Vic

Artificial Intelligence
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  1. Today... is a good day to wear a Klingon polo shirt. And the folks at ThinkGeek.com are ready to help. Their new Klingon polo shirt features a smart-looking embroidered Klingon Empire insignia and three buttons along with banded sleeves, comes in black and is made from 100% cotton pique knit. The Klingon polo comes in sizes Small to 3X, is in stock now and costs $29.99. Go to www.thinkgeek.com to purchase it. View the full article
  2. John Vickery played three very different characters across the Star Trek spectrum. He portrayed Andrus Hagan, a Betazoid, in the Next Generation episode, “Night Terrors,” the Cardassian Gul Rusot in the Deep Space Nine hours, “The Changing Face of Evil,” “When It Rains…” and “Tacking into the Wind,” and Orak, a Klingon, in the Enterprise installment, “Judgment.” The Trek credits are just a few of many on Vickery’s resume. He originated the role of Scar in the Broadway production of The Lion King and appeared in numerous other stage shows. And on TV and in film, he’s acted in One Life to Live, Rapid Fire, Dr. Giggles, Babylon 5, NCIS and Modern Family, among others. Vickery is, in his own words, semi-retired these days. However, he still regularly performs with the LA Theatre Works company, having recorded and/or toured such radio-play-style productions as And the Sun Stood Still, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Sisters Rosenweig and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. Starting tomorrow in Los Angeles, he’ll play Nikita Khrushchev in The Tug of War, a drama written by David Rambo and co-starring Matthew Arkin, Hugo Armstrong, Seamus Dever, Matthew Floyd Miller, James Morrison, David Selby, Rich Sommer, Josh Stamberg, Nick Toren and Jules Willcox. StarTrek.com recently spoke to Vickery by telephone, and here’s what he had to say: When you got your first Trek job on TNG, was that an audition? Yes, the casting director, he cast me in all those Star Treks. I auditioned for the part and… this is funny. I played a Betazoid and you had to wear these black contacts, which made my eyes water. They said, "Do you have any problems with contacts?" I said, "Well, they make my eyes water, but I think in this case it's probably a good thing." And that’s because I was unconscious the entire episode and you just heard my thoughts. It was all voiceover with the other Betazoid. I think I got the part because I said, "I think that will actually be a good thing that my eyes are watering," because I was supposed to be in the throes of some kind of mental anguish, and I think they were pleased by that answer. Probably most actors you know when you ask them, "Can you ride a motorcycle?,” they say, “Sure," even if they've never ridden a motorcycle before. "Can you ride a horse?” “Of course." I think most actors probably said, "Oh, no, contacts don't bother me." And I was the one actor who said, "Yeah, they bother me a lot." How well did you get to know the TNG regular cast? They were extremely nice, and Patrick Stewart, I got to know quite well. I know that when he took the gig he was worried that, because he was from the Royal Shakespeare Company, that it was in some way a downgrade in his respectability. I'm sure he doesn't worry about that now, but back then he wanted to keep his hand in classical acting. So, he had a Shakespeare workshop that he did on weekends in one of the old sound stages on the Paramount lot. We did that for weeks and weeks and weeks and he was a fantastic teacher. We did a lot of Shakespeare. Your role on DS9 ended up being a recurring role. Was that always the plan? They said two episodes, and it turned out to be three episodes. The funny thing about that gig was… I did aliens on Babylon 5 as well, and when you play aliens you usually make twice as much money as you're billed for because it takes three hours to get into the makeup and two hours to get it off. So, you're already into overtime, and I think we had some 18-, 19- and 20-hour days on DS9 because it took so long to do the makeup and take it off. I remember that was a very arduous job, but I got paid twice as much as I was offered, so that was good. How did you enjoy working with Casey Biggs? Did you get to know him? Had you known him before? I didn't know him before, but he was a pleasure. We had a great relationship. I had known Rene…. Rene Auberjonois. I knew him when I was much younger, from his theater company in San Francisco. I had seen him a lot on stage and we had worked together before. If you're in the business long enough, you usually almost always know or have at least met some of the people you work with when you do something new. Damar, in your final episode, killed Rusot and then very coldly but still regretfully said, "He was my friend, but his Cardassia is dead and it won't be coming back." Exactly. To him, I was a friend, but it was all business, which is the way those characters are. I was the one who wanted to keep the conflict going. Your next Trek appearance was on Enterprise. How surprised were you to get yet another call to come back to Star Trek? I think they are very loyal to people. Also, the people who were in makeup were often back on the shows. If you prove you can do it, that you can handle the makeup process and perform well in the makeup, they often asked you back. That makes sense, and it’s not