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  1. Una McCormack is boldly going where she’s never gone before. The British author, best known to Star Trek fans for her Deep Space Nine novels, including The Never-Ending Sacrifice and Enigma Tales, returns with her latest offering and her Discovery debut: the Tilly origin story, The Way to the Stars. Out now from Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books, it follows Tilly as she takes her first tentative steps toward independence, finding friends and mentors to help her on her path. recently chatted with McCormack about The Way to the Stars, and here’s what she had to say… Most of your previous Trek writing has centered on Deep Space Nine. How were you approached about writing a Discovery story? It was all very straightforward. I got an email from the folks at Simon & Schuster, asking whether I would like to do a novel about Tilly, and I said, “Yes, please, of course!” How did you prep for writing The Way to the Stars? Did you watch season one of Discovery? Read the previous Discovery novels? Confer with Kirsten Beyer? All of the above and more? I did pretty much all of that -- although I don’t think all the Discovery novels were out when I was writing my outline. I was watching the show anyway, of course, and loving it. And Kirsten Beyer and I had a couple of long phone calls where we worked on the story together, which was an absolute treat, and a glimpse into how a writer’s room might work. That was an absolutely terrific experience. What was it like to work on a project such as this, where the book aspect of a franchise is directly tied into a current show and character, and even has a liaison, in this case, as we've both mentioned, Kirsten Beyer? It was wonderful, from start to finish. I know I sound like I’m talking in hyperbole, but it genuinely was a very positive and enjoyable experience. I felt very welcomed, and I was given everything I needed to do the best book possible. I had a huge amount of fun writing the book – not just because Tilly is so brilliant to write, and everyone adores the character, but because I was made to feel part of the creative environment of the show. Before you put word to paper, what intrigued you about Sylvia Tilly as a character -- and what elements of her background were you most eager to explore? Tilly really is the breakout character of the show, isn’t she? When she’s on screen, you want to be looking at her, hearing what she has to say. She’s funny, and smart, but she doesn’t always say the right thing, and she’s often gauche, and that makes her great value. Naturally I wanted to explore her childhood – what her background was like to create this super-smart young woman who has all these gifts and is learning to make the best of them; who her parents are, and what they are like; what her home environment was like. This is all covered in the book. The Way to the Stars is about a teen Tilly. Would you call it a young adult novel, or no? It’s a novel about a young adult, and I don’t mind if people call it a young adult novel; I love reading YA. I think of it as a bildungsroman, a story that follows someone’s formative years. Tilly on the show is such a joyous, spontaneous, positive character, not to mention a chatterbox, and she's so early in her progression as a young woman aspiring to one day sit in a captain's chair. How much fun did you have as a writer putting words in her mouth? I had officially too much fun. She is a hoot to write. And when you’re aiming for a day’s word count, a chatterbox is a gift for a writer. I felt very comfortable writing her. Many fans of Discovery saw Tilly interact with a young runaway in the Tilly-centric Short Treks episode. Had you seen that, or perhaps read that script while working on your book? If so, did one have any influence on the other? I had read the script, but quite late in the day. Mostly I was looking for information about Tilly’s relationship with her mother, which is an important part of the book. You and Mary Wiseman were both in Birmingham in October for Destination Star Trek. Did you get a chance to meet her, talk about Tilly, the book, etc? We met very briefly as she was dashing off to do a panel. She was incredibly nice about the book and interested in reading it. What else are you working on at the moment? I’m writing some outlines and chapters for a couple of science fiction novels of my very own. Star Trek: Discovery – The Way to the Stars runs 288 pages as is available as a paperback, on Kindle and as an audio CD at View the full article
  2. is saddened to report the passing of veteran British actor and four-time Star Trek guest star, William Morgan Sheppard. The actor passed away in a Los Angeles hospital on January 6, according to his son, actor Mark Sheppard, himself a Trek guest, having played Leucon in the Voyager episode, "Child's Play." The elder Sheppard was 86 years old. Sheppard first graced the Star Trek universe in The Next Generation episode, "The Schizoid Man, in which he portrayed Dr. Ira Graves. He appeared as a Klingon Commandant on Rura Penthe in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Then as Qatai in "Bliss," an episode of Voyager. He made his final visit to Trek in 2009 with an uncredited appearance as a Vulcan Science Minister in Star Trek (2009). A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Sheppard was an associate artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company for 12 years. His stage, film, TV and voiceover credits spanned six decades and included Shogun, Max Headroom, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Wild at Heart, Quantum Leap, Babylon 5, Gargoyles (voicing the father of Jonathan Frakes' character), Star Wars: Force Commander, Charmed, Alias, The Prestige, Transformers, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Legend of the Seeker, Doctor Who, Last Man Club and an installment of The Librarians (directed by Jonathan Frakes and also featuring Trek figures John Larroquette, Vanessa Williams and Rebecca Romijn). Mark Sheppard, in a statement posted on Instagram, wrote, “We went to spend some time with my father today. Though he couldn’t speak, we held hands, he laughed and was so happy to see us. We left and came home. A good day. He was rushed to hospital and passed at 6:30pm, my mother by his side. I am so grateful that he didn’t have to suffer any longer. Thank you for all your kind thoughts, love and prayers.” Please join in offering our condolences to Sheppard's family, friends, colleagues and fans. View the full article
