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So much has happened in the world of Star Trek these last few weeks, it’s difficult to decide where to start and what to report on!

But before that, I had an e-mail from a fan of this site asking me why I recapped news reports. He appreciated it, but was curious. It’s simple. When big news happens, we get disjointed drips of it from con reports, media releases and various interviews happening all over the place. Sometimes it’s put together afterwards by various sites, but that’s rare. It frustrates me, so I group it all together for other fans like me who enjoy and appreciate the reports we read, but would love to see them encapsulated in one article because it’s easy to lose track of them all thanks to the fact we all live busy lives. So, thanks for the question and hopefully this puts it all into perspective!

Now, back to this news update.

Thanks to the San Diego Comic Con and Star Trek Las Vegas, a lot of news has come to light: a new Klingon look for Disco season two, new Trek shows, a push to have Trek on CBS All Access all the time, casting announcements, the DS9 documentary, pay disputes for Kelvin-verse Trek IV and more.

I’ve chosen to focus exclusively on news related to the proposed new series’, and the upcoming Trek feature films.

So.  Proposed new shows?  Yes.  First up is a brand new set of mini-episodes called Short Treks, that have been created to give us some Trek content while we wait for season two of Star Trek: DiscoveryShort Treks is also a part of CBS‘s recently announced desire to have Star Trek content on CBS All Access 24 hours a day.

But that’s not it.  There has also been talk of a new animated series and, most incredibly, a new Star Trek project that brings Sir Patrick Stewart back as fan favourite Jean-Luc Picard.

Before we dive in to any of that, we need to look at couple of important casting announcements.  The first is the announcement we have a new Number One (the role originated by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in 1964).

Rebecca Romijn, best known for her role as Mystique alongside Patrick Stewart in X-Men, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, has been cast as the new Number One.  She joins Anson Mount on the Enterprise for the second season of Star Trek: Discovery.

She and Anson are joined by Ethan Peck, the grandson of Hollywood Legend Gregory Peck, who will be playing Spock.

Spock?!

Though producers said they would not cast another Spock because it would be too hard to find another actor capable of following in the footsteps of Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, it appears they have found a story and an actor that they believe will do justice to Spock and the two exceptional actors who have played him.  Spock is definitely in season two, and I admit I am excited about that.

Some have decried this as fan service, but I don’t have a problem with fan service if it’s done well, and if a wonderful story can be brought to life as a result.  Star Trek has a rich history full of exciting and compelling characters, why can’t we see them?  Why wouldn’t we?  If you were a writer or producer on a new Trek series, wouldn’t you want to use those characters if you could?

Some fan commentators have decried the implausibility of the Enterprise and Discovery being anywhere near each other, but that’s a rubbish observation.

Within the in-universe history of Star Trek, there were not that many ships out there in the earlier days of the Federation, and when you think about it, we actually don’t know the mission profile of the Enterprise in that time period.  Plus, there was a war that bled into Federation space and you can bet the Federation wanted its best ships nearby protecting people and assets.

What do we know about Pike’s mission in that time period?

Star Trek The Cage Poster

We know that he and his ship were returning from a battle, before intercepting the Talos distress signal that led to the events we have seen in “The Cage.”

The Enterprise was a heavy cruiser, and Constitution Class starships were the premier front line vessels of Starfleet.  The ships became known for their exploration missions, but Gene Roddenberry had a multipurpose role in mind for them when he conceived the series.  As every Trek fan knows, the concept for the show was based on a “wagon train to the stars” idea, with the Enterprise pushing the boundaries of known space, while also serving as a diplomatic vessel, a peace-keeping force and even, at times, a special escort for dignitaries.  As a premier front line vessel, there is every reason for it to be within warping distance of the Discovery, which, at the time the two ships come across each other, had only recently left Earth.

But, I digress.  Back to Ethan Peck, our new Spock.

Ethan Peck

The casting of Ethan has been given the seal of approval by the Nimoy family, with Leonard’s son, Adam, and daughter, Jule, along with their spouses Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and David Knight, that we learned about via a post on Instagram.

In that post, Ethan looks pretty damn stoked, and there appears to be genuine warmth shining off of Adam in particular.

The Nimoy Seal of Approval

Ethan started acting as a young man.  He’s 32, and has appeared in the ABC sitcom 10 Things I Hate About You, Madam Secretary, Gossip Girl and That ’70s Show.

His enthusiasm for the role is apparent, and according to his girlfriend both of them will always remember the moment he got the call that he was cast as Spock.  Ethan apparently sat down on a nearby roadside curb and cried.

All of this makes me think that the appearance of the Enterprise, Pike, Number One and Spock in Star Trek: Discovery is a way of launching a sort of soft-backdoor pilot for a new series that focuses on Christopher Pike and his crew.  CBS wants more Star Trek on TV and has put Alex Kurtzman and his production company, Secret Hideout, in charge of that on a multi-year deal, so why wouldn’t they explore one of the least seen but most beloved Captain’s in Trek history?

Fans have been interested in Pike and Number One for many many years, and it’s a period of Star Trek history that would be interesting to do a deep dive into.  Star Trek: Five Year Mission, or whatever they would call it, would be a beautiful companion to Star Trek: Discovery and it would honour Gene’s original vision by giving life to the first characters he created.

