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Tag Archive: Brent Spiner


Not likely to be the last we see of Star Wars animated television series from Disney, the successful four season run of Star Wars Rebels will wrap with its final episode March 5, 2018.  As each season has peppered fans with the official return of actors from the original George Lucas trilogy and prequels, as well as 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, at least one more major character will return in the series’ final seven episodes beginning next month.

Emperor Palpatine himself, Ian McDiarmid, joins original film cast members James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams, Forest Whitaker, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz, Warwick Davis, and Genevieve O’ Reilly, and an ultimate mash-up of actors from literally every major genre franchise, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gina Torres, Tom Baker, Brent Spiner, Jason Isaacs, Katee Sackhoff, Clancy Brown, Peter MacNicol, Sam Witwer, and Freddie Prinze, Jr.  McDiarmid reprises his role as the franchise’s top bad guy seen in the re-edit of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.  Although other original characters were voiced by new actors for characters like Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Bail Organa, Darth Maul, Wedge Antilles, and General Dodonna, this is a rare treat in any franchise to see the return of an actor to an iconic role so many years later (that is, except the Doctor Who franchise, which has seen 7 of the original 13 actors who played Doctors return along with nearly every companion in the series’ 50 year history as part of Big Finish Productions’ 17 years of audioplays).

Sam Witwer provided the voice of Palpatine earlier in the series, but Lucasfilm pulled in McDiarmid for one last curtain call.  What will be the ultimate fate of Lothal, another loss like Scarif and Alderaan?  Will Ahsoka return?  Why didn’t we see Grand Admiral Thrawn in Rogue One?  Does Captain Rex live to fight at Endor in Return of the Jedi?  Fans of the series are waiting to see what happens to the key characters, the crew of The Ghost.  We know from Rogue One that Hera and Chopper survive.  Will Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, or Sabine make it out of Star Wars Rebels, too?

The end, and the answers to these questions are almost here.  Check out this new trailer for the final episodes of Star Wars Rebels:

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new-independence-day-resurgence-footage-featurette-47

Review by C.J. Bunce

Independence Day: Resurgence hit theaters in a summer full of major releases, so odds are you missed this one.  Nearly the entire key cast–excluding most notably Will Smith–returned for the sequel to 1996’s surprise summer hit Independence Day: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox, and even John Storey and Robert Loggia in his final role.  Fans of the original and fans of Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Godzilla) and his take on the classic disaster movie will want to check out the new Blu-ray and the extensive special features available this week for the first time, which detail the planning and enormity of the special effects created for the film.

Resurgence is best if viewed as the next entry in a long cinematic history of rollicking disaster films.  Think Irwin Allen’s Earthquake, Towering Inferno, and The Poseidon Adventure or more recent films where Earth’s monuments stand little chance at survival like The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and San Andreas.  Independence Day: Resurgence provides an entirely new look at Earth.  The setting is today, but it’s a parallel world that lays out a possible world 20 years after the defeat of an alien menace.  As revealed in our review of The Art & Making of Independence Day here, Emmerich and co-creator of the original Dean Devlin pulled out all the stops in creating a big-budget special effects spectacle.

resurgence

But it’s not fair to just label it only a disaster movie.  Resurgence is in good company as sci-fi is concerned.  With its mysterious sphere and aliens that telepathically communicate with humans we can look back to the roots of modern sci-fi films in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  It’s critical look at what humans might do when encountering aliens evokes The Day the Earth Stood Still.  And it’s look at the knee-jerk reaction of mankind to militarize and destroy with a blind eye to others we don’t understand is straight out of Starship Troopers and Ender’s Game.  It doesn’t achieve the success of any one of these, but does make for a solid summer popcorn flick with a rousing soundtrack and some cutting edge visuals, and in doing so it plays much like Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

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USS Discovery Star Trek 2016 take off

Surprising fans at San Diego Comic-Con this afternoon, CBS revealed the second teaser for the next Star Trek television series.  It’s called Star Trek: Discovery, and like Star Trek Voyager before it, it will focus on another ship of the Starfleet line.  USS Discovery NCC-1031 will be the talk of Star Trek fans everywhere next year.

The ship, shown taking flight in the preview, borrows from concept drawings dating back between the original series and the movies.  It has a very modern look seen in both Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond, and even Enterprise, but also carries that sleek look of Voyager.  And from beneath it even sports the sprawl of a classic Klingon ship.  But this is the new look of Starfleet’s best.  And it looks pretty good.

