By the time Manny Coto became an executive producer on the show’s fourth and final season, Enterprise was already a show in trouble. It had been an ungainly beast from the start: a Frankenstein’s monster pulled back and forth between conflicting desires to do something new and to maintain the safe status quo of the Star Trek franchise. It wasn’t entirely Enterprise’s fault, but when it wrapped up in 2005, it marked the first time since The Next Generation’s 1987 premiere that there wasn’t at least one current Star Trek series on the air. That left the Trek franchise in such a mess that they decided to take drastic action, which led to J.J. Abrams’ divisive reboot in 2009. But Manny Coto? He was just a lifelong Trek fan who tried really hard to salvage a ship that was already in bad shape.
In this age of ever-present Internet, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t all that long ago when we didn’t have easy access to deleted scenes, alternate footage, and all the other goodies they love pack onto the Blu-ray special editions. It’s easier than ever to dive headfirst into the making of damn near any of your favorite films, and the sheer amount of content you can pore over online for even more obscure projects would likely leave eight-year-old me gobsmacked. But back before all that, one place you would occasionally see relics of paths not taken on the big screen were in trailers, which every so often included scenes or moments that didn’t make the final cut. Diving down that particular rabbit hole is easy thanks to YouTube, and it’s surprising what you can find our there, from Godzilla interrupting a field trip, to Klingon jailbreaks, to the tactical cunning of one C-3PO.
The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has been in the news a lot this past year, from a massively successful Kickstarter campaign to the recent purchase by Facebook. It’s definitely put “virtual reality” back in the zeitgeist in a way it hasn’t been since the early ’90s when clunky headsets were popping up in arcades, only to soon be shoved aside when they failed to match our holodeck expectations. Now that the technology has advanced considerably, there’s all sorts of interesting potential in the Oculus Rift…and not just freaking yourself out with a decapitation simulator. For instance, you could board the starship Voyager, as shown in the above demo.
Even if you don’t know who Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (pictured above) are, you’ve certainly encountered their work. Having broken into the industry on syndicated ’90s shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, the duo went on to become one of the hottest writing partnerships in Hollywood. Their names can be found in the credits of huge summer tentpoles such as the Transformers movies, Mission: Impossible III, Cowboys & Aliens, and the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2. They also helped co-write the first two Star Trek reboot movies, but that long partnership will come to an end with Star Trek 3: Variety reports that Kurtzman will be beaming out of the franchise, whereas Orci is apparently campaigning to direct the third Trek film.
Over the years, the Star Trek franchise has enlisted the skills of many actors who were already well-known beforehand. Ricardo Montalban and Benedict Cumberbatch were both proven talents before they stepped into the role of Khan Noonien Singh. Christopher Lloyd and Kelsey Grammer both had a beloved sitcom role under their belt before they appeared as a Klingon commander and a Starfleet captain, respectively. Even people like Bryan Singer, Christian Slater, and Seth MacFarlane have appeared in small roles just so they could be a part of the Trek universe. But not every actor out there is a fan, and some would rather have nothing to do with Star Trek. Case in point: Star Trek: Generations’ Malcolm McDowell.
When you’re born with a name like James Kirk, and rise to the rank of Captain in an advanced, powerful military force, you have a fair amount of responsibility. Odds are that the most familiar Captain Kirk to many of you out there is William Shatner’s iconic starship commander from Gene Roddenberry’s beloved sci-fi series Star Trek. But he’s not the only one. The United States Navy has their very own Captain James Kirk (it’s James A. not James T.), who is about to take over command of the USS Zumwalt, the most advanced destroyer in the fleet. On the eve of his new assignment, he, and his crew, received a congratulatory letter from the man who brought his fictional predecessor to life.
Shatner’s letter is brief, but to the point, and hell, when your middle name is Tiberius, you don’t have time to waste on words. Kirk is a man of action, after all, not a diplomat. The note, which is signed and framed, now hangs at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, where the ship is being built, though it is expected to find a permanent home on board the Zumwalt.