Trek Stuff

07df3N8mA bunch of Star Trek related news hit this week, as you might expect from the 50th anniversary year.

And on a related note: Wow, Paramount is blowing this anniversary, aren’t they? Compare what they’re doing with how the BBC handled the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Paramount is doing (as far as I can tell) a single retrospective TV special later this Fall, a new installment in the JJ-Abrams-Reboot film series (with no ‘anniversary’ implications) and they’re not even launching the new series until NEXT YEAR. What the fuck, Paramount? Did the calendar sneak up on you?

Speaking of the new series, CBS showed a teaser during their Upfront presentation to advertisers this week:

Not much there, but what is there is interesting — especially “New Crews.” Plural. That lends some credence to the rumor that this show is going to be an “American Horror Story”/”True Detective”/”Fargo”-esque anthology series, where each season is a different story with a different set of characters. I’m looking forward to finding out more about it as 2017 approaches.

It appears that CBS/Paramount wants to pivot into creating stuff for fans to be excited about, rather than suing them in court — at a Trek fan event held last night, JJ Abrams told the assembled crowd that Paramount would be dropping their lawsuit against the fan film “Axanar.”

axanarAxanar Productions definitely crossed the line. Not in their acquisition of a studio space, which they admit will be used for for-profit ventures outside of their film (shady, but not line-crossing, IMO), but in paying themselves 5-figure salaries. Plus, the producers are, bluntly, jerks, who have basically been swaggering around clothing themselves in borrowed glory — practically daring Paramount to sue.

I’m glad to see the lawsuit dropped (although I’ll wait until an official announcement from Paramount — how wild would it be if JJ Abrams said this in order to force their hands, because he saw the PR hurting the forthcoming Abrams-produced film?) — because of the chilling effect this was having on other fan films.

Star Trek Continues (my favorite), does it right: Registered as a non-profit, books available for audit on-demand, volunteer labor, and not trying to present themselves as a source of new, modern-day Trek, but specifically emulating the look, feel, and sound of the 1966 original. Their 6th episode, “Come Not Between Dragons” debuts later this month.

UPDATE: A Buzzfeed reporter tweeted an official response from CBS/Paramount, confirming the dropping of the case, and the additional news that they’re working on a set of fan film guidelines:


And, lastly: This morning the second trailer for the new J.J. Abrams-reboot Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, was released:

I think I’m going to have to view the reboot films the way that I view pizza outside of the Northeast. The stuff you get may be perfectly tasty for what it is, but it’s not actually pizza.

I actually was excited by the potential unlocked by the first film, but then they blew it with “Star Trek Into Darkness.” I don’t have high hopes for this one. Looks like a generally acceptable blow-em-up-real-good space opera spectacle, though.

Throughout my life, I’ve been a fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek — but I have to admit, that right now, I am far more excited about what’s coming for Star Wars than I am for anything Trek-related. I’d love it if CBS/Paramount would take a page from Lucasfilm’s post-Disney-acquisition playbook, at least as far as transmedia brand management goes, but I’m not holding my breath.

How great would that be, though?



12643014_10209103011479458_3990374962151699209_nGot back home yesterday from a trip to the Austin area — Round Rock, Texas, specifically, where I was a guest at ChupacabraCon.

I’ll cut right to the chase: This is, hands-down, the best local games convention I’ve ever attended.

A staff who is on top of every detail, a schedule full of interesting panels and entertaining games, and, unusual for a convention of this size, a guest list featuring three dozen game industry pros from all over the country. That’s a bigger featured speaker list than some of the largest shows I’ve attended. The result is a convivial atmosphere where attendees and guests mingle and hang out together, with the guests not feeling run ragged by the busier schedules and packed crowds of the larger shows.

Plus, the added bonus of not being able to swing a dead armadillo without hitting a source of Texas barbecue and Tex-Mex nearby. So, a win-win, really.

In short: It’s fucking AWESOME. (Feel free to use that as your pull-quote for next year, Chupa-folks.)

Now, after a couple of days on I-35, I’m back home, and back to work — and I have ChupacabraCon, the attendees, the staff, and my fellow guests to thank for my freshly re-charged batteries, which are affording me the newfound energy to dive into the work ahead.

I hope to make this a regular stop on my yearly schedule, and, if you’re reading this, I hope to see you there as well — I cannot recommend the convention strongly enough.


“May the Fourth Be With You.”

Yeah, you’ve all heard it already. A pun that had been kicking around since at least 1979 began to solidify over the past 5 years or so into a Thing in the geek community. A celebration of Star Wars.

And yeah, I know — a celebration of a brand? A piece of pop-culture? Seems shallow (at best), or childish (at worst).

But here’s the thing. Over the past few years — brought about in no small part by middle-aged nostalgia coupled with Disney’s relaunch of the property — I’ve come to realize exactly how much Star Wars shaped me as a person. That’s not a childish or shallow thing — that’s a profound effect on my formative years.

Stories are important. Myths are stories. Religion, when you boil it down, is a story. George Lucas was once quoted in an interview, saying that he created Star Wars for a “generation that was growing up without fairy tales.” My generation (children when the first film was released, entering our teen years when the final film of the original trilogy was done), growing up in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, the stain of Vietnam, the revelations of Watergate — we definitely needed a dose of mythic hope. The generations that followed us, who grew up with Star Wars as well (whether on video, or in the form of the prequel trilogy) were also shaped, although I’d argue none as profoundly as we were.

More than that, though — on a personal level, I remember sitting in the theater in 1977 with my Dad, around my 8th birthday, blown away by what I saw on the screen. Not just my utter immersion into the world and the story, though. I clearly remember, as the film ended, having a sharp-edged certainty in my mind: I want to do THAT.

Not fly an X-wing, destroy the Death Star, or learn to fight with a lightsaber (although, yeah, I wanted that, too), but rather to create worlds, to tell stories, and present something that I invented in my head to crowds of people who would be affected by it… people who I would never meet, and never know. The idea that such a thing was possible was mind-blowing to me, and I’m not entirely sure what it was about sitting in that theater made it more tangible to me than the books I’d surrounded myself with from the time I could read… but there it was. I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

From 1977 until now, that is the direction I have steered. I have created worlds, and told stories, and I’m going to continue to do so (hopefully) for a long time to come.

…and all because of Star Wars.

So I celebrate it.

May The Fourth Be With Us All.