like viewers can recognize you. The same thing happened on Babylon 5. Here’s an interesting story for you. I had just finished a long run playing Scar in The Lion King at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles when I was cast in “Judgment.” They cast me and they also cast my two understudies from The Lion King. So, all three guys that had played Scar in Los Angeles were in that episode. Victor Talmage played another alien, and Granville Van Dusen played the judge, the magistrate, in the courtroom. I’m sure you’ve heard people say this, but it’s true: I think they liked to hire trained theater actors in those parts because you have to deal with all this prosthetics in your mouth and still be able to articulate. How different was the tone of each set, TNG vs DS9 vs Enterprise? DS9, just thematically, even watching the show, was a sort of darker experience. TNG was more like, "Hey, we're out to space again and exploring all this new stuff." There was a bit of a difference. Enterprise, there was a little bit of a feeling of, "We don't know how long this is going to last." I would say of all of them, the Next Generation cast was the most, what is the word I'm searching for? Relaxed. If we said you could play one of your three characters again, which one would it be and why? I like the Klingons. I played an aging Klingon who was a lawyer. If I could do something a little bit more active as a Klingon, that would be fun. But I enjoyed what I did. You’re about to participate in the LATW production of The Tug of War. Give us a preview… It's the Cuban Missile Crisis, basically, and I'm old enough to remember that. I was probably about 12 or 13, and I do remember the tension everyone experienced for a couple of weeks. We were on the verge of nuclear war and it was like, "Oh my God, the world could be coming to an end at any moment." I haven't completely read the new script that I just got, but it’s lot of the characters we're familiar with from the Vietnam War… Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara and, of course, President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. I get to play Khrushchev. What excites you about playing Khrushchev? It’s funny, I don't look anything like him, but it's a radio show. But we’ll be doing it in front of a live audience. So, I googled him to find out what he actually sounded like, and here’s why: whenever he spoke publicly, you were listening to the translator. He actually had this mid-range voice that's a little bit higher than mine. So, in terms of radio, I'm going to try to use that tone voice. But, because we do it front of a live audience and because the radio audience doesn't care that I don't look anything like him, I’m going to wear the kind of goofy hat he always wore, the kind that looked like he bought it from Sears. I was thinking about shaving my head, but it's a big commitment for something that's only a week long. So, it’ll just be the goofy hat when I play Khrushchev. What else will you be working on once The Tug of War ends its run? I'm semi-retired. I said to my agent. "You know what? I'm not going to drive all the way down to Manhattan Beach to say, ‘Lieutenant, your man is outside’ anymore.” So, I'm getting very picky and choosy about what I do. I have a great affinity with the LA Theatre Works space, mostly because they always hire good people and I like working with good people. That's not always a guarantee, even when you're doing a Broadway show. Usually, the commitment is short and I love doing the tours because when I was a younger actor, the idea of a tour just didn't interest me at all. I wanted to stay in New York or L.A., but now I enjoy it because I enjoy the travel and I enjoy going to places I would never think about going before. I was in this tiny little college in Iowa on a recent tour, and it was just the most gracious people. This was in the middle of the heartland and the people were so nice and bent over backwards to treat us so well. But anyway, to answer your question, I'm getting very picky and choosy. I've reached a point where my pension is pretty good because I've worked all my life. So, I said to my agent, "I don't have to work for money anymore. I'm comfortable enough with what I have and I don't need to buy a yacht. So, I'm only going to do what I want to do." All actors do crappy work at some point in their careers for the money and I said, “I'm not gonna do that anymore because I don't need to work for money anymore.” What I love is acting. I don't care about the money. I don't care about the fame. I like the acting and I want to make sure the acting is good. So, when I do work, I like to work with good people on good material. Here’s the schedule for the L.A. Theatre Works production of The Tug of War: WHEN: • Thursday, May 25 at 8 p.m. • Friday, May 26 at 8 p.m. • Saturday, May 27 at 3 p.m. • Saturday, May 27 at 8 p.m. • Sunday, May 28 at 4 p.m. WHERE: James Bridges Theater UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television 235 Charles E. Young Drive Los Angeles, CA 90095 (enter UCLA from Hilgard just south of Sunset Blvd.; park in Lot 3 on the lower level) HOW: 310-827-0889 or www.latw.org, www.facebook.com/LATheatreWorks, and @latheatreworks ALSO: The just-released podcast of Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, which also features Vickery, can be downloaded for free. Click HERE and use promo code “tops” to receive a free mp3 download directly from the LA Theatre Works website. View the full article
