Back in August came the unbelievable announcement the cloud graphics company OTOY and Light Field Lab teamed up with various artists — including production crew from various Star Trek projects — to create a digital Roddenberry archive. The project covers everything from preserving notes, scripts, props, and more for generations to come to creating the profitable but controversial NFTs. But the biggest piece of the puzzle was the announcement to create a full-size — as in 1:1 scale — holographic version of the original Enterprise. This week, OTOY released a video to show their progress and expand on their plans. To celebrate, they invited surviving members of the cast and crew of the original unaired Star Trek pilot, “The Cage.”
OTOY released the video on Tuesday, which includes commentary from Robert Butler who directed the pilot Star Trek episode and Sandy Gimpel who played a Talosian alien in “The Cage.” According to Variety, OTOY also brought in Chris Hunter — the son of the late Jeffrey Hunter who first played Captain Christopher Pike — and Sean Kenney who played Pike in the two-parter “The Menagerie” which incorporated footage from “The Cage” into its story. You can see the video below.
Sadly, there aren’t a lot of leading cast members still alive from “The Cage.” The first Pike actor, Jeffrey Hunter, died only a few years after the production of the pilot. Leonard Nimoy and Majel Barrett have since passed away, as has Susan Oliver who played the seductive Vina who tries and fails to get Captain Pike to submit to the wishes of the big-headed Talosians.
Variety reports that while the holographic life-size version of Star Trek‘s Enterprise is still under construction, OTOY CEO and founder Jules Urbach previewed the version of the ship as it appears in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture at this year’s Apple keynote event. Eventually it will not just be the original version of the Enterprise constructed in this manner, but every version of the Enterprise.
But holographic versions of the Enterprise isn’t all the Roddenberry Archives encompass. It will also work to digitally preserves notes, scripts, photos, blueprints, models, and other documents and physical assets from Gene Roddenberry’s estate. Some of the artists who have been brought on board to consult include OTOY board member and digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann, and comic book artist Alex Ross. The Roddenberry Archive will also reportedly be cross-linked with both Ross’; and Winkelmann’s own digital archives.
The most controversial aspect of the Roddenberry Archive is that it will apparently be used to generate NFTs for Star Trek fans. Gizmodo and others say that NFTs cause “shocking amounts of damage to the environment,” which very much seems contrary to Roddenberry’s utopian message. Not everyone agrees, including William Shatner, who thinks NFTs are just plain nifty.
It’s no mistake OTOY chose this week to release the video. This Thursday, May 5, marks one of the biggest days in Star Trek in a long time. The season 2 finale of Star Trek: Picard begins streaming on Paramount+ on the same day that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres. For the first time in the history of the franchise, there will be three live-action series — Discovery, Picard, and Strange New Worlds — running at the same time. Not to mention the animated series Lower Decks and Prodigy.