When you think about it, Anson Mount is doing a LOT of publicity work for Star Trek: Discovery, and with two other actors now cast in two incredibly important and historic roles, why wouldn’t CBS take advantage of that and create something amazing?

If they didn’t, it would be a real waste of talent and time.

But, enough of my suppositions.   You probably want to know about the news that really has fandom going crazy.

Jean-Luc Picard is back.

Patrick Stewart and Alex Kurtzman announced the news at Star Trek Las Vegas.  They didn’t tell us a lot, because it’s very early days, but what we do know is:

  • Kirsten Beyer, it seems, had the idea.
  • Akiva Goldsman will Executive Produce the show.
  • It takes place approximately 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis.
  • Pulitzer prize-winning author, Michael Chabon, is on staff.
  • James Duff will also Executive Produce.
  • Kirsten will be a writer on the show.
  • Patrick initially turned them down, but with some persistence from Alex and his team fell in love with the idea, remembering just how impactful Star Trek had been and still is in the lives of millions.
  • Patrick will be an Executive Producer on the series.
  • Picard might not be a Captain anymore.

This is what Patrick had to say, live on stage at STLV18:

Jean-Luc Picard is back.

He went on to talk a little about the older Picard we may meet.

He may not, and I stress may not, be a captain anymore.  He may not be the Jean-Luc that you recognise and know so well.  It may be a very different individual.  Someone who has been changed by his experiences.  Twenty years will have passed, which is more or less exactly the time between the last movie – Nemesis – and today.

He followed this with a guarantee.

It will be, I promise you, I guarantee it, something very, very different.  It will come to you with the same passion, and determination and love of the material and love of our followers and our fans, exactly as we had it before.

We don’t know whether or not Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton or Michael Dorn will be in the new show, but it is almost certain one or two or maybe even all of them will appear at some point.

LeVar, Gates, Patrick, Marina, Brent and Michael

Will this new Star Trek be an ongoing series?  It’s unlikely.  Patrick is in his late ’70s and in a couple of years time will turn 80.  Committing to an ongoing series as complicated as Star Trek would probably not be something he’d do.

It’s more likely this will be a mini-series, or limited special series of maybe six to ten episodes.

More news is certain to come over the next few months, but for now we don’t know much else. One of the best things about this announcement is that maybe, finally, these incredible, beloved characters will get the send off they deserve. I’m okay with Nemesis, but it’s not a great film and Picard and crew deserved a better on screen farewell. This new show might do that.

The new animated series?  Nothing has been disclosed about this but it has garnered a lot of interest from fans, because it can happen, literally, at any time in Star Trek‘s expansive history.  We could continue the five-year mission of Kirk and his crew.  We could discover brand new adventures on the Enterprise D.  We could even fill in the blanks for the crew of the USS Equinox after they were trapped in the Delta Quadrant, before the Voyager found them.  The possibilities are endless, which is why fandom is super-excited.

For now, we’ll just have to wait for news on that project and hope that something can be produced that is at least as good as Star Wars‘s successful foray into animation.

Lastly, the next Star Trek feature film has hit a hurdle.

Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth are reportedly holding up the fourth feature outing for our Kelvin-verse crew.

Why?  There is a little contention over their salaries.  Both Chris’s are blockbuster stars now thanks to films like Wonder Woman and the Thor series.  Their salary expectations are, as a result, a little different to what they probably were.

Star Trek: Beyond, while well received by fans, only made $343 million world wide.  That’s a decent profit when compared to the cost of the film ($185 million to produce, though this doesn’t include the film’s marketing budget), but it’s not enough to warrant a massive investment in a sequel.  Tent pole summer blockbusters need to make at least double of what they cost to be considered profitable.

This means Paramount will be looking to produce the as yet untitled Trek film for less, and part of that will be offering less money to its stars.  Which should be interesting.  There is not one of the main cast whose careers have not taken off since the release of the first Kelvin-verse film.  Some of their careers have gone stratospheric – particularly Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Simon Pegg.

All three actors are in demand, with Zoe in particular lined up for movie after movie after movie.

Karl Urban (Doctor Leonard McCoy) is confident both Chris’s will sort out the pay dispute, and that the movie will go ahead.  Paramount, however, have a very narrow window available to them to get the movie into production because of actor availability.  If it doesn’t happen soon, the planned fourth film will be abandoned, and we’ll have to wait another couple of years for Tarantino Trek, which is currently slated to be the fifth outing for the crew of the Kelvin-verse USS Enterprise.

What do we know about the new movie?  A few things.

SJ Clarkson

  • The basic premise is unclear, but we do know it unites James and George Kirk in some way.  There is a script, but it’s details are under wraps.
  • The film will be the first to be directed by a woman, with S.J. Clarkson being given that honour.  Clarkson is a British film and television director, best know to the rest of the world for Life on Mars, Dexter, Heroes, Ugly Betty, Bates Motel, Jessica Jones, Orange is the New Black and The Defenders.
  • The film will be the first Star Trek movie to be shot in the United Kingdom.

