Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Star Trek XII Screenplay -- Anybody Interested?

So... where to now, guys?
 Color me cynical, but I'm beginning to think that the very talented creative team currently in charge of the Star Trek franchise is paralyzed with indecision over the story for the next film. 

Every interview I've read on the subject is rhetorical vaporware -- a lot of gush and gibbering about "possibilities" and a great deal of empty enthusiasm. 

There's been some discussion of doing a Khan story -- something I think would be very worthwhile if handled correctly (and yes, I've got an idea that would make it work -- so J.J., if you're reading this, get in touch, OK?).

Just for goofs and giggles, I've written part of a screenplay for a second Trek feature set in the Abrams 'verse. In addition to the titular villain, I've bee tempted to throw in a certain notable Klingon antagonist. However, this would mean that the story would involve Kang and Kodos, which might be enough to trigger an apocalypse of some kind, or at least some interesting litigation. 

The excerpt below is a pre-credit teaser (which might work better if the opening credits were dispensed with, ala The Dark Knight -- a film name-checked by the Trek gang as one possible model for the next film). There's also a brief character bit before the main story kicks in. 

In the first film we saw the backstory of Kirk and Spock, but Bones got shortchanged -- something I'd like to remedy. Of course, since I'm posting this on the web, nothing of this kind will ever make it to the screen. But, hey -- I've still got that killer Khan idea....
Star Trek XII: The Sword of Kodos


…to a full-screen shot of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The camera PULLS IN to an area of the Sagittarius Arm slightly “above” the galactic plane and well out toward the edge of the disc. 

We continue the PULL-IN through nebulae and star systems, eventually passing through the outer planets and asteroid belt of a system orbiting a dim red star.

The camera comes to focus on a bleak, rocky world – large, sere landmasses broken up by relatively small oceans that appear gray and unhealthy. As we close in we see, from distant orbit, evidence of sophisticated civilization, and of recent warfare.

Inert, un-piloted spacecraft tumble unguided in ragged orbits; from a distance we can make out the tiny, lifeless forms of their crews.

A large space station – three spokes extending from a central core, each of which has a sombrero-shaped habitat unit at its end -- wheels drunkenly, its exterior lights sputtering; the outpost’s rotation reveals that a huge section has been destroyed, leaving one of the spokes looking like an amputated limb with a stump of serrated metal.

A cloud of metallic debris and other flotsam trails the station, along with the grotesque sight of scores of dead, frozen bodies, some of them partially clothed in environment suits. Clearly, whatever disaster struck the station and the other spacecraft happened very quickly.

We PAN to one side and see a large spacecraft that is clearly recognizable as a Federation starship. Not as sophisticated as the USS Enterprise, this vessel has the same basic configuration – a saucer section connected to an engineering hull and two warp nacelles. This is the USS Bonaventure, a forerunner to the Enterprise. It glides silently across the screen, gracefully changes its orbital aspect, and takes up a geosynchronous position over a large continent on the planet’s surface.

The Planet Tarsus IV – a key outpost at the edge of Federation Space.  The year: 2246. Stardate: 2271.1.

The camera TRACKS IN through the wispy cloud cover of Tarsus IV down to the continent we had seen earlier. There we see a colony of humans and humanoid aliens – from familiar varieties, such as Vulcans and Andorians, to more exotic and unfamiliar races. 

Their dwellings are functional, adorned with what we recognize as sophisticated communications and fabrication equipment, but timelessly Spartan and utilitarian. Many of the buildings – especially those that could serve as assembly spaces – have been destroyed. Rubble litters the streets, and thick smoke billows from the destroyed edifices.

The camera PANS the scene of desolation, and then FOCUSES on a sign announcing that the community is called “New Cochrane City.”

We FOCUS on a small group of colonists who have clearly survived some kind of crisis. Their clothes are ragged, their bodies are dirty, and they wear expressions of alertness mingled with repressed horror. Several are Vulcans. Humans of various ethnic backgrounds are seen.