  3. Mirror Barclay returns to action in the latest Star Trek comic-book adventure from IDW Publishing. is pleased to share details and art from Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita #6, out on Wednesday, January 9. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita #6 -- written by Scott Tipton & David Tipton, with Angel Hernandez art and a Tony Shasteen cover -- concludes the Star Trek: The Next Generation Mirror Universe saga in twisted fashion. And that's because Mirror Barclay unleashes his fiendish plan on Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. Terra Incognita #6 runs 32 pages and costs $3.99. Fans should be on the lookout for variant covers by Elizabeth Beals and JK Woodward, as well as a photo cover. For additional details, contact your local comic book retailer or visit to find a store near you. And keep an eye on 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
  4. It's getting real. Star Trek: Discovery's second season will kick off January 17. Several photographs from the first episode, titled "Brother" have been unveiled. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo), Bryce (Ronnie Rowe), Burnham, Sarek (James Frain), Saru (Doug Jones), Tilly (Mary Wiseman), Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts) Stamets and Tilly Saru and Burnham Captain Pike (Anson Mount) Captain Pike and Burnham Captain Pike, Burnham and Nhan (Rachael Ancheril) Season two of Star Trek: Discovery will premiere on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 at 8:30 PM, ET/5:30 PM, PT exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States and will also be distributed concurrently by CBS Studios International on Netflix in 188 countries and in Canada on Bell Media’s Space channel and OTT service CraveTV. The series is produced by CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. View the full article
  5. Don't get mad tonight. Get Mudd. Yes, good ol' Harry Mudd is back... and back to his familiar tricks of stealing and double-dealing in "The Escape Artist," the fourth and final Star Trek: Short Treks episode, which will premiere at tonight at 9:30 pm ET on CBS All Access (in the U.S.) and 9 pm ET on Space (in Canada). Returning as Mudd is none other than Rainn Wilson, who also settled into a director's chair to helm the installment. recently chatted with Wilson, who previewed "The Escape Artist" -- which finds Mudd in a precarious position aboard a hostile ship... just in time to try out his latest con. He discussed the joys and challenges of directing the segment, and mused about his and Mudd's future on Star Trek: Discovery. How did the opportunity to direct your Trek short come about? I had been in discussions with the Discovery gang about coming back and doing more Harry Mudd and then this short just fell into my lap. I read it and I was like, “This is brilliant. This is absolutely hysterical and strange and exciting.” And then they offered to have me direct it as well. So, I was thrilled at the opportunity. It was an incredible learning opportunity. I’d directed three episodes of The Office before, but The Office was pretty simple. It's like, “Where are you going to put the camera, to cover the dialogue and the desks?” We used documentary-style cameras on The Office. This one was a lot more demanding. You're a Trek fan, you're a Mudd fan, you're a Roger C. Carmel fan, and obviously you played Mudd a couple of times. So, even if the script was given to you in advance of you directing, how much input did you have into the story’s evolution? They were very good about that. I had a couple rounds of notes with the writer and the producers, just making sure it all added up, making sure the tone was the same, making sure it made sense. With Mudd, the tricky thing is tone. It's, “How do you balance the comedic with the serious? How do you balance the lovable shyster with the Machiavellian villain?” It's always a balancing match there. I did have input. They were also really good to me as a director because this was a little out of my element. I hadn't really done this before. I got to work with a storyboard artist, which was amazing. That really helped me see, visually, how this was going to work. For instance, half the episode is set in the Tellarite ship. How do I make that interesting? How do I shoot each scene? We keep coming back to it and leaving it and coming back to it, and it's got to feel different and visually arresting and interesting. That was a great opportunity. I got to learn a ton about visual effects and special effects, and how visual effects work, what it is when you do a plate shot and you have multiple Mudds in that plate shot. It was just so many visual post aspects that I needed to become acquainted with, and they have such a huge, amazing team there. We were shooting this when they were shooting the last episode of Discovery’s second season. So, we were there right at the end of it. I got to use their wardrobe department and their hair and makeup department, and their special effects and visual effects and set design, plus their composers and everything like that. It feels like a multi-multi-million-dollar production. You spent a lot of time being hit or zapped or even suspended up in the air a couple of feet. When you were hanging there and called “Cut,” the crew could've just walked off for lunch. What was it like directing yourself under those circumstances? Thank God the crew did not rebel, and they didn't leave me suspended in the prison there. One of the tricky things is always acting and directing at the same time, because you have to call “Cut,” and then you have to run over to a little monitor and watch the last take and watch your performance and make sure it's fitting in with everyone else's performances. But you're also keeping an eye on everything else, like where the camera is, how tight the frame is, and you’re thinking, “Is everything happening in the right order? Are we telling the story that we need to tell?” It's incredibly challenging being on both sides of the camera, but boy, it sure is fun. Fortunately, like you said, I’d played Mudd a couple of times, so I really knew the character pretty well, and I kind of know how I wanted to play him. Harry Judge is terrific as your Tellarite. How did you enjoy working with Harry, and is this Tellarite the same one -- Gorch -- he's been playing on Discovery? I think it's a different Tellarite. He's like their all-purpose go-to Tellarite guy. This is a different. It's kind of like the old Shakespearean theater companies. The costume fits him. “Who does the costume fit? Oh, it fits Harry Judge.” He's a terrific actor. He's theater-trained. He's done a ton of Shakespeare. He's done a ton of TV and film. He just embodied the character, brought it to life, did a fantastic job. I hope they can bring him, in whatever Tellarite form, back to Discovery. We have no idea if you'll be back on Discovery as Mudd this season, but if you get that chance now or at some point later on, how would you like to see the character evolve? I would love to be back on the show. I would love to do more Star Trek and more Harry Mudd. I think the evolution is keeping the audience on their toes. You don't know if you're supposed to be laughing or if you're supposed to be afraid for your life. He's a master of illusion. He's a conman, and nothing is ever as it seems to be with Harry Mudd. That's what's really exciting about him, and I hope that we're able to play with that aspect of his character in the future. "The Escape Artist" concludes the rollout of Star Trek: Short Treks, four standalone stories building toward the early 2019 return of Star Trek: Discovery. "The Escape Artist" premieres tonight in the U.S. on CBS All Access and in Canada on Space. View the full article
