Rebooting Star Trek

There's a right way and a wrong way to reboot a franchise.
Generating $200 million in the first 3 weeks of its release is a good sign that J.J. Abrams's Star Trek prequel is on the right track. It's already the biggest film of the 30-year old motion picture franchise.

And the movie is getting good marks for its direction, casting and eye-popping special effects. The Corvette scene is a stunner. But even with all this going for the new Star Trek, another important factor helps fuel its success.

The people who made the movie know who really owns the franchise.

Who owns it?
Not William Shatner who starred in the original television series. Not the estate of the late Gene Roddenberry, the man who created the concept. Not even Paramount who has the legal rights to the franchise.

Fans own the franchise.

Shareholders invest dollars into an enterprise (pun intended), but a TV show or movie audience invests something even more precious --time and energy eagerly spent connecting with a concept and its characters. When lightning strikes and a series like Star Trek succeeds, fans become the primary stakeholders.

Gene Roddenberry's canon guides this prequel:

Kirk outwits the computer in the Kobayashi Maru maneuver? Check.

Spock conflicted about being half Vulcan and half human? Check.

Sulu knows his way around a swordfight? Check.

Red shirt member of the beam-down party bites the dust? Check.

By showing fans proper respect, J.J. Abrams earned the right to put his own stamp on the film. And within the time-twisting element of the storyline, Leonard Nimoy, as Spock, gives the new crew the freedom to rewrite the history of the original television series as he passes the torch to the next next generation of Star Trek.

Buffy the Vampire Rebooter.

You already know that there's another TV reboot in the works that couldn't have gotten off to a rockier start.

Fran and Kaz Kuzui own the legal rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But, as every wildly loyal Buffy fan knows, Joss Whedon (who helmed the TV show and, as a relative unknown writer, penned the original movie), was the mastermind behind its success. And, for most viewers, Sarah Michelle Gellar is -- and always will be -- the definitive Buffy.

But Kuzui and Kuzui have apparently frozen these two Buffydom icons out of the upcoming reboot. Also, the early word is that none of the supporting characters from the TV series will make it to the big screen. What? No Spike?!

Big mistake.

The next time you're making decisions about managing your own brand, whether it's a product, a service or your Facebook page, remember to save at least one dance for the ones that brung you.

Live long and prosper...