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Tag Archive: Star Trek Discovery


We’re back today with the second part of my interview with Nicholas Meyer, director, screenwriter, and storyteller, as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and its return to theaters next month as part of the Fathom Events series.  Meyer directed Star Trek II and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and he was a screenwriter on both movies as well as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  He chatted with me about his films and more this past week.  If you missed part one of the interview, check it out here.

CB:  You’ve written words spoken on-screen by Lawrence Olivier (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution), David Warner (Time After Time, Star Trek VI), and Christopher Plummer (Star Trek VI).  Are there any other great actors you maybe fantasize, or would like to write, dialogue for?

NM:  I’ve also worked with Jason Robards and John Lithgow (both in The Day After).  I’ve worked with some really wonderful actors.  Fantasizing about working with actors is interesting.  When I listened to the Chandos recording of the music from Henry V–the Olivier film with Christopher Plummer reciting or acting out the various Shakespeare vocal parts–I thought, “Wow, I’d really love to work with this man.”  And I wrote the part of Chang in Star Trek VI specifically for him.  That’s the first time I’ve ever written for an actor other than the Star Trek cast.  I said to my casting director Mary Jo Slater, “Whatever you do, don’t come back without him.  Because there’s no movie unless it’s him.”  It would take me longer than this conversation to rustle around in my brain other actors I’d love to work with–Benedict Cumberbatch–sure, of course.

Nicholas Meyer directing the production crew, with Christopher Plummer as General Chang, on the Klingon courtroom set of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

CB:  Your Time After Time co-star Malcolm McDowell joined Star Trek in the seventh movie in the series, Star Trek Generations, after you were no longer with the franchise, and it always seemed to me to be an obvious choice to get him into the Star Trek universe.  Did he ever contact you about taking on a Star Trek role?

NM:  No… we never discussed it.  David Warner, who actually has been in two Star Trek movies (as Chancellor Gorkon in The Undiscovered Country and St. John Talbot in Star Trek V: The Final Fronter), was the great post-war Hamlet with the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company), and I think Malcolm at one point was a spear carrier in that company at the time when David was this huge star.  In Time After Time they used to kid each other about those times.  Something about carrying a pack of cigarettes under your costume.

CB:  You have said you see yourself first as a writer and have been writing and telling stories since you were five years old.  Are you as excited today to sit down and craft a story as you were in 1982?

NM:  I think when I get going the answer is yes, and if it’s going well the answer is yes, and the hours can go by and I look up and it’s a week later.  But as I’ve gotten older, the process of actually starting, of facing what used to be a blank page, which is now a blank screen, having done it again and again and again…  Most of the stuff I’ve written has never been produced.  Most of the stuff I’ve written for books I’m happy to say has been published, but I haven’t written that many books.  But most of my screenplays–including probably my best screenplays–have never been done.  So as you get older and you embark on this again and again and again there is a kind of a weariness of picking up the yoke and putting it on your shoulders.  That said, getting paid for telling stories beats work any day.

On the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Engineering set, that’s Catherine E. Coulson (later Twin Peaks’ Log Lady) with the camera, director Nicholas Meyer (in Starfleet captain’s jacket) and James Doohan as Scotty, filming the emotional finale.

CB:  In your memoir The View From the Bridge, you mentioned some of your best ideas or solutions when writing come while doing laundry, while in the tub, or even building a model boat.  What was your biggest revelation and strangest place you found it?

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Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan–a member of that fabled Class of 1982’s “best summer of movies”–turned 35 this year, and to celebrate, the film is returning to theaters as part of the Fathom Events series.  It has been said the film’s director and screenplay writer Nicholas Meyer saved Star Trek.  Meyer was well-known as the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and its screenplay, which earned him an Oscar nomination, and for directing and writing the screenplay for the fan-favorite, time travel thriller, Time After Time.  After the lukewarm response at the box office to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, executive producer Harve Bennett tapped Meyer to take the franchise in a bold, new direction, and the result, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, became the best reviewed film of the franchise and a classic among all science fiction.  Many details about Meyer’s work have been recounted in Allan Asherman’s The Making of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Meyer’s own memoir, The View from the Bridge.  Meyer has also shared a trove of his thoughts and work on the film in director commentaries accompanying the film’s various home releases.  He’s not quite finished with Star Trek yet–he’s back again as a writer and producer on the new series, Star Trek: Discovery, premiering next month.

I was ecstatic to interview Nicholas Meyer this past week and listen to him reminisce as director and screenwriter of The Wrath of Khan for the approaching anniversary theatrical release, and ask him questions I’ve had for years about his long writing career.  Meyer sees himself first as a storyteller.  In addition to The Wrath of Khan, he wrote the screenplay for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and he directed and wrote the screenplay for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  I think you’ll discover—or rediscover—that in Meyer’s selections of leading stage and screen actors like Christopher Plummer, Meyer provided gravitas to the Star Trek universe, and by infusing classical literature into the voices of characters from the likes of Shakespeare, Doyle, and Melville, he elevated Star Trek’s story beyond mere popular science fiction.  Everything that would come after The Wrath of Khan in the Star Trek franchise exists as a direct result of Meyer’s success on that film.

