Star Trek 2: The writers on how they'll approach the sequel

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Even though writer/producer partners Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are neck-deep in the promotional campaign for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen—which they co-wrote with Ehren Kruger—the duo admit that they're also already contemplating the future of another franchise: namely, Star Trek.

"The debate is do you do a story where you go through some familiar things from the series, but now their outcome can be a little bit different, or do you just make it totally new?" Orci said in an exclusive interview Friday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"That's what we're kind of debating right now," Orci added. "We're kind of going through everything we know and love and making sure we don't leave any unexplored gems. And then also simultaneously trying to think of new things completely. So we'll see. The best idea wins, original or old."

Kurtzman admits that they aren't very far into the process thus far but feel emboldened by the success of the first Star Trek (or 11th, depending on how you count it) as they return to the drawing board for the next installment.

"We just had our first 10-minute conversation the other day," Kurtzman says. "We don't have anything yet. I wish we had more to tell you. I think we're really, really pleased to find that, for the most part, the die-hard fans felt that they connected to the material the way they wanted to. So I think that enabled us to take a similar approach, which is to say you have to find a way to give everyone a little bit of something, because people will meet you in the middle."

Kurtzman suggests that their approach won't be radically different from the one they took on the previous film, not least because they expect an enormous amount of scrutiny from fans new and old.

"I think because the track base is broader and more rabid than I think any franchise in the history of time, we were pretty worried that we were going to get skewered, even though we felt like we were making choices that we felt were honoring the canon," Kurtzman says. "We really spend so much time thinking about both the fans and what Trek meant to us and what it means to stay true to canon."

The pair will begin serious work on Star Trek after they finish Cowboys and Aliens. "As soon as we're done with Cowboys, we're going right into Star Trek, and we're doing a lot of producing simultaneously with all of that stuff," Kurtzman said.