesley will be DOA.

Spacerguy said...

In the first draft, Seven of nine was to make a cameo appearance but Jeri Ryan landed the part of Ronnie Cook in Boston Public, what a babe!

Maurice Mitchell said...

I like it! Crusher and Tucker would make a powerhouse team.

Tony Laplume said...

I figured if Seven and T'Pol were in the same movie together, there would be some kind of nerdgasm. Crusher 'n' Tucker, meanwhile...

Remembering Grace said...

This is a thing of beauty. It struck me that you're depending a lot on the kids of Star Trek, but then I realized it's been 20+ years, and that's the way it should be.

Remember when life was awesome and there was always a Star Trek series on the air? TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and then...what happened? Why did our happiness go away?

Tony Laplume said...

Because a lot of grumpy people who called themselves fans decided they hated what they called themselves fans of.

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