If you haven’t heard of it yet, ‘Star Trek Online’ is a new MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) being built by Perpetual Entertainment. The game allows players to create characters and ‘live’ in the Trek Universe. One of the big decisions was regarding where exactly to set the game in the centuries-long Trek timeline, and the designers decided on 25 years after ‘Star Trek Nemesis’. This is a different approach than other licensed games, for example the ‘Star Wars Galaxies’ MMORPG is set between episodes IV and V of the saga. In an interview with STO Galaxy the executive producer for the game, Daron Stinnett, explains that they chose the post Nemesis era to allow themselves artistic freedom to create new Trek stories.
We reported a few weeks ago that Microsoft was touting ‘remastered Star Trek episodes’ as part of the offering for their new TV download service with XBox Live. Now that the service has gone live we can report that there are a total of 2 HD versions of the remastered Original Series available: ‘Miri’ and ‘The Naked Time’. These two remastered HD episodes are mixed in with the 27 other non-remastered SD versions of the entire first season of the Original Series. All episodes are uncut and cost $2 with the HD versions taking up a signficant 2.5 gigabytes of the 20 GB hard drive (the SD versions take up half a gig). To make things even stranger, the two HD TOSR episodes have the expected ‘pillar box’ for all live action shots, but all the new effects (including the opening credits) are presented in 16:9. This means that the black bars on the left and right appear and disappear as you watch. Sources in CBS seem to be just as confused about all this as we are, and it is unclear if this is the way they want it to be shown and if more episodes will become available. So far only two Star Trek films are available (in SD): ‘The Wrath of Khan’ and ‘Generations.’ Regardless this still makes XBox Live the only way to get TOSR in HD for now, but due to the storage and availability limitations it is hard to recommend buying an XBox 360 just to watch Star Trek.TrekMovie.com will continue to keep track of XBox Live and will report any changes.
Star Trek XI producer JJ Abrams remains coy about whether or not he will direct the next Trek feature, but he has committed to do some directing in 2007. Abrams is already slated to direct an episode of his hit series Lost this season and according to TV Guide will also direct an episode of the NBC comedy ‘The Office’ in January. TV Guide reports that Abrams is a big fan of the show. TrekMovie.com can confirm this, in fact we got him on tape saying so during our recent interview with him.
CBS has sent over an image of Mojave City from "The Menagerie Part II". Captain Pike and Vina get a brand new background matte painting
You say ‘yes,’ I say ‘no…’The Enterprise visits Starbase 11, ostensibly because Spock has received a request from his former captain – Christopher Pike – to divert there. Right away we learn two important things: Uhura’s not a gossip. There’s been "subspace chatter for months" about the fact that Pike was crippled in an accident, yet she’s never passed that information on to anyone aboard the Enterprise (except, apparently, Mr. Spock) Morse code, binary digital computing, and the game "Twenty Questions" do not exist in the "Star Trek" universe. As a result, although the otherwise mute Pike can signal in two distinct ways – one beep for "yes" and two for "no" – it’s considered virtually impossible to get specific or complex information from him (like, say, the answer to the question "is Mr. Spock lying to us?"). McCoy, for one, considers Spock lying to be "absolutely impossible." Embarrassingly for him, then, Spock tells a few more whoppers and steals the Enterprise in order to return Fleet Captain Pike to Talos IV: "the one forbidden world in all the Galaxy." When Kirk and Commodore Mendez catch up and put Spock on trial, his defense consists of making them watch an old “Star Trek” rerun. Luckily for them, it’s a good one that they haven’t seen.
TrekMovie has reported how Star Trek XI co-writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have sought out fan input for their Transformers Movie script. The LA Times is now reporting that they also used an novel approach to get peer feedback on the script as well. Apparently in May (right before shooting began) they held a ‘brainstorming session’ with a number of other writers to help give the script a final polish. From the article: Kurtzman and Orci’s dream team included David Ayer ("Training Day," "Harsh Times"), Rawson Marshall Thurber ("Dodgeball"), stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt ("MADtv"), Jon Hurwitz ("Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"), Lona Williams ("Drop Dead Gorgeous"), Jeff Nathanson ("Catch Me If You Can") and Don D. Scott ("Barbershop"). While all of the screenplay’s major elements — structure, plot, characters — were locked down, these writers were asked to double check its logic and help squeeze whatever additional humor they could from potentially comedic moments.