  6. Star Trek is about growth – individual and cultural growth. Even more, it’s about human growth. Gene Roddenberry believed that humanity could fulfill its potential if we focused on education, discovery and the very best human attributes. We could eliminate greed and war and discrimination; we could create utopia. The Journey and the Future Star Trek is his vision of that future. The characters in Star Trek face challenges, dangers and gut-wrenching life or death decisions. They reason, they struggle, and sometimes they grieve, but they make decisions and act based on values grounded in a higher good. In the process, they show us how to grow into the people Gene Roddenberry believed we could be. They demonstrate the Hero’s Journey. It is that journey and the characters to make it that have drawn viewers to Star Trek for more than five decades. In this blog series, we’re going to look at Star Trek from the Hero’s Journey perspective and see how Star Trek has shown us who we are and who we can become. “To boldly go…” invites us to unknown challenges, trials, pain and even sacrifice. Maturity doesn’t happen in an instant. Growth is a journey and character is the destination. It’s not a new theme. For millennia, in every culture around the world, stories have told us about heroes willing to “boldly go where no one has gone before.” Those mythic heroes showed us how to live, who we could be. Their stories teach the values and ideals of the society, and by doing so make it strong, stable and able to survive. Star Trek Is Modern Myth The purpose of myth is to encourage a society to be the best it can be. Roddenberry designed Star Trek for just such a mythic purpose. Its message is simple: we can do better. We can be better. The characters in Trek series show us how to do that as they find themselves in circumstances demanding difficult, even heartrending choices. They must think, evaluate, solve problems, and choose the better way, no matter what the sacrifice. It is the struggle, the choosing and the sacrifice that makes them truly heroic. In the coming posts, we’ll look at Star Trek characters and the journeys they take in specific episodes and in longer story arcs. The Path of the Hero’s Journey Joseph Campbell spent his academic career studying and writing about the nature and role of myth. He traveled the world conducting research and found mythic stories all focus on the journey of a hero. Campbell discovered the journey has specific stages which shape the structure of any mythic story. We see that structure clearly in Star Trek: The story begins in a ordinary world, such as the bridge of the Enterprise. Something happens to upset the ordinary and call the crew to adventure. They see the risk and may not want to go. They think about refusing the call. At this point a mentor offers wisdom, tools, or explains what is happening. The mentor is often Spock, Scotty or even McCoy, but sometimes it’s an alien entity. Now that the task is clear, the hero will cross the threshold or -- in Star Trek -- beam to the special world. That may be a planet, another starship or an altered state of some kind. In this special world, the hero finds allies, enemies and trials. As that happens, the story builds, and the risk becomes more serious. Now the hero must face the ordeal. Because the hero bears responsibility for the higher good, he or she must decide even though failure could mean loss of something valuable -- life, the ship, the future… Risk brings reward, the goal is accomplished. What was lost is resurrected. That might be a relationship, a characters’ identity, the future of a planet or the timeline itself. The road back to the ordinary world is the last step in the journey. All is well as we see the crew back on the bridge where there is “…no Tribble at all.” Why We Care The Hero’s Journey can be heartbreaking. There weren’t many dry eyes when Spock chose to sacrifice himself in The Wrath of Khan. Sometimes the journeys are humorous, as in “The Trouble With Tribbles” or “A Piece of the Action.” Journeys can be contained in a single episode, as they were in TOS, a series of episodes (TNG, DS9), a single season (Discovery), or over the history of the franchise. If we care about the characters, we share their experiences. We learn along with them, and we share their growth. That is the role of the Hero’s Journey in myth. That was Roddenberry’s goal for Star Trek. It is, as I noted up top, what has attracted fans to Trek for more than five decades, six series, and multiple films, books, games and media experiences. In future posts we’re going to look at the hero’s journeys Star Trek characters have taken and what those journeys tell us about our choices, our values and our place in this world. We’ll start first with James Kirk’s journey in “The City on the Edge of Forever.” I use this episode in my classes at The University of North Alabama because it offers a very clear example of the Hero’s Journey. I hope you will join me over the next few months as we’ ll look at some of our favorite characters, episodes and films. I’m looking forward to sharing with you and seeing your comments as we take our own journey through Star Trek. Dr. McMullen For More Information, see the following resources: • The Joseph Campbell Foundation • Joseph Campbell (2008).The Hero With a Thousand Faces. New World Library. • Voegler, Chris ( 2007). The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd ed. Michael Wiese Productions. Contact Dr. McMullen at At Facebook: On Twitter: View the full article
