Can “Star Trek” Continue to Live Long and Prosper?

J.J. Abrams hopes to breathe new life into a once proud franchise

It's almost impossible to watch "Galaxy Quest" spoof the voyages of the Starship Enterprise and not be reminded of how trite and tired the "Star Trek" brand has become. But J.J. Abrams, the man behind "Lost,"  believes the time is ripe for the franchise's 11th feature film.

“I think a movie that shows people of various races working together and surviving hundreds of years from now is not a bad message to put out right now,” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly.

 “In a world where ... 'The Dark Knight' is raking in gazillions of dollars, 'Star Trek' stands in stark contrast,” Abrams says. “It was important to me that optimism be cool again.”

The boundless optimism of "Star Trek" and its parallels with a certain politician are not lost on the cast.

"This is a franchise that offers hope for unity—and so does Barack Obama," says Zachary Quinto, the new Spock. “When this movie comes out, and Obama is president, hopefully there will be some parallels."

"My only regret is that the movie can’t come out sooner,” says the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy. "I think the world could use it. Don’t you?"

Though Abrams insists William Shatner turned down an offer to appear in the new film, the actor clearly fees left out. Last month Shatner posted a video on YouTube in which he took the director to task for not bringing Capt. James T. Kirk back from the great beyond. 

"I brought (Kirk) back to life in one of my books, very easily," Shatner tells Abrams in the video. "I’m just sorry that I’m not in your wonderful movie."

"I don’t know how my life has become a thing where William Shatner talks to me through YouTube," says Abrams "I was such a huge fan of his, but we wrote a scene for him in the movie and it didn’t feel right ... But we did try."

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