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Star Trek…Lives?

May 23rd, 2016
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As I have often lamented here on this blog, it’s been a dark time for Star Trek fans.  The Next Generation movie series sputtered to a halt with the dreadful Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002, and there hasn’t been a Trek series on TV in over a decade, since the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in May 2005.  Since then, the only official on-screen new Trek adventures have been J.J. Abrams’ enjoyable but flawed reboot of Star Trek in 2009, and the abomination that was Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013.

Fans like me have found joy, and a Trek fix, in sources such as Pocket Books’ wonderful continuing series of Star Trek novels, which tell a sophisticated interconnected saga of stories that feature characters from all of the 24th century-set Trek shows (click here for my review of the novels Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Sacraments of Fire and Ascendance, by David R. George III); and in fan-made projects such as Star Trek: New Voyages (which was for a while called Star Trek: Phase II) and Star Trek: Continues, both of which are spectacular fan-made projects to create new episodes of original Kirk/Spock/McCoy Original Series adventures (click here for my review of Star Trek: New Voyages’ latest episode, “The Holiest Thing,” and click here for my review of Star Trek: Continues’ latest episode, “Divided We Stand”).

The past few days have presented me with a few glimmers of hope that maybe, just maybe, we might be getting some quality “official” on-screen new Trek adventures in the near future.

First was this brief tease of the new Trek series that is being made for the CBS Digital platform:

There’s nothing great in that teaser, but it does reinforce that this series is actually getting made, which feels like good news to me.  With the series being helmed by Bryan Fuller (a man with actual Trek experience, having worked on both Deep Space Nine and Voyager, and who then went on to become a very well-respected show-runner of shows like Hannibal) and with the involvement by Nicholas Meyer (the man most single-handedly responsible for my very favorite Star Trek installments, having written and directed Star Trek II and Star Trek VI, and who wrote all of the 20th-century-era sections of Star Trek IV), I have a high hopes for this new show.  Many fans have seized on this teaser trailer’s reference to “new crews” (plural) as perhaps confirmation of the intriguing rumor that this new Trek show would be an anthology, with different stories set in different eras of Trek history.  That’s a very cool idea and if done well it could be incredible.  I am excited to get some more concrete information about this new series.

Then we got a new teaser for the new film, Star Trek Beyond:

That’s a very solid teaser.  I wasn’t someone bent out of shape by the action-focused, Beastie Boys-scored first trailer for Beyond, but there’s no question that this is a much better-made, far more intriguing trailer.  There’s a lot to like here: gorgeous visual effects, new alien worlds and characters (including a villain played by the great Idris Elba and what looks to be an interesting, kick-ass new female alien character played by Kingsman: The Secret Service’s Sophia Boutella), decent attention paid to each member of the Enterprise crew, some great Bones-Kirk stuff (I LOVE the scene of the two of them drinking together and discussing Kirk’s father, that’s a classic Trek type of scene) and some great Bones-Spock stuff, and a tone that seems fun but with stakes for the characters.  As I’ve commented before, I am annoyed by the idea of the Enterprise getting destroyed yet again, but I can leave that aside for now.  (Also, if that can get us a new version of the ship that is better designed than this current nuTrek version, then THAT would make me very happy indeed.)  That shot of a firefight while Kirk slides down the ruined Enterprise primary hull looks great, and I’m intrigued by the glimpses of what looks like an enormous Federation starbase.  I like the narration by Shohreh Aghdashloo, and I’m pleased by the continuity nod of what looks like an old NX-class Starfleet ship (like Archer’s Enterprise from the TV show Enterprise) at the end there.  OK, I still have a lot of doubts but I am maybe starting to get a little bit excited for this new movie…!

I also like this new poster that just dropped, which has a Superman: The Movie kind of feel to it.

I also LOVE this poster (which I believe was given out at the recent Star Trek Beyond fan event) in the style of the classic poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture How can I get a copy of that awesome poster??

But the best Star Trek news from the past few days was J.J. Abrams’ stunning announcement that, at the urging of Beyond director Justin Lin, Paramount has agreed to drop its mean-spirited lawsuit against the fan-made Axanar film project.  If true (and this was apparently a big surprise to Axanar head honcho Alec Peters, and many details remain to be finalized) this is HUGE news and a welcome relief.  As I have written about here before, I was blown away by the Prelude to Axanar short film, and have been hugely excited at the prospect of a feature-length Axanar film that would tell the story of Garth of Izar’s heroism at the end of the Four Years’ War between the Federation and the Klingons, an event that occurred decades before the Original Series.  Prelude was stunning with its gorgeous special effects and impressive array of professional actors, and I’m salivating at what Axanar could be if properly realized.  Unfortunately, several months ago, just as the project was about to begin production, Paramount dropped the lawsuit hammer.  I am very much hoping that it is true that the lawsuit is being dropped and Axanar will be able to proceed with their production.  (Though who knows how much fan-funded money has been wasted on this lawsuit and the delay in production these past several months.)  I won’t be celebrating until there is official word that the lawsuit is done and Axanar can move forward, but this certainly seems like great news for now.

Take a gander at Prelude to Axanar, and let’s start dreaming of some quality official Star Trek product in the coming months…

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