That’s pretty much it, for what we know about the next film, and major events in Trek.

As news breaks we’ll keep you updated here.

If you’d like to check out more Star Trek news, we encourage you to visit our two “go to” sites, TrekMovie and TrekCore.

Until the next update, Live Long and Prosper.

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Series VI Update

Star Trek Series VI

The creative team behind the new Star Trek live action series is continuing to grow.

As we all wait anxiously for casting news, information on the time period the series will take place in, and some hint as to whether or not the show will be based on a starship, starbase, or somewhere entirely different, Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman have added another talented individual to their writing staff.

For me, this is pretty exciting, because I’ve been a fan of this person for a few years now, and have loved every one of her excellent Star Trek: Voyager relaunch novels.

Kirsten Beyer has a well deserved reputation for being one of the major driving forces behind the success of the Voyager relaunch series, along with Christie Golden who left the series 12 years ago.

Kirsten is known for her ability to seamlessly weave authentic character action and intention in with random bits of Voyager history, and brand new concepts to create a compelling and often challenging novel that is never less than entertaining.

Kirsten knows Voyager and it’s characters like, I would hazard to guess, no one else.  When you read her books, you hear the voices of Janeway and the series regulars as if you were listening to an actual episode, and she paints images with words worthy of any major motion picture’s visuals.

To read more about Kirsten’s appointment to the new series, click here to visit the TrekCore article.

We know that Kirsten will be writing episodes for the new series, but we still don’t know anything substantial about the show.

Kirsten’s inclusion could be seen to be an indication that the new series (or at least part of the new series) might take place after Star Trek: Voyager and in the prime timeline.  However, she could have been hired solely for her true to character dialogue, her world-building ability, and her overall knowledge of Star Trek.

While we all wait for more news on Series VI, consider picking up some of Kirsten’s works and giving them a read.  Hopefully you’ll agree with me and see she is an exceptional author who the Trek novel series is very lucky to have.

Bryan Fuller keeps impressing with the team he is collecting around him.

I can’t wait until January 2017.

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Star Trek Beyond and Series VI Trailers

Star Trek Update Banner - Beyond and Series VI

As anticipation builds for the release of Star Trek Beyond and the sixth live action Star Trek television series, two new trailers have dropped in the space of two days to remind us all that Star Trek is definitely alive and well in this, it’s 50th Anniversary year.

As well as two new trailers, there are two new movie posters, with one of them paying homage to the very first Star Trek movie poster ever, 1977’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

That poster was created by Bob Peak, a very famous Hollywood artist.  You can check out Bob’s work here.

The official Star Trek website has all the news on the two up and coming Trek productions, as well as a special focus on the recent major fan event that was held in Los Angeles on the 20th of May, featuring J.J. Abrams, Justin Lin and some of the stars of Star Trek Beyond.

You can go directly to the report on the special fan event by clicking here if you’re not in the mood to navigate through the site.

Now, let’s talk about the preview for the next film.

Star Trek Beyond Promotional Posters

The new trailer for Star Trek Beyond, and the second official trailer released by Paramount, is AMAZING.

I could break it all down for you, but that would be a waste of time because you really need to watch it.

As a long time fan, it feels like we might finally have a Star Trek feature film to rival the incredibly poignant and powerful Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Whereas the first trailer focused on action, action, action and more action, and had a slightly unexpected soundtrack blare out at us when we hit play, the second trailer takes us on a deeper journey, hinting at a movie that has just as much substance to it as it does noise and bluster.

The action is still there, but more importantly so too are the characters we’ve come to love, and for at least one of them, they’re at something of a crossroads in life that has the potential to add a whole other dimension to the film.

I know that Into Darkness was meant to be something of a homage to The Wrath of Khan, and one that fell short and was ultimately a little misguided, but this preview reminded me of the tone and feel of Wrath of Khan and what made that movie great, and it filled me with a new level of anticipation.

What makes Wrath of Khan so special for me and what makes it my gold standard for Star Trek films, is that the movie has grown with me.  When I first saw it, I wasn’t even a teenager.  At that impressionable age, what stood out was the epic space battle, the Ceti-Eels, Khan and how ruthless he was, and how much the crew of the Enterprise seemed like a family.

As the years have passed, I’ve come to appreciate just how multi-layered the movie is.  Kirk’s musings on life and his angst at being desk bound because he’s so experienced and others feel he should be guiding rather than doing, resonated with me when I found myself at a similar point in my career.  Uhura’s objection to Kirk’s comment that roaming the galaxy is a game for the young, speaks to me because I’m still bucking the fact that while I feel young, I’m actually cruising toward middle age.  These insights into something we all endure, the process of ageing and maturing, make me respond to the movie on a whole other level and look at life in a completely different way.  Kirk’s line, “I feel young”, still moves me to this day and reminds me that at every stage of life every single one of us has something invaluable and unique to offer.  Which, thanks to The Wrath of Khan, has become very much a big part of Star Trek‘s overall philosophy of inclusion.

