A Bajoran poet who disappeared 200 years previously comes out of the wormhole claiming to be the Emissary.
Plot Summary: An ancient Bajoran lightship emerges from the wormhole carrying a single passenger, a legendary Bajoran poet named Akorem Laan who disappeared two centuries earlier. Akorem tells Sisko, who has been having misgivings about his role as Emissary, that he nearly died during a spacefaring accident and was saved when he discovered the Celestial Temple, where the Prophets healed him. He believes he has been sent back to become the Emissary. Believing that this makes more sense than that the Prophets would have chosen an outsider, Sisko relinquishes the title, something most Bajorans including the Kai and Kira accept. Then Akorem announces that Bajorans must return to the caste system, known as D’jarras, which assign each person a specific status and profession. All at once, Bajorans start changing jobs and giving up seats to higher-caste individuals, while Akorem expects Shakaar to be voted out of office and go back to farming. Because the Federation forbids caste-based discrimination, Sisko realizes that Bajor will likely be denied membership and is deeply troubled. He has a delayed orb vision in which a Prophet in the form of Kai Opaka warns him that he does not know his role. When he tells Kira that he feels he has failed Bajor, she tells him that it isn’t his responsibility and adds that she plans to resign to become an artist as her D’jarra dictates. Then Odo summons Sisko, who learns that a monk has been murdered by a Vedek because he refused to resign despite being from an “unclean” caste. Sisko decides that he was wrong to give up the position of Emissary and asks Akorem to travel into the wormhole with him so that the Prophets can explain their will. The two learn that Akorem was rescued and sent into the future to inspire Sisko, the Emissary, to understand his role. They return Akorem to his own era, where he finishes his famous incomplete poem. Sisko returns to the station with a renewed sense that his destiny and that of Bajor are linked.
Analysis: Watching “Accession” reminded me in a visceral way of how very angry I was with the Star Trek franchise in 1996, during DS9′s fourth season and Voyager‘s second. Both shows were undergoing changes to make them more marketable to a wider audience, one consequence of which, I felt, was that the female characters were written much more stereotypically and passively. “Accession” is a perfect example: although in many ways it’s a terrific episode, struggling with the questions of faith and culture that both the original series and Next Gen often treated dismissively if not with contempt, it focuses on two big patriarchal figures, while one major female character is reduced to asking timid questions and the other – the one arguably most directly affected by the events – allows enormous changes to occur in her culture while passively accepting potentially disastrous consequences. To be fair, all of Bajor and not just Kira ends up looking somewhat pathetic, easily pushed around and not yet ready for Federation membership – in retrospect, it would not have been a surprise to learn that the return of Akorem Laan was a plot engineered by the Cardassians or the Dominion to neutralize Bajor as a potential threat – but because Kira is the one we see as an example of how the new Emissary is affecting all Bajorans, she’s the one who seems most weakened by the unfolding of events. Though I didn’t always like it when she leaned on Bareil for spiritual advice, I so wished he’d been alive to talk about Bajoran faith as a growing, evolving institution. I could ask many practical questions, like why didn’t Sisko consult with an orb before doing anything as drastic as stepping down as Emissary, or pragmatic questions, like do you really mean to tell me there wasn’t a single Bajoran who, demoted suddenly to a low caste, didn’t try to lead an uprising, but my issues really come down to how the story affects characters I care about more than potential flaws in the plot.
There are a couple of things we learn in “Accession” that I really do love. One is our growing understanding that Bajoran faith and science are entirely compatible – not just the distortion of time in the wormhole that has caused it to be called the Celestial Temple and the powerful aliens worshiped as Prophets, but the fact that orb visions are regulated by neuropeptides which Bashir can control. The other is Sisko’s growing understanding of what it means to be the Emissary, though I don’t think the writers had thought it out much beyond its practical uses, keeping Sisko on the station for such a long Starfleet posting and and making him a trusted figure by a critical ally for the Federation. It’s wonderful watching him interact with the wormhole aliens in episodes from “Emissary” to “Accession” to “Tears of the Prophets” knowing that he is, as they keep telling him, of Bajor – that his mother was under the control of a Prophet when he was conceived, that he is in essence the Bajoran messiah, born to save them all. I get chills from that storyline, which is more central to this series even than the Cardassian conflict and the Dominion War. It’s the story of an ordinary man – all right, an exceptionally intelligent and hard-working man, but with the same sorts of family problems and romantic foibles and job stress as anyone – who slowly discovers that beings so powerful that in a different time and place he might have worshiped them as gods have a plan for his life and everyone in his sphere of influence. I love watching him try to balance the Prime Directive, which essentially serves to prevent powerful space-going races from playing god among less developed ones, with the role these aliens who have been involved with Bajor since its prehistory have given him. I love what a fundamentally selfless, broad-minded, compassionate person he is without being too saintly for people to recognize themselves in him. My favorite line of his all episode is, “All I have to worry about are the Klingons, the Dominion, and the Maquis…I feel like I’m on vacation!”