  3. It's impossible to fathom, but Star Trek: The Next Generation concluded its seven-year run on May 23, 1994, with the two-hour finale, “All Good Things…” The extended farewell touched all the bases, sending Captain Picard into the past, present and future, a wild ride masterminded by Q. Fans caught glimpses of older versions of Picard, Worf, Riker, Crusher (or make that Captain Beverly Picard), etc. and "All Good Things..." remains one of Trek's most-popular finales. Today, we toast it with 10 Things You Should Know About "All Good Things..." Puttin the All in "All Good Things..." Who were the only two TNG regulars to appear in every episode? They were... Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes. And on the Sixth Day... Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga tapped out the first draft for “All Good Things…” in just six days. They were also, at the same time, in active production on Star Trek Generations. Poker-face Picard Andreas Katsulas, Patti Yasutake, and Clyde Kusatsu reprised their recurring roles as Tomalak, Ogawa and Nakamura. And, of course, the series regulars gathered together for one last game of poker, joined -- finally, shockingly and poignantly -- by Picard. The Last Line Stewart’s Picard, fittingly intoned the finale's final words, “So, five-card stud, nothing wild... and the sky's the limit.” Remembering Rick Kolbe Rick Kolbe directed “All Good Things…” The go-to Trek helmer ultimately directed 16 TNG episodes, 13 Deep Space Nine episodes, 18 Voyager episodes (including the series premiere) and one Enterprise episode. Sadly, Kolbe passed away in 2012 after a long illness. Enterprise, Enterprise, Enterprise Fans glimpsed three different Enterprises throughout "All Good Things..." Along the way, Denise Crosby, Colm Meaney and John de Lancie returned one last time as Tasha Yar, Miles O’Brien and Q, respectively. No... de Lancie? John de Lancie didn't know for sure that he'd get the call to return to TNG for the finale. "As I’ve explained in the past, (with acting) it’s somebody else’s dinner party," he told StarTrek.com in a 2014 interview. "You can spend a lot of time hoping you’re going to get invited and wondering why you’re not. In my case, I knew that there’d be a dinner party that was called the last episode, and I didn’t know if I’d be involved. Then I got a call saying, ''You are going to be involved,' and I said, 'Oh, great.' Then, like all the other shows that you do, you wait – anxiously in this case – to find out, 'Am I going to really be happy being involved in it?' For me, I think the episodes with Q worked best when the story was really big, and this was a really big story that my involvement meant something to on a philosophical level. It was a weighty script in that respect, so I was just really pleased. We'll Drink to That The 2012 Winemaker's Reserve Roussanne from The Callaway Vineyard & Winery won the Gold at the recent 2014 Winemaker's Challenge Wine Competition. We bring this up because? Because the Picard-Geordi vineyard scenes in "All Good Things..." were filmed in early 1994 at the winery in Temecula, California. The Late, Great Katsulas Andreas Katsulas was in the midst of a great period in his career as a character actor when he reprised his role as Tomalak. He’d co-starred the year before in The Fugitive as Sykes, a/k/a the one-armed man, and had just started his run as G’Kar on Babylon 5. Katsulas later guested on Enterprise, portraying Captain Drennik in “Cogenitor” in 2003. That proved to be one of his final roles, as Katsulas battled cancer, which claimed his life on February 13, 2006. He was just 59 years old. Award Worthy “All Good Things…” was nominated for four Emmy Awards, winning one, for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects, and was also honored in 1995 with a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. And, what do YOU appreciate most about “All Good Things…”? View the full article
  4. It's up to Kirk, Spock and the Academy cadets, including their newest member, Jaylah, to solve the murder of a Romulan ambassador before the Babel peace conference ends in disaster and a new course is set for galactic war. That's the plot of IDW's Publishing's Star Trek: Boldly Go #8... of 8, which is out this week and follows the events of Star Trek Beyond. It's written by Mike Johnson, with Megan Levens providing the art and George Caltsoudas rendering the cover. StarTrek.com is pleased to share the cover art and go inside #8 with exclusive preview pages. Star Trek: Boldly Go #8 runs 32 pages and costs $3.99. Fans should be on the lookout for a variant cover by Cryssy Cheung. For additional details, contact your local comic book retailer or visit www.comicshoplocator.com to find a store near you. Keep an eye on StarTrek.com for additional details about the IDW's upcoming Star Trek adventures, as well as exclusive First Looks at covers and preview pages. View the full article
