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Reversing course: "Star Trek: The Compendium" to be released in September

On the wake of last year’s unpopular decision by the studio’s Blu-ray division to divide the extra features for “Star Trek Into Darkness” among various sellers as so-called exclusives, Paramount Pictures is making an important – and fan-friendly – course correction.

To make up for last year's botched Blu-ray release of "Star Trek Into Darkness," Paramount is releasing a new 4-disc set this September
Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

On Tuesday, September 9, Paramount Home Media Distribution will release “Star Trek: The Compendium,” a four-disc Blu-ray collection that features director J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” (2009) and the IMAX edition of 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

Why Paramount Changed Course

According to Bill Hunt of Digital Bits, the studio decided to make amends to “Star Trek” fans who were put off by its Blu-ray division’s decision to issue different editions of “Star Trek Into Darkness” last fall. Paramount divided the “Star Trek Into Darkness” Blu-ray sets extra features, such as audio commentary tracks and behind-the-scenes featurettes, among such venues as iTunes, Target, and Walmart.

Per Hunt’s June 23, 2014 “My Two Cents” column, Digital Bits’ 2013 reviews of the Blu-ray and its posts about this unprecedented move by Paramount registered with the studio’s executives.

“When ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ was first released on Blu-ray, we here at The Bits were critical of the way all of the special features content was split up and given away as exclusives to different retail partners, making it nearly impossible for fans to get all of the extras,” Hunt said.

“A few weeks after our posts, I was invited up to Paramount to meet with the studio’s home video team to talk about the issue. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. They were honest, acknowledged that they’d made mistakes with the title (with the best of intentions, believe it or not – new people were in charge and they really didn't expect the fan backlash) and wanted my opinion on how they could make it up to Trek fans. And they really did want to make it right.”

In the press release Paramount issued in June, the studio states what viewers can expect from “Star Trek: The Compendium”:

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Director J.J. Abrams’ global sensations Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness set a course for the ultimate home entertainment package in STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM, arriving September 9, 2014 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The set includes four Blu-ray Discs with both films in sparkling high definition and the IMAX version of Star Trek Into Darkness, Digital HD copies of both films, plus previously released bonus material, including the Star Trek Into Darkness director’s commentary. STAR TREK: THE COMPENDIUM also boasts never-before-released footage from Star Trek Into Darkness including a gag reel and new behind-the-scenes featurettes. This comprehensive four-disc set will be offered for the suggested retail price of $39.99.

The Double Dipping Effect

Usually, a studio waits several years to create “new and improved” (and pricier) Special Edition re-releases on DVD and Blu-ray. This technique, which many videophiles dislike, is known as “double-dipping.” In most cases, a one-disc edition with few or no extra features is released first, only to be followed two or three years later by Directors’ Cuts, Special Editions, or Collectors’ Sets that even include different versions of a film.

Paramount has often done this with its “Star Trek” franchise.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the DVD format was still new , the studio released barebones versions of the 10 existing “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” movies. But starting in 2001, Paramount started re-issuing 2-disc sets under The Director’s Edition and Special Collectors’ Edition labels. At least three of the first six theatrical films based on Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek” TV series had different content that was not shown in theaters.

Paramount Home Media Distribution has continued this disconcerting trend with its 2009 “Star Trek: The Original Motion Pictures” Blu-ray set. This 7-disc set contains only the theatrical release versions of the first six “Star Trek” films and many of the Special Edition DVD sets’ featurettes but not the enhanced films themselves.

However, according to Digital Bits’ Stone, the studio may be reassessing its marketing strategy for the “Star Trek” features which starred the original series’ cast.

“I did let them know that fans really want better special editions of the classic Trek films, with new, properly-remastered transfers and the director’s cuts. So please know that message was conveyed and the idea is under consideration,” Digital Bits' Hunt said.

Though “Star Trek: The Compendium” will include a more visually stunning IMAX version of “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the set does not offer a 3D disc.

Star Trek: The Compendium

Disc 1

  • Star Trek in high definition
  • Commentary by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Roberto Orci

