Back to the 60s with Star Trek sequel's sound designer

Tami Katzoff interviews Ben Burtt for MTV News:
While researching the sounds from the classic series, Burtt discovered that they were created with a Hammond chord organ. "Going back and getting some organ recordings and playing with it, I was able to fashion some things very similar to the transporter, perhaps exactly the same way, so that's in there."

Incredible Star Trek/Transformers crossover custom toy

Unicron9 created a custom Star Trek/Transformers crossover toy in which the Enterprise transformed into Autobot E. "The head had to be long because the deflector dish is on the top of it for alt mode," Unicron9 says, "so I went for a majestic alien look with a mix of Geordi's visor, Vulcan ears, and Andorian antennas." "Star Trek/Transformers Crossovers: Autobot E" (deviantART)

LEGO Star Trek Into Darkness trailer

(Spoken in the voice of Don LaFontaine): You may have seen the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, but have you seen it... in LEGO!? Directed by Antonio Toscano and Andrea Toscano.

Star Wars trio to reprise roles in Disney/Lucasfilm "Episode VII"

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek published today, George Lucas more or less spilled the beans: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles as Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in the new "Star Wars" film. All three had signed on for the forthcoming "Episode VII" project before Lucasfilm's $4 billion purchase by Disney.

"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison — or were pretty much in the final stages of negotiation," said Lucas. "Maybe I'm not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do."

WHOAH, SPOILER, DUDE.

Fisher had confirmed her reprisal in an earlier interview.

Star Trek-themed online art sale

TrekartttQ Pop is holding an online Star Trek art sale with more than 100 piece most of which are less than $100! Above, Doug Gauthier's "Mugato" plushie ($100) and Peter Paul's "Uhura" watercolor ($50). "Beam Me Up: Star Trek Art Show"

Vote for Spock socks!


Cast your vote now on Threadless for these Spock socks (called, predictably enough, "Spocks"). Leonard Nimoy called them "fascinating". Need I say more?

Score Spocks | Threadless (via IO9)

Benedict Cumberbatch's role in Star Trek Into Darkness revealed! Or is it? [UPDATED]

Paramount just released the first official still from Star Trek Into Darkness with a caption that seems to identify Benedict Cumberbatch's mystery villain as John Harrison. But -- and it's a pretty big "but" -- the name "John Harrison" is actually part of Star Trek backstage lore, and not really the name of any Trek villain. Besides the Starfleet technician Harrison played by Ron Veto, the name was used for several random, unnamed onscreen characters (including redshirts) in several episodes -- a placeholder. So, are we being messed with? Is it a case of Trekkie misdirection? Or is this a brand new Star Trek villain? Tor has a few theories that will interest and enlighten. (via Tor)

UPDATE: Movieline's Jen Yamato attended a press event for Star Trek Into Darkness yesterday and has some news on the "John Harrison" character. In case you really don't want to know, I'll leave the information at the link, which also contains some really interesting (and spoilery) theories about some original Star Trek source material that are well worth a read.

Photo credit: Paramount

Star Trek 2 trailer!

Three thoughts:

1. Looks damned good.
2. The trailer makes it look like a straight-up action movie with sci-fi backdrops.
3. Maybe they're so cagey about calling him Khan because it's a British actor in a classic minority role?

Speaking of that particular semiotic snarl, did anyone notice the first time around that Vulcans are now a predominantly British entity, whereas in earlier Star Treks they were Jewish American? Given what happens to Vulcan itself in the rebooted franchise, I wonder if to JJ Abrams, it just didn't seem right to cast Jewish people--and Jewish culture--in the role of "friendly but vaguely sinister aliens."

Whereas that is a technically accurate description of the British.

Some highlights from NY Comic-Con

I'm at Comic-Con for the Pirate Cinema tour. Here's some highlights from yesterday's brief excursion on the floor:


An Occupy Ankh-Morpork protester at Terry Pratchett's signing for Dodger.



Star Trek: TOS bathrobes! (Speaking as a serious loungewear enthusiast, I have this to say: PHWOAR). Available from Amazon and ThinkGeek.

Read the rest

Data does Captain Picard

Here's Brent Spiner (Star Trek's Data) doing his greatest party trick: a pitch-perfect imitation of Patrick "Captain Picard" Stewart, including hilarious anaecdotes about how he used this power to sow mischief. Patrick Stewart got his revenge later.

Brent Spiner imitates Patrick Stewart... again. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

US naval analyst on science fiction space warfare

NewImageForeign Policy magazine interviewed naval analyst Chris Weuve, a former US Naval War College research professor, about space warfare in science fiction.

Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?

CW: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman novels from the 1940s. Smith realized that with hundreds of ships over huge expanses, the mere act of coordinating them was problematic. I think there is a synergistic effect. I also know a number of naval officers who have admitted to me that the reason they joined the Navy was because Starfleet Command wasn't hiring.

"Aircraft Carriers in Space" (Thanks, Todd Lappin!)

Sulu talks

Over at Mother Jones, George Takei, who played Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, shares some fascinating stories about Asian stereotypes in Hollywood, his childhood memories of a post-Pearl Harbor internment camp, and being "quietly out" in the late 1960s. From Mother Jones:

NewImage

MJ: Did the cast know you were gay?

GT: Most of them knew, but they were cool. They knew what impact it could have on an actor's career. Once I was at work chatting with Walter Koenig, who played Pavel Chekov, and he started gesturing at a group of young extras who were dressed in the Starfleet shirt. There was a gorgeous young guy with a fantastic build and that tight shirt on him and that's when I knew that Walter knew. I turned back to him and he was grinning. He was helping me out! Bill [Shatner] was oblivious. In fact, when he was on the Howard Stern Show, Howard had me call in and chat with Bill. I mentioned Brad and he didn't know who Brad was. Everybody knew! We had a very public wedding. Bill says, "Who's Brad?"