UPDATED: sorry for the delay…here are the screenies (as usual click for full size)
Spock hijacks the Enterprise for his old pal Captain Pike(sorry no preview this week…blame the holiday) / Local Station & Showtimes / More at Memory Alpha The Menagerie is Trek’s only two part episode which cleverly uses the (at the time) unaired pilot ‘The Cage’. The enhancements to expect: new Starbase 11 matte paintings new Starbase 11 planet and new Talos IV various new shots of the Enterprise a new (seen for the first time) shuttlecraft tracking zoom-in shot of Pike’s Enteprise (with CGI crew transitioning to live action crew) various view monitor shots …and look for tiny versions of the Trek Remastered Producers and Effects Team in the background at Starbase 11
Two of the big fan film projects have new releases out, both featuring original series talent. Star Trek New Voyages has the full episode of ‘To Serve All My Days’ featuring Walter Koenig in an episode written by Trek vet DC Fontana. And the web miniseries project ‘Of Gods And Men’ has an extended 5 minute trailer now available. OGaM features Koenig along with Nichelle Nichols and a myriad of other Trek luminaries behind and in front of the camera. Both STNV and OGaM aspire to become officially sanctioned Trek projects, but for now remain ‘fan films’. Although both still fall short of TV budget production values, they both are raising the bar for ‘independent’ Trek films. Click the the images below for their respective download links…
The man who directed two out of the 4 TNG era Trek films seems OK that their reign is over. In an interview with the Indiana Star Jonathan Frakes (TNG: Riker) admitted that he doesn’t know anything more about Trek XI than what is rumored, but didn’t understand those fans who are against a Kirk & Spock prequel: Seems like a perfectly good idea. . . . (The movie’s producers) just need to remember Gene Roddenberry’s vision It is good to see that he hasn’t joined the chorus of other TNG actors (Sirtis, Spiner and Dorn) who are slamming Star Trek XI for its rumored premise (and presumably for not including them).
3 months ago TrekMovie confirmed that both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have some sort of contractual involvement in Star Trek XI. In the latest issue of Dreamwatch Magazine, producer J.J. Abrams talks up how happy he is to have them around… the involvement of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy means a great deal to us on many levels, not the least of which is just the respect of who they are and what they do. They are the carriers of this torch and, without being too reverential; we want to show them the kind of appreciation and admiration they deserve.
Harve Bennett was the producer for the golden age of Star Trek films back in the 1980s. After the lackluster performance of Star Trek V in 1989, Bennett (along with writer David Laurie) developed a script called ‘Star Trek: The Academy Years’ which was to reboot the franchise with younger actors playing Kirk and Spock at Starfleet Academy. In the end the studio decided to give the original cast one more go and Bennett left the franchise. Earlier this year when Variety broke the first news about Trek XI and used the word ‘Academy’ in their brief plot outline many thought that Bennett’s script was back. Even after J.J. Abrams called the Variety article ‘not entirely accurate’ many still speculated there was some link, including Mr. Bennett himself.
This Thanksgiving us Trekkies have much to be thankful for. Just a year ago you could easily conclude our favorite franchise was dead or at least dormant. Now in 2006 we have seen Trek return to both gaming and comics. We have also seen the original series reborn in Trek Remastered. And last, but not least, the film franchise has been handed off to a new team to bring us Trek XI in 2008. It appears our 40 year old franchise has a few more tricks up its sleeve…and for that I am thankful
In addition to its place of honor as the inspiration for what is usually considered to be the best Star Trek movie ever made, the first season episode "Space Seed" displays many of the virtues that got me hooked on Trek in the early Seventies: cool spaceships, great music (albeit tracked from other episodes here), exciting action and most of all the match-up of Trek’s always interesting cast against guest stars who were their (and especially William Shatner’s) equals in magnetism and theatrical power–people like William Windom, Ted Cassidy, Morgan Woodward, and of course, Ricardo Montalban. Montalban’s Khan Noonien Singh is the quintessential Trek heavy: superpowered, superintelligent, but ultimately humbled by his own arrogance. His scenes opposite Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock are some of the most dramatically charged, well-written in the series, and his passionate romance with comely historian Marla McGivers (Madlyn Rhue) shows off the series’ full-bodied embrace of adult sexuality, something the latter-day Trek shows always shrank from.
