Having successfully lobbied to direct the Star Trek three-quel, Roberto Orci now claims to bring the new ST franchise back to speed with the original TV series. “[I]n this movie they are closer than they are to the original series characters than you have ever seen. They have set off on their five-year mission. So their adventure is going to be in deep space,” Orci has officially stated.
A seasoned screenwriter, the 40-year-old Orci has up till recently been a part of a writing duo with Alex Kurtzman, writing screenplays for both Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness (STID), as well as a slew of other blockbuster movies including Transformers, Cowboys and Aliens, Ender’s Game, and The Amazing Spiderman 2. And while ST3 would be Orci’s directorial debut, the hope is that his extensive experience as writer and producer on many large-scale productions would easily translate to the director’s chair. That being said, Orci is not in the spotlight without controversy.
Having recently parted ways with Kurtzman to focus more on directing, Orci has a rather colorful and fiery cyber persona. Before he shut down his Twitter account, Orci revealed himself to be a conspiracy theorist and 9/11 Truther, and his views may have spilled into his writing. According to Sonny Bunch’s editorial in The Washington Free Beacon, “The Truther sensibility wormed its way into Star Trek: Into Darkness, which posited that the Federation is in the business of faking terrorist attacks in order to justify going to war with the Klingons.” Coincidence? Think again…
When the editorial Star Trek Is Broken came out in response to STID, its main critique was less about 9/11 Truthers than failing to fulfill the original ST mission statement:
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
This is a fair point; though STID opened with Kirk and McCoy being compromised on a mission to a foreign planet, the main story was about establishing the villain Khan and saving the Earth from destruction yet again. When the solution-oriented editorial hit other good and valid points on how to put Star Trek back together again, Orci high-handedly responded in the article’s comment box with these winners to close, “…And frankly, your tone and attidude [sic] make it hard for me to listen to what might otherwise be decent notions to pursue in the future…As I love to say, there is a reason why I get to write the movies, and you don’t.”
Orci further dug his hole of notoriety in his comments to another editorial What’s Wrong with Star Trek? which includes the following statement: “Hell the entire film is bookended identically to that of Raiders of the Lost Ark, opening with our protagonist running from natives and closing with the dangerous weapon locked away in some kind of restricted storage facility.”
Again, some valid points. But while the tone of this article is certainly less diplomatic than Star Trek Is Broken, it certainly did not warrant Orci’s rant that ended with “F*** OFF!” This of course was followed by a semi-apology: “…you are the most listened to fans ever. That doesn’t mean you will get [sic] is to do what you want. just means what I said: I listened…”
Again Orci came off as arrogant and patronizing, and the reference to Dubya later didn’t help matters either. The damage had been done.
However, some may argue that Orci’s colorful personality would not necessarily make him a bad director, especially since eccentric characters abound in the sci-fi world (e.g. Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game). To like the work but not its creator is oftentimes part and parcel to art, like Wagner and his epic operas; whatever the case is regarding Roberto Orci, his cyber antics have at least generated quite the buzz about ST3 already. And if he is indeed able to bring back the spirit and wonder of exploration that the original series had, then Orci would prove that he truly deserves to sit in the director’s chair.