USS Discovery Comic Con clip

This appears to be a classic design lending some credence to the rumor that the series will take place after Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country.  David Semel will direct the first episode.  Showrunner Bryan Fuller was joined on the panel this afternoon by William Shatner, Scott Bakula, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan, and Brent Spiner

Straight from Comic-Con, check out this trailer for Star Trek: Discovery:

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Independence Day Resurgence

We knew the sequel to 1996’s summer hit Independence Day was coming our way next year, but who would have guessed it would look like the sequel to Aliens?  Or Close Encounters of the Third Kind?  Director Roland Emmerich is back again, with a new, younger cast and some of the original players including Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner.  Leverage and The Librarians producer/writer/director Dean Devlin was the writer on the original, but did not return for the sequel.  Maybe that accounts for the difference in tone?

But something is not quite the same.  Sequels usually carry off more than the next sequence of events from a story.  Independence Day is known for the humor of Will Smith and Randy Quaid as much as for the fact that it was an alien invasion flick.  We see no sign of that humor in this first trailer released this weekend for Independence Day: Resurgence.

Check it out for yourself:

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Lando in Star Wars Rebels

We initially had some trepidation when it came to the new Disney animated TV series, Star Wars Rebels, set five years before the original Star Wars movie (A New Hope) and 14 years after Episode III.  We reviewed the first movie length pilot episode here, now available on DVD at Amazon.com here.  Focus on the younger character Ezra and the more cartoony silliness initially pointed to kids as the target audience for the show.  But as the series gained its stride, it became not only a good tie-in for diehard Star Wars fans, but something real, honest to goodness, Star Wars canon fans can be excited about, with its inclusion of original trilogy cast members as voice actors.  And its primary and supporting cast work will have you wanting to watch it again and eagerly anticipate Season Two when it returns to Disney XD at your next binge session.

The high point surprised us: The return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in an adventure before The Empire Strikes Back.  If you hate the fact that his primary role in the original trilogy was as a betrayer of Han Solo, you can finally see why Han previously was friends with him.  Sure, he was an opportunist even back then, but he was also skillful and suave, and, believe it or not, much cooler than he was portrayed in the movies.  That’s something worth seeing.

Star Wars Rebels C-3PO

But it didn’t stop with Billy Dee Williams.  The first episode, “Droids in Distress,” featured the return of Anthony Daniels as the voice of C-3P0.  In the ninth episode the great and powerful Frank Oz returned to voice the part of Yoda, in “Path of the Jedi.”  And how about James Earl Jones as Darth Vader again?  You can’t really get more canon than that.  Well, at least until we see Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker (and not only just hear them) return in Episode VII later his year.

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Simpsons characters

It’s time to take your vacation, to call in sick, or do whatever you have to do.  It’s Matt Groening’s The Simpsons.  And it’s all 26 seasons, including the movie, in order.  Oh my.  It all begins today.

Take a trip back in time to 1989.  And re-live every pop culture reference, every celebrity satire, and every angst-ridden moment since.  Donut-eating Homer, big blue haired Marge, skateboard wielding Bart, unappreciated Lisa, and never-aging baby Maggie.

Re-live the first time you met Mr. Burns, Sideshow Bob, and Ralph Wiggum.

Simpsons couch

Experience again the Simpsons world voices of those now passed, like Phil Hartman, George Carlin, Paul Winfield, Johnny Cash, Gary Coleman, Dick Clark, Marcia Wallace, Rodney Dangerfield, Joey Ramone, Ernest Borgnine, Johnny Carson, Werner Klemperer, Larry Hagman, Audrey Meadows, Michael Jackson, Harry Morgan, and George Harrison.

Where else could you find all these celebrities in one place?  Liam Neeson, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Mr. T, Paul Newman, Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Michael Keaton, Bette Midler, Brian Setzer, Richard Gere, Tim Conway, Martin Mull, Helen Hunt, Robert Wagner, Lenny Kravitz, Isabella Rossellini, Paul McCartney, Darryl Strawberry, Bob Newhart, Meg Ryan, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Martin, John Ratzenberger, Tom Petty, Kirk Douglas, Steven Wright, Rachel Weisz, Hugh Laurie, Eddie Izzard, Mel Gibson, Willem Dafoe, Robert Forster, Martha Stewart, the Dixie Chicks, Linda Ronstadt, Max Von Sydow, Donald Sutherland, Mandy Patinkin, Tony Blair, Little Richard, Gary Busey, Henry Winkler, Emily Blunt, Colm Meaney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lady Gaga, Brent Spiner, Marisa Tomei, Kurt Loder, Gillian Anderson, Treat Williams, J.K. Rowling, Cloris Leachman, Sir Mix a Lot, Tom Arnold, Topher Grace, and Sting.  Ruin anyone’s chance to compete with you at “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon” with this series, people.

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Planet Comicon 2014

Another Planet Comicon is behind us, but we have some more photos to share, of celebrities and cosplay and other fun.

Wil Wheaton at Planet Comicon 2014

Wil Wheaton signing at his booth, returning for his second show in Kansas City.

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner attended his first Planet Comicon this year and had long lines of fans his entire stay.

