2013 was certainly an eventful year for the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek Into Darkness opened and, yes, Khan was the baddie. Patrick Stewart cemented his status as a Twitter god and cultural icon. Fans bid farewell a number of Star Trek figures, from A.C. Crispin to Michael Ansara, who passed away. Today, we’re going to revisit some of the biggest stories.
Four years after Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness at long last reached theaters this past May. StarTrek.com explored its impact on the franchise in an essay that ran the other day, but the bottom line is this: it proved that there’s plenty of life left in Star Trek and that there’s a worldwide audience for the adventures of Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise crew.
The other big film-related news: J.J. Abrams, in January, announced that he had signed on to direct the next Star… Wars film. That breaking story sent shockwaves across the entertainment industry; in fact, even many of Abrams’ Bad Robot associates were unaware a deal was in the works. The end result is that Abrams will produce rather than direct the next Star Trek installment, and a search is underway now for a director. As 2013 came to a close, Paramount revealed that Roberto Orci would pen the screenplay for the next film in tandem with J.D Payne and Patrick McKay.
Patrick Stewart became ubiquitous thanks to his winning Twitter posts. He posted a great video of him musing about acting with his wife, Sunny Ozell. He and Ian McKellen posted shots of themselves all over New York as they prepared to unite for repertory performances, on Broadway, of No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot. Stewart, McKellen and Elmo? Check. Stewart, McKellen and Leonard Nimoy? Check. Stewart, McKellen and Santa? Check. And let’s not forget that Stewart married Ozell in September, in a ceremony presided over by McKellen and attended by the entire TNG cast.
StarTrek.com paid tribute to a number of Star Trek figures who passed away in 2013, including Marvin Paige, casting director of Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Martin Hornstein, a veteran production manager and producer who worked on Star Trek VI, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis; Lou Scheimer, who produced The Animated Series via his company, Filmation; and Ed Lauter, who portrayed Commander Albert in “The First Duty,” a fifth-season TNG hour.
Kim Hamilton, who played Songi, Gamelan V’s government chairman, in the fourth-season TNG episode, “Final Mission;” A.C. Crispin, the beloved author of such Trek novels as Sarek and Yesterday’s Son; Michael Ansara, who played Kang in the TOS episode “Day of the Dove,” the DS9 hour “Blood Oath” and in the Voyager episode “Flashback,” as well as Lwaxana Troi’s Tavnian spouse, Jeyal, in the DS9 episode “The Muse;” and legendary sci-fi author Richard Matheson, who penned the TOS episode “The Enemy Within.”
Katharine Woodville, who played Natira in the TOS episode “For the World Is Hollow And I Have Touched the Sky;” Emmy Award-winning set decorator Jim Mees, who worked on TNG, Voyager and Enterprise; Peter Duryea, who played Lt. Jose Tyler in the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage” (some of his scenes were later reused in “The Menagerie”); Malachi Throne, who, for TOS, provided the voice of The Keeper in “The Cage” and was Commodore Jose I. Mendez in both halves of the “The Menagerie” two-parter (his casting in the latter prompted the producers to recast the voice of The Keeper), and who, on TNG, portrayed Parde in the “Unification” two-parter; and Alberto Lisiero, president and co-founder of the Star Trek Italy Magazine.
Star Trek Unbelievable!!!The upcoming sci-fi spoof Unbelievable!!!!! boasts a Who’s Who of Star Trek names in its cast, among them Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, Garrett Wang, Robert Picardo, Michael Forest, Beverly Washburn, Manu Intiraymi, Chase Masterson, Sean Kenney, Michael Dante, BarBara Luna, Gary Lockwood, Jack Donner, Celeste Yarnall, Connor Trinneer, Nana Visitor, Michael Dorn, Linda Park, Walter Koenig, Crystal Allen, Anthony Montgomery and Menina Fortunato.
Creation Entertainment, in August, held its annual Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. Yet another blockbuster, it brought together thousands of fans and more than 100 Star Trek actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. The guest list ran the gamut from TOS (Shatner, Nichols, Koenig, Takei) to Star Trek Into Darkness (Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Deep Roy), and Vegas/Creation reclaimed the Guinness World Book of Records title for most people assembled in one place in Star Trek regalia. That number: 1,085.
Plus, this happened: William Shatner reunited with his old friend, the Gorn.