But as for Kira…sigh. I want to make it clear that I have no issue with her devotion to her religion, making what she considers to be personal sacrifices in the name of the Prophets and what’s best for the Bajoran people. She isn’t preaching that her entire world must follow a specific, conservative set of values; she’s simply saying that, for herself, she believes she needs to follow them, though for a change I wish she’d talk it over with Shakaar – or Lupaza, or even Winn, since listening to Winn’s self-serving nonsense usually sharpens Kira’s belief that there isn’t one absolute path dictated from on high to the Kai. Since she knows Winn, she knows that even someone the Prophets have chosen (or allowed to be chosen) can pervert a spiritual role for selfish purposes. She may be a fan of Akorem’s poetry, but I don’t understand why she’s so quick to accept him as Emissary, refusing to try to talk things out with Odo who doesn’t understand this sort of faith and is also struggling with the kind of self-abnegation demanded by his own people. In “The Circle,” Bareil suggested that Kira try surrendering to her artistic side not because it was her caste but because he thought it might give her perspective on her real sense of purpose, yet she seems to have forgotten how important that advice proved to be, personally and professionally. She and Bareil used to argue about his radical interpretations of Bajoran scripture. Even if she was raised traditionally, thinking Winn had a point that the Bajoran students in the station’s school had a right to be taught about the Prophets as well as the wormhole, when did she stop being someone who asks questions?
The rest of Bajor suffers even more, I think, from having an ancient caste system dumped upon it and accepted so blindly. Not even Winn ever suggested anything as reactionary as sending politicians home to be farmers and elevating singers to government posts. If this caste system lasted up until the Cardassians invaded, I understand how they conquered an advanced people so easily, since there must have been many Bajorans who resented being treated as unclean and people who felt that they were in the wrong jobs for their talents. Are we to believe that Bajor’s centuries of achievement emerged from a repressive caste system, that the writers are telling us how well such a system worked? They should take a peek into Bashir and O’Brien’s historic holosuite programs to see how that’s worked out throughout human history. The B-plot of this episode involves a pregnant Keiko returning with Molly from her botanical work on Bajor, sending Worf into a panic at the thought that he might be expected to be involved in another birthing and Bashir into a sulk that his best friend will no longer be around for nightly male bonding. After a few days of attempting to play with Molly and romance Keiko, neither of whom is interested, Miles is in such a sulk that Keiko sets him up with Bashir. This storyline provides much-needed humor, particularly when Bashir tells Quark that Miles is expecting another baby and Quark retorts that he thought females bore human young, yet it is mind-boggling that while such enormous changes are rocking Bajor, the human characters – including one just returning from living on Bajor – seem so completely disengaged from the problems. From the highest levels of Starfleet, whose message to Sisko seems to be “well, you are a failure where Bajor is concerned,” to the fact that neither Dax nor Bashir nor Sisko has a heart-to-heart with Kira about her choices and options, I’m finding non-interference to be kind of hypocritical. As for the Bajorans, I’m not sure which seems stranger, how easily they accept a new Emissary’s rules or how quickly they welcome Sisko back when that new Emissary mysteriously disappears on a trip with him.
I’m not bummed because this isn’t a good episode. I’m bummed because this is so close to being a great episode.
Several Star Trek actors are lending their support to a new Kickstarter project from David Gerrold, Dorothy Fontana and David C. Fine.
The project is a new sci-fi adventure series called The Star Wolf.
“We’re finally going to make the show I’ve been dreaming about for years,” said Gerrold, “a show that is compelling, thought-provoking and bold enough to take on the real emotional issues of war.”
“It has come to my attention that an interesting web series is in development,” said Leonard Nimoy.” It is called The Star Wolf. The folks behind this project are people I’ve known for over forty years. David Gerrold and Dorothy Fontana gave us some of the best writing we ever had on the original Star Trek series. I, for one, will be eagerly looking forward to see what their creativity will offer us on The Star Wolf“.
The Star Wolf “centers on a crew of regular people caught up in an interplanetary war between the human race and the animalistic Morthans.”
Nichelle Nichols, the original Lt. Uhura, is slated to take on the recurring role of Admiral O’Hara in The Star Wolf.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Chase Masterson is also endorsing the project.
The project needs $650,000 to be funded, and thus far, $52,782 has been raised, with nine days to go. The Kickstarter for the project can be found here.
For twins Katie and Kellie Cockrell, taking on the role of the two Caitians came with challenges.
The first challenge was getting into bed with actor Chris Pine.
“It was really fun but also really intimidating because Chris Pine is obviously not bad looking,” said Kellie. “He’s really handsome and very charismatic, and the whole thing can be a little intimidating.”
Another challenge was the makeup process involved in becoming Caitian. “We did ten to twelve makeup days, which are full days, twelve hours on set at least, sitting in a makeup chair with these really great special effects makeup people,” said Katie. “We tried a ton of different things. One of the first things we got done was a head cast; Kellie went first she’s a little bit more brave then I am so she was calm, but when I was doing it, I was having panic attacks because it’s so claustrophobic and you can’t take it off for ten minutes.”
“They made prosthetic ears [and] prosthetic noses; in the movie we have these kind of scale type things. Our characters are cats, and for our tails, when we were filming the scene, there was a special effects guy sitting right behind us actually moving the tails.”
The women have moved on to their next project, an independent film titled Feels So Good. “It’s a teenage comedy,” said Kelly. “It was really fun.”
Star Trek into Darkness Co-writer Roberto Orci explained why a certain villain was included in the film.
According to Orci, the villain was a result of wanting to relate to Star Trek history. Spoilers behind the cut for those who haven’t yet seen the film.
“[Damon Lindelof] argued for Khan from the beginning and I argued against it,” said Orci. “The compromise that we came to was, let us devise a story that is not reliant on any history of Star Trek. So, what’s the story? Well, we have a story where our crew is who they are and they’re coming together as a family. Then, suddenly, this villain arrives and his motivations are based on what happens in the movie. They’re not based on history. They’re not based on Star Trek. They’re not based on anything that came before. They’re based on his used by a corrupted system of power that held the things he held dear against him and tried to manipulate him. That story stands alone with or without Star Trek history. That’s how we approached it, and God bless Damon for going down that road.”