Disc 2

  • To Boldly Go — Taking on the world's most beloved science fiction franchise was no small mission. Director J.J. Abrams, writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, producer Damon Lindelof, and executive producer Bryan Burk talk about the many challenges they faced and their strategy for success.
  • Branching Pods:
    • The Shatner Conundrum
    • Red Shirt Guy
    • The Green Girl
    • Trekker Alert!
  • Casting — The producers knew their greatest task was finding the right cast to reprise these epic roles. The cast, for their part, talk about the experience of trying to capture the essence of these mythic characters. The piece concludes with a moving tribute to Leonard Nimoy. A New Vision — J.J. Abrams' vision was not only to create a Star Trek that was a bigger, more action-packed spectacle, but also to make the spectacle feel real. Every aspect of production—from unique locations to the use of classic Hollywood camera tricks—was guided by this overall objective.
  • Branching Pods:
  • Savage Pressure
  • Starships — Abrams and production designer Scott Chambliss were careful to pay tribute to the design of the original Enterprise, but they also wanted to make it futuristic and cool for a modern audience. This chapter focuses on the unique stories behind the creation of the film's starships.
  • Warp Explained
  • Paint Job
  • Bridge Construction Accelerated
  • The Captain's Chair
  • Button Acting 101
  • Narada Construction Accelerated
  • Shuttle Shuffle
  • Branching Pods:
  • The Alien Paradox
  • Big-Eyed Girl
  • Big Bro Quinto
  • Klingons
  • Drakoulias Anatomy 101
  • Aliens — Designers Neville Page and Joel Harlow talk about the hurdles they faced creating new alien species, recreating the Romulans and Vulcans, and designing the terrifying creatures on Delta Vega for the new Star Trek.
  • Extra Business
  • Confidentiality
  • Branching Pods:
  • Klingon Wardrobe
  • Planets — From the frozen landscape of Delta Vega to the desert plains of Vulcan, Scott Chambliss and the art department had a number of radically different planets to create. Abrams' desire to shoot on real locations whenever possible led the production team to a number of strange and surprising locations.
  • Branching Pods:
  • Props and Costumes — Property master Russell Bobbitt had the unique challenge of designing props that were both true to the original series and pertinent to today's technology. Likewise, costume designer Michael Kaplan talks about how he designed costumes that paid homage to what came before yet were relevant and timeless.
  • Branching Pods:
  • Ben Burtt and the Sounds of Star Trek — When famed sound designer Ben Burtt was hired to create sounds for the first Star Wars film, he took his inspiration from the original Star Trek series. Burtt jumped at the opportunity to pay tribute to the sounds that sparked his career with the sounds he created for the new Star Trek.
  • Score — As a fan of the original series, composer Michael Giacchino embraced the challenge of creating new music for Star Trek while preserving the spirit of Alexander Courage's celebrated theme.
  • Gene Roddenberry's Vision — J.J. Abrams, Leonard Nimoy, previous Star Trek writers and producers, and scientific consultant Carolyn Porco describe and commend the optimistic and enduring vision of Gene Roddenberry.
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
  • Starfleet Vessel Simulator — Explore extensive data on the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Romulan ship, the Narada. Submerse yourself in breathtaking 360° views and close-ups and review detailed tech information.
  • Gag Reel
  • Trailers

Disc 3

  • Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX Version in high definition
  • Enhanced Commentary

Disc 4

  • The Voyage Begins… Again — Go behind-the-scenes as filming begins on the next Star Trek adventure.
  • Creating the Red Planet — Experience the creation of a never-before-seen alien world, as featured in the action-packed opening sequence of the film.
  • Introducing the Villain
  • Rebuilding the Enterprise — See the design and construction of a bigger, interconnected Enterprise set.
  • National Ignition Facility: Home of the Core — Location shooting at the National Ignition Facility.
  • Attack on Starfleet — Go behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers and witness the creation of the shocking attack on Starfleet Headquarters.
  • Aliens Encountered — The design and application of alien makeup.
  • The Klingon Home World — Discover the stunning world of Kronos, and see how the filmmakers reinvented the Klingons for a new generation.
  • The Enemy of My Enemy — Find out how, and why, the identity of the film's true villain was kept a mystery to the very end.
  • Vengeance is Coming — A comprehensive look at the design and production surrounding the black ship.
  • Ship to Ship — An in-depth and thrilling look at the filming of the iconic space jump sequence, which both defied the laws of physics and pushed the limits of visual effects.
  • Mr. Spock and Mr. Spock — Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo appearance and reflects on his history with Trek.
  • Down with the Ship — Discover the stunt & VFX work involved to make the Enterprise roll over.
  • Kirk and Spock — Explore the dynamic relationship between the film's heroes.
  • Brawl by the Bay — Sit in with Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch as they revisit their intense preparation for the film's breathtaking climax.
  • Continuing the Mission — An inspiring look at the partnership between the film's crew and the organization that assists returning veterans to find meaningful ways to contribute on the home front.
  • Unlocking the Cut — A discussion with the film editors about their monumental task.
  • The Sounds of Music (and FX) — A discussion with film composer Michael Giacchino and sound designer Ben Burtt.
  • Visual Affection — A comprehensive look at the creation and implementation of visual effects.
  • Safety First — A prank pulled on the cast.
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • NEW! Deleted Scenes
  • NEW! Gag Reel
  • NEW! Fitting the Future — A look at the film's out-of-this-world costumes.
  • NEW! Property of Starfleet — Sourcing and tracking the film's myriad props.