  7. 2019 will surely be a memorable year for Star Trek fans. Where to begin? Patrick Stewart will be back as Picard. Star Trek: Discovery will return for its second season. And there’s more, plenty more, from Star Trek: The Cruise III to the annual Star Trek Las Vegas and Destination Star Trek events to an array of books, comics, apparel and other Trek-themed products coming down the, ahem, pike. Today, previews just a few of Trek-centric things on tap for 2019… Discovery Returns Season two of Discovery will kick off in a couple of weeks and, when it does, viewers will see not just Burnham, Saru and Tilly in action again, but the likes of Pike, Number One and the U.S.S. Enterprise as well. Discovery’s sophomore year will premiere on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 8:30 PM, ET/5:30 PM, PT exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States and will also be distributed concurrently by CBS Studios International on Netflix in 188 countries and in Canada on Bell Media’s Space channel and OTT service CraveTV. Picard’s Next Trek Sir Patrick Stewart will return to his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard in a new CBS All Access Star Trek series that tells the story of the next chapter in Picard’s life. Alex Kurtzman will executive produce the show, which will also tap the talents of Michael Chabon, the best-selling author who penned the Star Trek: Short Treks installment, “Calypso.” The Cruise Sets Sail The Norwegian Jade will launch from Miami, Florida, this Friday, January 4, making stops at Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas), Grand Cayman and Jamaica before returning to Miami on Thursday, January 10. Every element of the trip and the ship will provide an immersive Star Trek experience, from elevators transformed into turbolifts to Trek-themed parties and drinks. And fans will enjoy even more personal experiences than ever with the Trek guests on board, such as tennis with Jason Isaacs, yoga with Mary Chieffo and poker with Wil Wheaton. Keep an eye on’s social media handles for highlights and photos from the cruise. Star Trek Las Vegas The annual U.S. gathering of Trek talent and Trek fans will take place from July 31-August 4 at the Rio Suites Hotel in Las Vegas. Creation Entertainment has already confirmed more than 40 celebrity attendees, including William Shatner and Kate Mulgrew, as well as numerous guest stars making their first-ever Trek convention appearances. Also already locked in: a special Saturday night theatrical event, In Search of Lost Time, starring Brent Spiner. For updates, visit Destination Star Trek Fans in Europe are already counting the days until the next Destination Star Trek event, which will once again be held at the NEC in Birmingham, UK, from October 25-27. Among the guests set so far… George Takei and Michelle Forbes. Keep an eye on For updates on all things Trek in 2019, keep an eye on Cheers to a healthy, happy Trek-filled 2019! View the full article
  8. We’re all about to turn the page to 2019, which means that it’s time for to look back at the year that was… in Star Trek. And quite a year it was, 2018, with Discovery wrapping up its first season; Patrick Stewart shocking fans at Star Trek Las Vegas by making a surprise appearance to reveal that he’d be reprising his role as Picard in an upcoming show; announcements detailing the expansion of the Trek universe; and more. And, sadly, fans said goodbye to a number of iconic figures – actors, authors and more – who helped make Trek, well, Trek. Please join us in a look back: Stewart to Return The Trek fans in attendance at Star Trek Las Vegas on August 4 will never, ever forget it. Alex Kurtzman stepped out on to the main stage to share details about the next Trek project, then paused to explain he needed a bit of help in doing so. And who stepped through the door? Patrick Stewart. Yes, they’re making it so. Sir Patrick will return to his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard in a new CBS All Access Star Trek series that tells the story of the next chapter in Picard’s life. Following an extended standing ovation, a clearly emotional Stewart explained his decision to once again play Picard. It was a truly remarkable moment for the franchise and for everyone in the room. The Trek Universe Expands June brought the news that Alex Kurtzman, veteran writer-producer and co-creator of Discovery, had inked a five-year extension of his production agreement with CBS Television Studios that calls for him to extend the Star Trek franchise for television, developing new series, mini-series and other content opportunities, including animation, as well as give CBS Television Studios exclusive rights to produce all television content created and developed by Kurtzman and his Secret Hideout production banner. Joining Kurtzman as part of the deal, which goes through 2023, are fellow Discovery producers Heather Kadin and Aaron Baiers. Kadin serves as president of Secret Hideout, while Baiers is senior vice president of television. The Picard series falls under the agreement, as does the subsequently announced animated show, Star Trek: Lower Decks. That Twist Captain Gabriel Lorca was really… Mirror Lorca. That was one of the massive takeaways from the Discovery season-one episode, “What's Past Is Prologue,” which premiered on January 28. The man had a plan, one that involved dethroning Emperor Georgiou and having Michael Burnham stand by his side upon his ascension to thrown. He nearly pulled it off, too. At the end, the battle was on. Phasers blasted the throne room. Emperor Georgiou fought Mirror Lorca, Mirror Landry and Lorca’s loyalists. Mirror Lorca did everything possible not to harm Burnham. Burnham finally got the upper hand. “We would’ve helped you get home,” she said. “If you had asked. That’s who Starfleet is. That’s who I am. That’s why I won’t kill you now.” Enter the emperor. “But I will,” she declared, and ran a sword through his back. Mirror Lorca stumbled toward Burnham. “We could have…” And, with that, Emperor Georgiou shoved Mirror Lorca into the core below. So, had you guessed the big twist? Short Treks Discovery fans got a fun treat to help them pass the time between the end of season one in 2018 and the start to season two in 2019, and that'd be Star Trek: Short Treks. Each short ran approximately 10-15 minutes and gave fans an opportunity to dive deeper into key themes and characters that fit into Discovery and the expanding Star Trek universe. Tilly (Mary Wiseman) stood front and center as she met the title character in "Runaway," which debuted in October; a young Saru (Doug Jones) was the focus of "The Brightest Star," which streamed in December. And viewers made the acquaintance of a new character, Craft (Aldis Hodge), who found himself alone (well, not quite alone) aboard the Discovery deep into the future in the November entry, "Calypso." A fourth Short Treks, "The Escape Artist," starring Rainn Wilson (who also directs), will debut on January 3, 2019. Trek Experiences Whether it was the Star Trek: The Cruise II in January, Star Trek Las Vegas in August, Destination Star Trek Birmingham