2009's Star Trek re­booted the fi­nal fron­tier for the big screen. Bad Robot's BRYAN BURK tells Tara Ben­nett how the past pow­ered the fu­ture

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Trek re­boot pro­ducer speaks!

As co-founder of Bad Robot Pro­duc­tions with JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk helped to cre­atively shep­herd an ar­ray of hits from Alias and Lost to Clover­field and the re­booted Star Trek movie fran­chise. The se­ries was never on his child­hood radar, Burk ad­mits, but he tells SFX that the last seven years have been all about dis­cov­er­ing his in­ner Trekkie…

Why did you re­turn to the clas­sic crew for the re­cent movies?

I can tell you from our ini­tial con­ver­sa­tion with Bob [Orci], Alex [Kurtz­man], Da­mon [Lin­de­lof ], JJ and I, the first sen­tence out of ev­ery­one’s mouth was, “We’re go­ing to blow up Vul­can so ev­ery­one knows we’re not f-ing around.” How­ever, Leonard [Ni­moy] or Bill [Shat­ner], or both, are go­ing to be in the film be­cause Gene is no longer with us and they are the car­ri­ers of the flame. If we are go­ing to try and go for­ward with this fran­chise, we have to do it with one or both of their bless­ings to be able to make it.

What are you most proud of about the first two films?

In gen­eral with Star Trek, a lot of peo­ple came out say­ing they really liked it and it wasn’t what they thought it was go­ing to be. For me, that was the big­gest win. More than any­thing else, what I liked about the sec­ond film, and it sounds crass, but our box of­fice dou­bled in­ter­na­tion­ally which was really telling be­cause peo­ple were start­ing to see

[Trek] and not be afraid of it in the rest of the world. My goal for the Star Trek fran­chise is to make it some­thing that when a film comes out in all th­ese coun­tries that were not tra­di­tion­ally

Star Trek fans, they are now start­ing to be­come Trek fans. The rea­son we even got in­volved was that it was the first time I could re­mem­ber at any time in my life that there wasn’t a Star Trek project hap­pen­ing. Noth­ing was go­ing on. We didn’t want to do an­other one for the sake of it, but to take all of that history and put it back in the world for peo­ple to dis­cover yet do it dif­fer­ently.

Star Trek Into Dark­ness was po­lar­is­ing be­cause of its use of Khan as a vil­lain. Why did you go for such an iconic foe?

The orig­i­nal logic of making Khan the vil­lain is the same rea­son why when they did Su­per­man they used Lex Luthor, or with Bat­man, it’s the Joker or the Rid­dler. There are only a hand­ful of vil­lains who are leg­endary in the canon. Ob­vi­ously we could have picked an­other one or made them up, but it seemed like an ex­cit­ing thing to bring in the big­gest, most ne­far­i­ous vil­lain.

What’s di­rec­tor Justin Lin bring­ing to

Star Trek Be­yond?

I’m a big fan of Justin Lin’s work. No one di­rects ac­tion like Justin, but on top of that, he’s a big Star Trek fan. It’s about “Where does he take th­ese char­ac­ters and what’s his take go­ing to be?” In the be­gin­ning, you could see a pal­pa­ble ex­cite­ment as the cast started to work with him. I think the scope that Justin brings to this movie is enor­mous. It’s a Star Trek that will ex­ceed ev­ery­one’s expectations and that’s all we can hope for.

What does Star Trek need to do to sur­vive an­other 50 years?

It’s still fol­low­ing the guide­lines set up by Gene Rod­den­berry and stick­ing to the idea of a fu­ture where our prob­lems aren’t amongst us, and it’s out there and we’re work­ing to­gether. It’s more than just fir­ing phasers at each other. I be­lieve the next 50 years could be bet­ter than the last, and I’m count­ing on it and hop­ing for it. Some­where there’s a lit­tle boy or girl read­ing this and they will be in­spired to take the torch and con­tinue where we briefly have our hands on it. What are peo­ple go­ing to do next with it?

Re­cast­ing the most iconic friend­ship in SF. “Look, I’m not say­ing it goes well for the peo­ple on Vul­can.”

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