Star Trek director JJ Abrams praises predecessor Nicholas Meyer, plus Meyer video

I WAS delighted to see current Star Trek director JJ Abrams pay tribute to his predecessor Nicholas Meyer at the promotional event for the new film’s DVD launch next month.

Meyer directed two films – Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country – as well as writing those two and a large part of the Voyage Home.

But Abrams, as reported on Scifi Stream, had more personal memories.

He said: “But I want to speak for a moment about Nicholas Meyer, who was an amazing director and writer, and was friends with my parents when I was a kid.

“When I was a kid, Nicholas Meyer was over for dinner. He came into my room, and I was maybe nine or ten, and he and I made a tape together, and it was some stupid interview tape, where he and I were playing characters interviewing each other. He was just this guy who was willing to be silly and goofy and I knew he was a writer, but I didn’t know much about him.

“And the idea that he would later go on to direct a Star Trek movie and that even later I would is so weird to me. Years later he came to my bar mitzvah and he gave me the unabridged annotated Sherlock Holmes, which I still have. It is just bizarre to me, because I was such a fan of the films he did, and really that was the height of my Star Trek fandom. I saw the first film, but when his films came out I just loved him.

“I always felt a kinship because I knew that guy and it was just sort of surreal to be in those shoes and getting to say action.”

That is a tremendous tribute and very generous of Abrams to take time out to do, IMHO.

Not that Meyer doesn’t deserve it.

Wrath of Khan is rightly considered the greatest Star Trek film, but when Meyer came on board, it was a mess.

There were several drafts of the film involving Khan, the Genesis Device, Kirk’s son and all powerful aliens  – all of them rejected – the studio was desperate to cut costs after the mega budget of the first film and Gene Roddenberry was agitating for a Star Trek meets JFK storyline.

But in just 12 days – 12 freaking days – he watched every single episode of Star Trek (as he knew little about it) and  picked bits and peaces out of the previous drafts to meld those disparate strands together and catch lightning in a bottle.

It was his idea to move the Kobayashi Maru sequence to the start of the film to offset the firestorm surrounding rumours of Spock’s death, a genius move, and to make the film more vibrant and militaristic – Hornblower in outer space – which has influenced every Star Trek film or TV show since.

He also celebrated the aging central characters instead of trying to hide their … erm … maturity, which gave them all new leases of life. Ricardo Montalban was also fantastic.

William Shatner especially responded to it, as did Nimoy, with Spock’s death scene the greatest moment in the franchise’s history, even now – 27 years later.

Here it is, in all its glory

And here – in a great bit of video, is Meyer talking about his experience on Trek – great stuff. So enjoy your tribute sir – it is well earned.

One thought on “Star Trek director JJ Abrams praises predecessor Nicholas Meyer, plus Meyer video

  • Khan is as good as the films ever got – and it’s a cracker and so simple too. Submarine warfare in space.

    I read Shatner’s film memories book recently, which revealed that Roddenberry tried to get his stupid JFK film made every time a new movie was on the block.

    Also read somewhere else that Meyer made Shatner do scenes again and again until he dropped his mannered style and gave a more natural performance. Well, apart from that KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! bit

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