In the middle we focus on two humans: One is LEONARD, a wiry young man in his mid-teens with a precocious sense of gravitas. The other is an older woman named MARY. They and the others are digging survivors, and victims, from the rubble.

A loud alert signal resonates through the village, and suddenly a large community viewscreen crackles to life, joined quickly by a chorus of smaller screens. We see a man in a military-appearing jumpsuit on the bridge of the Bonaventure. His name is Col. STANNARD.


Your attention is required. This is Colonel Stannard, speaking for and on behalf of the military administration of Tarsus Colony. Your Governor has instructed me to read the following message.

STANNARD then takes out a clipboard-style Padd and reads, in an officious tone of voice, the announcement.


"The revolution is successful. But survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. Your lives mean slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore, I have no alternative but to sentence you to death. Your execution is so ordered, signed Kodos, Governor of Tarsus IV."

In a SERIES OF SHOTS we watch the reactions of the villagers as Stannard implacably recites the death order. Many display the “thousand-yard stare” of hopelessly traumatized victims. Others gaze on in defiant hatred. LEONARD and MARY look at each other in fear and determination.

"One big happy fleet"? Nope -- It's the bad guys aboard the Bonaventure.
VFX – Starship Bonaventure is shown in close-up; we see rotating phaser turrets lock, and torpedo tubes glow ominously.

CUT TO – Bridge of Bonaventure.


Your Excellency, we’re ready.

STANNARD moves aside and we see a large, muscular man – perhaps mid-40s or a little older – sitting in the Captain’s chair. He is Asian, austerely handsome. He effortlessly exudes authority and radiates intelligence. But nothing about him suggests mercy or benevolence. This is Governor KODOS, soon to become known as Kodos the Executioner.
Our villain: Chow Yun Fat IS "Kodos the Executioner."
Proceed with the operation.

At the weapons station, an ensign – displaying just the slightest hesitation, initiates pre-programmed firing routines from the computer.

VFX – razor-thin streams of deadly energy leap from the Bonaventure and begin raking down the surface.

In New Cochrane City, the results of the barrage become immediately apparent: Huge swathes of land simply disintegrate, along with habitations, people, and anything else that happens to be in the path of the murderous streams emanating from the Bonaventure. We FOCUS on a small party of refugees, among them LEONARD and MARY, who are fleeing in terror from the onslaught.

Mom! This way!

With a strength born of desperation, LEONARD grabs MARY by the hand and drags her into a nearby cave. Once inside, he gestures to the others in the party, shouting at them to hurry. Among the faces we see are those of a Vulcan – his face a mask of serenity, despite his urgent body language – and those of a mother with a newborn infant.

VFX—BONAVENTURE, as the phaser barrage ends.


Your Excellency, phase one is complete. Orbital assault on targeted population centers is complete.

[Punching a button on the arm of his command chair] Hagar bay – commence with phase two.

Yes, sir. Flights one and two are on their way.

VFX – An armada of 12 attack craft – shaped like standard Starfleet shuttles, but with visible weapons enhancements and a slightly sleeker design – emerges from the hangar bay at the aft of the Bonaventure in groups of six. Once clear of the ship, the two flights of six ships divide into four strike teams of three; two teams head to the western portion of the continent beneath the ship, the others head east.

VFX – We follow one strike team that attacks New Cochrane City from the air, assaulting it with high-yield photonic bombs. We QUICK-CUT to the CAVE, where we see LEONARD shielding MARY with his body.


Three shuttle/assault craft land in the village square. Each of them decants a six-man strike team clad in full body armor, including helmets with visors and breathing apparatus. Each member of the assault team carries a large, intimidating phaser rifle. We TIGHT FOCUS briefly to see a peculiar emblem on each uniform: A balance-style scale with a large, ominous sword superimposed on it.

The teams move out in classic attack formation, kicking in doors to various habitations and vaporizing any suspected survivors.

