By Todd Gilchrist

J.J Abrams
, director of this summer's blockbuster relaunch of the Star Trek film series, told reporters that the forthcoming follow-up will, like its predecessor, both appeal to nonfans and reward those familiar with the long-running franchise. "Whatever the story is and whatever the final movie ends up being, I know it will be something that will work on its own terms and be something that you don't need to know and study Star Trek to get," Abrams said in a press conference Thursday afternoon. "But if you are a fan, there will hopefully be gift after gift of connections, references, characters that you hold near and dear. At least, that's the intent."

Cinematical spoke to Abrams at a press day for the DVD and Blu-ray release of Star Trek, which is due November 17, 2009. The following is an edited version of Abrams' comments to the press about the sequel, which is currently being developed by the director and his original screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

Since you were able to wipe the slate clean with your prequel, do you plan to come up with something completely original, or is there a possibility you will reference some of the existing creatures or races in the next installment?

Abrams: The fun of this movie series is that we will have the opportunity, given its alternate timeline, to cross paths with any of the experiences, places and characters that existed in the original series. We have to be really careful, obviously, doing that. I don't want to do something that is so inside that only die-hard fans will appreciate.

Will the first film's alternate timeline affect what you can leave in and what can't be a part of subsequent films?

The trick in doing any movie, but especially something like this that involves some weird alternate reality-time travel thing is that you don't want to not explain it, but you don't want to explain everything. I think you have as much fun with the missing pieces as you do with the pieces you get. So, for me, not knowing every detail, allows me to get inside of the story and start to fill in the blanks. When everything is spoon-fed, typically I feel like you're being pandered to, or it's too expositional. It's always a balance.

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CATEGORIES Movies, Interviews, Sci-Fi