in October or Christmas with the Captains in December, Trek fans got to experience the franchise. Fans were able to interact with talent throughout a Trek themed cruise while STLV offered the highlight of a lifetime with Patrick Stewart’s surprise appearance. DST attendees celebrated the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with nearly the entire cast and executive producer Ira Steven Behr, who – as part of a world premiere -- proudly introduced his documentary, What We Left Behind. And, at both conventions, fans for the first time got to meet and hear from (nearly) the entire Discovery cast. Your chance to interact with Captain Kirk or Captain Pike on a replica set of The Original Series? Fans were even able to experience that during Christmas with the Captains. Goodbye, And Thank You As much joy as there was to experience in 2018, we all bade farewell to far too many beloved figures from the franchise. Below are just a few of those who left us… Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018 Ellison, who died on June 28, wrote countless books, novellas, short stories, scripts, think pieces and more, and won every imaginable genre writing prize, including multiple Bram Stoker Awards, Hugo Awards, and Writers Guild of America Awards. His most-significant Star Trek contribution was, of course, his teleplay for the TOS episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Back in 2012, Ellison told, “I will continue doing this until the road comes to an end and my feet go over the edge of the abyss and I go into whatever niche in posterity they have for me. I made it into the Encyclopedia Britannica, right between Ralph Ellison and Ellis Island. That’s pretty good for a poor little Jew from Long Island.” Celeste Yarnall, 1944-2018 Yarnall, who played Martha Landon in the TOS episode “The Apple” and was a Trek con favorite, succumbed to ovarian cancer on October 7 after a four-year battle, a battle she chronicled via a series of guest blogs. Yarnall also counted among her credits Land of the Giants, The Nutty Professor, Live a Little, Love a Little (Elvis crooned “A Little Less Conversation” to her), The Velvet Vampire and Leonard Nimoy's Funny About Love. Stunning in her youth -- and radiant to the end; she made her final appearance at STLV this summer -- Yarnall was the last Rheingold Girl, earning the honor in 1964. Beyond acting and modeling, Yarnall authored books about holistic health care for humans and pets, was an entrepreneur and public speaker, appeared in documentaries about Elvis and Trek, and served as the muse for her British husband’s art. Robert Scheerer, 1928-2018 Scheerer was an Emmy Award-winning director who counted among his many credits multiple Trek episodes, including 11 hours of Star Trek: The Next Generation, one installment of Deep Space Nine, and two Voyager segments. Scheerer -- who also danced and acted in his prolific career -- died of natural causes on March 3 at the age of 89. His TNG episodes included "Measure of a Man," "Legacy," "True-Q" and "Chain of Command, Part I." He visited DS9 to direct "Shadowplay," and Voyager to call the shots on "State of Flux" and "Rise." Actually, "Rise" capped Scheerer's work as a director whose film and TV output included The Danny Kaye Show, the live Barbra Streisand special A Happening in Central Park, Gilligan's Island, The World's Greatest Athlete, Fame, The Love Boat, Dynasty and Matlock. Dr. Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018 Dr. Hawking, one of the world’s greatest scientific minds and, yes, a Star Trek guest star who appeared as himself in the “Descent, Part I” episode of TNG, died peacefully on March 14 at his home in Cambridge, aged 76. A ground-breaking physicist and champion of the rights and potential of those with disabilities, Dr. Hawking was stricken in his early 20s by a progressive motor neurone disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He nonetheless completed his research and degree work in theoretical physics and cosmology, then shot to fame with his groundbreaking 1988 bestseller of lay-readable cosmology and quantum science, A Brief History of Time, and several follow-ups. As for his famous TNG scene, it featured him playing poker against Data, Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. Beyond his on-screen appearance, TNG fans could hear references to a shuttlecraft called the Hawking on more than one occasion. Here's to more Trek experiences, memories and expanding our ever-growing Star Trek family in 2019! View the full article
  9. We pretty much guessed this one., for our latest weekly polled wondered, Which crew would you want to spend the holidays with? Fan could select from Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation , Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise and Discovery. Thousand of you voted, and here are the results: The Next Generation (34%) Deep Space Nine (24%) Voyager (18%) The Original Series (13%) Enterprise (7%) Discovery (3%) And how did YOUR crew of choice fare? Be sure to vote in this week's poll... View the full article
  10. Hello, readers: We had a very busy year in space! Today, I take a look at some of our favorite moments from The Planetary Post in 2018... featuring Bill Nye, Emily Lakdawalla, Seth MacFarlane, Bruce Betts, LightSail 2, Robots in Antarctica, and more! My personal fave? Seeing the Mars InSight Lander up close in the clean room, knowing that is now safely landed and working away on the Red Planet. The cool things you get to see as a Planetary Post watcher! Best wishes for a great holiday -- and please join us in 2019 for more. To learn more about the Planetary Society, go to And just tell them The Doctor sent you! Robert Picardo View the full article
