As listeners know, I recently outed myself as a prequel hater. Mr. Lucas fired up the tractor and hitched up the bandwagon by choosing I, II, and III over VII, VIII, and IX, and it seems like everyone with a hand in long-running franchise script development has climbed aboard since. And though I happily suffered the Binkster to see Vader don the last suit he’ll ever wear, I haven’t enjoyed most of the ‘wagon crew’s offerings.
Specifically, I really didn’t get Enterprise. And it really, really ticked me off when franchise execs blamed the show’s eventual failure on “the public having their fill of Trek for now” and vowed to return Trek to the vault until the “public is ready for more.” It’s as if the idea that they simply made a bad decision with Enterprise — or just created and produced a mediocre show — fit in among their other thoughts like oil and water; I mean, Voyager eventually worked out, right?
So, as you can imagine, when I heard news that the next Trek flick would be a — wait for it! — prequel, I dealt with it in my normal fashion: I whined and bitched about it to everyone in hearing range, including (eventually) our podcast listeners. But I read an Ain’t It Cool News post this morning that cooled my jets — at least a bit.
Note to spoiler-sensitive readers: the AICN article offers a lot more information than just what I’m going to discuss here. If you want to read more about this, but don’t want heavy (if early and probably inaccurate) spoilers, try the Slashdot story instead. That’s how I found the AICN bit, and it’s much safer for you.
Here’s the skinny: AICN’s “Moriarty” suggests that rather than simply following the adventures of a “young” Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, Trek XI may walk a Back to the Future II-style alternate timeline path — both allowing the participation of original TOS actors in earlier events and cracking open the door for future series in the alternate universe.
Incredibly, I think this might actually freshen Trek in exactly the way everyone hoped Enterprise would. It’d offer new writers and producers full run of the best the franchise has to offer, yet free them from the ties of canon. That’s fertile creative ground. In short: if Moriarty’s dirt is true, it sounds to me like Trek’s “prequel” might actually push Trek forward instead of just navel-gazing about the past.
Then again, this concept treads dangerously close to the loved/dreaded “mirror universe” theme. That bandwagon is getting a bit crowded, too, carrying “transporter accident” victims from every single Trek series. And the last thing I want to see is Nimoy in a leather cat suit.