I think maybe we're dancing around the fundamental questions now, instead of attacking them head-on. I think the questions we should be debating (because we may all have wildly opposite views on this) are:
- What parts of Star Trek are critical ingredients for you to be able to enjoy the commercial products of the franchise as Star Trek, and by how much?
- What parts of Star Trek can and should be cast aside in order to give the story the freedom to move in new directions and avoid casting new stories in old templates?
Prior to the 2009 movie's premiere, the studio released posters showing those swatches of Kirk's and Spock's old uniform. The message at that time was, "We're making films with Kirk and Spock." I took that as good news because I believe the story is fundamentally about the characters, and incidentally or even parenthetically about the universe they're in.
Then a few months later, we learned that the writers would use a clever technique to alter the characters' timeline, so that the slate would be wiped clean for them, and their actions would not be bound (chained) to the existing backlog of stories, many of which don't share continuity even with one another. I took that as more good news, because it would free the writers to take these stories in bold new directions.
It wasn't "the prime timeline" that I wanted. It was the prime characters. And in the story we have now, the events which the writers staged to change the storyline have altered the characters so drastically that I do not perceive them as the same people -- just different actors wearing something reminiscent of their clothes.
If some other writer had done this kind of thing to an existing body of work (e.g., "Hamlet: The Prequel," where when he was a baby, Hamlet's dad was killed in a freak windstorm and his benevolent uncle saves him from drowning in the river, becoming his best friend for life) we'd come to the conclusion that the story wasn't really about Hamlet, no matter what predicament he'd find himself in. The writer could argue, "But this is the same person, just one whose character was forged differently by a dissimilar chain of events."
To which we'd respond, it was the original chain of events that made him interesting in the first place. And someone on the Hamlet BBS would ask, "Do fans want the prime timeline back?"
Though we love any number of fictional characters, their personalities are the products of the story and their backstory. Maybe the backstory is not the fundamental aspect of what we enjoy, but when we change that backstory, either we're left with a character we no longer recognize, or one whose existence does not make sense given his circumstances. Or, in the case of Star Trek 2009, some of both.
DF "Son, You Did a Bold Thing by Taking the Conn and Giving the Order to Fire. As a Token of My Appreciation, I'd Like to Give You My Ship." Scott