  5. Star Trek: Discovery figures, role-play weapons and accessories will be created by McFarlane Toys, it was announced today. McFarlane Toys will also create merchandise spanning the entire Star Trek universe, ranging from Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation to the feature films. The initial line will highlight two of Trek's most-iconic characters, Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who will be represented by fully articulated 7-inch figures. These figures will debut in window-box collector packaging and feature such familiar accessories as phasers and communicators. Various characters from the highly anticipated Discovery and other Trek adaptations will follow. “Star Trek is hands down one of the most-groundbreaking and innovative franchises in the history of entertainment,” said Todd McFarlane, owner and CEO of McFarlane Toys. “We plan on carrying that forward with our upcoming toy lines, giving fans a fresh and detailed look, that their favorite characters deserve.” McFarlane’s Kirk and Picard toys will be available in the Spring of 2018 at major retailers worldwide starting at an MSRP: $19.99. For more information about McFarlane Toys, visit McFarlane.com as well as the McFarlane social media channels -- on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram -- for updates and news. View the full article
  6. Veteran Star Trek author Christopher L. Bennett will return to the fold once again with his latest adventure, Star Trek: Enterprise/Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference, due out late this summer from Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books. StarTrek.com is pleased to share the synopsis and an exclusive First Look at the Doug Drexler-created cover: The time has come to act. Following the destructive consequences of the Ware crisis, Admiral Jonathan Archer and Section 31 agent Trip Tucker now both attempt to change their institutions to prevent further such tragedies. Archer pushes for a Starfleet directive of noninterference, but he faces unexpected opposition from allies within the fleet—and unwelcome support from adversaries who wish to drive the Federation into complete isolationism. Meanwhile, Tucker plays a dangerous game against the corrupt leaders of the clandestine Section 31 hoping to bring down their conspiracy once and for all. But is he willing to jeopardize Archer's efforts—and perhaps the fate of an entire world—in order to win? Star Trek: Enterprise/Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference will run 304 pages, cost $7.99 and be available on or about August 29 in the mass market paperback and eBook formats. Go to amazon.com to pre-order it. View the full article
  7. And the Star Trek series that had the best story was... Well, that's the question that StarTrek.com asked for our latest weekly poll. The reply options were TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT. Thousands of fans voted and here are the results: The Next Generation (34%) Deep Space Nine (28%) The Original Series (18%) Voyager (14%) Enterprise (7%) And where did YOUR series of choice fare? View the full article
  8. John Billingsley is one of those veteran character actors who can -- and does -- turn up in anything at any time. He's at nearly 150 film and television credits already, and he's not slowing down. Billingsley spent four years in the Star Trek universe, portraying Dr. Phlox on Enterprise. As he celebrates his birthday today, StarTrek.com turns the spotlight on him with 6 Things You Should Know About John Billingsley... Media Man Given Billingsley's tremendous film and television output, along with his status as a voracious reader and activist, perhaps it should surprise no one that he was born in Media, Pennsylvania. Yes, Media; that's a real place. According to Wikipedia, "the borough of Media is the county seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania and is located 13 miles west of Philadelphia. Media was incorporated in 1850 at the same time that it was named the county seat." "Dear Doctor" “Dear Doctor” was the first Phlox-heavy Enterprise episode, and in a 2013 interview with StarTrek.com, Billingsley explained that he appreciated the fact that a Phlox hour followed the Trek tradition of tackling an issue with a lot of gray area. “I definitely agree that, just for me personally, aesthetically speaking, the episodes over the arc of four years that I thought had the most impact and held the most interest for me were the ones that actually did deal with issues,” he said. “The cloning episode (“Similitude”) in the third season was particularly good. There was an episode (“Cogenitor”) in which Trip interferes with a couple’s decision to use their quasi-servant as a person to breed for them. That was one that got people’s panties in a twist a little bit, and those are the kinds that are interesting. So I’m glad that ‘Dear Doctor’ was one that provoked some folks. It was dark. It creeped people out: an entire race of people is going to be doomed to extinction. I rather liked the darkness of Enterprise when it chose to be dark. I always wondered, ‘Gee, what would Enterprise have been like if were a cable show?’ The fans might have rebelled. It might not have been what they wanted, but to me it would have been interesting.” That Enterprise Finale What did Billingsley really think about the controversial final episode of Enterprise? "There are obviously mixed feelings among the fans about the legacies of Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, but they were largely responsible for shepherding the franchise through many, many years of shows that people loved and kept watching," Billingsley replied when asked that question in a 2010 StarTrek.com interview. "So they deserve a lot of credit. I think for them, the idea that they were going to be saying goodbye to Star Trek had a tremendous emotional weight. So they felt, and I can understand this, that they wanted to write the last episode of Enterprise. Having said that, the last season had so much of (writer and executive producer) Manny Coto’s fingerprints on it that I think one of the things fans felt was a tonal and almost spiritual disconnect between the nature of the scripts throughout the fourth season and the final script. It was as if suddenly somebody from another cosmos dropped in and wrote the script, above and beyond the fact that the Enterprise’s story was swallowed up by the framing device. I think people had just gotten used to Manny’s voice. I missed it in the final episode. Frankly, it should have been a two-parter. Our storyline needed to wind up… I’m all over the map on this one because I have a lot of different feelings about it. My problem with the final episode, ultimately, was that by jumping ahead however many years we jumped ahead, it was as if anything we did in the third and fourth seasons had no real weight. It seemed like the third and fourth seasons were being dismissed, which I’m sure was not the intention, but that was one of the things that bothered me." Billingsley and... Chekhov Back in 2010, StarTrek.com conducted an interview with Billingsley in which we used questions provided by you, the fans. One fan asked, In your career so far, what are your favorite roles, aside from Phlox? He answered, "I had a long stage career, and probably the best thing I’ve ever done or the thing I’ve enjoyed the most was working on Chekhov, particularly a production of The Seagull I did with a woman named Robin Smith. She was a teacher and a colleague of mine at a school I worked at, and she directed that production of The Seagull. It was a marvelous opportunity for me. I played Treplyov, who is a troubled young wannabe poet with mother issues and is at the heart of The Seagull. On the other end of the spectrum, I loved my episodes of Cold Case. I played a horrible, psychotic killer for a couple of episodes. And I loved working with Denzel Washington in Out of Time. Carl Franklin, who I’d done another film with, was very open to letting me improvise a bit, which was nice, since it was a comedy. And Denzel, when the cameras were rolling, was very open and accommodating to my improvisational riffs. So those are the ones that pop into my head." Muy Bonita Billingsley has long been married to Bonita Friedericy. The actress is most recognized for her role as Gen. Beckman on Chuck. Star Trek fans will recall that she guest starred on Enterprise as Rooney, the scientist assimilated by the Borg, in the episode, "Regeneration." These Days So far in 2017, Billingsley has been seen co-starring with Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried in the film The Last Word, and guesting on such series as Man Seeking Woman and Code Black. His return to the small screen soon with guest shots on the Twin Peaks revival and in season three of Stitchers. Please join StarTrek.com in wishing Billingsley a Happy Birthday! View the full article
  9. Star Trek Online is pleased to announce the impending addition of a bundle of brand new Tier 6 Cruisers/Battlecruisers, coming soon to a C-Store near you. There will be one new starship for each faction. The Klingon Empire has commissioned the QeHpu’ Advanced Light Battlecruiser, and the Romulan Republic welcomes the addition of the Deleth Advanced Light Warbird Battlecruiser. Both of these starships are brand-new visual designs, aimed at creating more nimble counterparts to most existing Battlecruisers and Warbird Battlecruisers, while maintaining access to the abilities and seating familiar to those classes of starships. Meanwhile, the Federation’s Advanced Light Cruiser is a direct descendant of the Miranda-class cruiser, and bears the distinction of being known as the Reliant-class, in honor of one of its more famous forebears. It modernizes the utilitarian aspects of the Miranda design with a strong focus on mobility and utility, while improving the overall capabilities of this workhorse cruiser to match those of its fellow Tier 6 starships. These starships are available in the C-Store and can be purchased by level 50 players (Vice Admiral and Lieutenant General ranks). Each of these Light Cruisers and Battlecruisers will have a Fleet variant made available upon release. All three faction variants share the same Universal Console and Starship Trait. Items and Abilities Console - Universal – Potential Energy Entangler Activating this console will siphon off energy from your foes' weapon output, and use it to provide a speed and maneuverability burst to your ship. This results in a damage debuff for all affected foes, but the effectiveness is split among those affected. The buff applied to your maneuverability increases with the number of foes affected. This console also provides a passive boost to Turn Rate, Accuracy Rating and Defense Rating. This console may be equipped on any console slot, but may only be equipped on the Advanced Light Cruiser, QeHpu' Advanced Light Battlecruiser, or the Deleth Advanced Light Warbird Battlecruiser, or their Fleet variants. Starship Trait After achieving level 5 in your Advanced Light Cruiser, QeHpu’ Advanced Light Battlecruiser, or Deleth Advanced Light Warbird Battlecruiser, you will unlock the Evasion Specialist Starship Trait. Upon activation of Emergency Power to Engines, or any Pilot Bridge Officer Ability, gain Shield Hardness and Shield Regeneration for 5sec (once per 15sec max). Availability These starships are available in the C-Store individually, or they can be found packaged together in the T6 Advanced Light Cruiser bundle. More details on these impressively mobile cruisers will appear in a Dev Blog within the next few days. Developer Stream Want to see these ships in action? Community Manager Ambassador Kael will be flying them along with their designers in a special stream on 5/17, at 3pm PST. Join us on Twitch or on Facebook. Jeremy “BorticusCryptic” Randall Cryptic Studios Lead Systems Designer View the full article