"George Takei, the Best Driver in the Galaxy"

Google celebrates Star Trek's 46th anniversary with an interactive doodle!

Hey, Trekkies: Google has treated us all to a really fun, interactive doodle to celebrate the 46th anniversary of the network premiere of Star Trek! From today until tomorrow -- September 8, the actual air date in 1966 -- you will get to set your cursors to "stun" and maybe mess with a Redshirt (hint: the worried-looking one shaped like an "e") when you visit Google's main page and start clicking your way into a miniature episode featuring characters from the original series. (The hair on the O-Kirk is glorious, I tell you.) StarTrek.com has an interview with the doodle's creator (and Trekkie), Ryan Germick. Live long and prosper, Star Trek!

Celebrating 46 Years with a Google Doodle [StarTrek.com]

With SpaceX launch, remains of James Doohan (Star Trek's "Scotty") finally rest in peace, in space

The late actor James Doohan, best known for his role as "Scotty" on the original Star Trek series, left instructions in his will that he wished to be buried in space. His family worked hard to fulfill that wish, and made arrangements with Celestis, Inc., a subdivision of the Houston-based company Space Services that offers "post-cremation memorial spaceflights."

Those remains became part of the payload for a 2008 SpaceX Falcon 1 launch attempt that didn't reach orbit because of technical problems. Each failed attempt was newly agonizing for family members, prolonging their grief and lack of closure.

But today, seven years after "Scotty's" death, SpaceX successfully launched his ashes into space. From the startrek.com website today:

Doohan’s ashes – which also were launched to space in 2008 as part of an unsuccessful mission -- were part of a secondary payload included on the second stage of the rocket, not on the Dragon itself. That payload separated from the capsule at the 9-minute, 49-second mark and is now orbiting, on its own, above the Earth. It’s expected to stay in orbit for approximately a year before descending back to Earth and disintegrating during re-entry.

Wende Doohan, James Doohan's widow, was on hand for the launch with the couple’s daughter, Sarah, now 12. Doohan posted a photo on Twitter and tweeted the following comment early today. “Sarah and I enjoyed watching a beautiful rocket launch this morning - certainly a first for her.” Also, on May 18, Doohan tweeted the attached photo of Sarah at Cape Canaveral with a caption that read “Following Daddy’s footsteps?”

In 2008, just after that last unsuccessful attempt, we shared on Boing Boing a personal account of what the process felt like for Doohan's family. It was written by Ehrich Blackhound, one of Doohan's seven children. Here it is again, below.

Rest in peace, in space, Mr. Doohan. And on behalf of all of us at Boing Boing, our best to the whole family.

Read the rest

Secret history of the near-construction of a lifesized Starship Enterprise in downtown Las Vegas


Gary Goddard tells the story of the near-construction of a life-sized Starship Enterprise replica in downtown Las Vegas. Goddard successfully bid to build the attraction as part of the 1992 competition to revitalized Vegas's sagging downtown and bring back tourist traffic that had been sucked away by the strip, but the project was scuttled at the last minute when Stanley Jaffe, then CEO of Paramount, got cold feet. The Enterprise was scrapped and replaced by the "Fremont Street Experience," which stands there today.

The “big idea” was building the ship itself at full-scale. That was the main attraction. That being said, we also knew we would have to have some kind of “show” on board. So, conceptually, it was to be a “tour” of the ship, with all of the key rooms, chambers, decks, and corridors that we knew from the movie. There was to be the dining area for the ship’s crew (where you could dine in Star Fleet comfort), and other special features. There were also one or two interesting ride elements that we were considering including a high-speed travelator that would whisk you from deck to deck. But we were really just getting into the show aspects when everything came to a head. During this time, as we were working out the conceptual design and plan, a licensing contract was negotiated for Paramount Studios with the terms and conditions, including a substantial rights payment up front, and on-going revenue participation, all subject to the approval of the Studio Chairman, which “would not be a problem” if the project was approved. As you can see, from the designs we’ve shown here, we got pretty far down the road, with drawings, renderings, engineering studies, construction cost estimates – about $150,000,000 (in 1992 dollars) — we were ready to go. I had Greg Pro working on it, I had Dan Gozee (long time Disney Imagineering illustrator) on it, and we were really into the whole idea. Everyone was excited. This was going to be a world-class iconic project that would become an international sensation from the moment it was announced...

So with everyone in the room, I take Mr. Jaffe through the project. With the art, the plans, the overall concept. After my spirited “pitch” everyone was beaming – everyone except Mr. Jaffe. Mr. Jaffe thanked us for the effort, and he congratulated us on creating a bold concept and presentation, and then went into a speech that went something like this:

“You know, this is a major project. You’re going to put a full-scale ENTERPRISE up in the heart of Las Vegas. And on one hand that sounds exciting. But on another hand, it might not be a great idea for us – for Paramount.” Everyone in the room was stunned, most of all, me, because I could see where this was going. “In the movie business, when we produce a big movie and it’s a flop – we take some bad press for a few weeks or a few months, but then it goes away. The next movie comes out and everyone forgets. But THIS – this is different. If this doesn’t work – if this is not a success – it’s there, forever….” I remember thinking to myself “oh my god, this guy does NOT get it….” And he said “I don’t want to be the guy that approved this and then it’s a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.”

NOW IT CAN BE TOLD: THE “STAR TREK” ATTRACTION THAT ALMOST CAME TO LIFE in 1992. (via /.)