One team – RED SQUADRON – is heading in the general direction of the survival cave; one of the troopers is shown monitoring a tricorder.

Lieutenant, indeterminate life signs, bearing 45 degrees planetary north.


[Speaking into a communicator] Red Squadron, fan out.


The survivors have heard the assault, and one of them is monitoring the approach of the death squad on his own tricorder. Nobody talks, even in a whisper; the silence grows suffocating. The footfalls of the death squad can be heard in the distance.

A single stormtrooper wanders near the entrance established earlier; he is oblivious to its existence, but too close for comfort. We quick-cut to –


Some of the survivors are visibly near panic. Some close their eyes; others appear to be praying. One Vulcan is in a meditative posture, clearly anticipating the end. LEONARD spies a large farm implement that might be useful as a last-ditch weapon. As he reaches to it, the airless quiet is rent by the barely perceptible whimper of the newborn baby. Everybody freezes. The YOUNG MOTHER looks up in horror.


The stormtrooper freezes, wheels about; he’s clearly heard the whimper, and is determined to find its origin. As he approaches, the survivors can hear his footsteps.


Red Squad leader – I think I have something ….


We focus on the YOUNG MOTHER, who is frantically trying to calm her baby silently. We see the INFANT visibly prepared to let out a major shriek.

A QUICK CUT shows us the VILLAGER with a tricorder; the device indicates that the STORMTROOPER is approaching the survival cave.

CUT BACK to the YOUNG MOTHER as she closes her eyes, bites her lip, and then covers the INFANT’s mouth. She is visibly prepared to suffocate the child or break his neck in order to prevent their capture.

LEONARD moves quickly and silently over to the YOUNG MOTHER and grasps her arm with firm gentleness. His composure belies his youth as he speaks to her – in a voice only the two of them (and the audience) can hear.

No. We’ll survive – but not that way.

The YOUNG MOTHER relaxes her grip and, despite the desperate circumstances, gives LEONARD a grateful look.
LEONARD grasps his farm implement weapon and glides over to the cave entrance, prepared to make a desperate stand. Approaching footsteps and the sound of rustling vegetation indicate that the confrontation is mere seconds away.


The STORMTROOPER is just inches from the camouflaged entrance when STANNARD’s voice crackles urgently from his communicator.


(Filtered) Attention, all units: Return to the ship immediately!


STORMTROOPER sprints back to the landing zone.

VFX – Assault Shuttles take off, streaking away to the Bonaventure.


INT. BONAVENTURE bridge, angle on viewscreen.

We see a large, more modern spacecraft, the Farragut -- obviously a Federation Starship of more recent vintage, closing fast on the Bonaventure. Twin beams of coherent energy leap from the starship’s phaser array, wiping out most of the Assault Shuttles. 

An instant later, four photo torpedoes streak away from the Farragut, colliding against the Bonaventure’s engineering section. We HARD-CUT to the Bonaventure’s bridge, focusing on a read-out reporting: WARP DRIVE DISABLED.


Attention, Governor Kodos: This is David Garrovick, Captain of the Federation Starship Farragut. We have monitored your assault on unarmed civilian population centers. You are ordered to stand down, surrender yourself and top aides, and prepare to be boarded.
[Unimpressed by the command] Helm, prepare a collision course. Weapons – prepare to fire ventral phase cannons on my mark.

VFX. – The Farragut approaches the Bonaventure; its phaser turrets pivot to lock on target and its torpedo tubes are hot.

My choice to play Capt. Garrovick: Idris Elba.


CAPTAIN DAVID GARROVICK, an intense black man in his mid-30s, is receiving a briefing from his COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER. His NAVIGATOR looks up in alarm.

Captain, the Bonaventure is on a collision course – full impulse!

[Tautly] Shields at maximum! Evasive hard starboard! [Punches button on command chair] All decks, brace for collision!


An emergency klaxon sounds insistently as crewmembers work feverishly to avoid disaster.