  11. The first broadcast of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Shore Leave” – considered by many fans to be one of the show's best -- occurred 52 years ago this week. With many people across the globe experiencing cold winter weather, we thought this was a good time to thaw a bit and celebrate its warmth. In this article, we thought we’d take a look at the exterior filming locations, a trick used by the optical house for one of the special effects sequences, and a deleted scene. So, here we go. Face front, everyone. Don't talk. Don't breathe. Don't think. You're at attention. Concentrate on this article and only on this article. Concentrate. The One With the Rabbit “Shore Leave,” the 15th episode of TOS in broadcast order, was written by Theodore Sturgeon with significant, uncredited help from executive producer Gene Roddenberry and producer Gene L. Coon. It was directed by Robert Sparr – his only Trek outing because some of the actors had difficulty working with him, despite lavish praise bestowed on him and his style from associate producer Robert H. Justman. Above: A scan of the episode synopsis for “Shore Leave” included in the syndication (rerun) package first distributed by Paramount Television in late 1969. Since TOS had been cancelled by then and was no longer on a national network schedule, the promotional literature produced by Paramount used placeholders (specifically, zeros) for the channel, day and time. These were replaced by the local stations with the correct information when they were edited prior to publication. Note that the episode numbering scheme used by Paramount Television was based on production order and not broadcast order. Also, note the errors in the synopsis. Location, Location, Location Interior scenes for “Shore Leave” were filmed at Desilu Studios and exteriors were shot at two different locations. Above: About one-half of the exterior scenes in “Shore Leave,” – for example those in the glade showing McCoy encountering Alice and the White Rabbit and Don Juan harassing Tonia Barrows (Emily Banks) – were filmed at a place called Africa U.S.A. Africa U.S.A. was a ca. 100-acre wild animal preserve/compound located in Soledad Canyon, California. It was established in 1965 by animal trainer Ralph Helfer and operated by him and producer Ivan Tors, both of whom loved animals and realized that Hollywood needed a steady source of them. In fact, at one time, Africa U.S.A. contained more than 600 critters including lions, leopards, tigers, bears, gazelles, elephants, hippos and hyenas. Above: Africa U.S.A. no longer exists today, having been wiped out by a catastrophic flood in the spring of 1969. The land it once occupied currently is a park for recreational vehicles. We should point out that some online resources claim that the Shambala Animal Preserve is located on the former Africa U.S.A. site. However, according to Tippi Hedren (the current president of Shambala’s Roar Foundation), this is not the case. Incidentally, “Shore Leave” was the only TOS episode to film at Africa U.SA. Above: The other exterior location used for “Shore Leave” was the scenic Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in Agua Dulce, California. Located just a short distance away from Africa U.S.A., this place was used for scenes such as the one of Kirk chasing Finnegan that occurred towards the end of the episode. The Vasquez Rocks Park is well known to Star Trek fans, and it was used to represent alien worlds several times in TOS, including those in “Arena,” “The Alternative Factor” and “Friday's Child.” The map area shown is approximately 40/45 miles north/northeast of Hollywood. The Flopped Planet In order to save time and money, the TOS production team often reused planet globe (model) shots. In many instances, they used them exactly as they were originally filmed; case in point, shots of Delta Vega from “Where No Man Has Gone Before” were reused as M-113 in "The Man Trap." At other times, however, the producers had the optical house alter the shots to disguise them. Delta Vega, for example, was tinted blue during optical compositing in order to use it to represent Rigel XII in “Mudd's Women.” This latter example of optical trickery (i.e., tinting) was also employed for the planet shown in “Shore Leave” -- but with an additional twist. Above: The planet seen in “Shore Leave” (shown in the frame capture on the right) was actually the Earth II globe first developed for “Miri.” Footage of that planet was tinted green for “Shore Leave” and optically mirrored in the optical printer (shown on the left) to hide the planetary features. Don Juan Fights McCoy – A Deleted Scene Every episode of TOS had one or more scenes deleted or trimmed as the episodes were being assembled, and that was certainly the case with “Shore Leave.” The scene shown below was deleted from Act II and it shows McCoy (DeForest Kelley) battling Don Juan (James Gruzal). Interestingly, this scene was a nice, action-filled one for Gruzal and it’s unfortunate that it wound up on the cutting room floor (except for a small portion of it that survived in the previous week’s preview of the episode). The scene occurred immediately before McCoy’s fateful encounter with the knight; note that it wasn’t filmed exactly as scripted. Also, we’ve bookended the deleted material with frame captures from the preview trailer and the finished episode in order to put it into context. ANGLE – TONIA Managing a small smile. She moves a bit to the side of the tree, nervously - and suddenly - the Don Juan character leaps out and grabs her. She thrashes at him screaming wildly. ANOTHER ANGLE McCoy leaps at the man, battles to protect Tonia. ANGLE ON McCOY AND TONIA McCoy, breathing hard, has beaten off Don Juan, who is fleeing. Then McCoy's attention is drawn by HOOFBEATS and he turns to see: POV - BLACK KNIGHT Riding into scene, sees McCoy, turns his horse in that direction, lowers his lance. And with that, we’ll end this article and wrap for the year. Happy holidays, and may all your fantasies come true in 2019. David Tilotta is a professor at North Carolina State University and Curt McAloney is a graphic artist residing in Minnesota. Together, they work on Their book, Star Trek: Lost Scenes, was released in August 2018 by Titan Books and it’s filled with hundreds of carefully curated, never-before-seen color photos that are used to chronicle the making of the original series, reassemble deleted scenes left on the cutting-room floor, and showcase bloopers from the first pilot through the last episode. They can be contacted at and View the full article
  12. Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols, who turns 86 years young today, is a genuine lady. She is gracious, caring and sympathetic. She is also intelligent, not always a key factor in many actors. We first met her on the Star Trek: The Original Series set, where she was relaxing backstage reading Jack Smith’s column in the L.A. Times. We talked about current politics and she flirted outrageously with John. Someone once described us as “embarrassingly monogamous,” so John wasn’t quite sure what to do about this gorgeous woman batting her big brown eyes at him. Following the successful Save Star Trek campaign, we Trimbles suddenly found ourselves without a job. We both landed work typing scripts at Ed Levitt’s Script Service. Today, all scripts are input and multi-copied at the studios, but back then scripts were sent out to services that would type them up, mimeograph copies, and send them over to each studio. It was during this time that we typed up a TOS script titled “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Back in 1967, at the New York World SF Convention, we ran a charity auction of Trek items Gene Roddenberry had donated, which