I may be talking out of my butt here because I haven’t seen the latest Star Trek movie, but here’s why I’m having doubts about the whole “reboot” enterprise. (Warning: There is an unavoidable BIG spoiler coming, regarding Into the Darkness. I will give two more warnings.)
When I saw, the first Abrams’ version, I liked it because it offered the promise of new adventures with the original characters. Not only that, but because it was a reboot – anything could happen. Characters we love could die without messing up the old timeline because the old timeline had already disappeared, which is not the same as saying it never happened. It did. Old Spock is proof of that.
Did I have reservations? Sure. I hated the idea that Spock – moral, upright Spock, was somehow responsible for the destruction of his entire planet – or rather setting in motion, inadvertently, the forces that led to its destruction. That felt like too much for him to bear. But it was an entertaining movie, and the parts I might have thought about went by too quickly for me to think about them.
However, this past weekend the better half and I watched Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home, and combining that with reading meh reviews for Into the Darkness, I’ve been thinking about what might have gone wrong.
We don’t love original, old-timey Star Trek for the cheesy sets, the mini-skirts or the way the computer screens light up. We love it because of the accidental chemistry between Kirk and Spock. We love it because as Edith Keeler said to Spock regarding where she thinks he belongs, “at his [Kirk’s] side as if you’ve always been there and always will.”
It’s about the characters, stupid.
And here’s the thing about iconic fictional characters, the more we get to know them, the deeper we love them. Experience changes them. Maybe not in big ways, but in subtle ones we watchers and readers track. We learn information over time. Holmes has a brother, Moriarty is his mortal enemy. There are cases that don’t go the way they should and these leave a mark forever. For Holmes, Irene Adler will always be “the woman.” Picard takes up an alien flute after his probe experience, and is never the same after the Borg’s get him. We know what it means when he plays that flute. Spock takes Jim out of “this damned place” (Spoiler is coming on next page. There’ll be a final warning!) Continue reading You Can’t Reboot Character