However, Lindelof was persistent when it came to wanting Khan. “So, once we had that, that’s when Damon came back and reared his ugly head and said, ‘OK, now that we have that, is there any reason why we cannot bring Star Trek history into this?’ And he was right,” said Orci. “So we ended up sort of reverse engineering it. We started with, ‘What’s a good movie? What’s a good villain? What’s a good motivation? We cannot rely on what’s happened before. Now that we have that, can we tailor this villain into something that relates to Star Trek history?’ And that’s what we did. So, step one was ‘Don’t rely on Star Trek.’ Then, step two was ‘Rely on Star Trek.’”
Star Trek Into Darkness is headed into its second weekend and our own polling shows that many fans plan to see the movie a second (third, fourth, etc.) time. And with repeat viewings there are opportunities for you to spot some little fun ‘easter egg’ tidbits put into the movie. See below for our selection of Into Darkness easter eggs, but beware of spoilers.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS EASTER EGGS
Of course Star Trek Into Darkness includes some big homages and reverences to Star Trek history including Khan, Section 31 and beyond which are key parts of the film. But there are also some more subtle ‘easter egg’ references to Star Trek history and beyond included in the film. Some of which you may have already spoted and maybe some you didn’t.
Doctor McCoy has a Tribble in sickbay, used for testing in the movie. McCoy already has this Tribble when the movie opens thanks to the adventures of the ongoing comic book series where they faced the Tribbles in “The Truth About Tribbles”.
As the team approaches Qo’noS, there is a hulk of a dead moon, implying that the Klingon moon of Praxis was already over-mined in this timeline (Star Trek VI). As usual the writers are being coy and won’t say for sure that it’s Praxis.
This seeming early destruction of Praxis may be related to a Section 31 operation that John Harrison carried out before the events of the movie. There is a reference to a “Praxxis Project” barely visible in the redacted text of the “leaked” Starfleet Memorandum document about Harrison found on AreYouThe1701.com [they appear to have misspelled the name, if it is indeed supposed to be in reference to the Klingon moon]. To see the memo for yourself read our article.
We can see the floating/hovering Bay Stadium that was seen in the Star Trek Enterprise episode “Home” is still there. It is located off of (roughly) where the ferry buildings are in present day San Francisco.
Spacefight future history
In Admiral Markus’ office among other historical space flight vehicles, such as a Saturn V rocket and a Space Shuttle, there are also models from Star Trek’s future history, including the U.S.S Kelvin (from Star Trek 2009) NX-01 (Star Trek: Enterprise), the NX-Alpha (warp 2 test ship from the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “First Flight”), Cochrane’s Warp ship (Star Trek: First Contact), and the Enterprise XCV 330 “ring ship” (as seen on the wall of the rec deck in Star Trek: The Motion Picture , in a painting on the wall of the 602 Club in Star Trek: Enterprise, and rendered in the 2011 “Ships of the Line” calendar). The models were made by Quantum Mechanix for the movie, see our article for more.
The attending physician’s name on the biobed monitor by Kirk when he wakes up in the hospital in San Francisco is Dr. Boyce, a reference to the ship’s doctor in the first Star Trek TV pilot ”The Cage”, which is also where we first met the Prime timeline version of Pike.
The Gorn Babies
McCoy mentions that he had given a cesarean section to a pregnant Gorn and that the live-birth babies bite (Star Trek The Video Game).
Gorn from Star Trek video game get a shout out from McCoy
Pike is called to the meeting with admiralty in the Daystrom Conference Room at Starfleet HQ. A reference to Dr. Richard Daystrom the inventor of the duotronic computers used in TOS (TOS: “The Ultimate Computer”).
Sulu says over the comm system to ready the impounded trade ship from “the Mudd incident.” This is a reference to the prequel comic “Countdown into Darkness” and that story’s involvement with Harry Mudd’s half-Bajoran daughter.
Kirk uses Mudd’s ship in Into Darkness
Carol Marcus mentions her friend Christine Chapel who had told her of Kirk’s “reputation.” Chapel is of course a recurring character from the original Star Trek (played by Majel Barrett Rodddenberry). The character was also mentioned in the 2009 Star Trek film and was part of the USS Enterprise medical staff at that time, before leaving for a deep space assignment. She may be the blond nurse seen in this picture.
The region of Qo’noS the team go to is the Ketha Province, which is where General Martok (Star Trek: Deep Space 9) will come from in the Prime timeline’s future.
Kirk’s Menage a Caitian
Kirk is seen in bed with two Caitains – a feline species first introduced in Star Trek: The Animated Series with the character M’Ress.
Amok Time Sting
As mentioned in an interview last month with Michael Giacchino said he was compelled by a fan on Twitter to include something from the TOS score at the last minute. That homage is the classic “Amok Time” fight music, which is heard very briefly after Spock beams down in a foot chase after Harrison through San Francisco.
Kirk is listening to an antique record of the Beastie Boys “Body Movin’ (Fat Boy Slim Remix)” while ‘entertaining’ twin cat-like ladies. This is a callback to young Kirk joyriding to “Sabotage” in Star Trek 2009, Kirk’s general interest in antiques in the Prime timeline, and thirdly, the Beastie Boys is a personal favorite of director of J.J. Abrams.
The archive blown up in London is the called “Kelvin Memorial Archive”, named for George Kirk’s ship destroyed by Nero in Star Trek 2009. The name of the U.S.S. Kelvin itself is from J.J. Abrams own family, it was his grandfather’s last name. This is of course in addition to the more apparent homage to Lord Kelvin of the eponymous temperature scale.
The Kelvin gets referenced in “Into Darkness”
Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay is taken out by the USS Vengeance, a possible nod by the producers to the quickly canceled Abrams show on FOX named Alcatraz.
