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Not Just Pigs In Space: The Muppets’ Most Sci-Fi Moments

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star wars muppet showWhile this weekend’s box office will no doubt be dominated by Neil Burger’s YA dystopian thriller Divergent, the second-biggest opening will be James Bobin’s sequel Muppets Most Wanted, hands down. (Or, technically, hands up inside a Muppet.) And while that film’s plot revolves around mistaken identities and criminal elements, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on just how sci-fi-friendly the Muppets have been over the years. How is there not an asteroid named after Jim Henson yet?

It would be extremely difficult to go back into all of the Muppet iterations to find every single science fiction reference made, so we won’t be talking about the serialized “Trash Gordon” segments of Sesame Street, the Henson puppets in Farscape, or the multitude of alien characters that have populated Henson’s works over the years. These entries are more specific in their nature and were, admittedly, a lot of fun to relive while putting this story together. The Muppets, much like the best sci-fi, are absolutely timeless.

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Star Trek 3 Writer On Difficult Choices And Returning Trek To Boldly Going

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enterprise-bridgeWhether you’re excited about it or not, Star Trek 3 is going to be a movie worth keeping an eye on. Not just because the last two films did well critically and at the box office (although Into Darkness didn’t do quite as well as Paramount hoped). And not just because it will be releasing in 2016, in celebration of Trek’s 50th anniversary. No, Star Trek 3 will very much be a transitional film, and a chance for Paramount and the filmmakers to win back some of the long-time Trek fans alienated by J.J. Abrams’ alternate timeline. Where will Star Trek 3 take us? One of the new writers says it’s all about tough choices and boldly going where no man has gone before.

Writer J.D. Payne is one of two new screenwriters tackling Trek 3 with Bob Orci — the other is Payne’s writing partner Patrick McKay. Last month Payne was a guest at the LDS Film Festival, where he spoke about Trek 3, his vision for where the franchise should go next, and how he and his partner landed a dream job writing for a franchise he’s been in love with since he was 15. While he didn’t venture anywhere near specifics as to what the story of Trek 3 might entail, or which antagonists/alien races might be involved, he did say that the third film would be looking to embrace a tenet of the show’s iconic opening narration — to boldly go where no man has gone before — more than the previous two films did. Payne said:

We had sort of the origin story, we had sort of a darker, grittier manhunt Star Trek, but this one we really want to get back to the sense of exploration and wonder. That kind of optimistic sense of the future that Star Trek has always kind of had at its core.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-Rays And Firefly Comics Are On Sale Today

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EncounterAtFairpoint1It’s a rough time to be a long-time Star Trek fan. For many who cut their teeth on the original movies and the various TV incarnations over the years, J.J. Abrams’ rebooted movie universe is at best a pale imitation and at worst an outright insult (to be fair, the critics generally don’t agree with that sentiment). So if you’re a die-hard Trekker longing for the good old days, it might be time to click over to Amazon, because they’ve got a great deal going on for Blu-ray copies of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s first five seasons.

The Star Trek season sets have typically been a bit pricy, with the Next Gen Blu-rays listing for a whopping $129.99. That’s enough to put a dent in a man’s wallet even if you’re from a future that doesn’t use money. Thankfully Amazon has just given you a reason to raid the savings account, as all five Next Gen Blu-ray sets are going for a mere $45.99 today — that’s 65% off MSRP, and it means you can get all five sets for a little over $200. Not cheap, but certainly a lot cheaper than you could otherwise get your hands on new copies.

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Kickstart Prelude To Axanar, A Short That Delves Into One Of Star Trek’s Most Infamous Battles

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There’s no shortage of Star Trek fan films out there, and the quality and level of production values have only been increasing over the years. Advancing technology has made it easier than ever to pull off the CGI and visual effects needed to help sell an original Trek story, and some of the bigger projects, such as Star Trek: Phase II, have even brought in actual Trek vets such as George Takei, Walter Koenig, and writer D.C. Fontana. Now a new Kickstarter project is looking to set the bar even higher with a short film that will lead into a full-length independent Star Trek feature film.

The project is envisioned in two stages. The Kickstarter that’s in the works right now is for Prelude to Axanar, a short film that will play as if it were a documentary actually set within the Star Trek universe. It will look back at the Battle of Axanar, a conflict between the Federation and Klingons that made “Garth of Izar” an iconic name within the Trek-verse. Garth is mentioned several times in The Original Series, and his exploits during the Battle of Axanar are cited as required reading for Starfleet cadets. The 20-minute short will incorporate “interviews” with the characters involved, as well as actual footage of the events, which is intended as a proof of concept for the full-length film, which will eventually follow and be funded by a separate Kickstarter campaign.

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Harlan Ellison’s City On The Edge Of Forever Script Becoming A Comic Miniseries

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CityLove him or hate him, there’s no question that Harlan Ellison has had one hell of a colorful life. He joined a street gang to bone up on their world before he wrote a book about the subculture. He was fired on his first day at Walt Disney Studios after riffing on the idea of a pornographic movie starring Disney characters…within earshot of Roy Disney. He has earned a reputation for being contentious, vociferously opinionated, and possessed of a bountiful talent for revenge. To this day, one of the most legendary anecdotes about the writer is the story of him butting heads with Gene Roddenberry over Ellison’s script for Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Now, nearly 50 years later, Ellison’s original teleplay for the episode is being adapted into a comic book miniseries by IDW Publishing.

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Star Trek Retro Prints Close Out The Set With Shore Leave, Where No Man Has Gone Before, And More

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ShoreLeaveIt is truly the end of an era, people. Way back in August 2012, artist Juan Ortiz launched a massive undertaking: he would create an original, retro-style poster for every single freakin’ episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Each month since then, he’s released a new batch of four posters through StarTrek.com. Some have been funny, some surreal, but pretty much all of them are gorgeous and well worth adorning the wall of any true Trekker. (He even took a detour to create posters for Star Trek: The Animated Series). Now, some 19 months after he began, Ortiz has shared the final four posters, highlighting the episodes “Shore Leave,” “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” “Metamorphosis,” and “Turnabout Intruder.” As always, we’ll have details about how you can order copies of these prints down at the bottom of the story. For each poster we’re including Ortiz’s commentary from StarTrek.com as well.