Last week we reported on how there was an errant editing goof in ‘Mirror Mirror’. This is something that CBS readily admitted and committed to fixing. In fact they sent out the fixed version to all of their affiliates right away. Unfortunately some of their affiliates mistook this fixed version of Mirror Mirror as the episode that should air next. TrekMovie has received a number of reports that say the fixed ‘Mirror Mirror’ was shown instead of ‘Space Seed’. Unfortunately there really isn’t anything CBS can do about this, this was done by a handful of affiliates. Producer Mike Okuda recommends that if you didn’t see Space Seed last weekend to contact your local station and ask them to use Space Seed for their second broadcast (many stations repeat episodes on the following weekend). For the rest it looks like you will have to wait until March 7th when ‘Space Seed’ is repeated. Regardless it can’t hurt to call your local affiliate and tell them you love the show, and if you get it in an undesirable timeslot let them know that too.
The folks at CBS Digital were kind enough to let TrekMovie.com visit CBS Television City to get a behind-the-scenes peek at how they are breathing new life into Star Trek. Getting chosen as the effects house to create the new CGI effects for the remastered Star Trek was quite the coup for CBS Digital. As Craig Weiss, Director of CBS Digital says "it is huge deal – the biggest thing we have done so far.” Every single one of their twenty artists does at least some work on Trek, with over half of them dedicated full time. CBS had to bring on about 8 new people in order to meet the rigorous work schedule. Most of the new people are crowded into a single dimly lit (to avoid glare) room that used to be called ‘the morgue’. It is quite a thrill to look around the workstations and see the various bits and pieces of recognizable Star Trek elements being worked on. It is clear from just a quick visit that each member of the team is dedicated to their craft and to digitally recreating the magic of Star Trek.
As part of the promotion for the DVD release of Star Trek: The Animated Series StarTrek.com has a new interview with George Takei. The original Mr Sulu talks about his experiences working on the animated show, and speculates on the potential of doing a new TAS based on the Original Series …the original is what is undebatably the most popular of all the series. So yeah, I’d like to see our generation of Star Trek revived in animated form. And, our voices more-or-less still resemble what we sounded like 40 years ago, so I think the original actors couldbe brought back for that.
Take a look at Star Trek’s ‘Space Seed’ Remastered… As usual click pics to see full size, click more to see the rest and the video
We review the cult classic cartoon on DVD.
(wmv) also StarTrek.com has a preview of the new Botany Bay…
The original series episode “Mirror, Mirror” has proven itself to be an enduring chapter in Star Trek history, complete with an intriguing science fiction concept – the parallel universe – characters who are most interesting when not their normal selves, big hair, and barroom brawls. It’s not a particularly heavy visual effects show; there are no big space battles or phaser fights or glowing alien constructs or expansive matte paintings, but the remastered ship shots and gizmo animations are worth noting. I must say that I viewed the remastered episode off a VHS tape from a local Los Angeles broadcast, pulled down on my baby rooftop dish in compressed MPEG-2, so I can’t speak to what CBS might have done to the overall quality of the image as viewed on a better system. Maybe when the TOS eps are all on high-def DVD I’ll find out what all the fuss was about. Anyhow…
Things were a bit quiet from the Shatner camp since his odd ‘gas’ statement a few weeks back, but now he is again talking up JJ Abrams and Star Trek XI. Shat is promoting his new gameshow ‘Show Me The Money’ but interviewers always get around to asking about Trek. The Shat tells UGO I met with Mr. Abrams, and they’ve got a really good plot going, and they’re trying to find Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk, the elderly ones. How you get a dead Captain to communicate with himself, younger, is going to be a very arduous plotting, and I’m going to be interested to see how they solve it.