Alcatraz gets cancelled by USS Vengeance
Unlike other Abrams productions we haven’t found any ”Slusho” or other common Abrams universe references this time. Star Trek 2009 had references to Slusho and Tagruato, the company that makes Slusho, from Cloverfield.
POSSIBLE EASTER EGGS
Carol Marcus’ mother’s maiden name was Wallace, which is assumed to be an homage to Janet Wallace (TOS “The Deadly Years”).
Another Deltan Navigator?
A bald navigator (“Darwin”) is seen taking the helm when Chekov is assigned to engineering. She may be an homage to Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s Lt. Illia and her Deltan race.
See anything else?
There are bound to be more than the easter eggs listed above and when the Blu-rays arrive they will be much easier to spot with the benefit of freeze frame.
So did you spot any other little easter eggs in Into Darkness? If so post about them below.
Replica maker Quantum Mechanix has announced that they had a role to play in Star Trek Into Darkness, actually making some of the props used in the film. And they are making some of these available to purchase including Starfleet rings, vehicle model replicas, phasers and more. Get all the details below.
QMx Creates “Screen-Authentic” Props for Star Trek Into Darkness
Quantum Mechanix, the creative studio and developer of screen-accurate replicas and collectibles revealed this week that they were responsible with making many of the actual props used in Star Trek Into Darkness. QMx began making Star Trek replicas after the release of the 2009 Star Trek film and Bad Robot was so impressed with their work, that they brought them in to do the real thing for the sequel. Probably the most prominent set of props they made was the “history of starflight” series of models seen on Admiral Marcus’ desk. QMx made all fourteen of the filming miniatures at their FX Cinema Arts premier model-making center (where all of their Artisan ship models are constructed). The line-up included both models of historical craft as well as some pieces from Trek’s future history including the NX-01, the U.S.S. Kelvin and the Ring Ship.
History of Spaceflight models shown on QMx site
“It was an honor in every possible measure,” said QMx CEO Andy Gore speaking to TrekMovie about working on Into Darkness. “We had a small contribution to the film but we were happy to help. Everyone here takes the responsibility of Star Trek very seriously. We are fans too and just humbled by the experience.” According to gore it took a team of six model makers about two months to create the history of spaceflight miniatures. Each one required a different approach. Some (such as the ring ship or the Kelvin) which were modified and could have the basis made in a 3D printers, others (such as the Vostok) required more time an research as there was little source material available and were built from scratch.
And being that QMx are in the business of selling replicas, they are already putting plans in motion to make some of the history of spaceflight miniatures available for purchase. The first one to be made available will be a limited run of 25 ring ship miniatures made to the same size as the one used in the movie and by the same Artisan shop. Those will be a San Diego Comic Con exclusive (no pricing yet).
Following the ring ship, QMx will make a ‘prop scale’ version of the USS Vengeance (again made by the same QMx Artisan shop the produced the props for the movie) along with a smaller (and more affordable) ‘collector scale’ version of the model. They are also planning on selling a collector scale version of the USS Kelvin. These should all be available later in 2013, with pricing and more details decided by Comic Con. The company also plans to release a prop-scale version of the NX-01 but that might not be until 2014.
The history of Spaceflight wasn’t the only QMx contribution to Into Darkness. The company also forged Starfleet Academy rings for the cast, in both sterling silver (for the main cast) and aluminum for background actors. Of course one of these rings featured prominently in a scene in the film with Thomas Harewood (Noel Clarke) but you can see other members of the cast wearing them as well.
Starfleet Academy Rings from “Into Darkness” made by QMx
And again they are also making a version of this ring available for purchase, in this case a value-priced version made out of zinc-alloy produced from the same molds used for the sterling silver ‘hero’ props. The rings come in a nice leatherette collectible box that actually lights up and retails for on $29.99. They will be available this summer at retailers that carry QMx items, including Entertainment Earth (click here to pre-order). QMx is also planning on a limited edition sterling silver version of the ring, but they have not announced pricing or a date for that yet.
In addition to the miniatures and the rings, QMx also partnered with Hollywood propmaker Kenney’s Custom Props to produce the phasers for Into Darkness – which were slightly redesigned from the versions in the 2009 movie. The stunt version of this pistol – which features a manual spinner that uses magnets to lock the barrels into position – will be available as part of an Amazon.com Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D bundle this Fall. The animatronic phaser will be available in 2014.
Also being released this summer is a screen-accurate replica of the United Federation of Planets Flag as seen in Star Trek Into Darkness. The flag is made of lightweight polyester and printed using the original digital files of the UFP logo from the film. It will be available for a limited time through www.ThinkGeek.com and https://store.qmxonline.com/United-Federation-of-Planets-Flag–Formal_p_226.html for $29.95.
In addition to the replicas, QMx is also selling posters for Into Darkness (Official Teaser, Official USA Poster and official IMAX Poster). Each retains for $19.95 and will be available in mid June. Go to QMX to pre-order.
For more on QMx visit their site at http://quantummechanix.com.
Hot Wheels Into Darkness
Speaking of ship miniatures, Mattel’s Hot Wheels is planning a 1:50 scale die-cast series of four Star Trek ships including the USS Excelsior the USS Kelvin and two ships from Into Darkness: The Vengeance and the new Klingon Bird of Prey. This first wave is due in June. You can pre-order all four for $54.99 at Entertainment Earth (note EE has the wrong pictures. The correct images were released on HotWheelsCollectors.com.
Leonard Nimoy will be narrating the second part of a three part Microwarriors series.
The series focuses on the health benefits of probiotics.