  10. What Would Captain Picard Do? It's a great question -- and an even better title for a book. And guess what? It's now a book for kids in grades 8-12 and, no doubt, for young-at-heart Star Trek: The Next Generation fans. The official title is What Would Captain Picard Do? Captain's Orders from the U.S.S. Enterprise. Here's the full synopsis from the publisher, Penguin/Random House: Fans of of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean Luc Picard explore a galaxy of advice in this fun pop philosophy book narrated by Captain Picard himself. The cosmos is filled with a great many wonders—uncharted worlds, bizarre life forms, chaos, and calm. Keep your mind open as you navigate through this collection of scenarios as Captain Picard teaches you how to handle even the most challenging situations. The possibilities are as limitless as the universe itself. Written by Brandon T. Snider, who also penned What Would Captain Kirk Do?, the new book runs 80 pages, is available now and costs $7.99. Go to amazon.com to purchase it. View the full article
  11. J.K. Woodward is a most-colorful guy. The prolific Star Trek artist/illustrator created one of the pieces -- "Klingons" -- for the acclaimed Star Trek. 50 Artists. 50 Years global art exhibition, as well as well as covers and/or inside art for such IDW Publishing titles as Assimilation2, the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover miniseries, the popular adaptation of Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever: The Harlan Ellison Original Teleplay, and the covers of the Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover miniseries. Woodward's current project is IDW's Star Trek: The Next Generation -- Mirror Broken series, which set the artist free to reimagine the familiar TNG characters, and, man, did he have at it. StarTrek.com chatted with Woodward about his Mirror Broken work, and here's what he had to say... How big a fan were you of the Mirror episodes of TOS, DS9 and ENT? I was a huge fan of the Mirror Universe right from the beginning. I remember as a kid seeing “Mirror, Mirror” and just falling in love with the aesthetic. Spock with a goatee, a sleeveless captain, daggers in their flowing sashes; all of it fascinated me. When I saw DS9's “Crossover” episode I was blown away. The Mirror Universe was back. I never thought I'd see it again since TNG had chosen not to visit it. But not only was the Mirror Universe back, but it directly connected with TOS. Kirk and Spock were actually talked about on DS9. What was your reaction when IDW broached the subject of a Mirror arc in the TNG universe? I was thrilled but not surprised. The whole thing started with CBS. I was working with John Van Citters on the Mirror Universe product style guide. I was designing and illustrating the look of the characters and ships in TNG's Mirror Universe. As I was creating the look of the characters, I was developing back stories in my head, mostly to entertain myself, but also to help generate visual ideas. I was telling John these stories and he and I started talking about a possible comic set in this world. We agreed that the Tiptons would be perfect to write it. Which TNG character most immediately sprang to mind as the one you couldn't wait to draw Mirror-style... and why? Data. I could not wait to create Data. Long before the comic and even before the product style guide for CBS, I had this idea for Mirror Data in my head. Mirror Data, like the actual Data, would be driven by the desire to be human, but how he defined humanity would be different. He would see strength as virtue above all else, because that's what the humans in this universe would have shown him. This Data would weaponize himself and he's doing it with Borg technology because if anyone could reprogram Borg nanite, it's Data. Most important, though, is that the designer in me liked the aesthetic of a "borgified" Data. It had to be done. So, introduce readers to the world of Mirror Broken… Mirror Broken will be a TNG story in the Mirror Universe. It will start with the Stargazer and work up to the acquisition of the Enterprise. It will tie together the continuity of the ENT, TOS and DS9 episodes. To say more than that might spoil some surprises we have in store for you. How closely did you work with the Tiptons to realize these six installments? I work very closely with them. We've worked together many times before and each experience is better than the last. This experience was a little different from most in that I got to show them many images to inspire the script before there was even a plot. I also sat in via skype for plotting