Beyond appears to riff on similar universal experiences.  Kirk is trying to discover who he is, outside of the shadow of his father.  Spock cautions us on fear.  McCoy reminds us that it’s okay to fear death, so long as we remember to live.  The two plus minute trailer packs a whollop of emotion and action into it, from Uhura’s declaration her friend and Captain will come for her and the crew, to Shohreh Aghdashloo’s counsel on how easy it is to get lost, and her reminder that all we can really depend on in life are the people who undertake the journey with us.  Add to that a villain so steeped in hatred for the Federation and the very vision and ideals we as fans so admire, and the promise of an epic but intimately personal movie is made.

To watch the trailer, click here.

Below are a series of screencaps from the preview.  The first five photos show a pensive Kirk as he ponders what it means to ‘be’ Jim Kirk.  There’s also a unique shot of the Enterprise departing what might be the Yorktown, a starbase somewhere far from Earth.  We also see the first real new warp effect since the first movie in the reboot timeline – and it’s beautiful.  The screencap does not do it justice.  In any way.

The next five shots show the crew setting out, the attack by the swarm that cripples or destroys Enterprise, and a fantastic new shot of the deadly new enemy as they board the ship.

The following screencaps show what happens when you piss off a certain Communications Officer, McCoy following Jim’s order to abandon ship, and Kirk on the ground aiming a phaser at someone out of shot.

The next images show us that Uhura and Spock’s relationship is still going strong, that Spock and McCoy continue to rub each other the wrong way, and hints that Uhura and a great many of the Enterprise‘s crew fall into the hands of the film’s new villain, Krall.

The final screencaps show us an enemy learning all he can about James T. Kirk, Uhura warning that villain that their captain will come for them and he won’t be in a merciful mood, and two shots of the new heroine – Jaylah, played by Sofia Boutella.

One of the most surprising things about the new trailer was the ship it appears the Enterprise crew escapes in.

An NX class starship, last seen in Star Trek: Enterprise.  Could it be the USS Franklin?  The images below are grainy, but I swear it’s an NX vessel.  Watch the preview, and let me know if you agree!

All in all, this preview looks incredible.  I think Justin Lin has done it.

I was already excited to see this film, now I’m crazy-impatient to see it.  I can’t wait for the Australian premiere.  I’ll be lining up early and going multiple times.

Thank you, Paramount, Justin Lin, Simon Pegg and Doug Jung for what looks like it will be one of the best Star Trek films in a very long time, and maybe the best Star Trek film ever.

Star Trek Series VI Logo

A couple of days before the second official preview for Beyond broke, equally exciting news hit Star Trek fandom.

A teaser trailer for the new television series.

The trailer doesn’t show us anything, other than the beautiful new logo for the new production and a few gorgeous shots of Earth and deep space.

But, it does possibly answer one question many of us have been asking for a few weeks now – will the new Trek be an anthology show?

The answer is in the screencaps below.

New CREWS?  It doesn’t say, outright, that the new series will be an anthology series, but that’s one heck of a strong hint.

The last four screencaps from the teaser promise us new villains, new heroes and new worlds.

And I can’t wait!

After watching the teaser, I was left thinking that if it is an anthology series, it won’t just jump backward and forwards along one Trek timeline – it will also visit the alternate timeline created in 2009 by J.J. Abrams.

I have nothing to base that on, other than a lense flare effect I saw as I was watching the trailer that made me think of J.J..

When you think about it, it’s a simple way to meet every fans expectations.  A lot of fans prefer what is called the Prime Timeline, and some prefer what’s often called the AbramsVerse.  As well as honouring both, an anthology series opens up some very interesting story ideas as the writers explore Trek’s lengthy prime history across the 22nd, 23rd and 24th centuries, and how similar events might play out differently in the alternate timeline created by Nero.

The more I think about it, the more I hope they go the anthology route.

Things are starting to get very exciting for fans, and finally it’s starting to feel like the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.

As more news comes to light, I’ll pop it up here… but right now, I’m  just going to pop up that beautiful homage to Star Trek: The Motion Picture one more time because I am in love with the new Beyond poster.

Star Trek Beyond Star Trek The Motion Picture Homage

Star Trek Beyond stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella and Idris Elba, and was written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung and directed by Justin Lin.

Star Trek Series VI is being developed by Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Singer, Rod Roddenberry, Heather Kadin, Trevor Roth and Nicholas Meyer.

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Series VI Update – Rod Roddenberry, and those Promo Images

Series IV Update Banner General

Unless you’re a Trek fan who has completely avoided the internet all month, you know that Rod Roddenberry, the son of the Great Bird of the Galaxy and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, was appointed one of the Executive Producers of the new Star Trek television series.

Rod recently spoke with TrekZone, Australia’s first Star Trek fan site (and a bloody awesome one to boot), in an exclusive interview about the new series.

In the interview, he spoke about the messy Axanar lawsuit and the upcoming new Star Trek series.

Rod wisely did not wade too deeply into the very murky waters surrounding the CBS/Paramount vs Axanar Productions lawsuit, but did express his support of – and for – fanfilms based in the universe created by his father.

Rod pretty much said that so long as they treat the material and CBS and Paramount with respect… more power to them.

