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New ''Star Trek'' movie starts production

Cast member LeVar Burton gives EW.com a sneak peak at ”Nemesis”

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Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Paramount Pictures

Those 22nd-century upstarts on UPN’s ”Enterprise” may be getting all the attention right now, but a more seasoned ”Star Trek” crew is on its way back to a movie theater near you. ”Star Trek: Nemesis,” the 10th film in the series, began production late last month with the full ”Next Generation” cast — Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, and friends — along for the warp-drive-powered ride. ”The ‘nemesis’ referred to in the title is a baaad boy,” says Burton, who plays Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge. ”This is someone we’ve never met before.”

And how will ”Nemesis” differ from previous ”Star Trek” outings, like 1998’s ”Star Trek: Insurrection?” ”Um, the universe is in great peril,” Burton laughs. ”And the crew of the Enterprise has to come and save the day.” According to Paramount Pictures, the movie begins with the Enterprise crew en route to the wedding of two ”Next Generation” characters: Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). On their way, they’re diverted to the enemy planet Romulus, where they meet their nemesis (who Paramount cryptically describes as a ”surprisingly personal” foe for Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard.)

Some cast members have suggested that ”Nemesis” — tentatively due in theaters next November — will be the last ”Star Trek” film to feature the ”Next Generation” lineup, which took over the movie franchise with 1994’s ”Star Trek: Generations.” A Paramount spokesperson dismisses those statements as premature speculation. Nonetheless, the movie will tie up some loose ends, including the fate of a ”Next Generation” character who garnered more resentment than anyone this side of Jar-Jar Binks: Much-derided teen genius Wesley Crusher (as played by ”Stand By Me” star Wil Wheaton) will briefly return for the first time since he conveniently left the TV series to go and study with a super-powered alien.

Wheaton, who had worried that he was ”persona non grata” with ”Trek” producers since leaving the show in 1991, says he’s ”really, really, really excited” about returning. ”It gives me this sense of emotional freedom and this sense of major closure on the whole leaving-‘Star-Trek’ issue,” he tells EW.com. He even has a special-effects suggestion: ”I think it would be cool if Wesley’s eyes would be all black to show that he has transcended the universe we live in.” Hey, fine with us.

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