the general outline of the five-issue arc. We also stay in contact while I work on the pages and discuss where we're going and trade ideas, so it's a very enjoyable and collaborative experience. Did Data, the character you couldn't wait to draw, end up being the one you most enjoyed drawing? It actually did, yes. Data is a favorite to illustrate even in the Prime Universe. His skin is very reflective and the highlights make it fun to paint. He's very reactive to the lighting, so there's a lot I can do with him even without the Borg parts. How much, if any, pulling back did you have to do? Was Picard, for example, too buff? Or maybe Troi too sexy? Well, I always argue that Picard is not drawn too buff, he's just sleeveless. Look at Patrick Stewart in the last scene of First Contact when he's sleeveless and climbing the metal cable to escape the warp core coolant. This guy is in phenomenal shape. Now, I've never seen Jonathan Frakes sleeveless, so maybe I made him more muscular than the Prime Universe Riker, and my version of Tasha Yar is built like Rhonda Rousey, but I feel like in this universe, an ambitious officer would constantly be working on strength-building and enhancement of fighting skills. Troi was a concern to be sure. We wanted a dangerous, femme fatale look to her, but if we take it too far it may change the perception of the character in the eyes of readers. We didn't want her to appear to be some cheesecake, eye-candy character. We wanted her to appear powerful, brilliant, treacherous and even a little terrifying. In a world of unchecked aspiration and duplicity, nothing would be more dangerous than someone who could see right through the mask and know your intent. When I put her on the cover in the initial outfit I designed, our editor Sarah Gaydos, warned me that I might not be getting the true character essence across. I solved the problem by covering the exposed midriff. It was a minor change, but it made a huge difference. While the character still appeared sexy and dangerous, she also maintained a dignity that wasn't there in the original outfit. What media do you use to illustrate your pages? What is your process artistically? It's all hand-painted. I use gouache. I start with pencil, of course, then scan it in and upload the penciled pages to IDW. This way, they can start the process of lettering the book while I paint. Later, the painted page files can be simply drooped in to the final lettered file, replacing the pencils. When I paint the pages, I always start with the values. I drop in the darkest shadows in black, then I go through the palette from darkest to lightest. In general, to your thinking, how complementary are words and art when it comes to comic books? Words and art are part of the same storytelling device in comics. They are in essence inseparable and need to work together or the reader is taken out of the story. When a writer and artist do it right, reading comics can provide a more-visceral experience than any other media is able to. Have you gotten any feedback from the actors? Marina surely has an opinion? Well I know Marina liked a few tweets from conversations with fans about the cover of issue 0. Brent Spiner actually retweeted somebody's photo of it on Free Comic Book Day with an attached comment, "The sad truth is, that's what his arms look like. Mine, not so much." He was referring to the cover and how both he and Patrick Stewart looked. Do you view this as a one-off project, or could more TNG Mirror Broken stories be in the offing? In my opinion, it has to go on. I would likely go on doing this forever it I could, and I plan on pitching a new mini with the Tiptons as soon as this one is completed. There are many aspects of the universe and many more characters that can be introduced. For additional details, contact your local comic book retailer or visit www.comicshoplocator.com to find a store near you. Keep an eye on StarTrek.com for additional details about the IDW's upcoming Star Trek adventures, as well as exclusive First Looks at covers and preview pages. And be sure to follow J.K. Woodward on Twitter. View the full article
  12. The late, great, Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith received a well-deserved Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 9. Goldsmith, who died in 2004 at age 75, started his career at CBS and ultimately scored more than 200 movies and television shows. Along the way, of course, he composed the scores for such Star Trek enterprises as The Motion Picture, The Final Frontier, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis. The heraldic theme from TMP was used for The Next Generation, and he also created the main theme for Voyager, winning an Emmy Award for the latter. Songwriter Paul Williams, Carol Goldsmith, Aaron Goldsmith, Songwriter Charles Fox, Composer David Newman Pres. CEO of Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Leron Gubler, Jerry’s son Aaron Goldsmith, Jerry’s widow Carol Goldsmith Carol Goldsmith, Aaron Goldsmith Goldsmith’s star was the 2,611th presented on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it is located at 6752 Hollywood Boulevard, appropriately in front of the Musicians Institute. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Leron Gubler presided over the dedication ceremony and was joined by Goldsmith’s widow, Carol Goldsmith, and son, Aaron Goldsmith, as well as speakers David Newman, Charles Fox and Paul Newman, all Goldsmith’s composer contemporaries. The 37-minute ceremony can be viewed on the Walk of Fame website. View the full article
