Trekkies of the Year – 2008

Over the last week 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.’


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.)

James Cawley
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]   

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]. 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(prise)
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

Roberto Orci
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 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]

Randy Pausch
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


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Is Obama the new 09 Trekkie?

I’d like to thank the TrekMovie staff for putting together this list of men and women who use Roddenberry and Co.’s tales as a starting point for great ventures. From tributes to scholarly pursuits to acts of great inspiration and kindness, this is the kind of thing we should appraise and evaluate for our own lives. Kudos to our Trekkies of the Year, and to those who better their lives with the influence of the show, and to those who have helped to shape the universe from which we draw inspiration.

Mongo like nominate guy in Vegas who ran around outside hotel during convention wearing communicator, phaser, and tricorder and nothing else yelling “Beam me up before the Mugatu get’s me!”

That have to be one heck of Star Trek fan.

Tobias Richter for his Kelvin!

I may have enjoyed this installment more than any of the other top 10 lists! Every person above deserves recognition for helping place Trek in a positive light, and paving the way for the big event in May. Thanks, TrekMovie, for an inspiring and moving article.

Great folks, all of them.

Shouldn’t it be Trekkers?

Now are Kurtzman and Orci gay? I am serious. I keep hearing partner and such. Whats that mean? Why not co-writer?

Um… if you are in a business equally with someone, are they not your “partner??

Nice lists, guys! 2009 will indeed be a watershed. It’s 2010 I’m even more curious about.

8 – Sparking up the first rumor of 09?

I think they’re both married to women. Y’know, different women. But just one woman each.

You have forgotten a great fan of Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry’s mentor to creating this wonderful saga, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

Majel was the first Trekkie.

‘Tuvok’ Obama is the First Trekkie.

I’m glad you had Randy Pausch in the list. He was an amazing man.

I think that Anthony Pascale should be on the list for providing us with this fantastic site!

And for the record, I prefer Trekker over Trekkie.

Good list, and I expected no less than to see Randy Pausch there.

i’m by no means a fan of his, but i’m surprised obama didnt make the list.

Just wondering, will ST09 be dedicated to the memory of Mr. Paush. Would be really bad on J.J.’s part if it isn’t.

@ #8 “Now are Kurtzman and Orci gay? I am serious. I keep hearing partner and such. Whats that mean? Why not co-writer?”

Believe it or not, the term “Partner” doesn’t always mean the two people are gay. Thats just stupid.

15. Obama got a mention in the real-world Trek stories countdown, so it’d be kind of redundant to list him here, too.

I’ve loved all these new year’s lists you guys put together; it’s a nice way to encapsulate this year in Trek, remind us of just how great, crazy, fun, and whatever-the-heck else this year has been to everyone involved. (And lord knows that the year outside of Trek has been all those things and more!) It’s been a great year lurking here with all you guys. Here’s to a long-lived, prosperous ’09. :)

(btw, may I ask what, exactly, the Twitter poll is for? Are you considering starting a TrekMovie Twitter… thing? Whatever Twitter users, er, use? Cause I vote ‘no,’ but maybe if there was a TrekMovie Twitter I’d be interested.

(But if it’s a general poll, then just leave it at no. :P))

#17 YEAH, partner could also mean they are both also cops! Not that there is anything wrong with that.

The teaching class was successful? It seems about a decade or so too late, but I’m glad to hear it was. My first inclination was to think of teachers trying too hard to connect and missing. I guess if you can make instruction fun, no matter how you do it, that it can have an effect. Congrats to them and the other good people you mentioned here.

I’m the Orcster won an award after all the crap he took over the “most successful theory” quote.



RE: partner
i am always amazed how how things can devolve into silly pedantic debates. Orci and Kurtzman have a writing partnership and are partners in the production company Kurtzman/Orci…that is all

RE: Trekkie v Trekker
See above + I use Trekkie so it is Trekkie, also we did a poll once and Trekkie was preferred to Trekker

RE: Arthur C. Clarke
He was mentioned in the ‘real world news’ section under the in memorium. The above is for Trekkies making ‘trek’ news in 2008. Pausch would be on the list if he hadn’t passed away

RE: Obama
Yes it would have been redundant, he got ‘biggest real world news story’ already, and he wasn’t really making ‘trek’ news

RE: Twitter

RE: 21
that is a nice sentiment, but I am a news reporter, not a newsmaker.

