Hot Project: Star Trek X: Nemesis

Trekkies can breathe a sigh of relief.

It looks as though Paramount is going ahead with plans for the tenth Star Trek offshoot, unofficially titled Star Trek: Nemesis.

The project had been talked about for some time, but things started looking glum after 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection only managed to rake in $70 million, a low figure by Star Trek box office standards. Compounded by the recent series finale of Star Trek Voyager, many fans were starting to believe the popular franchise might be coming to an end.

Though it has not been officially green-lighted, Nemesis is reportedly in pre-production and is expected to begin shooting this fall. The push may have inadvertently come from one of Nemesis‘ stars, Patrick Stewart.

The Star Trek veteran may have helped yank the project out of development hell thanks to his limited schedule. It seems Stewart is due on the set of X-Men 2 in January to reprise his coveted role as Xavier.

But while Stewart may be gearing up for the X-Men sequel, he will probably be saying his final farewells to Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard. Nemesis will apparently be the last Star Trek film to feature cast members from the TV series The Next Generation.

So far the only other Generation member to sign on apart from Stewart is Brent Spiner, who will reprise his role as Data. Rumors are circulating that Jude Law will also star in Nemesis, but none have been confirmed as of yet. According to different script reviews, Law would play the role of a Reman named Shinzon.

Penned by John Logan (Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, The Time Machine), Nemesis revolves around a Reman slave (Shinzon) who overthrows the leader of the Romulan Empire. The catch is that Shinzon is not really a Reman, he is actually a human. In fact, he’s not just any human–he is a clone of Picard.

It turns out that the Romulans had cloned Picard in an attempt to spy on the Federation. When their plans failed, they relegated Shinzon to the slave planet of Remus, where he remained until the coup d’état. But because of a glitch in the cloning process Shinzon’s days are numbered and he must find Picard in order to save himself.

Besides the Romulan story line, there is a subplot that involves Data and his long lost brother B-9, created by Dr. Snoog, and his never ending struggle to be more human.

The film will be helmed by Stuart Baird (Executive Decisions, U.S. Marshals), who also served as executive producer for Paramount’s summer action flick Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Whether Nemesis will be the last Star Trek gig is another question. With the start of the new TV series Enterprise this fall and the cast of The Next Generation bowing out of the movie franchise, maybe it’s going to be a whole new ball game. One thing remains certain: as long as there are Trekkies, there will always be an audience for Star Trek on the big screen.