“San Diego Comic-Con kicked off with a lavish outdoor Imax premiere of Star Trek Beyond and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s creation. The event had a decided family feel: the entire cast came, and those who could not – Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin – were given touching tributes. At the center was Justin Lin, the Taiwan-born filmmaker best known for taking on the Fast And Furious series when it was running on gas fumes, and transforming it into a billion-dollar franchise over four films.
Lin’s own family sensibilities – his parents immigrated from Taiwan to California and worked around the clock in their fish and chips store – was the secret sauce behind Fast racing past movies about fast cars and toward the multi-cultural family sensibility that sustains it. Lin’s family ties to Star Trek are more profound; it is not coincidence that a starship that saves the day is called the USS Franklin. The director’s father’s name is Frank, whose influence is all over this picture.
LIN: My parents had their little fish and chips shop. It would close at 9:00, we had dinner at 10:00 and then Star Trek came on at 11:00 on Channel 13 in L.A. We had just immigrated to the states and at 8 years old, I didn’t understand what a rerun was. But that one hour a night became our routine for 10 years, until I was 18 and left for college. It’s where the fan fiction element started building in my head. I started thinking, what happens when they’re not working? Where does Sulu hang out, and do Bones and Spock even like each other? You start building a whole universe outside the screen, while you’re engaging with the characters onscreen. That was my level of engagement with Trek and the basis of my love for it.
There were five of us, we’d just come here, I was learning how to speak English…”