Rod has shown a great deal of love for fan films in the past, and as much as he enjoys all of them, he did admit he does feel one is a step above all the others.  Rod’s choice?  Star Trek: Continues.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s incredible.  Visit their website here and start watching the six episodes they currently have online.

When asked about the new series, Rod couldn’t say much.

I know very little about the direction. I’ve had two meetings with Bryan Fuller and he is still developing the concept and he’s brought the writers together and they’re still developing the concept.  What I’m excited about is the team that’s been put together by CBS.  They’ve brought, of course, Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Fuller and Heather Kadin together and I’ve had the opportunity to meet them.

During the interview, Rod stated he has “tremendous hopes” for the new series, and appears to have a great deal of faith in the creative team.

There’s a lot more from Rod about the new series.  To read about it you can visit TrekNews here.  To watch it at TrekZone, visit the site here and look for the link to the video.

Congrats to the TrekZone team for nabbing the interview!

And now, to that image that almost broke the internet, that we were all hoping was from the new Star Trek series.

Series IV Preproduction Photo

TrekCore have spoken to CBS and confirmed that the above still and it’s companion are NOT from the new Star Trek television series.

They are from a production of some sort, but one that is unrelated to the new Trek series.

Given Rod’s interview (go watch it at TrekZone now) mentioned above, we know that the series is still in the conceptualisation stage.

That’s cutting things close.  The series is due to launch in ten months.  It’s completely doable, but it means it will be all systems go from the moment the concept is finalised and approved.

Last year I was on the set of a US science fiction production that was filming the final episode of it’s first season – four months before the first episode would even air.  Most of that first season was already in post-production.  It was a new production, it was science fiction and it was effects heavy, so a lot of care was being taken to get it right.  What that means is that the time frames for the new Trek production will be tight because it’s a new production with a relatively new creative team, it’s Star Trek so it’s fair to assume it will be effects heavy, and it’s the jewel in CBS‘s crown – meaning a lot of care will be taken with it, especially because it will be the cornerstone of CBS All Access.

I’ve been involved in two scifi TV series, so I’ve had a very limited amount of real world experience in that genre, but my understanding is that it takes a lot of time and preparation to launch a brand new series, and especially a science fiction show.

TV production is fast paced, but pilot episodes (often an hour and twenty in length) are often treated like feature length films with directors and actors given the time they need to get it right.  

On average it takes six to eight days to shoot an hour long TV episode and about another week to do post.  It takes on average three months to do principal photography for a feature length film.

If the script for the first episode of the new series is locked down by the end of April and then casting is completed by the end of May, followed by – let’s say two months for principal photography, that gives CBS six months for effects work, reshoots and promotion.

That’s intense.

It looks like it will be an exciting last half of the year for all of us as we wait for more insight into the production.

As more information comes to light, I’ll be sure to post about it here.

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Series VI Update – Promotional Video

Star Trek Series 6 Update Banner

Images have leaked on Facebook from what appears to be the production of a promotional video for the new Star Trek series.

The post comes from one of the cameramen filming the scene.  The post doesn’t name the new Star Trek series, but does mention it’s for something that will air in January 2017 – which makes it likely the images are related to the new series due out in ten months.

Series IV Preproduction Photo

One of the images shows what appears to be an astronaut about to step onto a sandy, rock strewn terrain.  The actor is being filmed against a green screen and he has been described by a couple of Trek fan sites as a stand-in.

A stand-in is often used to test camera angles and effects shots.  They’re usually required to stand in place or walk through a set series of actions, so that a production team can get everything rigged before bringing an actor on stage.  They’ll be wearing the exact same costume as the actor they’re standing in for, and will have the same makeup on so that the colour can be tested as well as how the light hits an actors face.

The photo doesn’t tell us a lot.  If it is for a promo, it could be for a series of images that quickly show us the history that has taken place in the lead up to whatever timeframe the series is set in, or it could be a tiny snippit of something we will see in the actual series.

There just isn’t enough information for anyone to make any sort of accurate guess.  The photo hasn’t received any comment from CBS so it is also entirely possible it has nothing to do with the new Star Trek series.  The amazing guys over at TrekCore are seeking confirmation from the person who posted the shots.

To check out additional information on the above image and one extra photo, visit the TrekCore article here.  TrekNews have also featured it here.

As always, as news comes to light on the new Star Trek series, I’ll post it.

January 2017 can’t come fast enough!

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Series VI Update – New Creative Staff

Series VI Update Banner - Nicholas Meyer

In the most exciting announcement since CBS told us a new Star Trek series was in production, Bryan Fuller has let the world know about a new addition to the creative team behind Series VI.

Nicholas Meyer.

Nicholas has a long history with Star Trek.  He was recruited by the late Harve Bennett to help breathe new life into the film series after Star Trek: The Motion Picture was considered a success, but a troubled and far too expensive one.

Nicholas directed and co-wrote the critically acclaimed fan favourite Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (though he didn’t get a writing credit for that film), which is still considered the best Trek film out of all twelve that have been produced to date.