Nice list. And there’s Barbara Luna again. Oh yeah.

The Koernerprise rocks. Perfect design to transition from the Enterprise series to TOS.

I concur

I’ve always preferred Trekkies. I’ve worn the label proudly with friends, classmates and co-workers for almost 40 years.

Even though I disagreed with James Cawley regarding some of the themes presenting in “Blood and Fire”, I respect the fact that he is definitely at the top of the “Trekkie” list. I wish him luck in the coming hear and hope to see more.

It’s also great to see Gabe mentioned, and he definitely couldn’t be left out after his AMAZING work on his reimagining of the Enterprise. He definitely has true talent, and I wish him luck and hope to see his work in movies and TV shows in the future!!

To Robert Orci goes another congratulations! While being an avid trek fan, and a prime influence on the new Trek movie, we still cannot overlook his previous contributions to many popular TV series, espectially Xena Warrior Princess :D

I can’t say I knew much about Randy Pausch, however his vision of the future is one that is truly inspiring. I wish he were here to know of our appreciation for his contributions to science.

And to Celisa Edwards and Jayne Lawson, I can also give a warm congratulations to your contributions to education. If I had teachers who were so interested in involving and motivating students to learn, I would probably have a few more brain cells as a result!

Congrats to all!

Do these guys get a nomination?

‘8. Scott Xavier – January 3, 2009
Now are Kurtzman and Orci gay? ‘

Um, does it matter? As it happens, they are only business ‘partners’; but what would it matter if it were romatically involved?

I love all the lists good job guys. I am an admirer of just about everyone and everything on the lists, just being a part of Trek in my humble opinion is an honor.
What about a podcast list I happen to do a fun one called Trekcast, do you guys think there should be a category for podcasts, I think Trektinis was mentioned on this site as well, and I also happen toreally like Make it so as well

Thanks Anthony I can’t believe I missed that article thanks for the reminder. And as always thanks to you and all your contributers for all the hard work. I have and always will be an avid supporter of the site.

That is a great list I agree with all of them….I would also have liked to see the late great Star Trek:The Experience in Vegas honored by having April Hebert mentioned as one of the top Trekkies for her over 10 years of dedicated work at the Experience, and her love for trek and fans and how she always went out of her way to entertain and inform us….I loved everyone at the experience and love reading Quarksbartenders posts and I think April would be a perfect choice for helping us all remember the Experience….after all she was presented with the Starfleet Flag….

I also think Anthony himself should be on the list for all he has done for us fans…and continues to do. Thanks ANthony…you belong on the list just like the Orci….

Gabe Koerner….I remember watching Trekkies and going…wow that dude is intense and way overly detail oriented, talking for ten minutes about his TNG Uniform differences for example…But I also saw he had talent even then with their detailed cgi work he was showing off then….Doesnt surprise me at all that he is that talented….that he is working in cgi and is still heavily Trek inspired….I think more Trek fans prefer his reimagined Enterprise to the movies….

You know i noticed one ‘Trekkie’ missing from that list. Lots of them were noted… but (not) surprisingly missing ;)… was the one Trekkie who kept all the rest of us updated throughout 2008 with the latest in Trek news with indepth coverage and exclusives…

…Anthony Pascale

We have to give you credit Anthony for your hardwork and dedication during 2008 for your indepth coverage and editorial skills here on

This is a great list!

“RE: 21
that is a nice sentiment, but I am a news reporter, not a newsmaker.”

As i stated above, Anthony, you’ve brought indepth coverage to become one of the leading Trek news outlets. Thats gotta be worth a page or two in somebodys book.

Excellent choices. The only one overlooked was Harry Balz.

Thank you, Captain Dunsel! You are too kind!

I am proud to be a Trekkie from the first airing of TOS in 1966!


Thanks for compiling this list. Certainly covers a lot of the names in Trek news this past year.

Glad to see the mention of the Ga. teachers, the British charity and Mr. Pausch are very good to have included here. This easioy demonstrate the encompassing nature of Star Trek. Well done.

Congratulations on a great year for Trekmovie.

You have grown your site and coverage very well.