Many of the loyal remastered Star Trek viewers caught an odd glitch in the showing of Mirror, Mirror this weekend. Just after the mirror Checkov tries to kill Kirk and the next scene with Kirk, McCoy and Scotty in the Captains quarters there is footage of the Enterprise traveling at warp speed, it looks like raw footage from the original (not-CGI) credits. It is totally out of place and of course the old Enterprise footage that wouldn’t be used anyway. Don’t worry, the folks at CBS already know about it and have fixed it for future showings A Star Trek.com article has been put up to address the concerns with comments from the Okuda’s and Dave Rossi: We apologize to all of the fans who caught our mistake, and we thank everyone for your interest in Star Trek: Remastered. We love Star Trek, too, and we hope you keep watching! Link
William Shatner appeared at a couple of Trek conventions over the weekend and gave some more details from his conversations with Star Trek XI Producer J.J. Abrams. According to TrekWeb, Shatner again confirmed that the characters of Kirk and Spock would be in the film, telling the crowd in Springfield, MA that "I had a talk with J.J. Abrams a while ago and they were writing a new script – and we are all hoping it will be wonderful…and he said, they were going to get the Kirk and Spock characters in there." The next day Shatner was in New York where Doug Wilson of TrekCore.com reports Shatner as saying "J.J. [Abrams] is committed to having Leonard and I, Leonard and me, in the film." Shatner also suggested that Abrams would be looking at unkowns for the roles of the younger Kirk and Spock.
We have the usual assortment of old versus new and remastered shots for your pleasure. Also included is another video clip of the new CG segments. Click the pictures for larger versions.
Kirk, Scotty, Uhura and McCoy are sent into a parallel universe where women show more skin and Vulcans have goatees Video preview / Local Station & Showtimes / More at Memory Alpha A true fan favorite, Mirror Mirror spawned many copies…but there is nothing like the original. Just a week after debuting the new Enterprise, CBS use this classic episode to give fans yet another. Keep your eye out for… A ‘battleship’ like Mirror Enterprise based on the pilot Enterprise ISS markings An enhanced agony booth and hand agonizer …and pointy nacelle caps so what did you think of Mirror Mirror Remastered…and yet another Enterprise NOTE: There will be a bit of a delay on our usual screenshots, expect them up sometime tomorrow. Until then there are a couple of shots grabbed from the trailer below
A couple of months ago TrekMovie speculated that changes in the leadership at Paramount’s parent company Viacom may ripple down to the recently signed JJ Abrams. However it appears that the new CEO of Viacom is a fan; Philippe Dauman had the following to say in a conference call with investors: We are doing all this while ramping up to produce a strong line-up of films including Tent Pole under the Paramount marquee. A key component to this revitalization is making sure we attract the best talent and we’ve already been successful in making deals with some of the biggest names in the business including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, whom I had the pleasure to spend some time with last night, Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell.
With Shatner hedging on if he will have a role in Star Trek XI, it seems appropriate to show a promo of his new gameshow ‘Show Me The Money’… and if that isn’t enough for you…here is another version, and yet another
Apparently last week’s TrekMovie.com interview with Trek XI producer JJ Abrams is causing a bit of a stir. Both IGN and Cinematical have taken the interview to mean that Star Trek XI is ‘falling behind’ or running into ‘scheduling problems’. This is based on our discussion with Abrams about how the script is still in progress even though in August writer Roberto Orci said they planned on finishing the first draft by the end of October. This analysis takes things out of context and ignores other comments from the team. From the interview it was clear that Abrams wasn’t aware Orci’s ‘end of October’ estimate, and he didn’t seem to be worried that the script is still in progress. A source inside Paramount tells TrekMovie.com that the first draft should be in around Thanksgiving. Furthermore Abrams confirmed that they plan to start shooting in the Spring, which is actually an accelerated schedule based on Orci’s original estimation of a Summer start to shooting. The Paramount insider said that if things continue to progress there is nothing preventing Trek XI from being a Summer 2008 release, but cautioned that of course things can change. So it appears that IGN and Cinematical are just being a bit overly nervous about Trek XI’s progress.
A few days ago we reported the first part of an interview William Shatner gave to the Massachusetts Republican, but it appears they saved the best stuff for part two. Shatner reveals that he has indeed met with JJ Abrams (something he seemingly denied after we reported it weeks ago) and he apparently has confirmed there will be a new Kirk saying: J. J. Abrams is planning a movie. He has talked with me about it, but I don’t know what he has got planned. It’s likely there will be another Captain Kirk for certain. Click more to see the key excerpts from interview