Jewel Staite

For Firefly fans, the biggest hit of the show was an appearance by Jewel Staite.

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The guys with the Back to the Future Delorean asked me to pose in their car. Something about a character played by Sylvester McCoy in a time machine…

McCoy and cart

Speaking of McCoy, each day he began his day by umm… liberating a cart and taking it for a spin around the hall.

McCoy and staff

McCoy hadn’t seen the Weta replica of his Radagast staff before and really liked it, although he accidentally broke the blue jewel (oops). He said he had used only two originals of the staff in the films.

And more cosplay…

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Trektacular 2014

Planet Comicon 2014 wrapped today, bringing to close the region’s biggest and best comic book and pop culture convention ever.  The best was saved for last with the TREKtacular reunion of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members hosted by William Shatner, including a surprise visit by John deLancie.  Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner did not disappoint a sold out crowd in the giant ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.  For those attending this once-in-a-lifetime event that did not purchase one of the 100 limited edition exclusive artist signed TREKtacular prints, a few may still be available.  Contact Reinke Arts on Facebook for more information.

Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis

We talked with Michael Dorn about his real-life jet fighter flying experience and Marina Sirtis said she loved today’s borg.com editor’s cosplay choice (so did Return of the Jedi’s Femi Taylor!).

Lee Majors panel

Lee Majors was a superb storyteller, catching up panel attendees on his recent TV series work, and delving into his stunt work on The Fall Guy (where he performed 80% of his stunts) and The Big Valley. He also discussed the success and appeal of The Six Million Dollar Man to fans.

Bionic Man action figure

We resurrected last year’s Convention costume of The Six Million Dollar Man action figure, which we wore meeting The Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, at Planet Comicon 2013, complete with jumpsuit, patch, plastic hair, data chip arm tattoo, bionic eye, and trademark Adidas Dragons.

Meeting Lee Majors

A kid’s fantasy come true–meeting your childhood hero, Lee Majors, who called me his “double” and said he thought the outfit and plastic hair was cool.  He also autographed the photo that was sent out to kids in the original fan club set in 1974, signed then by “Col. Steve Austin.”

With Zoie Palmer at Planet Comicon 2014

With Zoie Palmer from the Toronto-based TV series Lost Girl, the great Syfy Channel series we have reviewed previously here at borg.com.

With Margot Kidder at Planet Comicon 2014

With Margot Kidder, Lois Lane from the 1970s Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve.

Aquaman and Mera

Aquaman and Mera, Queen of Atlantis.

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NextGen cast

An awesome way to wrap up three days of convention activities, TREKtacular is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fanboys and fangirls to see some of the biggest Star Trek names all in one place in a Midwest venue.  To be held as Planet Comicon 2014 comes to a close, TREKtacular will feature a lively show with the entire original bridge crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation minus Picard, along with Star Trek original series star and now pop-culture icon William Shatner.  The event will be held in the Kansas City Convention Center at 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, March 16, 2014.

Featured celebrities for TREKtacular include Jonathan Frakes (Commander Will Riker), Brent Spiner (Lt. Cmdr. Data), LeVar Burton (Lt. Cdr. Geordi LaForge), Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), Michael Dorn (Lt. Cmdr Worf), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi), and Wil Wheaton (Ensign Crusher), plus host William Shatner.  Planet Comicon attendees may purchase autographs and photographs with the celebrities on “Celebrity Row” during the convention in advance of TREKtacular.

Kirk Star Trek VI

Tickets for this event will go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Central time, through Ticketmaster, and range from $49.50 to premier seating at $149.50 (a steal considering the number of guests being brought together and comparable event prices at the Sprint Center across town, and cheaper than good seats at a Chiefs or Royals game!).  There’s been a lot of buzz generated and demand is high so make sure you buy early tomorrow before the event sells out.  And for those who can’t make it to the convention, you don’t have to buy a ticket to Planet Comicon to attend this event.

More information is available at the Planet Comicon 2014 website.  Come and join borg.com for this incredible NextGen reunion, and a chance at seeing William Shatner in action!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Next Gen cast photo from Insurrection

Planet Comicon, the Midwest’s premiere pop culture and comic book convention, will host a 20-year reunion of members of the bridge crew of the Enterprise-D at The Star Trek: The Next Generation Reunion March 14-16, 2014 at the Kansas City Convention Center.  Commemorating 20 years since the seven-year series wrapped in May 1994, it will be a unique opportunity for the public to meet seven of the most beloved actors in sci-fi history, and they will all appear on stage together for an exclusive interactive cast panel Sunday, March 16.  It is the first time so many cast members will have appeared at one venue in the Kansas City area.  Three days of meeting fans, photo ops and signing autographs also presents the opportunity for the most access ever at one Con to all of these Star Trek icons.

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