You're looking at the cast of J.J. Abrams re-imagining/prequel of Star Trek.
It's kind of weird seeing the whole crew up there next to their original counterparts. For a long time Trek fan like myself, who has been around long enough to see the franchise go through it's entire evolution the image above generates mixed feelings for me. It's not just seeing new actors stepping into the shoes of beloved actors whose roles have become iconic... it's also the fact that a couple of the actors above are no longer with us. James Doohan passed away not too long ago due to Alzheimers and DeForest Kelley was the first of the venerable crew to die, way back in 1999 if you can believe it.
Call me cheesy, but seeing the old with the new up there gives me a sense of the cycle of death and rebirth, not only for the actors - but hopefully, for Star Trek as well.
Although the casting of Simon Pegg as Scotty seems more than a bit odd to me, and Karl Urban seems too intense and rugged to play Dr. McCoy, overall at least visually J.J. Abrams and crew seem to have hit the mark at least as far as appearance is concerned. Normally I might be quite cynical towards a project like this, but like many Star Trek fans, after years and years of really bad movies and TV episodes I'm seriously craving a great Star Trek story on the screen.
John over at The Movie Blog wrote that the new movie must ignore existing fans, but not being a fan of the franchise I'm afraid he's missing the point. He equates the ever decreasing box office take of recent films with the fact that there just aren't that many fans out there supporting Trek. I don't think that's the case at all - in fact I think it's because the majority of Trek fans have high standards when it comes to their favorite franchise.
Rick Berman took over the franchise once Gene Roddenberry died, soon to be joined by Brannon Braga. I suppose things went along ok for a while with Star Trek: The Next Generation, and even Star Trek: Deep Space Nine... but when they were put in charge of feature films as well things went downhill pretty fast. Generations was an awful, terrible way to bridge the gap between the original crew and TNG, with the most ignoble death you could imagine for the legendary James T. Kirk.
Sure, First Contact wasn't bad unless you count that hideously huge new version of the Enterprise and the fact that the character that had the heroic moment at the crucial point in the film was Data instead of Captain Picard. But then we were treated to the likes of Star Trek: Insurrection, so awful I don't even rember much about it and the abysmal Star Trek: Nemesis with the ridiculous Picard's son/clone/whatever story and Data being destroyed just to be "reborn" as a virtual infant.
And don't get me started on Star Trek: Voyager, with the ship that managed to stay showroom new after half a dozen years spent half a galaxy from a starbase, and a crew that thought they wouldn't get home in their lifetimes yet made no plans as to what would happen as they started to eventually die during the journey.
Then there was Enterprise. A concept that they wanted to be so different that not only didn't they even put Star Trek in the title, but that they opened with a completetly different format including a song with bloody awful lyrics. I wasn't opposed to the concept - hell, I was excited about it! But it took only about half a season for them to have phasers and transporter technology that matched that of Kirk and Co. 100 years hence. Oh, and since the "Lost in Space" concept worked so well for Voyager, they decided to send the crew to a far corner of the galaxy in this show as well, instead of showing us the formation of the Federation and other items that formed the foundation of The Original Series. The show started to come around in it's final season when they handed the reins to Manny Coto as Producer, but by then fans had already left in droves and it was too late to bring them back.
For all intents and purposes it seemed that Trek was finally dead, or at least about to go on at least a 10 year hiatus... ah, but Paramount knew that even if it had been beaten into the ground there was still money to be squeezed from a franchise that had already brought them over a billion dollars in profit.
Thanks to us fans who are constantly and consistently disrespected and the world wide web, Paramount had access to our thoughts, likes and dislikes regarding the franchise. So they finally decided it was time for as close to a clean slate as you can get with the series: Bring in a brand new (and currently hot) team to helm a movie that will go back to the beginning. We're talking J.J. Abrams, Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Contrary to the article over at The Movie Blog, everything that has been said by those involved in the production indicates that while they most certainly want to bring non-fans into theaters, they most certainly are interested in pleasing long time fans of Star Trek as well. They are going as far as working Leonard Nimoy into the story in what they say is a pivotal role.
Ah, but what about Bill Shatner? There's been an amazing amount of discussion online with a "he said. she said" flavor to it. He has stated more than once that he is not in the film, that he wasn't approached to be in the film and that he would like to be in the film. The producers continually state that of course they want him to be in the movie, but that they want to write a part for him worthy of the character.
It sounds like the writers are just blowing sunshine, but AICN contributor "Hercules" states that all the publicity about Shatner not being in the film is a lie. This is strictly unofficial of course, but I'm betting he's right. I'll go further and say that this may all even by orchestrated to drum up press and emotions surrounding the film.
Then there's the report from IESB that the Enterprise will be significantly different in the upcoming film. They stated that:
"We have been told that the Enterprise has been redesigned. I have not been able to get specific details of how the old and new ship will differ but I have been told by multiple sources including people working on the film that the ship will indeed be different."
No doubt the ship will look somewhat different in details, but "redesigned" so that it looks "different?" Rubbish.
So before you go off half-cocked slamming Trekkies, Trekkers or whatever you'd like to call us, keep in mind that if Abrams and crew deliver a kick-ass Trek movie you have our disdain for the crap Paramount has been putting out for years to thank.
Personally, I'm really looking forward to this and at least at this point am not approaching it with negative expectations at all. For the first time in a long time I'm hopeful when it comes to Star Trek.
Live Long and Prosper. Word.
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