J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Had A ‘Code Word’ That Guided The Entire Vibe Of The Film

Kurtzman noted that, in 2009, we were much closer to the future timeline of “Star Trek” than show creator Gene Roddenberry was back in the mid-1960s. In the real world, our technology has grown to match what was presented as futuristic and fantastical in 1966; flip-open Starfleet communicators are now less advanced than one’s average smartphone. As such, Kurtzman and Orci required something striking — and not necessarily futuristic — to “grab” people and let them know that this wasn’t their grandfather’s “Star Trek.” 

Their solution was a sequence of the young James T. Kirk (Jimmy Bennett) driving a 20th-century car and listening to 20th-century music. Kurtzman explained: 

“The reason we built the sequence with young Kirk in the Corvette in the trailer is because we wanted the audience to immediately understand that the touch points feel a lot more present than they did when Trek first came out. […] It’s not an accident that that was the first thing you saw in the trailer because there’s no way your mind says, ‘It’s going to be “Star Trek.”‘ When he says his name is James Tiberius Kirk, you go, ‘What?’ That was all part of bringing people into it from a new place.”

This was a wonderful way for the new filmmakers to shake themselves free of what they didn’t like about “Star Trek,” namely its stodgy intellectualism. That led to Orci revealing their catchphrase. This new “Star Trek” wasn’t a classical piece. Orci said: 

“Science fiction can be very cold and very abstract, so the idea was to make it still be science fiction, but have it be visceral. Our code word for that was ‘rock ‘n’ roll.'”

One cannot argue that the 2009 “Star Trek” isn’t “rock ‘n’ roll.”

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