Robert Orci, screenwriter and producer of the new film Cowboys & Aliens, told Boxoffice that he looks forward to taking more risks with his forthcoming follow-up to the 2009 smash Star Trek. "I think we get to be a little bit more daring with the theme," Orci said Saturday during a roundtable interview in San Francisco, Calif. "The first one... was kind of Star Trek Zero - how did it all start? Now, they're all together from the beginning, and so now they're all going to face I think a theme that is different and potentially more challenging than just they met and they're kind of facing this force of nature in Nero. So the theme of their family is going to be something great to explore that you don't get in the first movie."
Boxoffice joined a small group of press at San Francisco's Wondercon to talk with Orci and Cowboys & Aliens director Jon Favreau. Orci offered a few insights into what he and co-screenwriter Alex Kurtzman may do with the next Star Trek film.
How tough is it to compartmentalize finishing Cowboys & Aliens while you're also presumably working on other projects like the script for the next Star Trek?
The hardest part is time. But in terms of your mind, it's actually nice to get away from stuff you're doing; you get a little bit of perspective and time gets elongated when you're thinking about something else. If I spend two days thinking about Star Trek instead of this movie, when I come back to this movie, it's like I've been gone two weeks, and it allows me to come back fresher, so it surprisingly helps each other.
How much is writing a script for a second Trek or Transformers a chance to answer either criticisms or things you didn't get to do in the first film?
Because I do see what fans think online, very much in Star Trek, it is a sequel that you can genuinely say that the fans are consultants on. Now they're caught up with us, they know exactly what the first movie was, and any one of them could go out now and generate a couple of story ideas for what this could be. So it's a fun guessing game, and you do get to incorporate some of the complaints; you can not just answer them, but voice them in the movie. I enjoy that - I enjoy seeing what people say, even if it's super nasty.
Is there anything in this script that has done that?
Yes. Well, some people thought Kirk, did he become Captain too fast? It's easy to think of, well, we'll look through a place in the story - without giving anything in the story away - where someone can look at him sideways and go, "you sure became Captain fast!" And for anyone to say that, whether we do or not, that's just an example, I'm not saying if for sure we'll do that, you can do those kinds of things and suddenly your criticism is part of the movie, and it's kind of fun if you're a fan to see that incorporated.