I suggest you try to cover more Trekkie activity from all over the world. There are many active Trekkies in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia – basically from around the world. In Norway they are planning to film a significant fan film in 2009. There is a large Trekkie population in Germany. The Star Trek Italian Club (thousands of members) is very active in Italy. There are several Trekkies very well known in Spain.

Star Trek is known in more than 170 countries and likely even more. The main news may come from the USA but the Trekkies of other nations are very active and increasing in number. Perhaps some coverage of these efforts in the US press is warranted.

Thanks for providing Trek fans such a dynamic news site.


I think the problem is, that dedication would have to be HUGE. You’ve got Majel (who is also in the movie), Randy, Bob Justman, Alexander Courage…a whole laundry list of Trek luminaries who are sadly no longer with us this year. Might be more fitting to have something in the credits.

I concur that Anthony should be on the list as well. Trekmovie has become _the_ source for Treknews, which is vitally important since the demise of the official site by CBS.

Personally, I would also put the producers (Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady etc.) and cast of BIG BANG THEORY on the list for returning STAR TREK to the public consiousness on a weekly basis– its last new episode has its highest ratings yet — that may pave the way for more “non-fans” to see the upcoming film as anything. BBT also ended the brief era where mentions of Battlestar Galactica were surpassing Star Trek references on network television as the “go to” nerd stereotype.

haralded –> heralded

Great article…good to catch up with what fans are doing to make a difference.

One correction….. Star Trek New Voyages as a production won the “Best Sci-Fi Webseries” award at TV Guide, NOT the best webisode for a single episode.

Some great choices.

Edwards&Lawson are very important. Nothing, nothing, nothing is more important than halting the alarming increase in the national dropout rate!
Above all, we must double teacher salaries and find creative ways to get our kids interested in science and math again. Their approach is a huge leap in the right direction.

TrekMovie, Destiny, Cawley, and giddiness for ST09 have seen me thru the big scary void left by the closing of The Experience and cancellation of Enterprise.

I am so disappointed that ST:TE closed. Each of my three visits seemed well-attended, and one literally overflowed with guests. I’d like to give a shout-out to April Hebert and the Borg Drone “3 of 6”, both of whom made my visits not only fun, but entirely immersive; at several points, I reached that euphorical “sweet spot” when every sense is so overwhelmed that I was really inside the Trek universe. (Or, at least inside a good holodeck program.) I don’t have a vote, but if I did, T’Pril and 3 of 6 (or at least the humans behind them) would cameo in the ST2012 film.

Thanks Anthony and the TrekMovie family for the entire Best of 2008 in Review collection. And, I wish all of you posters, bloggers, trollers, naysayers, and podcasters, Trekkers all, health and happiness in the new year.

PS: My personal favorite:

Interesting series of articles this week about the year in Trek!

I have to comment regarding Gabriel Koerner. No doubt he has gotten alot of mileage out his efforts. But I think he was unfortunately called out for doing something many others have done, but had not put the work out and had it picked up and distributed the way his images was.

Gabriel is not a trained designer as far I know. Even if he was, and with all respects to Gabriel, his design is not well considered, proportioned and is contrived from established work of the past film designs. It lacks any originality, however, it is extremely well executed and that’s the reason it gets the attention. They are sexy images. He is very good at what he does in terms of the CGI work, so no one can take that away from him.

And that’s the rub, for I hope that his work had not influenced the actual design. Because the Ryan Church design of the engines has a slight similarity. I guess I am sensitive to this because I am a designer and I hate the way people in the film business or other design field are called concept artists and not called designers. Because that’s what Church does, he designs the look of the objects that appear in films. And as such, anyone who has access and learned well how to use the tools that the pros use, can put work out and attain the same level of attention a proper designer should be getting.

Thank you for choosing my son Grant Alderton to be one of your Trekkies Of The Year. He is a massive fan of Star Trek and his room looks wonderful now.

I would like to take the time to thank you for publishing Grant’s story on your site and if anyone helped in anyway you are so very kind.

Wishing you all a ‘ live long and prosperous’ new year

Vicki Alderton Scotland, UK (Grant’s Mum)

@47: As Gabriel Koerner does this stuff for a living, i’d say he’s trained enough. :)

I almost forgot, but what about that kid that’s going to the premiere courtesy of Leonard Nimoy? Or was that last year? Time flies.