Recently the internet has been abuzz with the news of the Star Trek franchise getting a new director for its third instalment. The keys of the enterprise have been handed over to the man behind the screenplay of Star Trek: Into Darkness, Roberto Orci.
The first time director has been floating amidst a sea of controversy since the announcement last week. It is interesting to note that the cause for concern among fans has not been focused on the idea of handing one of the most prolific science fiction franchises over to a director in his first outing. No, the primary concerns surrounding the decision come from Orci’s recent tirade on a fan who did not appreciate his work on Star Trek: Into Darkness and additionally his documented controversial views on sensitive issues.
It was known beforehand that Roberto Orci was a conspiracy theorist, but it’s only from his more recent media coverage that his previous statements have come back to haunt him. The ongoing argument that has come to fruition is not necessarily about bringing up questions of his competency as a director, it’s more involved with the public consensus feeling that he is not the type of person who should be put in this prestigious position based on his attitude.
There is a certain demeanour in which to handle the outcry of fans on displeasing elements they find in their favourite franchises. It’s important to remember that they will voice their opinion and there will always be negative reviews no matter what kind of film, comic, TV show you are making. The way to defend yourself in this regard is to simply voice your opinion in your own personal space. Whether it is on a personal website or through an interview format. Explain how passionate you are about the project you worked on and why you feel people may be a little harsh. The number one aspect to remember is that these people are your audience. Good, Bad or Indifferent. Their opinion matters the most. To borrow a term I used in my previous article, Audience opinion determines whether your movie sinks or swims.
That being said, Orcis responses to fans on star trek site, TrekMovie.com, can be considered somewhat patronizing. Here are two particular comments he has made that have been making the rounds on media sites online.
“I think the article above is akin to a child acting out against his parents. Makes it tough for some to listen, but since I am a loving parent, I read these comments without anger or resentment, no matter how misguided. Having said that, two biggest Star Treks in a row with best reviews is hardly a description of “broken.” And frankly, your tone and attitude make it hard for me to listen to what might otherwise be decent notions to pursue in the future. As I love to say, there is a reason why I get to write the movies, and you don’t.”
“STID has infinitely more social commentary than Raiders in every Universe, and I say that with Harrison Ford being a friend. You lose credibility big time when you don’t honestly engage with the FUCKING WRITER OF THE MOVIE ASKING YOU AN HONEST QUESTION. You prove the cliché of shitty fans. And rude in the process. So, as Simon Pegg would say: FUCK OFF!”
It’s not hard to see why this has caused a considerable amount of backlash. The first article “Star Trek is Broken” was a discussion on how Star Trek does not have the same social commentary as it used to. The direction taken has skewed more towards an action orientated vibe with the movies. The argument being that the show used to have a more thoughtful approach and represented women and ethnicities outside of Caucasian in a progressive manner. The decision to go action orientated in the latest films is purely objective based on your particular taste, but it’s hard to debate against the very valid opinion that the role of women has been undercut to being a subject of the male gaze.
The inherent problem with Orcis comment is that he didn’t address anything within the article. He wrote it off as the work of a child and touted himself as superior; mainly because he writes films and that surely must mean that fan critic is beneath him.
In reference to the second article, He flat out tells a fan to “Fuck Off” for having a contrasting thought to him on the level of social commentary between the two aforementioned films, whilst casually name dropping a celebrity friend of his.
Since this occurrence, Roberto has gone on record to apologize for his comments as well as deleted his twitter account. His twitter account is another story of equally questionable comments; Its particularly noteworthy in regards to his insensitivity of tweeting during the time of the Boston bombing that it was an inside job by the united states government and additionally his frequent insistence on there being a conspiracy around 9/11.
Coming from a screenplay background to a director’s position is no easy undertaking and to say that Roberto Orci transition has been rocky may be underselling the situation slightly. He is a media magnet.
This begs the question of the future of The Star Trek franchise. Love him or hate him, Roberto Orci does indeed have a talent for screenwriting that can be plainly seen from a number of selections you can see on his IMDB filmography – But one has the wonder, even if the next Star Trek movie does exceedingly well in the box office; Will biting the hand that feeds him have some sort of ramifications in the future?
It will be interesting to see if the fan base will be heard in months to come and I genuinely look forward to seeing how this story unfolds in the future.
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!