He also co-wrote Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, another critically acclaimed fan favourite, and co-wrote and directed the swan song for the original Enterprise crew – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Bryan and Alex (Kurtzman) have appointed Nicholas as a Consulting Producer, and he will also serve in the Writers Room as one of the many talented people who will help bring us the first new Star Trek series in over a decade.

With the inclusion of Nicholas Meyer, the new series now has representatives from every era of Trek – Meyer representing the original series, Fuller representing the Next Gen era, and Kurtzman representing NuTrek.

This is one heck of an accomplished creative team, and the announcement is a wonderful 50th Anniversary present for Trek fans.

I can’t imagine which reality of Star Trek this new series is going to take place in now, and while I still hope it’s the Prime Universe, I care a little less about that because of the incredible talent that is being brought together to bring us Series VI.

The announcement is on pretty much every science fiction and Trek fan site on the web, but you can check it out here on StarTrek.com the Star Trek homepage.

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Live Action Series 6 Update

New Series Announced

In a mildly confusing twist, CBS Entertainment‘s President, Glenn Geller, told the Television Critics Association yesterday that CBS Entertainment doesn’t really have anything to do with the new show, and that they definitely do not have any creative input into the development of the as yet untitled sixth live action Star Trek television series.

It’s all in the hands of CBS All Access.

The Captains of Star Trek

CBS All Access is essentially a separate entity to CBS Entertainment, and although they’re all a part of CBS it looks like they don’t cross over.  The next Star Trek series will premier on the broadcast network, but as reported in other posts, all subsequent episodes will stream on All Access and only All Access.

/Film have the report here, and TrekCore have also featured it on their site here.  TrekCore have attempted to follow up via Twitter, and if I read their report correctly, are planning to try and nail CBS All Access down and get some information out of them.

We wish them luck!  CBS dropping the announcement a couple of months ago was great, but we’ve not heard anything since.

The new series is being developed by Alex Kurtzman and is scheduled to premier on the 17th of January 2017.

Maybe if your craving for news is particularly bad, you might think about dropping an e-mail to CBS All Access asking them to share a little love with the fans.

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Welcome to 2016

2016 New Year Post Banner

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2016.  It’s a big one for Star Trek!

This year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a television and cinematic phenomena with a new feature film, more episodes of Star Trek: Renegades, and on top of those two wonderful events we get to watch the unfolding production of a brand new sixth live action series due for release in January 2017.

This year we’ll also learn the fate of Star Trek: Axanar.

So there will be a lot happening, and a lot we can look forward to on the news front this year.

What can we expect in the first six months?

Whatever Paramount and CBS have dreamed up to celebrate the 50th year of our favourite series, updates on the production of Renegades, previews of the two new episodes, and the eventual release of those episodes – one of which will be the swan song for Admiral Pavel Chekov and possibly also Admiral Nyota Uhura.  We can expect at least one more major preview for Star Trek: Beyond before its July release, and we should learn a lot more in the coming months about the new television series.  We might even get a teaser as a prelude to an actual preview later in the year.  In fact, we should, considering it is scheduled to air in a little over a year.  The teaser probably won’t be much more than a glimpse at some of the characters, but that will be enough considering how hungry we all are for news on the new series.  One thing I doubt we’ll see is the ship.  If the lead up is anything like it was for TNG, we won’t see the new ship until a month or two before the first episode airs.

We will definitely learn the fate of Axanar, and probably very soon.  The most recent news on the court case is that the Axanar team hope to settle out of court in a way that will still allow for the film to be made.

One thing I do know for certain, is that the Star Trek: Challenger blog will be there for all of it.

Thank you to everyone who has been following my blog, I deeply appreciate it.  Our readership is literally international, with the most hits coming out of the US, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Here’s to an amazing and Trek-filled 2016.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Live long, and prosper.

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And So It Begins… (Updated)

Official Website Image for New Series

The guessing game about the new Star Trek series has started… at least there seems to be a lot of speculation happening around the merits of airing the new series on pay-to-view television.  A handful of sites have let us know that a number of fans are apparently disappointed that only one episode (the pilot) will appear on free-to-air before the series becomes a pay-to-watch fixture on CBS All Access.

To balance the argument, a few sites are also telling us that a number of fans seem happy to see Star Trek transition from the old to the new, and take that next step to video on demand – which many industry experts have been saying is the future of television for a long time.

I guess they’re saying it’s 50/50?

As an Australian, Star Trek has been inconveniently free for me.  By that, I mean episodes of the original series have haphazardly popped up now and again in reruns (and have done so since I was a child), but no Star Trek series has ever enjoyed a consistent run on Australian television screens.  They usually end up in an 11pm time slot which doesn’t work for a lot of fans.

TOS

When Next Gen and DS9 aired in the late 80s and 90s I was at school and then university, and couldn’t sit up that late without risking my education – and of course, after uni, I was working and if I wanted to keep my job I had to be rested for work.  Hitting the sack at midnight to get up at 5am wasn’t a good idea.

Because of that, my mates and I made an event out of Star Trek.  We even convinced our girlfriends to get in on the act, converting them to Trekkers once they understood what the show was about and discovered they actually enjoyed it.  We would rent the videos and then later the DVDs, and make a night of it with barbecues, group dinners, actual Trek themed parties and even drinking games (“Worf said honour again!”  “Spock said it’s logical!”  “Janeway’s hair fell out of her bun!”).

