Nicholas Meyer is a director and writer who has contributed his fair share to pop culture that has impacted the world with a long term effect. His 1983 television film The Day After left a hefty impression on the world, viscerally depicting the effects nuclear war would have on people.
He wrote the 1974 novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution that deals with Sherlock Holmes going to Sigmund Freud for help and that was turned into a successful 1976 film that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. His directorial debut, the 1979 film Time After Time, was also praised. He even would go on to help write the 1987 film Fatal Attraction (Of which he went uncredited).
Throughout his career though, Meyer has been apart of the Star Trek franchise, first writing and directing the beloved 1982 film installment Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Then he directed and wrote the well-received 1986 film installment Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He even came back to assist on the newest show Star Trek: Discovery. However, on that last one, Meyer recently revealed he didn’t feel he contributed anything to season 1 (And was not asked back for season 2).
Whether Meyer feels the show didn’t match his style or he simply just didn’t care for the direction is anyone’s guess, but one piece of the Star Trek franchise he can openly say he didn’t like was J.J. Abrams’ 2013 installment Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s no secret by now that Into Darkness ultimately ripped and, in many ways, simply copied elements from the Wrath of Khan, considered the best film in the Star Trek film series to this day. While Into Darkness is considered a homage to Wrath of Khan, Meyer did not mess around today in a new interview in what he thought of that:
It is, on the one hand, nice to be so successful or beloved or however you want to describe it that somebody wants to do a homage to what you did and I was flattered and touched. But in my sort of artistic worldview, if you’re going to do an homage you have to add something. You have to put another layer on it, and they didn’t.
Just by putting the same words in different characters’ mouths didn’t add up to anything, and if you have someone dying in one scene and sort of being resurrected immediately after there’s no real drama going on. It just becomes a gimmick or gimmicky, and that’s what I found it to be ultimately.
It’s really not surprising. Despite Into Darkness being the most successful of the the Star Trek films, grossing $467.4 million, the film has been retrospectively considered similar to J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars film The Force Awakens. That film was also considered a rehash of the original 1977 film A New Hope. It’s a shame that Meyer has not been used more in the new franchise as his classic integrity as a writer would be appreciated in a franchise that has become more about rehashing old material than trying something new. Stay tuned!