was phenomenally successful. With that experience in our minds, we presented our idea to Roddenberry of selling Star Trek souvenirs to a growing fan community. He liked it and also decided to remove Star Trek fan mail from an outside professional mail-answering service. We were hired to handle Gene’s new mail order business, Lincoln Enterprises, and to also answer Trek’s fan mail. The actors reacted to this new fan mail situation in various ways. Some of them wanted to see all their fan mail, some wanted only to see the ones that contained gifts, and others had no interest whatsoever in their fan mail. And, no, we won’t name who was whom. In those days, the studios provided 5 x 7” black and white photos to send out to fans. We not only had all the main actors, but a few of the interesting character actors as well, plus some good photos of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Nichelle, however, had her own ideas of how to answer her fan mail. She left it to us to answer the standard “please send me a phaser” requests with… photos of her in Starfleet uniform. But she wanted to see all her mail with a military return address. She had photos of her in her sexy, skimpy singer’s costumes, which she sent to “her boys overseas.” From the military fan reaction, those photos were very much appreciated! Here’s another Nichelle anecdote: She was caught by a time change when she left El Paso in one time zone for Houston, in another time zone, for a convention appearance. Unaware of the change, Nichelle overslept. The convention committee was frantic because it was only minutes until Nichelle was to appear onstage. Bjo was asked to go to Nichelle’s room and see what had happened. Nichelle appeared at the hotel door, wondering why Bjo was standing there. When the situation was explained, she began quickly putting on her makeup and exclaiming that her gown was not ironed. Bjo set up the ironing board and pressed out a beautiful white gown for Nichelle, but then Bjo warned Nichelle that she didn’t do windows. Nichelle appeared onstage only a few minutes late, and laughingly explained the reason for it. The audience was delighted to find that actors are as human as the rest of us. Being very human has always been an integral part of Nichelle’s makeup. At another Houston convention, all the guests were abandoned immediately after the day’s show ended. With time on their hands, many of the guests repaired to the hotel bar. But we Trimbles had earlier suggested to some Houston fans that Nichelle loved seafood and would like to be invited out. A group of excited fans arranged for a limo, driven by a Trek fan, and made reservations for all of us at a rather nice seafood restaurant out on a pier. We filled a long table in one of the small rooms and began getting acquainted. We made so much noise that the other table requested a change of venue, and later departed… glaring at the noisy Trek table. By that time, most of the waitstaff had caught on to Nichelle and thought the annoyed people were missing a great deal. Nichelle made a surprised face with big round eyes, and opined that some people in the world had no sense of humor. That set us off again. The dinner was superb and the company was the best anyone could ever hope for. Whenever we’d see Nichelle at event or conventions, she would make some remark about sexy men and hug or kiss John. After being flummoxed the first few times, he got into the spirit of it and would kid her about doing this sort of thing will all men. She’d laugh and assure John that it was just him. Needless to say, she is one of his favorite female actors. Happy birthday, Nichelle! Bjo & John Trimble View the full article
  13. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier wrapped production on December 28, 1988... or 30 years ago tomorrow. The film has one of the most unique visual styles of TOS-era films, as it was shot in real-world locations as ecologically diverse as Owens Dry Lake (Nimbus III), the Trona Pinnacles (Sha Ka Ree) and Yosemite National Park. The film also is one of the most direct statements about the closeness and friendship shared between Kirk, Spock and McCoy, with the campfire chat scene between the trio taking on even more of an emotional effect now in the years after the losses of both DeForest Kelley and Leonard Nimoy. The behind-the-scenes team included familiar names like Harve Bennett, Jerry Goldsmith, Herman Zimmerman and Michael Okuda. To celebrate those who worked during 1988 and 1989 on the film on this “pearl anniversary” of its pre-production and production, here are some of our favorite behind the scenes facts and bits of on-screen trivia. Shared Sets The good feelings about Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home had bolstered the return of Star Trek to television with Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, it was The Final Frontier which has the distinction of being the first Trek feature film produced during the TNG era. In fact, the two productions filmed next to each other at the same time, marking a first of multiple Trek productions occurring simultaneously (a regular occurrence during the DS9 and VOY eras). To help keep costs reasonable, some of the resources from TNG made their way to The Final Frontier. For example, the corridors of the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-A are the same as those from the Enterprise-D with modification. The sickbay set where Uhura speaks to an injured Scotty is the Enterprise-D sickbay and the LCARS panels that dominate in the 24th Century are clearly visible behind the duo. The Enterprise transporter room is a redress of the TNG transporter set. Of course, some of the TNG sets themselves were redresses from the TOS films to begin with! Step on It Speaking of TNG, during the scene in which Kirk and his crew return to the ship from Yosemite, the crew uses steps brought in by yeomen to more easily disembark the shuttle. When filming of this scene was to commence, it was realized that there were no steps to facilitate the actors’ departure from the side of the Galileo. Quick behind-the-scenes thinking resulted in the appropriation of the steps used on Patrick Stewart’s trailer, which were then redecorated. An Act of Love William Shatner’s original working title for the film was Star Trek: An Act of Love, which symbolizes the film’s theme of friendship and fraternity. Bond to Lucy The planet "Sha Ka Ree" was named in honor of actor Sean Connery, although some sources claim it was riff on the name “Shangri La.” Connery was the first actor thought of for the role of Sybok, but he was busy working on another Paramount Picture 1989 summer film rolling that year, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Laurence Luckinbill, who