Unless you’ve been stuck in a wormhole somewhere in deep space, you know that one of the most anticipated movies of 2009 is the new Star Trek movie. Unlike the past Trek movies, this one is a prequel to the original 1960s series. Prequel projects have been considered in the past and the devout fans have shuddered at the idea of anyone but the original cast playing their beloved characters. Those feelings seem to have changed and most fanboys are itching to see the new creation — partially because director JJ Abrams has an interesting vision for the picture and partially because it means the return of Leonard Nimoy as our favorite Vulcan, Mr. Spock.
Star Trek follows the exploits of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise in the far-flung future. The ship is commanded by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his first mate and science officer, Mr. Spock (Nimoy). Kirk’s close friend and confidant is the cantankerous Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley). Other valued personnel include Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), helmsman Hiraku Sulu (George Takei), communications officer Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), navigator Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), head nurse Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett), and yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney).
The series debuted on September 8, 1966 and struggled for most of its run on NBC. The network ultimately cancelled the low-rated show after three seasons on the air. The series’ popularity really took off once it hit syndication and students found it airing weekday afternoons. Trek inspired a slew of toys, books, an animated series, a string of successful movies and four live-action spin-off TV series featuring other casts and characters.
Nimoy’s Mr. Spock has had a particularly interesting Trek journey. He was the only character that appeared in the original series pilot and became a regular on the weekly show. He died valiantly in the second movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and was subsequently revived in the third, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
Along with many in the original TV show cast, Spock’s last big screen appearance came in the sixth movie in 1991. The Vulcan returned to television one more time in a two-part episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which takes place about 80 years after the original Trek. Spock is now a very old ambassador who’s gone undercover to attempt to reunite the genetically similar Vulcan and Romulan people. The episodes were dedicated to the memory of then recently deceased Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
Red Alert: Spoilers Based on interviews, it appears Abrams is trying to honor much of the cannon set up by the past Trek incarnations. The movie will pick up with an older Spock in the Next Generation future. Someone apparently messes with the time continuum enough to impact the history of the now-deceased Kirk. To save his friend’s past, he goes back in time and encounters a younger version of himself, in his early days on the Enterprise. The older Spock also meets a young Kirk on an ice planet (see the trailer). End Red Alert.
A couple weeks ago, the first extended trailer for the new movie hit theaters and, moments later, the Internet. Another one has been released. It’s very similar to the earlier version, with the exception of a few additional seconds at the very end. Though we’ve seen many photos of Zachary Quinto as a young Spock, this is the first time we’re seeing Nimoy back in his trademark ears.
Can’t wait for the movie to be released on May 8, 2009? In January 2009, IDW Publishing will begin publishing a four issue comic book series called Star Trek Countdown. It’ll encompass the backstory of the movie’s villain, Nero (Eric Bana), and bridge the gap between Spock’s last Next Generation appearance and the new movie. It’s being written by Tim Jones and Mike Johnson, based on a story by Abrams and the movie’s screenwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The comic is being drawn by David Messina. Check out more info and promo image here. Stay tuned!
Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.