So, we were always paying to see Star Trek.  After certain episodes, we were paying in more ways than one!

TNG

DS9

The same happened for Voyager and Enterprise when they were released, though Enterprise did stay on television at a decent time slot for a little longer than most of the other incarnations of Star Trek.

VOY

ENT

So, I’m not bothered by the pay to view twist that the new series has taken.  And really, the rest of the world probably isn’t either.

When you think about the decision CBS has made, it makes sense.  To avoid ads or to simply watch something decent, most of us are paying to view television these days.  The popularity of paying to see what we want to watch has been growing for years, and let’s be realistic, commercial networks rarely support the genre shows we love.  Great shows will air for a season, and then disappear because they didn’t get high enough ratings – usually because we’re recording them to watch later, or downloading them illegally (PLEASE stop downloading science fiction shows illegally, it’s killing them – and it’s ILLEGAL), or because we’re watching an entire season over the course of a weekend because that suits our hectic schedules.

CBS has made a sensible decision that fits with modern viewing patterns.

I guess change is rarely comfortable, so I can understand some people being a little miffed about what CBS is doing – and I also understand the fact CBS don’t actually have a lot of science fiction content, so many people will be wondering exactly what it is they’re paying for, but the thing that surprises me the most is that THIS is what we’re all focusing on, and which timeline the series will play in.  There are so many other things to contemplate about this new series.

Personally, I do want to know which timeline the new Trek will be set in, but I also want to know about the new ship and whether or not it will be named Enterprise, and I really want to know about the new characters.

Will we have an alien or human captain?
Will the captain be male or female?
Will any of my favourite races feature in the crew?
Will we see a brand new bad guy threatening the Federation, or are we going to recycle the Klingons, Romulans or another familiar enemy?
What modern issues will the show comment on?

I can’t wait to start getting dribs and drabs of information.  I hope the official Star Trek website and CBS take us on a journey and show us the new ship as it goes from concept to completed design (obviously keeping that completed design a secret until close to the air date), and show us some of the character ideas the writers are throwing around.

For example, most of us know that the Enterprise that appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which was originally the Enterprise for Star Trek: Phase II) started out looking very different to the finished design, as did the Voyager.  Making us a part of the journey as the design evolves will help guarantee the success of series six.  We’re fans.  We love to comment, and we really love being involved.  J.M. Straczynski proved that as he developed Babylon 5.

Ralph McQuarrie Design for the Enterprise for Star Trek Phase II

Rick Sternbach Early Design of the USS Voyager

We also know that characters evolve from their original concept to final casting.  Jean-Luc Picard was not the original creative decision for the captain of the Enterprise D, and neither was Kathryn Janeway the original creative decision for the captain of the Voyager.  Paris started out as a different character, Tasha Yar was Hispanic, Kira was originally Ro Laren, and Worf wasn’t even meant to be part of the original cast of TNG.  He was kind of a featured extra – what is also known as a ‘bit player’.

Sharing the process with us would be a wonderful reward for our patience as fans.  It’s been 10 years since Star Trek was on television and we have waited and waited and waited.  We deserve a little love and attention.

Hopefully we’ll see some of this speculation soon.

But back to what we do know right now – which is that there is speculation around which universe, and comment on free-to-air vs pay-to-view.

If you want to have a look at those discussions, here are a handful of links you can explore.  Thankfully, one of them has some speculation on more than just VoD and which era of Trek the new series will be set in.

TrekCore (VoD feature – why CBS went there);

TrekNews (Les Moonves on VoD);

TrekNews (George Takei on VoD);

TrekMovie (more VoD stuff), and;

TrekMovie (one of the few commentaries on the universe and characters, as well as VoD via Podcast).

As more news on the new Trek series comes to light, I’ll post it here.  For now, enjoy the above sites and throw any speculation you have in the comments below.

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Space… The Final Frontier… Again!

New Series Announced.jpg

This is not a hoax or a cruel prank!

A few hours ago CBS officially announced that our beloved Star Trek will return to network television in January of 2017.  That’s 13 months away, for those who are counting!

The return of Star Trek to network television comes with an interesting twist, but more on that below.

For the official announcement and as much information as there is on the new series right now, all you need to do is visit the official site here.

New Trek Series Announced

As soon as I saw the news I dove into every website I could think of to see if there was any way this was a hoax, or some kind of joke.  Knowing it was November, I still made myself check that there wasn’t a November equivalent of April Fools!

As I waded through multiple similar reports online, one of the articles (in Blastr) commented on how surreal the announcement was.

I couldn’t have put it better.

It is surreal.  Ten years and almost six months ago, original and official Star Trek came to an end on television with the controversial swan song episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, “These Are The Voyages”.

Ever since Enterprise went off the air, there have been a number of attempts to get Star Trek back on television (some interesting, some completely dreadful), and all of them have failed.

Seven or eight years ago we could all accept the “it’s too soon” argument that everyone kept throwing around, but then 2010 came along, and 2011, and so on and those arguments didn’t hold water anymore.

