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A ‘Star Trek 3’ Holiday Wish List

Can Orci and the new writers deliver a present we will not return?

Now that we know who will write “Star Trek 3,” it’s that time of the year to make a holiday wish list about what the screenwriters can do to keep the franchise invigorated and how to win over a few disgruntled fans in the process.

There is a lot of chatter about who might be the next director for the sequel now that J.J. Abrams is off to helm Disney’s “Star Wars: Episode VII.” See our column on this here. But I’m actually more anxious about the writers. They shoulder the heart of any good Star Trek production.

J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who penned Bad Robot’s graphic novel adaption “Boilerplate,” are joining Roberto Orci to tackle the script; former writers Alex Kurtzman (“Transformers”) and Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) are off pursuing other projects and will not return. This likely leaves Orci as the lead writer, especially since Payne and McKay are new to Hollywood.

With new writers offering new ideas, could this be an opportunity to warp the franchise into an exciting new direction? Yes, but one thing is clear: Scripts featuring a madman on the loose making waves with apocalyptic consequences is a tired crutch. It’s certainly a formula that works well for feature films — lots of action, explosions and special effects are part of its roller coaster recipe — but Star Trek has tread this path enough. And “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” perfected it.

Regardless, Abrams has unquestionably pulled in audiences. That was necessary. But it’s time to look back at Gene Roddenberry’s creation and mine the wealth of diverse and inspired stories he began airing in 1966. The model for success is there. And “Space Seed” isn’t the only episode to seek inspiration from.

However, let’s come up with something new. Star Trek needs a creative jolt. And “Star Trek 3” needs to be it.

What direction that might be is an interesting topic for debate. The choices are boundless. But in the meantime, I can’t help but wish for a few tweaks along the way. Some from my holiday wish list include:

–Give us the character dynamic cherished since the original series. That means more Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) interacting with Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) on a more equal basis.

–Show Starfleet in action doing what they do best — exploring. A scene involving Kirk and a landing party leisurely taking scans on an alien planet — complete with a handful of security guards, a yeoman, a geologist — would be a great start (bonus points for the discovery of a humming blue plant).

–Don’t allow action to dominate the film. Present a story that explores meaningful issues in the finest Star Trek tradition.

–Address the blood of Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his crew. Its healing properties carry deep ramifications as currently presented.

–Address transwarp beaming. This is another area with serious ramifications for Starfleet. Perhaps the technology can begin to show flaws, such as randomly depositing a transportee in the Mirror Universe.

–Continue to give nods to events and characters from the original series.

–More Andorians.

–Purge the sloppy plot holes. It’s not that hard.

And on a less serious note:

–Give us a Starfleet phaser that is actually a phaser. That means a solid beam and that iconic disintegration setting. The look of the original series phaser is one of the best designs the franchise has produced. Plus, it doesn’t need a holster. Perhaps a new arms company wins the production contract for Starfleet?

–Admit Nero (Eric Bana) and Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) crossed over into an alternate universe from the beginning, not just back in time. That would explain a lot; some fans are still confused.

More clearly could be done to help steer the Enterprise to one of its best adventures yet. We’ll explore that throughout the new year. Join us with your wishes and comment below.

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