J.J. Abrams defends his Star Trek: You'll love it!

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

J.J. Abrams, who directed the upcoming Star Trek reboot movie, addressed the film's new take on starship battles, redshirt deaths and character backstory. Abrams attended the Television Critics Association January press tour party for Fox, the network for which he produces Fringe, on Tuesday.

Earlier in the evening, screenwriter Roberto Orci described the battles as still maritime-influenced, despite the new, lavish look. Abrams clarified.

"They're big ships, so I'd say that there is a little bit of that, but there's a little bit more flash and fun and action than you've seen before," Abrams said in a group interview. "There are some pretty spectacular visual effects. ILM outdid themselves. It's amazing."

In scenes previewed for the press earlier in the year, Abrams revealed the very first redshirt death scene. Trek fans know that any supporting character in a red uniform is doomed on a planetside mission.

"Well, the guy sort of asks for it a little bit in that scene," Abrams joked.

A major change in Abrams' prequel is the portrayal of young Kirk as a reckless, bar-fighting rebel. On that note, Abrams admitted he was recruiting new Trekkers.

"I would say that the fans of Star Trek will be very happy with the movie," Abrams said. "It honors what's come before, but I didn't really make the movie just for the people who are already inside, because I like Star Trek but I was never a massive fan. So I think the movie's going to not satisfy everyone, of course. It can't. But it'll satisfy most of both."

Finally, Abrams addressed a YouTube video in which William Shatner claims he was never approached for a cameo in Abrams' film. He says he would have said no, but he was never even asked. Abrams saw where Shatner misunderstood the director's comments.

"I think what Mr. Shatner was responding to was a misunderstanding," Abrams said. "I was quoted as saying we tried to get him in the movie. What I meant was we were trying internally to find a way to take a dead character and resurrect him without it seeming lame. We couldn't figure out a way to do it. I think that when I said we tried to get him into the movie, he read it as if we were trying to call him. I would not have wasted his time with a bad idea." Star Trek opens May 8.