Stiller Puts Some Star Trek Into Tropic Thunder

The number one movie this weekend is Paramount Dreamworks comedy Tropic Thunder from director (and Trekkie) Ben Stiller. So far it is even beating Star Wars The Clone Wars in box office and that is all because the film actually contains a clip from Star Trek: The Original Series. OK maybe not just because of that, but it does have one. 


Tropic Thunder Trek
Paramount’s Tropic Thunder tells the tale of three actors working on a war movie in Vietnam who actually get caught up in a real life battle. In one scene Ben Stiller’s character Tugg Speedman is seen in the jungle watching a clip of the famous Kirk v Gorn fight scene from Star Trek’s "Arena" on his iPod.

Stiller’s character looks for fight tips from the master

Stiller = Trekkie
It is no accident that there is a Trek reference in Stiller’s new film, as he is a huge Trek fan and has been one since he was a kid. The 1977 book "The Making of the Trek Conventions" by Joan Winston recounts how his mother Anne Meara took him to a Trek convention back in 1976 when he was 11 years old. His production company is called ‘Red Hour Films’ which is a reference to the ‘red hour’ from the TOS episode "The Return of the Archons."Stiller’s friend and collaborator Jeneane Garofalo told USAWeekend that Stiller "can recite every line from Star Trek." He even got to cast his childhood hero William Shatner in the 2004 Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. And just a few months ago he was one of the celebrities that dropped by the set of JJ Abrams Star Trek.

In some video clips below, Stiller shows off his Trekdom, appearing on UPN’s Star Trek 30th anniversary show, Shatners Comedy Central Roast and also in clips from his TV shows on MTV and Fox.

Stiller at the Star Trek 30th Anniversary
(sorry about watermark, trying to get one without)

Stiller’s Trek spoof on MTV

Stiller’s taped message for Shatner’s Roast
(not for the kids or the easily offended)

James Doohan guest spot on Ben Stiller Show
(launches AOL video, Doohan on 17 minutes into episode)

For more on Tropic Thunder, visit the official site. Here is the trailer.

Thanks to all the fans who sent in tips on Tropic Thunder, including my brother David and David of CinemaViewfinder. Thanks to John Tenuto for more Stiller/Trek connections.


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FIRTS! One of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years.


stillers very much hit n miss for me, one film can make me wee a little with laughter, then another i think omg god how awful. but at least it shows he’s human with a bit of trek cool about him.

If I recall correctly (and I may not, as it has been a decade and a half since I saw it), clips from this episode also appeared in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.

And two years after the original cast’s feature film swan song, this very same clip appeared in Paramount Pictures’ big-screen version of Coneheads.

Awesome, hope he makes a cameo appearance in ST XI


Yes, it is. One of them is watching that scene on TV. Then seconds or minutes later he ends up in the identical location where it was shot (but I don’t remember how). All I remember is that it was the only time I laughed during that film!

Awesome Fan Ben Stiller, great ¡¡¡

Saw this one twice this weekend. Hilarious !!!

Isn’t that clip in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey?

Don’t forget the Mugatu!

That’s the name Stiller gave the heavy (Will Ferrell) in Zoolander!

I’ll have to let my best friend know about this. “Arena” is his favorite episode!

Stiller’s Kirk impression is pretty bad, but I’m glad he’s one of us :)

Other original series Trek references in Tropic Thunder….

Matthew McConaughey’s character has a set of pointed ears on his desk.

Robert Downey Jr. plays a character named “Kirk Lazarus”.

Just saw Tropic Thunder today; a crass, vulgar, gory, un-PC and side-splittingly funny movie. I enjoyed every second of it. Really loved the Trek clip, and the scene that immediately followed it.

I need to see Tropic Thunder. I like Stiller and Downey. I’m glad to hear he’s a Trekkie as well.

I mentioned this in a previous thread, but it’s more relevant here: Has anyone else noticed that the tattoo on Stiller’s right bicep bears a strong resemblance (with some alterations) to the symbol of the Terran Empire? His tattoo has a spherical object that looks like a stylized skull (to me anyway) with a long sword behind it. Another Trek reference in Tropic Thunder.

Yes the same clip was showed in Bill and teds Bogus journey. Tis is one of the best scenes in Trek. A very funny clip in both bill and ted and Tropic thunder. Wonderfull Movie and Im glad to know that Stiller is one of us. A true Trekie or Treker. Which ever way you want to say it.

….I was about to scream bloody murder, but then I re-read the post again.

Ben Stiller, not Ben Afflick.

I need new glasses…:-( :-( :-(

Bill and Ted were thrown of the Vasquez Rocks (just like the styrofoam boulder) later in the film.

Stiller also put the Amok Time scene at Medeival Times in “The Cable Guy” which he wrote and directed.

And near the start of “Mystery Men” he uses the famous quote, “Don’t correct me – it sickens me.” from when Shatner berated an audiobook sound man over his pronunciation of the word sabotage.

