“Star Trek” writer unleashes Khan-like wrath on Trekkies

Robert Orci hurled a string of expletives at fans critical of "Into Darkness" on a popular "Star Trek" fan site

Topics: the daily dot, Bob Orci, Star Trek, fans, Trekkies, writer, Into Darkness, ,

"Star Trek" writer unleashes Khan-like wrath on Trekkies Screengrab via lordofthejohnlock/Tumblr
This article originally appeared on The Daily Dot.

The Daily Dot Forget the so-called fourth wall of fandom: It no longer exists. Actors, writers and directors are only a tweet away, and people working on major geek-culture franchises are actively encouraged to engage with fans.

Sometimes, fandom strikes gold with a genuinely nerdy celebrity who really knows how to use social media, like George Takei, Kristen Bell or Nathan Fillion. But most of the time we’re content with a few publicity appearances on Reddit, or a sporadically entertaining Twitter presence. It doesn’t take much.

Either way, it seems like a no-brainer to suggest that when engaging with your fans online, you probably shouldn’t actively insult them. For example, don’t log on to a popular fansite and start posting comments describing other readers as “shitty fans” and telling them to “f*ck off”.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Star Trek writer Bob Orci just did.

On September 1, popular Star Trek fansite TrekMovie.com published an editorial titled “Star Trek is broken—Here are ideas on how to fix it.” The article focuses on this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which was a moderate box office success but failed to impress most old-school fans. In fact, while the 2009 reboot is still very popular, Into Darkness was recently voted the fandom’s least favorite movie at a Star Trek convention, with Wrath of Khan topping the poll.

Orci (writing as “boborci”, a screenname that has been confirmed as real by TrekMovie.com moderator Matt Wright), first responded with this comment:

“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 attidude 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.”



A little passive-aggressive, but not too bad. Sadly, he didn’t leave it at that, instead going through the comments section responding to fans who criticised Into Darkness—including challenging one person to pitch him a better movie idea. In response to someone who (politely) compared Into Darkness with Raiders of the Lost Arc, Orci wrote:

STID has infinetly 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 cliche of shitty fans. And rude in the process. So, as Simon Pegg would say: FUCK OFF!”

Sci-fi fans can be a conservative lot, and major franchise reboots are usually met with a certain amount of trepidation. But while 2009’s Star Trek passed the first hurdle by receiving positive feedback from old-school fans and newcomers alike, Into Darkness was nowhere near as well-received. In fact, TrekMovie.com’s “Star Trek is broken” article was making a point that many fans have been discussing for months: that the latest movie betrayed the show’s original message. By concentrating on explosions to the detriment of characterisation, and excluding women and minorities from the castInto Darkness was arguably a lot less groundbreaking than Star Trek was in the 1960s.

Star Trek is not a democracy. While the franchise may, in the spiritual sense, “belong to the fans,” the people in control are JJ Abrams, Bob Orci, and his co-writers. However, it’s not unfair for fans to criticize or complain when the franchise seems to be dumbing down or moving away from the original ethos of the series. Orci’s repeated assertions that he “listens” to fans seem meaningless when the end result is a movie that inspired widespread disappointment among its intended audience. Particularly when “listening” also seems to be accompanied by cursing, insults, and taunts like “This is why I get to write the movies, and you don’t.”

Right now, it seems as if Star Trek’s current writers did listen to the fans, then promptly ignored or forgot what they heard. While Into Darkness was not a critical failure, resentment among the franchise’s core fanbase has grown, and that’s partly thanks to PR mistakes like J.J. Abrams saying that he disliked the original show because it was “too philosophical,” or co-writer Damon Lindelof admitting that the notoriously pointless Alice Eve underwear scene in Into Darkness was gratuitous. Or the recent DVD release being described as a ripoff. Or Bob Orci taking a couple of hours out of his schedule to read through message board comments and yell at fans for criticising his multimillion-dollar movie.

In itself, the comments section of TrekMovie.com is not a big deal. Most people who bought a ticket for the movie don’t know or care about what Bob Orci says on the internet, but incidents like this are representative of an ever-growing divide between Star Trek’s current writers and an increasingly rebellious fanbase.

Looking at Orci’s definition of “listening,” it seems like he’s falling foul of a problem faced by many an angry internet commenter. He’s listening just long enough to hear that someone is annoyed with him, and responding with anger and defensiveness rather than actually paying attention to what they have to say.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...