eventually landed the Sybok role, is married to Lucy Arnaz in real life. That means he was Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s son-in-law. It was Lucy’s production company Desilu that originally green-lit, produced and owned Star Trek. Repeat That While on-screen errors are rare in the carefully crafted Trek films, there is a glaring continuity problem as Spock’s rocket boots propel him, Kirk and McCoy away from Sybok’s people – the numbers of the Enterprise’s deck repeat, going from 10, 35, 52, 63, 64, again 63, 64, 65, again 52, 77, 78, and again to 78. In the Books J.M. Dillard’s novelization to the film reveals that Klaa’s ship is the Okrona, an inside joke because of its similarity to the name of linguist Marc Okrand. Okrand had adapted the Klingon language originally created by Montgomery Scott actor James Doohan for Star Trek: The Motion Picture by writing the Klingon dictionary and turning it into a living language used in all subsequent Trek adventures. The DC comic book adaptation by Peter David, James W. Fry and Arne Starr features many deleted scenes, including the infamous Rockman sequence -- which proved too expensive to actually film as Shatner had originally planned. Product Placement Product placement is not common because of the nature of Trek’s future settings. Before Nokia and Budweiser’s product placement in Star Trek (2009), The Final Frontier also had product placement. Kirk and company are wearing Levi Jeans, and the Levi Strauss & Company is credited in the film. Isn’t That? There are some great cameo and guest appearances in The Final Frontier. The crew person to whom Kirk gives his jacket when first appearing on the Enterprise is Shatner’s daughter, Melanie. Shatner’s daughter Lisabeth, who had previously appeared in the episode “Miri” with her father, wrote an excellent making-of book, Captain’s Log: William Shatner’s Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The late Harve Bennett, who produced Treks II through V and wrote The Search for Spock and co-wrote The Voyage Home, plays Admiral Robert Bennett; it’s Bennett who gives Kirk his orders during the film. Sci-fi fans may also recognize Bennett’s voice as the person who begins the narration of The Six Million Dollar Man, which he produced… “Steve Austin. Astronaut. A man barely alive…” Veteran actor Bill Quinn would make his last film appearance as McCoy’s father David in the film. Sitcom fans of the 1970s and 1980s recognize Quinn as Mary Tyler Moore’s TV Dad. He was also the real-life father-in-law of comedian Bob Newhart. To Leonard, With Love The legacy of The Final Frontier lived on as a publicity photo of the entire original main crew gathered together on the Enterprise taken for the 1989 film made an appearance as an image from Prime Universe Spock's picture box in 2016's Star Trek Beyond. The Star Trek V: The Final Frontier image is viewed by the Kelvin Universe Spock as he sorts through his alternate counterpart's effects. It’s a loving and emotional nod to the 50-year history of the franchise and its original actors, most notably the then-recently deceased Leonard Nimoy. Maria Jose and John Tenuto are sociology professors at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, specializing in pop culture and subculture studies. The Tenutos have conducted extensive research on Trek's history, and have presented at venues such as Creation conventions and St. Louis Science Center. They've written for the official Star Trek Magazine and their extensive collection of Trek items has been featured in SFX Magazine. Their theory about the “20-Year Nostalgia Cycle” and research on Trek fans has been featured on WGN News, BBC Radio, and in the documentary The Force Among Us. They recently researched all known paperwork from the making of the classic episode "Space Seed" and are excited to share some previously unreported information about Khan's first adventure with fellow fans. Contact the Tenutos at or View the full article
  14. All of us at ANOVOS are obviously huge fans of Star Trek’s costumes, though I generally prefer to work with command uniforms when designing products. I like to cast myself in the role of a Starfleet captain, so mostly you’ll see me wearing those colors. But, I have to admit that one of my favorite characters in Star Trek: Enterprise is not in the command division, but is their Chief Engineer... Trip Tucker. Connor Trinneer's portrayal of Charles "Trip" Tucker III drew from the best aspects of Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott, and created a new and fresh character from those archetypes. Trip is a perfect sounding board for Captain Archer, and is just as adept at looking after his friends as he is the Enterprise. When friends and colleagues of ANOVOS asked if we'd ever consider offering our Enterprise Flight Jacket in other department colors, Trip was always the first character that leapt to mind. It wasn't enough to simply change the color of the department stripe from Command gold to Operations red. We also had to ask ourselves, "What would Trip's personal flight jacket look like?" And, as fans ourselves, we knew instantly. Like Archer's jacket, it follows the same Starfleet uniform patterning, while displaying the Operations department's distinct red shoulder stripes. Trip's right sleeve has the Earth Starfleet emblem, while his left sleeve shows his current assignment aboard the Enterprise. Having worked and become friends with Jonathan Archer from their days in the NX Test Program, Trip proudly displays his "NX Project" development patch. Finally, of course, Trip would keep on his jacket his assignment patch from the time he served aboard the NX-02 Columbia. Trip’s jacket shell is made of the same soft material as Capt. Archer's Jacket before it, and has been color dyed to match Enterprise’s early-season purple-blue uniforms. The interior sports a warm "Rescue Orange" quilted lining befitting a true flight jacket. The Star Trek: Enterprise Charles “Trip” Tucker Flight Jacket is available for pre-order online at This item is also eligible for our Payment Plan; details regarding that and more are available at View the full article
  15. Trek the Halls, indeed. took to social media, asking you, the fans, to share your #TrekTree... and you did not disappoint. Some folks adorn their tree with a Trek trinket or two or three, or more, if they're collectors who've purchased (or even made) Trek-themed ornaments. And more than a few people devote their ENTIRE tree to Trek, which we love, too. Of course, many of you veered far beyond trees, out to the Final Frontier of Trek-themed holiday decorating. So, check out just a few of our favorite Trek-themed Christmas trees... And, of course, Merry Christmas! View the full article