Microwarriors: The Origin and the Destiny, narrated by Nimoy, will “present probiotics in an entertaining and interesting light, featuring front-line medical information, the latest scientific research, and commentary from leading experts in the field, including Dr. Gregor Reid, Professor of Microbiology and Surgery at the University of Western Ontario and Chair of Human Microbiology and Probiotics at the Lawson Health Research Institute.”
“As a pioneer in the industry, we are both honored and thrilled to show our support for this educational film featuring cutting-edge, expert information on probiotics,” said Alan Murray, CEO of GoodBelly, a probiotic juice drink manufacturer. “We feel it’s crucial to help advance public knowledge about probiotics so consumers can make responsible and informed decisions, which is why we’re proud to play a part in growing awareness through Microwarriors on the workings of probiotics.”
Microwarriors: The Origin and the Destiny will debut on DVD in December.
Later this summer, the second season of Star Trek: Enterprise will be released on Blu-ray.
The second season will include six discs with all twenty-six episodes, and deleted scenes, outtakes and other newly-produced features.
Some of the new features include: In Conversation: The First Crew (a reunion with the main cast and some guest stars), Destination Unknown: Uncharted Territory, and commentaries from Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, James Conway and Connor Trinneer.
Star Trek: Enterprise Season Two will be released on Blu-ray on August 20. UK fans can pre-order the set now on Amazon UK, and fans in other countries will be able to pre-order their sets soon. The trailer below is courtesy of TrekCore.com.
A new limited-edition MIMOBOT flash drive features Star Trek‘s Mr. Sulu.
The Mr. Sulu MIMOBOT is available in up to 128GB and USB 3.0 capabilities.
The Mr. Sulu MIMOBOT is the fifth in the Star Trek series, following Spock, Kirk, Picard and Data, and the flash drive comes preloaded with “with bonus Mimory and the MimoDesk personalization suite of wallpapers, icons and avatars. It also comes equipped with MimoByte sound software powered with an offering of iconic Star Trek sounds and Sulu character dialogue that plays each time Sulu MIMOBOT is inserted or ejected from one’s computer.”
Pricing ranges from $24.95 for an 8GB capacity, to $129.99 for a 128GB capacity. The Mr. Sulu MIMOBOT can be ordered here.
While filming a scene for Star Trek into Darkness, actor Zachary Quinto sustained a burn.
The scene in question was the one in which Spock was trying to stop a volcano from erupting and wiping out a civilization.
Part of Quinto’s skin was exposed in spite of wearing a protective heat shoot for the scene. “My neck skin got caught in between the helmet (and my shoulder),” he said. “I didn’t know how serious [the burn] was. I didn’t know what was happening.”
J.J. Abrams told Quinto that “It looked like there was a caterpillar on your neck!”
In response to the controversy about Alice Eve‘s Marcus underwear scene in Star Trek into Darkness, J.J. Abrams released a cut scene featuring a showering Benedict Cumberbatch‘s John Harrison.
Abrams appeared on Conan last night, where Conan addressed the Marcus underwear scene controversy.
“You’ve been taking some heat for a scene that I didn’t personally see what the fuss was about myself,” said Conan. “I was quite happy about the scene.”
Abrams explained the intent behind the scene, and then defended the scene, saying it was a “balance,” or a “trade-off” because earlier a scene showing Kirk undressed had been shown.
To further prove that there were sexy scenes for both men and women, Abrams introduced a clip of a short scene of Cumberbatch taking a shower, which ended up being cut from the movie.
This week has seen the final stop of the Star Trek Into Darkness celebrity talk show tour with Alice Eve and JJ Abrams appearing on Conan on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. And last night’s Abrams appearance including his revealing of a bit of a deleted scene of Benedict Cumberbatch’s "shower of evil." Watch it below
JJ Reveals bit of deleted ‘Shower of Evil’
Benedict Cumberbatch has talked about how there was a scene that both he and his personal trainer were sorry to see cut from the film. On Conan last night Into Darkness director JJ Abrams revealed a bit of the scene while talking about the controversy over Alice Eve’s undies scene.
JJ talked about how he likes to put easter eggs into his movies.
And here is a bit more on the TBS site from JJ’s time with Conan where he talks about visiting the set of Downton Abbey.
Alice Eve talks about being an ‘exobitionist ‘ + does JJ Abrams impression on Conan
And for her Tuesday appearance, actress Alice Eve talks about being an exobitionist when she was a little girl.
And here is an extra bit only available on the TBS site wher Alice shows off her JJ Abrams impersonation.
As per usual Star Trek Into Darkness has sparked much fan discussion and even disagreement, but but if there’s one thing we can all agree on: we love seeing Alice Eve in her undies! True, of course, until anyone bothered to ask a woman. There has always been scantily clad females throughout Trek history – it’s a part of what makes Kirk so Kirk – so, why should this one scene be causing such a stir? Why have female fans responded so strongly in this case? Read my analysis below, but beware of SPOILERS.
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
Gratuitous Underwear: How did we get here?
As if you need me to, I’ll set the scene. Kirk accompanies Carol Marcus to a shuttlecraft to discuss sending her to a nearby planetoid to try and diffuse some of these mysterious photon torpedoes aboard the Enterprise. She’s the logical choice since, as we learned in her introductory scene, she holds an advanced degree with a specialty in weaponry. Great, nothing out of the ordinary here, I’ll just go ahead and OH! You’re in your underwear! That’s just great.