Stiller also directed the “Se7en” short for the MTV Movie Awards that featured Shatner as all the characters – including the head in the box.

@20 – I didn’t know that was a shatner quote (from Mystery Men) I love that movie!

I was out of town when the 30th anniversary special aired, I was so bummed because the timer I set to record it didn’t work for some reason. And I’ve never seen it. That little bit looks really good. That was back when all the TOS cast was still alive!

Although, I still don’t understand why there’s so much fanaticism over TOS. Seems most high profile trekkies like TOS but none of the others. What’s up with that?


It’s because TOS is the on that started it all and is awesome. Nothing against the other Treks, (well, I hated Voyager) but none of them had the same cool vibe and sense of adventure that TOS had. IMO.

I met the guy that played the Gorn. He’s nice.

When has there been a movie of Stiller’s that didn’t have some Trek reference? Just caught that silly male model movie the other night where Will Farrell plays a guy named “Mugatu”?

Ah,….I’d love to be rich and famous to play with my child hood heroes. He knows Charles Napier and has Monday Night Football parties with Shatner. I think I could do battle with him on reciting dialogue. I know I could do battle with him on singing musical cues before they happen, in the right key.

What was it Parmon said in “Plato’s Stepchildren”……”NOT TWICE MINE!”

So Stiller ‘dropped by’ J.J.s set…. Whether invited or not, I pray he didn’t wangle a ‘cameo’, as nothing would take me out of this Movie faster…. There’s already enough ‘comedians’ in this with Simon Pegg as ‘Scotty’….

Looking forward to his ‘Tropic Thunder’ though.


“Although, I still don’t understand why there’s so much fanaticism over TOS. Seems most high profile trekkies like TOS but none of the others. What’s up with that?”

I wouldn’t say TOS Trekkers don’t like the newer Treks at all, they just love TOS the most. The iconic characters,and their relationships, the original Enterprise, and some great stories (and mostly lovable clunkers) just gel so well into one perfect memory.

The four series which followed all tried to capture that same chemistry in a bottle, but never quite got it right.


You know, I saw that scene in Tropic Thunder and I thought, “Yo, this is going to wind up as a thread on Anthony’s website.”

Thanks for proving me right!

I got a big laugh from the scene. Best use of a Gorn reference EVER.

You know, I’m always surprised to hear the amount of hate that Stiller can generate in folks. Some of his stuff doesn’t do anything for me, but some of it is truly funny. I don’t get the vehemence for him particularly in light that he is one of us; a fan.

Tropic Thunder looks to be one of the funniest movies to come out in a long while and I am so looking forward to seeing it.

BTW, if your going to dislike anyone, dislike George Lucas. He’s not even a fan of Star Wars. I mean, apparently. Clone Wars is dogsh*t.

stiller owns the original gorn head

There was a special Intro during a Comic-Con screening in which Stiller shows off some of his Trek Collection including the Gorn Head and the Ears used by Leonard Nimoy during Season 3.

I blow hot and cold with Stiller’s stuff. But he’s clearly an intelligent guy, which means that he’ll make the film he wants to make. And as with all such eclectic filmmakers, he’ll rarely please all of his audience.

I loved his appearance at the 30th anniversary celebration. I bought the VHS boxset of movies 1-8 and got lumped with the TV show of the event as a ‘bonus extra.’

It was such a horribly self-important event that it could only have taken place at the height of Berman Trek’s smug pomposity. Then the celebs came in and it all fell hilariously to bits. Clearly the organisers can’t have realised what the guests were going to say!

Marina Sirtis turned up and had obviously been told to talk in her Counselor Troi accent rather than her English one (annoying this Englishman!) They showed Jadzia Dax snogging another woman as if women snogging had never happened on TV before (it had plenty if Berman and co had ever looked out of the 1980s TV bubble they kept their version of Trek within!)

I nearly had a coronary laughing as Joan Collins talked about the episode where she was an evil Nazi supporter who wanted to help Hitler to win the war. And Stiller’s remarks made me realise that I wasn’t alone in still liking TOS. At that point in Trek history, the official line for fans was that TOS was a bit of a joke and that the superior TNG and its companions had superceded their ’embarrassing’ predecessor. That’s why I disconnected from the Star Trek fan world for the better part of a decade.

The fact that that TOS was so frequently referenced in popular culture (notably by people of my age-group and a few years older) in movies and virtually remade in one or two South Park episodes made me hope that one day Kirk, Spock and McCoy would return, played by new actors.

Then, of course, Kenny G came on to the stage and the naffness of the whole thing meant I had to throw up!!!

Am I the only one who gets an ‘AOL video is not available’ message when I try to watch the video with James Doohan?
It’s not been available for two days now.

#32. Seriously? He’s more of a nerd than I am. Or maybe just a nerd with more money.

Ben Stiller’s so sweet, I liked his 30th anniversary tribute to Star Trek!

Robert Downey Jr. cracks me up… he’s got a knack for not taking himself too seriously