  13. Who is your favorite Star Trek mother? That was, quite appropriately, the question we at StarTrek.com asked readers in order to conduct our Mother's Day-themed poll. Fans could pick from the following moms: Dr. Beverly Crusher, Amanda Grayson, The Horta, Ishka, Carol Marcus, Keiko O'Brien, Helena Rozhenko, T’Les, Lwaxana Troi and Kasidy Yates. Thousands of fans voted and here are the results: Dr. Beverly Crusher (32%) Lwaxana Troi (28%) Keiko O'Brien (11%) The Horta (9%) Amanda Grayson (8%) Ishka (4%) Helena Rozhenko (3%, 130 votes) Carol Marcus (3%, 122 votes) Kasidy Yates (2%) T'Les (1%) And how did YOUR Trek mom of choice fare? View the full article
  14. Since it's Mother's Day, it's only logical that we're wondering... Who is Star Trek’s greatest and/or most memorable mom? It’s a no-brainer, at least in our minds. It’d have to be Mr. Spock’s mother, Amanda Grayson, the human teacher who married the Vulcan ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard) and, not long after, gave birth to everyone’s favorite half-human/half-Vulcan. The character was first played by Jane Wyatt in the TOS episode “Journey to Babel.” Wyatt was a perfect choice for the role, as she’d already been, in a way, America’s mother for years, having portrayed the beloved Margaret Anderson on the classic TV sitcom Father Knows Best. Years later, Leonard Nimoy famously reunited the Vulcan family when he, Lenard and Wyatt appeared in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Wyatt once again imbued Amanda with a sense of warmth and love as she guided Spock toward reclaiming his humanness following his demise and renaissance on the Genesis Planet. During an interview she conducted years ago, Wyatt commented on Amanda’s enduring impact on her career and people in general. “The three big movies or shows for which I get fan mail are Star Trek, Father Knows Best and Lost Horizon,” she said. “But Star Trek is the oddest of them all. Complete strangers come up and call me ‘Amanda.’ Once I got off the plane in Iceland, where I was going fishing, and somebody down below yelled ‘Amanda!’ Well, I didn’t know who Amanda was until I realized that was my name in Star Trek. It’s absolutely crazy!” Wyatt was 96 years old when she passed away on October 20, 2006. “Journey to Babel” and The Voyage Home marked Wyatt’s only appearances as Amanda, but the character turned up in and was referenced in other media, and was essayed by several other actresses. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry voiced Amanda for the animated episode “Yesteryear,” while Cynthia Blaise portrayed a younger version of Amanda in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Of course, Winona Ryder played a doomed version of the character in Star Trek (2009); check out the DVD/Blu-ray extras for deleted scenes that add texture and emotion to Ryder’s characterization. And Amanda figured into several Star Trek novels, most notably Sarek, by A.C. Crispin, which depicts the character’s death. OK, now it’s your turn. Do you agree with us that Amanda Grayson is Star Trek’s greatest mom? We're sure we'll hear support for Lwaxana Troi, the Horta, Dr. Crusher, Moogie, B'Elanna Torres and Carol Marcus, among others. So, bring it on. And, in the meantime, happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! View the full article
  15. Star Trek 101, StarTrek.com's newest regular column, serves two functions: succinctly introduce Star Trek newcomers to the basic foundations and elements of the franchise and refresh the memories of longtime Trek fans. We're pulling our entries from the book Star Trek 101: A Practical Guide to Who, What, Where, And Why, written by Terry J. Erdmann & Paula M. Block and published in 2008 by Pocket Books. An invaluable resource, it encompasses The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, as well as the first 10 Trek feature films. Today, we learn about the "life support belt" as seen on Star Trek: The Animated Series. One the live-action Star Trek that preceded the animated series -- and every other version of Star Trek that followed -- Starfleet crews had to dress up in big, cumbersome space suits to survive in the vacuum of space. But on this show, when one of them wants to take a walk outside the ship, he simply throws on a "life support belt" and pushes a little button. Presto! A glowing force field appears around him and he can traipse through that chilly oxygen-free vacuum of space as if it were a sunny day at the beach. Not only that, but he can have a conversation with the belted crewman standing next to him, despite the absence of atmosphere to conduct the sound waves. Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are coauthors of numerous books about the entertainment industry, including Star Trek 101; Star Trek Costumes: Fifty Years of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek: The Original Series 365; and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. They currently are writing the latest in their series of Ferengi novellas, which (so far) includes Lust’s Latinum Lost (and Found); and Rules of Accusation. Their most recent non-Star Trek book is Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History. View the full article