But, let’s back up a second. Why exactly is she in her underwear? She tells Kirk to turn around, doesn’t mention why (were we expecting here to require a change of wardrobe?) and then acts coy when Kirk sneaks a peak at her half-dressed body. The scene was flat out gratuitous. It had no point. There was no reason for her to change clothes. There was no reason for her to change in front of Kirk. There was no reason for her to change in a shuttlecraft with the back door hanging wide open. The writers threw the scene in for pure, testosterone-driven shock value. (Side note: lucky she was wearing her brand new Victoria Secret push-up bra. I’m sure that’s real comfortable under her uniform, especially in a combat situation)
Think I’m being harsh? Even Damon Lindelof himself, co-writer of Into Darkness, publicly apologized for the scene saying over a few tweets:
“I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress. We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies. Do not want to make light of something that some construe has mysogenistic [sic]. What I’m saying is I hear you, I take full responsibility, and will be more mindful in the future.”
Damsels in Distress: Where are all the women?
But, we’ve seen our fair share of half-naked women (and men!) throughout Star Trek. Even in Star Trek (2009) we had one hot Orion woman in her undies as well as Uhura changing for us all to see. Why was it okay then but not now? Two reasons: 1. Those scenes were built into the story well (i.e. it was not gratuitous), and 2. Those scenes did not detract from their characters.
She undressed with purpose!
The Orion girl was undressed because, well, she was getting naughty with Kirk! As for Uhura, she was changing because she was in her personal quarters and unaware that some “mouth breather” was looking on from underneath her roommate’s bed. Those moments had purpose; they made sense. Randomly disrobing in the back of a shuttle craft? Gratuitous.
Secondly, and most importantly, the Marcus underwear scene detracted from the only truly strong female role in the entire film. Let’s start from the beginning. A terrorist attack has occurred (after a MAN bribed the FATHER of a dying child), and all of Starfleet’s finest are gathered together at a round table to talk options. Who do we see? A bunch of old white human males (with maybe a token woman thrown in). Cut to our introduction to Carol Wallace (aka Carol Marcus). She’s cute, she’s sexy, she’s got great hair! But, she’s also brilliant and trained in advanced weaponry — a force even Mr. Spock is threatened by. Meanwhile, Uhura does little more than follow Spock around moaning about him having a death wish. For the girls, it’s Carol who is going to represent us as a strong, smart, beautiful, independent woman! Aaaaand, then she threw her cloths at Kirk the first chance she got. Role model no more. (It’s worth noting that Felicia Day, famed nerd girl/actress, has posted similar thoughts about this on her blog.)
Uhura, who many would point to as a shining symbol of strong African-American women, isn’t without her girl power moments in the film. On Kronos, Uhura really gets to strut her stuff as the only person able to speak Klingon and decides to go up against a whole swarm of them (according to Mr. Barris, 12 Klingons constitutes a swarm). This for her is a moment of true courage. Much of that courageous character is lost, however, throughout the rest of the film as Uhura is given the primary role of humanizing Spock.
Uhura has a moment of courage and strength
I am by no means a feminist. As a woman, I’m all for the equal treatment of women. But, I take a pragmatic approach. I’ll let you guys in on a little secret: women sometimes like looking at other women naked. Women, particularly those starring in blockbuster Hollywood films, are beautiful things, and us girls like looking at beautiful things (I’m convinced it’s the same for men looking at men, but I can’t get my boyfriend to admit it). But, even more than that, we like looking at a beautiful, strong, independent women. We like watching someone who we want to be like, and we like being told that you can be smart and beautiful. You can also be strong and beautiful, evil and beautiful, gay and beautiful. After the underwear scene, Carol was just dumb and beautiful.
Don’t look or my cloths might fall off
What about the men in STID? Should we be outraged?
“What about the men!” you say? I’ve heard the argument that we saw men in tight diving suits and a shirtless Kirk, so the Marcus underwear scene should be no different. I couldn’t disagree more. First of all, those diving suits? Hardly flattering for many of the men in question (I was seriously surprised that the costume department didn’t fix that one — wetsuits tend to make one look pudgy). And besides, we saw both genders in those dive suits. Secondly, and I’ll say this again, those scenes had purpose and didn’t detract from the character like the Marcus scene did.
So, tell me: where are all the women in Star Trek Into Darkness? Are they strong, independent role models for our daughters, or are they just dumb blondes?
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In honor of the recent release of Star Trek Into Darkness, The History Channel has aired a special documentary titled "Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe." Originally broadcast last Wednesday, May 15th, the special is now available on History Channel’s website via streaming for free. See below for mini-review and screenshots plus a link to more BTS with ILM.
Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe on History
The History channel has a new documentary titled "Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe" which ties together Trek and real life science. Of particular interest is a significant amount of behind the scenes footage of the making of Into Darkness, as well as clips from the movie not seen in TV spots or trailers. The most notable bit of new footage is a very beautiful extended shot of the Enterprise silhouetted against a distant nebula, which was featured in the film itself, but substantially cut down in the final edit.
There is more eye candy in the form of detailed looks at the Enterprise interior sets and other locations. We are also treated to interviews of the cast, crew, including a lot with director JJ Abrams. But instead of hyping the film, Abrams and his cast discuss how real science inspires their stories of Star Trek, and how in turn Star Trek itself inspires future scientific research.
Also covered is an extensive look at the filming of the Enterprise warp core scenes at the National Ignition Facility. Many of the facility’s staff talk about how Star Trek inspired them to take up their careers in science, and influenced the type of research they do. Other scientists weigh in on the plausibility of faster than light travel using warp drive, the possibility of first contact with alien life, and humanity’s need and desire to venture into the stars.
And woven throughout the special are discussions with a dozen real life scientists from SETI, Berkeley, Columbia, MIT and other prestigious institutions talking about real-life science and how it releates to the fiction of Star Trek. They cover topics such as warp drive, alien life, time travel, planet hunting and more – all the while showing how Trek has had an impact on many people who work in these fields.