As the Bonaventure careens toward the Farragut, the second ship peels off to the right in a maneuver that looks like a modified barrel roll. While the ships come within a whisper of colliding, their deflector shields intersect and overload each other in a violent cascade of radiant energy.




[Examining a display on his console] Sir, our shields are down!
No, not THAT Kodos....


[Emphatically, eagerly] Fire phase cannons!


Pulsing payloads of phased energy leap from turrets on the underside of the Bonaventure and collide with the Farragut, tearing huge holes in the vital sections of the starship. One of them uproots a warp nacelle at its connection to the engineering hull; another carves a huge divot from the engineering section itself, prompting a short-lived explosion, followed by torrential out-gassing and the ejection of several crewmembers into space.




[Addressing intercraft] All hands, stand by for saucer separation! [To NAVIGATOR] Execute!

The FARRAGUT’s saucer section detaches from the engineering section in a flare of explosive bolts; within an instant, the impulse engines activate and propel the saucer away from the crippled section as the latter explodes in a dramatic sunburst. We see the saucer assume a pursuit course after the BONAVENTURE. It closes in and unleashes a furious phaser barrage that peels away sections of the hull.


Excellency, should we return fire?

[A very short beat] No … no. [To NAVIGATOR] Set course for Tarsus Prime, best possible speed. [To STANNARD] The Farragut will turn around and search for survivors. Without their stardrive section, they’re months away from the nearest Starfleet base. We’ll have time -- plenty of time….

The BONAVENTURE surges away in the direction of the red star; we CROSS-CUT to the FARRAGUT saucer section as it assumes an orbit around Tarsus IV.



LEONARD and MARY are tending to the wounded as best they can when they hear intruders at the cave opening. LEONARD wheels and grabs the farm implement; MARY ushers the survivors as far back into the shelter as they can go.

We PULL BACK to see that the intruders are a rescue party from the FARRAGUT, led by GARROVICK himself.

[To LEONARD] Easy – take it easy. We’re from the Farragut. [A beat while he takes stock of the situation.] We’re in bad shape ourselves, but we’ll be able to care for you.

MEDICAL PERSONNEL arrive and begin treating the wounded; they are immediately drawn to the young mother and infant, the latter of whom is now squalling cathartically.

[Gently, to LEONARD, recognizing him instinctively as the de facto leader] My name is Captain David Garrovick.


My name is Leonard McCoy. [Gesturing to MARY] That’s my mother, Mary.
Leonard … Mary. [A short, discomfited beat] As far as we can tell, you are the only ones still alive.

 (stunned, horrified)The only ones in New Cochrane City?

[Quietly, grimly] No – the only ones on the planet.


ON-SCREEN TITLE CARD: Eleven Years Later


ESTABLISHING SHOT of the USS ENTERPRISE plying interstellar space, partially lit by the illumination of distant stars. As the “beauty pass” continues, our POV shifts to the forward part of the main saucer section, deck ten; we close in to, and then through, a porthole into the REC ROOM.

Several CREWMEMBERS are shown, some in duty uniforms, others in casual dress, enjoying various off-duty leisure activities. Some have obviously paired up. Others are simply blowing off steam. But there is an undercurrent of nervousness; as we pan the room, we soon see why: At a table, surrounded by a smiling, respectful throng, we see two figures playing 3-D CHESS. As the pan continues we see that they are CAPTAIN KIRK and MR. SPOCK.

Under the chess match, we hear the NARRATION of a CAPTAIN’S LOG ENTRY.

KIRK (v.o.)

Captain’s Log, stardate 2864.3. The Enterprise is near the end of a three-week surveying mission near the galactic rim in the Perseus Arm – an area previously explored only by unmanned probe drones. No other earth vessel has ventured this far, and we’ve yet to encounter any other intelligent species.

CLOSE-UP of SPOCK’S hand moving a rook.


Checkmate in three moves, Captain.

KIRK favors his First Officer with an annoyed, ironic smile.

You play a very irritating game of chess, Mr. Spock.