A few weeks ago, the Renegades team gave us something new to talk about on this point, when, in a cryptic post, they told us that CBS couldn’t put any Star Trek series on television for reasons they weren’t able to disclose.  That, more than anything, probably had me believing a new series was a very long way off.

Every year one theory or another has popped up regarding the absence of a new Star Trek on television, with many people blaming Enterprise – the fact it was a prequel, the fact it deviated from everything that had come before it, and so on.

I don’t think Enterprise deserves the flack it gets, and I don’t believe it deserves to be blamed for the end of Star Trek on television.  Yes, the creative staff behind that fifth Star Trek series pandered to the lowest common denominator at the beginning, but it became a great series.  I admit I had an angry, allergic reaction to the pilot episode of Enterprise, because it screwed around with the Vulcan race, and it threw left-of-centre (way left-of-centre) sensuality at us and filmed it in a way that made it feel exploitative.  Those two things irrationally angered me.  I remember watching the pilot and wondering what the heck had happened to Vulcans, and then not long afterwards getting hit with the decon-gel smearing scene and thinking “they’re pandering.  Sex sells and they’ve totally missed the point of Star Trek and they’re just trying to get pubescent boys revved up and wanting a decon-chamber T’Pol doll”.

But, Enterprise grew stronger with every episode.  The series had a wonderful cast and each actor played an engaging and interesting character, with T’Pol and Trip in particular becoming fan favourites.  The series also managed to unpack a range of things that further deepened Star Trek and it’s mythology.

Star Trek Enterprise Crew

I don’t know if we’ll ever get a formal explanation from CBS about why it took so long to get a Trek series back on television, and why it couldn’t have been scheduled for the 2016 50th Anniversary, so we’ll probably just have to keep playing the guessing game.

One of the biggest surprises of this announcement though has been how they got this past us fans?!  We’re psychotic in our devotion to hunting down details about our favourite show.  We pounce on rumours and we ponder strange and ambiguous statements, yet this one flew under all of our collective radars.

Well played, CBS.  Bloody impressive secret keeping.

The announcement that came direct from CBS states a few interesting things:

  1.  Alex Kurtzman will executive produce the new series.  If that name sounds familiar, he’s part of the reboot team who brought us 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
  2. The pilot episode of this new Star Trek series will air on CBS television and only the pilot, but the series itself will run on CBS All Access, their cross-platform streaming service.
  3. It’s unclear if the new series will take place in the alternate timeline, or the prime timeline of the original series, Next Gen, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise.  What the release does say is: “The new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film Star Trek Beyond which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016.”

That third point doesn’t exclude the new series from taking place in the alternate timeline, and also gives those of us who want a series in the prime timeline hope.  In other words, they’re screwing with our minds.

No one knows yet if Alex Kurtzman went to CBS with a pitch, or if CBS approached Kurtzman – but I guess all of that will come out over the next few months.

For those of you who don’t know, Alex has an impressive list of television credits to his name.  He started his career as a writer and producer on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, and continued with shows like Alias, Fringe, Sleepy Hollow and Limitless.

If you’d like more information on Alex, visit his Wikipedia page here and his IMDb page here.  You’ll find a full list of his film and television work (including shows he has co-created) on both sites.

Somewhere on the net today I came across a bit of information that said Alex had been looking for writers for the last couple of months for the new television series, so I’m wondering if that was explained to the Star Trek: Renegades team when they shopped their pilot to CBS a few weeks ago?

One thing is certain, this isn’t a surprise to CBS.  For the announcement to come now, with a production turn around of only one year, stories are being developed and concept designs are being drawn up for space ships and all of the other bits of technology that will be used.  They’re not starting the process now, that process would have already started.

I would be surprised if they haven’t developed the characters and weren’t thinking about the actors who will appear in the series.

This means we will get more news soon.

Below are the various reports I found this morning as I searched the net trying to let this news sink in.  There’s not much that’s new in any of these reports, but one or two sites do add a little tiny bit of extra information.

I’ll start with two non-Trek sites, then the rest are all Star Trek devoted news sites.

io9

Plus this fun opinion piece from io9 right here.

blastr

1701News

TrekCore

TrekMovie

TrekNews

That should be more than enough for you guys to read!

This is great news, and there is no better present for Trek fans as we come up to the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.

Because this is my blog, I am going to indulge myself a little.

If I could command the ebb and flow of the universe I would make Alex Kurtman focus on the prime timeline.  I want to know what happened after Nemesis, but in particular what happened in the prime timeline after Spock died, and the Romulan System went bang.

There are a wealth of stories there, many of them that would give the writers the opportunity to explore contemporary issues like the current refugee crisis affecting the world.

I don’t want to be stuck in the alternate timeline’s version of Kirk, or an alternate timeline version of Next Gen.  I love the new movies, though I dislike some of the choices they’ve made, but leave that timeline to the feature films.  Please, further explore the universe we all came to love and honour that 50 years of history in Star Trek series six.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system…

THANK YOU, CBS!  Thank you.  Here’s to Star Trek hopefully resuming its place as a leader in science fiction television.

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