Over the last week TrekMovie.com has been looking back at 2008 and and picking the highs (and some of the lows of the year). Today in the last installment of our 2008 retrospective, we pick the ‘Trekkies of the Year.’
TREKKIES OF THE YEAR – 2008
The following Trekies are those Trek fans who were in the news in 2008, and specifically in the news related to their Trek fandom.
(The list is presented alphabetically.)
As the star and executive producer of the independent fan series Star Trek Phase II (formerly New Voyages), James Cawley is becoming one of the most famous Trek fans in the world. Cawley’s Phase II made big news (and courted controversy) at the end of 2008 with the release of "Blood and Fire, Part 1" (see TrekMovie review), written by David Gerrold, which was heralded as ‘Star Trek’s first gay episode.’ But Cawley was also in the news throughout 2008, including picking up the Web series of the year award at TV Guide. Cawley’s high profile as one of the ultimate Trekkies even got the notice of director JJ Abrams, who gave Cawley a cameo in the new Star Trek movie. And we can expect a lot more from Cawley and his team in 2009, with three more episodes already in post production and more planned shoots coming up later in the year.
Cawley gets cooled off, on the set by Barbara Luna during the July 2008 shooting of "Enemy: Starfleet"
Celisa Edwards and Jayne Lawson
You probably haven’t heard of Celisa ‘Ce-Ce’ Edwards, but she made a big splash in 2008 in educational circles by showing how Star Trek could be used to teach science to her middle school students in Dacula, Georgia. Wearing Trek uniforms, Edwards and her ‘co-commander’ Jayne Lawson have set up a ‘Starfleet Institute of the Sciences’ at her school. They have boosted the grades of struggling students (or ‘cadets’ as they are called in the program) by turning learning into fun Star Trek-themed events. Edwards and Lawson have won national awards for their work and in 2008 picked up another accolade for using technology in the classroom. [more on Edwards and Lawson at ajc.com]
Celisa Edwards uses Trek to teach science
Carla Hoffman / Grant Alderton
2008 saw a couple of instances when Star Trek fans were in need, and it was their fandom which helped find help. In the Fall the Dreamz 4U charity began soliciting donations for Grant Alderton, a 11 year-old UK Trek fan who suffers cerebral palsy and spends most of his time in his room. The Dreams 4U charity decided to turn his room into Star Trek-themed haven and the initial announcement the donations ‘flooded in’ and Grant is getting his room. Then in December Trek fans were again in need as the only two people seriously hurt in the Southern California ‘Tea Fires’ that destroyed over 200 homes, were Lance and Carla Hoffman. Carla is a big sci-fi fan so a benefit for the couple was arranged and it was set around a sowing of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which was Carla’s favorite movie. The event was a big success and both Carla and her husband are OK, but still in recovery. [More info at lanceandcarlafund.com]. Both of these stories show how Star Trek fandom can be a great rallying point to do some good even on a small scale for one individual.
Alderton and family (L) and Hoffman and husband (R),
both had their Star Trek fandom become part of their charity benefits in 2008
Gabriel Koerner became one of the most famous Trekkies after appearing in both of the Trekkies documentaries. Koerner has since become a professional CGI in Los Angeles, but his Trek fandom continued to be in the news during 2008, or to be more specific, the ‘Koernerprise’ has been in the news. Over the year Koerner’s personal designs for a possible reimagined Starship Enterprise were constantly confused for ‘the real thing’ with media outlets (big and small) reporting on them or often just using his imagery along with other reporting about the film (just assuming it was the real thing). TrekMovie has lost count to how often we were ‘tipped’ by fans who thought they ‘found’ the new Enterprise only to have found the Koernerprise. This kind of thing even has happened after the official images were released, as evidenced by the backdrop behind Karl Urban on a New Zealand morning show in December (see below). In fact Koerner became so associated with the new Enterprise, that he felt the need to weigh in on the new design after it was revealed in November. In a way, Koerner’s new take was so widely distributed and seen by so many fans, that it may have laid the groundwork for many fans to accept a significantly new USS Enterprise.
Koerner (inset) and his Enterprise strike again — showing up on a New Zealand morning TV show in December 2008
In late 2005 the ‘first contact’ on the new Star Trek movie was made in a phone call from a Paramount executive to Alex Kurtzman, and Kurtzman’s first response was ‘let me talk to Bob.’ Thus began a dream come true for Roberto Orci, a life-long Trek fan and successful screenwriter who has been given the challenge and opportunity to help bring Star Trek back for his fellow fans as well as that elusive big mainstream audience. Although many of those working on the film consider themselves Trek fans (including Orci’s writing partner Kurtzman, and producer Damon Lindelof and many others), Orci is often held out by director JJ Abrams and their biggest ‘resident Trekkie.’ And in 2008 Orci has certainly been the Trekkie ambassador for this project. When he and Kurtzman were splitting up duties during production, Alex got Eagle Eye and it was Bob who was there on the set of the new Star Trek movie. It was Orci who arranged the live chat from the set here at TrekMovie.com in January and Orci who is the only behind the scenes person to attend a convention so far (at Grand Slam in April). Over the year he has given more interviews and made more comments about this movie than anyone else involved, with the latest being his now famous ‘quantum physics’ lecture in early December. He also continues to engage fans directly on this site and others through the comments section. Even the new movie’s skeptics can agree that Orci has been a engaging and involved advocate for this new Star Trek.
Roberto Orci (L) shows his inner Trekkie alongside writing partner Alex Kurtzman (R) at Comic Con [Al Ortega]
Before he passed away in July of 2008, Carnegie Mellon professor (and big time Trek fan) Randy Pausch made big news for his inspirational ‘last lecture,’ which became the subject of widespread news coverage, including an hour long special on ABC in March of 2008. Pausch’s hopeful and optimistic message of living each day to the fullest in the face of his terminal illness moved many, including director Star Trek JJ Abrams who gave Pausch a cameo. Much of the news and commentary about Pausch in 2008 discussed how he was able to have the ultimate Trekkie experience by getting a line playing a real Starfleet officer. But in the book "The Last Lecture" (published in April 2008), Pausch states that Star Trek actually inspired him, writing "I seriously believe that I became a better teacher and colleague–maybe even a better husband–by watching Kirk run the Enterprise." Pausch’s memory represents the best of everything about Star Trek, a fan who was inspired by the lessons of Trek who went on to take those lessons and become an inspiration himself, he will be missed.
The late Randy Pausch giving his ‘last lecture’
And that’s that
This is the final of our 2008 in Review series. Let’s see what 2009 brings us.
Previously posted Best of 2008
- Best Merchandise
- Top Real world news stories (with a Trek twist)
- Top Star Trek movie stories
- Best Official Productions & Events
- Best Fan Productions