Bottom line is that this special is highly recommended. Come for the great behind the scenes look at Star Trek Into Darkness and stay for the insight into real-life science.
Head over to History Channel to check it out:
Note in order to watch the show online you must be US resident and you have to log in with details of your cable service provider. The show is also repeating on the H2 channel and available On Demand with some cable systems including Comcast.
fx Guide Behind The Scenes Looks At Into Darkness and ILM
If you are interested in some more behind the scenes details, fxGuide has 3 articles looking at how the film’s visual effects were created. Covered are how the film’s environments, vehicles, starships, and worlds were masterfully fashioned by visual effects vendors Industrial Light and Magic, Atomic fiction, and Pixomondo.
With the release of Star Trek Into Darkness in North America, a few people have wanted to get the perspective of TrekMovie.com. This afternoon and evening TrekMovie’s Anthony Pascale will be participating in a Hollywood.com Google Hangout and the MovieByte Podcast. TrekMovie contributors have also discussed or quoted by Yahoo, Buzzfeed, Moviefone and Wired. Get the details below.
UPDATED TREKMOVIE ON WED. HOLLYWOOD.COM HANGOUNT + MOVIEBYTE PODCAST
UPDATED: On Wednesday I was a guest on a Hollywood.com "Get Thee to the Geek" Google Hangout talking about Star Trek Into Darkness and the future of Star Wars- joined by Hollywood.com’s Christian Blauvelt with TheForce.Net’s Eric Geller and author of the "Star Wars Craft Book" Bonnie Burton. You can watch the hangout via embed below.
Immediately following the Hollywood.com Hangout I was a guest on the MovieByte Podcast. You can listen to that below.
MORE TREKMOVIE CONTRIBUTORS IN THE NEWS…
Kurtzman reveals my Into Darkness contribution…
BuzzFeed has a spoilery article on their favorite classic Trek moments in Star Trek Into Darkness which includes some comments from the writers Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman, including Alex revealing how a suggestion I made worked its way into the movie…
9. Scotty, the "miracle worker"
There’s a quick moment after Scotty (Simon Pegg) saves the day in Into Darkness when Kirk calls him a “miracle worker” — an honor bestowed upon Scotty many times in the original series and films.
Turns out, the moment was due to a superfan request.
“To be honest, one of our friends who runs trekmovie.com, Anthony Pascale, said, ‘You gotta have that line in there somewhere,’” says Kurtzman. “He reminded us that that was a classic thing, and we found the perfect place for it right there.”
Tenuto on San Francisco and Star Trek
Wired takes a look at the connection between Star Trek and San Francisoc which once again plays out in Into Darkness. TrekMovie helped Wired with some background on the article and our own contributor (and Star Trek historian) Professor John Tenuto is also quoted in the piece.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about San Francisco from Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s point of view was its significance to the U.S. Navy. Roddenberry himself was a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and was ferried from California to the Pacific theater by Navy vessels, so he was well aware of San Francisco’s shipyards.
“The reason the Enterprise looks so realistic, even though it’s futuristic, is that there’s certainly these trappings of the Navy,” said John Tenuto, a sociology professor at Illinois’ College of Lake County who studies the production of Star Trek. “Although Roddenberry has a sort of progressive view of the future, those military experiences certainly appeared in Star Trek and shaped it.”
Pascale on the politics of Into Darkness
Yahoo Movies takes a look at the real world’s 9/11 connection to Star Trek Into Darkness. The piece opens with a quote from myself about how the post-destruction of Vulcan Federation is an allegory for our real-world post-9/11 society:
""I think it’s fairly obvious it’s a commentary," says TrekMovie editor-in-chief Anthony Pascale.
The piece goes on to explore those themes and possible controversies, but the article ends with this context for Trek history:
Taking on the now, if not the news, is "something that ‘Star Trek’ has done before," Pascale says, "…and it’s welcome that it sparks a debate. It makes you think."
TrekMovie looks to future with Moviefone
Moviefone is also working on an article (not yet live) about what is next for the Star Trek film franchise. They asked for a quote from myself on what I think will happen in the next film, here is what I said:
Firstly I hope they continue what they did with Into Darkness and tell an allegorical story that makes people think about our current society, although that doesn’t have to be done on Earth. Into Darkness did set the stage, which is the Star Trek crew are finally off on their five-year mission. I expect that to mean that defending San Francisco from giant black ships is left behind for an adventure in the final frontier.
I think there will be a debate on if they should do something entirely new, such as a new adversary race, or develop their own spin on something already established from the canon (like The Borg, The Dominion, The Gorn, etc). My view is that Star Trek is different than super-hero movies where they expect you to use the characters from the comic book canon. Star Trek is about exploring today’s human condition through the lens of exploring strange new worlds, emphasis on ‘new.’ So I think the fans would welcome the Abrams team fully embracing their new universe and telling us a story entirely of their making. Just make sure to drop enough fun Trek tidbits along the way.
And more importantly I think we should see these characters continue their arcs towards becoming the heroes that we knew from the original show, but not limited to that because they are different and so they allowed to stretch them in new and interesting ways.
All that and a really cool space battle. You need one of those!
Tenuto uses Star Trek passion for lesson to grads
Speaking of John, he introduced some Star Trek into a commencement speech he was giving to the College of Lake County graduates last weekend. Watch the fun below.
For Star Trek writer/producers Ronald D. Moore and Ira Steven Behr, there was no honeymoon period when it came to writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Both joined the show during its third season and had to hit the ground running.
