Thursday, August 16, 2018

Spock Cast for Star Trek: Discovery

A new Spock has been anointed as Ethan Peck has been cast in the iconic role for Star Trek: Discovery's second season. As the show is set ~10 years before the Kirk Enterprise, this would the Spock that was second officer and lead science officer on the Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike. Be curious if they will use The Cage (1st unused pilot of the show) as the basis for the character as that version was Vulcan in ears only as he smiled, joked, and displayed emotion like the human characters on the bridge. From showrunner Alex Kurtzman:
“Through 52 years of television and film, a parallel universe and a mirror universe, Mr. Spock remains the only member of the original bridge crew to span every era of Star Trek. The great Leonard Nimoy, then the brilliant Zachary Quinto, brought incomparable humanity to a character forever torn between logic and emotion. We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, bring his own interpretation to the role. An actor who would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning. Ethan Peck walked into the room inhabiting all of these qualities, aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zack, and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy. In that spirit, we’re thrilled to welcome him to the family.”

Friday, August 10, 2018

Chris Pine, Hemsworth Out of Star Trek 4

It seems the future of Star Trek 4 is now in doubt as Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth deals have fallen through. Technically the movie could go forward but the rumored script always had a focus on Kirk and the mysterious return of his dad. Without either actor that means the existing script would likely have to be scrapped unless they just choose to recast both roles.

The reason for the failure to sign the two actors is pretty simple - money. The stars of both have risen significantly since the first movie, especially for Chris Hemworth. Chris Pine, thanks to the Wonder Woman films, is likely asking for a significant raise while Hemsworth is probably asking for near Marvel level bucks for his appearance which I would estimate is in the ~$10 million range. Also keep in mind with the #metoo movement that whatever pay that applies to those two would like result in similar pay being applied to Zoe Saldana with the remaining cast mates also then demanding a pay bump. Considering the $190M budget of Star Trek Beyond only returned $343M in worldwide box office, from Paramount perspective blowing ~1/3 of the budget just on salary isn't a wise return on investment. Sadly I am unable to disagree.

I do get both perspectives, especially for Chris Hemsworth. He is coming off carrying the Thor movies, Avengers 3 and general critical acclaim for whatever role he takes on. For example, he was about the only bright spot in the Ghostbusters reboot. In short, he has a strong argument to demand a high pay as he has a recent and strong argument that he puts butts in seats. Actually being true or not (cause being Marvel movies does a lot of the heavy lifting on that) doesn't matter, that is the perception that has often driven salary demands of this kind in the past.

The opposite of that argument ironically is Chris Pine. He has no proven box office record to speak of. He would point to Wonder Woman but he had nothing to do with the success of that movie. Literally any random male could have been in the same role and had the same impact box office wise. Really if need proof that he has no impact on box office results just look at his inability to put butts in seats for the dismal opening weekend of A Wrinkle in Time (which to be fair is a study on how to fail as a director in every way). In short, Chris Hemsworth can easily afford to hold the line on pay and pass on the movie. Chris Pine, frankly, cannot make the same argument despite is weird appearance in Wonder Woman 2.

What this all means is now Paramount has to decide if they are even moving forward with Star Trek 4 and then decide what new direction to take the story since the one in the works for the last year or so is out while hoping they can work something out with one or both actors. Often time pay scale in the Hollywood world is a sign of prestige in a film. For example the order that actor names appear on posters and in opening credits of a film can often be a hotly contested act when its multiple big name actors in a film that can be the result of months of negotiations to sort out (nope not kidding) and pay is similar. I don't see a scenario where Paramount is willing to meet Hemsworth's pay demands so once they resolve themselves to removing him from the equation, then Chris Pine can retain top pay and top name status which might be enough to get him to come back to the table for a payday they are willing to meet.

I guess the short of this is once again Star Trek 4 has returned to limbo and the movie future remains uncertain. At least the TV franchise's future remains strong.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Year Round Star Trek Planned for CBS All Access

The plans for Star Trek on TV does not end with Discovery and the upcoming Patrick Stewart as Picard series. In an interview with Deadline CBS TV Studios president David Stapf, "My goal is that there should be a Star Trek something on all the time on All Access." The assumption is he means new programming, not repeats of previous shows so the goal is ambitious considering Discovery's average season looks to be around 13 each and I am betting the Picard show will be around the same number meaning there is room for at least two more shows. Exactly what these will be, when, and all those details are still being sorted out so no concrete news except that it means that CBS is willing to bet big on Star Trek which is good news for fans.

Star Trek: Discovery - Season One Home Video Release Announced

CBS Entertainment has officially announced the release date of Star Trek: Discovery - Season One Blu-ray and DVD set as November 13, 2018 for North America. The International version release date has not been set. The 15 episode set will include various behind the scenes featurettes (below), deleted scenes and cast interviews. It is now available on for pre-order: Blu-ray | DVD

DISCOVERING DISCOVERY: THE CONCEPTS AND CASTING OF STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – Interviews with producers, writers and stars of Star Trek: Discovery about casting of the debut season.

THE STAR TREK THEME – A discussion with executive producer Alex Kurtzman and composer Jeff Russo about creating the Discovery theme and score for the show.

CREATURE COMFORTS – A behind-the-scenes look at the makeup and prosthetics department on Star Trek: Discovery, as they both modernize well-known Star Trek species like the Klingons, Vulcans and the Andorians, and bring to life a new species, the Kelpiens.

DESIGNING DISCOVERY – Insight into the production design department led by Tamara Deverell as they create the planets, the world within those worlds and the starships to travel amongst them.

CREATING SPACE – An exploration of how the VFX team, headed by Jason Zimmerman, pushes the envelope to create the reality of space, planets, and starships for Star Trek: Discovery.

PROP ME UP – Led by propmaster Mario Moreira, a voyage through the world of Discovery props, providing an inside look at the design process from inception to set.

FEEDING FRENZY – A fascinating look at the on-set food stylist who creates a galaxy of cuisine.

A FEMALE TOUCH – With strong female producers and writers off-screen and powerful female characters on-screen, Discovery exemplifies the groundbreaking inclusionary theme first put forth in the original series.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS – Costume designer Gersha Phillips and her team create a spectacular array of clothing, uniforms and armor for every kind of species in the galaxy.

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY: THE VOYAGE OF SEASON ONE – A look at the adventures and plot twists encountered in the first season by the crew of the Discovery.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

New Star Trek Series with Patrick Stewart as Picard Announced (Updated)

This weekend is the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention which tends to be star studded affair. Generally its the Star Trek convention of the year with the most Trek stars thanks to its proximity to Hollywood and being held in Las Vegas but rarely a source of breaking news. Until now, when Patrick Stewart took the stage on Saturday to reveal a new CBS All Access series where he will reprise the role of Jean-Luc Picard for the first time since 2002. The exact details of the series, when it will premiere, etc. was not announced. Below is the video of him announcing the series.
“I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”

“During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership,” Stewart continued. “I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”

Update: Here is an extended version of Patrick Stewart announcing his return in Vegas.