KIRK’S eyes narrow as he studies the chessboard. Suddenly, impulsively, he reaches for a piece and moves it to the top level. SPOCK’S eyebrows knit together in puzzlement, then he cocks his head slightly; he is visibly calculating his next move. A slight buzz resonates from the onlookers as they realize that SPOCK might well be stumped – astonishing as it might seem. That buzz grows to a crescendo as SPOCK tips over his king, resigning from the game.

Captain, much as it grieves me to admit it, impulsive randomness sometimes has the advantage over logic. The game is yours.

[Graciously, without so much as a hint of arrogance or mockery]
Thank you, Mr. Spock. I’ve learned a great deal from our previous matches … painful though some of them have been.

In the B.G. the door swooshes open, and DR. MCCOY strides into the room.

[Quietly, to be heard only by KIRK and SPOCK] Jim, if you’re quite finished getting your ass kicked --


Actually, Bones, you just missed me checkmating Mr. Spock. He was kind enough to admit the superiority of – what was it again -- my impulsive, emotional approach.

SPOCK reacts via raised eyebrow as a friendly smirk settles into MCCOY’S features.


You mean – you actually beat this guy? He was doing polynomial equations in the womb and published his first paper on theoretical physics before he was potty-trained, and you – a mere human – beat him at chess?


[His words shaded with annoyance] Dr. McCoy, the Captain acknowledged that he benefited from my tutelage. He’s been an apt pupil –


But you said it was his "human impulsiveness" that beat you, right? He obviously didn’t learn that from you, did he, oh One Most Orderly and Serene?

In the b.g., the spectators are visibly enjoying themselves.

[Wearily] Doctor –


Forgive me for interrupting, but – was there something you needed, Bones?


I didn’t mean to make a major issue of this, Jim, but I’m having some trouble with Specialist Rand.


[By way of necessary exposition] The Captain’s strategic aide?


[Nodding] Rand always seems too busy for routine medical and psych evaluations. She’s put off my staff with a steady stream of excuses, and when I talked to her directly she insisted that she was just too busy and would have to talk with the Captain. So here I am, talking with the Captain.


[Puzzled]I’ve not assigned her any additional duties. She should be able to spare an hour or two and just get the exams over with.


Well, that’s what I’ve been saying, but –

The intercom beeps; we hear CHEKOV’S voice

Bridge to captain.

[Punching a control] Kirk here; what is it, Mr. Chekov?


Sir, our scanners have picked up what appears to be a vessel of some kind. We’re too far to detect life signs yet, but – Captain, it is emitting a Federation transponder signal.

KIRK and SPOCK shoot each other a surprised glance.


Can you make out the registry?


If our records are correct, Captain, it’s the Bonaventure.

The mention of that name causes all conversation and activity to cease. MCCOY reacts with a look of startled concern not observed by his friends. KIRK shoots SPOCK another significant look.


Thank you, Mr. Chekov – we’ll be right there. Sound General Quarters.


Aye, sir.

A KLAXON sounds in the background, mingled with CHEKOV’S composed but insistent voice.

All hands to battle stations. This is not a drill; repeat, this is not a drill.

Moving in tandem, KIRK and SPOCK walk to an, down the corridor, and enter a turbolift. The rest of the crowd dissipates as the crewmembers, with disciplined urgency, assume battle stations. Only MCCOY is left in the room, where he sits in stunned, puzzled silence.

VFX: The Enterprise gathers itself and charges into warp.

[Log v.o.] Captain’s Log – supplemental. More than a decade has passed since the USS Bonaventure disappeared near Tarsus IV, where it had been used to carry out the slaughter of most of the colony’s population. Once a Starfleet vessel of exploration and peaceful contact, the Bonaventure was appropriated by Governor Kodos as an instrument of genocide. This happened years ago, hundreds of light years away – and Kodos has not been heard from again – until now. 



Doc Ellis said...

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this...

Anonymous said...

This "producer" wouldn't have been Russo now would it?