Well, it's now official that J.J Abrams, speccy mastermind behind Alias and Lost, is in charge of the eleventh Star Trek feature film. As we know, Star Trek XI will be a prequel adventure with younger incarnations of the characters from the original 60's TV series.
This will be Abrams' second movie after Mission: Impossible III, which was a box-office disappointment despite being arguably the best entry in the spy franchise. He is planning on bringing over some of his Alias/Lost team to steer the U.S.S Enterprise away from oblivion, following the poor tenth movie Nemesis (2002) and the cancelled Enterprise series (2005).
Casting speculation is always great fun and Trekkers are interested to find out who will be playing their sci-fi heroes. The most prevailant names bandied around (and my personal choices) are as follows:
Captain James T. Kirk (MATT DAMON)
Matt Damon is the clear front runner to takeover from William Shatner. Damon is a pretty good actor, capable of action (Bourne Identity) and straight acting (The Good German), but the main reason he's in the frame is his strong likeness to a youthful Shatner. Of course, at 36, he's actually older than Shatner was when he first played Kirk, but make-up is a wonderful thing...
Mr Spock (ZACHARY QUINTO)
Replacing Leonard Nimoy is perhaps the most difficult challenge facing J.J Abrams. Nimoy's performance is ingrained in everyone's minds, so whoever gets the role will have a very difficult job. There are three actors whose names are now attached to the role...
Adrien Brody's name has been attached for awhile and he's certainly a good actor with vague Nimoy likeness. However, for my money, Zachary Quinto should be the hot favourite (see photo above). Quinto isn't a big name, which could actually work in his favour, and has respect of geeks everywhere for his role as serial-killer Sylar in Heroes. I'm not sure if he'd be strong enough to act out the role, but he's certainly the person with the closest Nimoy resemblance! The third most popular suggestion online? Johnny Depp. Please God, no...
Dr McCoy (GARY SINISE)
The final part of the essential classic Trek triumverate has CSI actor Gary Sinise in the frame. Sinise looks similar to DeForest Kelly and is undoubtedly a strong actor, but would he participate in a Star Trek movie, even with J.J Abrams' involvement? Debatable.
Scotty (JAMES McAVOY)
This role is pretty wide open, but real-life Scot James McAvoy's name has been mentioned. McAvoy is a rising star, who perhaps might want a big Hollywood role to cement his career in the States. There isn't much similarity between McAvoy and James Doohan, but Scotty isn't a character who really has to have much facial similarity.
Casting is certainly important for this project. J.J Abrams' reputation might get some big names involved like Matt Damon and Gary Sinise -- who knows? If not, new faces might be the way to go because the words "Star Trek" will sell the movie for many people. Mind you, after the failure of Star Trek Nemesis, I'm sure Paramount want to snare non-Trekkers by marketing the changes in a Batman Begins/Casino Royale style.
Feel free to share your own suggestions for Trek replacements in the comments area...