Moore came on board after his story was found in the slush pile by Michael Piller. “Piller came aboard in the beginning of the third season, and started going through the slush pile, and found my script and bought it,” said Moore. “I got a really lucky break and I had the right script at the right time; he was looking for something like that… that started my whole career, basically.”
Being on staff for Moore meant working hard and working quickly. “Once I was on the staff, here’s the work, and you either did it or you didn’t,” he said. “There was a certain pace that the show went at. I remember very clearly, my first full day on the show. Michael gave me a memo, or a story outline that they couldn’t make work, and he said, ‘Here, go try to make this work.’
I sat down and just wrote up a new version and sent it downstairs; an hour or so later he sent it back up with a bunch of notes on it. Then I wrote up another version and sent it downstairs; the same then happened like twice more. I started putting the time up in the corner; I was literally putting the time of this draft… Michael, at some point, just laughed. ‘You don’t have to do it this fast!’
“I didn’t know what the pace was! I just assumed that when it was given to me, I had to write it as quickly as possible, and fortunately, that was a really important strength to have on a television series, to be able to do it quickly and get it out.”
Behr was hesitant to join The Next Generation because “they were cutting off writers’ heads left and right and it was a bloodbath every week,” he said.
“…it sounded like a complete and utter horror show. They were firing writers left and right; the one that killed me was you’re not allowed to go down to the set as a writer/producer, because it’s not allowed. I said that I’d never heard that anywhere before! And there’s a lawyer who goes around looking through desks at night to find things that they wrote about Gene Roddenberry, because he was Gene’s lawyer, and it was like, “Is this serious?!”
Behr had said “no” to Maurice Hurley, but a year later, Piller convinced him to come on board. He was handed a script for The Hunted and told to “rewrite act 3.”
Behr was on his own and he had to quickly brush up on Trek technology. Richard Danus, who was on his way out, “explained what a Jefferies Tube was, and I went back and literally banged out by hand on a yellow pad, Act 3, scared out of my mind,” said Behr. “There was some dialogue obviously in there, but I was just like throwing it up in the air and hoping there was a parachute attached.”
But both men managed to survive their initial experiences and both went on to Deep Space Nine.
The first expansion for Star Trek: Online, The Legacy of Romulus is now available.
In Legacy of Romulus, players can now play as either a Romulan or a Reman, with story-driven missions written “exclusively from the Romulan Republic’s point-of-view.”
In Legacy of Romulus, Romulus and Remus are gone, and the survivors of the two planets are “struggling to survive in the aftermath of unspeakable destruction.
“These are dark and dangerous times for your people, as the Tal Shiar crack down on any dissent and mysterious beings unleash terror throughout the far-flung colony worlds.
“You will be the one to reshape an empire. Gather allies, go undercover and find the proof that will rally your people to revolt.
“Together, you will rise up against an oppressive regime and demand freedom. You will fight for your people.”
Denise Crosby has returned as [Empress] Sela in Legacy of Romulus.
Two new Her Universe clothing items will be of interest to female Star Trek fans.
The items are a Command Gold tank dress, and a shirt featuring a quote from The Wrath of Khan.
The tank dress is made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex, and runs from small to 4X in size (it’s recommended to buy a size larger than normal as this item runs small). The Command Gold tank dress will sell for $35 and can be purchased here.
The Khan v-neck t-shirt features a Federation symbol and the KHAAAAAN! quote (which runs along the bottom of the shirt and continues on the back of the shirt). Selling for $28, the t-shirt comes in sizes from small to 2X. As with the Command Gold tank dress, it’s recommended to go up one size unless a close-fitting shirt is desired. The t-shirt can be purchased here.
When it comes to writing a novelization of a movie, for author Alan Dean Foster, it’s about “filling in the blanks.”
Foster is no stranger to Star Trek novels, having written the Animated Series Star Trek Log novelizations as well as the story for what became the first Star Trek movie, but after thirty years, he had thought that his Trek days were behind him.
When asked to pen the novelization for Star Trek (2009), Foster was “was surprised because it had been so long. I was not surprised because I’d been doing book versions of movies all through those decades right up and through to films like The Chronicles of Riddick,” he said. ” So it’s not like I’d been away from the work, but I’d just been away from Star Trek.”
Foster explained what he felt was the core of Star Trek into Darkness. “It’s all about personality conflicts,” he said. “There are people who love science fiction who will say it’s insufficiently science fiction, and there are people who will say that’s what makes Star Trek great, and always has. For me, good writing and good story has always been centered on characters and everything else, however well developed, is window dressing. Certainly, Star Trek Into Darkness, if anything, is even more character-centric than the previous film.”
Being able to add to the story, showing more of the characters’ thought processes during events is enjoyable for the author. “People think that one of the main things that novelizations do is to expand existing scenes,” he said. “That’s true to a certain extent, but the fun part of it, and the important people of it, I feel, is to fill in the blanks. One of the biggest blanks in any existing film, assuming it isn’t fifteen hours long, is to show what the characters are actually thinking. When they’re doing something on screen it’s just, well, ‘Sulu moved the lever forward.’ That’s about as short a sentence as you can come up with. But I get to show what he’s thinking, why he’s moving the lever, what’s going on in his head while he’s moving the lever, what the possible consequences might be for moving that lever, and on and on and on. To me, that’s one of the joys of doing it. I get to make my own director’s cut, in other words.”
The Star Trek into Darkness novelization came out yesterday.
Last night, Alice Eve was on Conan and two short clips featuring the actress on the show have been released.
In the clips, Eve reveals that she was attracted to performing from a young age, had a teacher whose negative comments made her determined to succeed in school, and was initially a bit confused during a call from J.J. Abrams to her regarding Star Trek into Darkness.