Director Nicholas Meyer observing final detail work as Ricardo Montalban’s headwrap is applied, filming the first appearance of Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

CB:  Welcome to borg.com.  Thanks for chatting with me and borg.com readers today and congratulations on the 35th anniversary of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

NM:  Thank you so much.  It’s a real pleasant surprise—As Kirk said to Scotty, “That’ll be a pleasant surprise.”

CB:  Let’s talk about Ricardo Montalban as Khan.  I have always loved this line: “I’ll chase him ‘round the Moons of Nibia and ‘round the Antares Maelstrom and ‘round Perdition’s flames.”  When you write something like that, do you know that you’ve got it, and when you see Montalban saying it and it appears on the screen, do you get any satisfaction of seeing that all come together?

NM:  Absolutely!  I have to say, first of all, I didn’t write it.  Herman Melville wrote it.  I substituted a few planets or something.  This is all Ahab.  I just cribbed it.  I remember with some satisfaction what I took to be at the time my cleverness (which turns out to be the curse of Kirk: “I patted myself on the back for my cleverness”).  It wasn’t until I saw Ricardo actually do it that I got goosebumps, and thought, “Holy cow.  This is wonderful!”  And I said to him actually at some point during the movie, “You really should be playing Lear.”  He sort of looks like Lear–with a big set of pecs.  Because he has been on stage, he was on Broadway, he did legit plays.  He was very touched, I think, that I had told him this, and he made some disparaging remark about his Hispanic accent.  I said, “That’s all bullshit.  You enunciate perfectly.  You could do this.”  I think Khan was as close as he ever got to doing it.

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The new sci-fi comedy Orville is coming soon from Emmy Award-winning executive producer and actor Seth MacFarlane (Ted, Family Guy) and director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf) premieres Sunday, September 10.  It’s a parody, but has so many creators from Star Trek (like directors Jonathan Frakes, Brannon Braga, and Robert Duncan McNeill) it looks like the real McCoy.  It’s the next science fiction series on our watch list.

This afternoon, Fox showcased the creators and stars at a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, including the reveal of a second trailer for the series.  It features more aliens, and more humor.  Panelists MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J Lee, Mark Jackson, and Chad Coleman, and producers David A. Goodman and Brannon Braga were introduced to the crowd in Room 6A of the San Diego Convention Center.  The big surprise was the news Charlize Theron will make an appearance in the first season.

Seth McFarlane returns to outer space, playing Captain Ed Mercer, newly tapped commander of The Orville, an exploratory vessel 400 years in our future.  Its crew, a mix of alien and human–and better yet, non-humanoid–races, encounters all those trials of space life found only in the lower decks of past sci-fi series.  Adrianne Palicki (G.I. Joe: Retribution, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is the X.O., Captain Mercer’s ex-wife Kelly Grayson, Scott Grimes (Family Guy, Band of Brothers, Star Trek: The Next Generation) is Ed’s best friend Gordon Molloy, Penny Johnson Jerald (Deep Space Nine, Castle) is Dr. Claire Finn, Peter Macon (Supernatural, The Shield) is Bortus, newcomer Mark Jackson is Isaac, J. Lee (Family Guy) is John Lamarr, Halston Sage (Goosebumps) is Alara Kitan, and Norm Macdonald (Saturday Night Live) is the voice of Yaphit.

Check out the official Comic-Con trailer for The Orville:

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At San Diego Comic-Con this afternoon, CBS revealed another trailer for the next Star Trek television series, Star Trek: Discovery.  Stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, and James Frain were introduced to the crowd at a panel hosted by new Harry Mudd actor, Rainn Wilson.  Series co-star Michelle Yeoh was not in attendance.

The panel also featured production team members Alex Kurtzman, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, Heather Kadin and Akiva Goldsman.  It’s been a year since we first got a look at the new Star Trek ship Discovery. 

More plot points, and a dark vibe for the series, are revealed in the trailer.  In case you missed it, check out the costumes on display in San Diego discussed yesterday here at borg.com.

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

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Visitors to San Diego Comic-Con this weekend have a chance to view screen-used costumes from three popular sci-fi franchises.  Disney, CBS, and the Prop Store have each created displays to showcase movie costumes for fans.  Three Star Wars characters from Star Wars: The Last Jedi are represented in the Star Wars pavilion at booth #2913 inside the convention hall.  The Prop Store is featuring one Serenity costume set to sell at auction at a later date, on display at booth #3845.  And CBS gives those not attending SDCC 2017 an opportunity to check out a dozen new Star Trek: Discovery costumes at the Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery in San Diego.

Inside the convention center, the Star Wars display features Resistance pilot uniforms for Poe Dameron, Nien Nunb, and Dameron’s wingman, Abednedo alien C’ai Threnalli, as well as one of the film’s BB-8 droids.  At the Prop Store display, several costumes from various movies and TV series are on display, including one of the Malcolm Reynolds costumes used in the Firefly TV series sequel Serenity, worn by Nathan Fillion.

 

At the Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery, Star Trek fans can see a display of new Starfleet, Klingon, and Vulcan costumes and props from Star Trek: Discovery, and get a photo sitting in one of three originals of the captain’s chair used in the new series.  Costumes include a new Starfleet EVA spacesuit and one of James Frain’s costumes worn as Sarek in the series.  New Starfleet props of the tricorder, phaser, and rifle echo original series props, where Klingon bladed and disruptor props are entirely new, reflecting a more ornate design scheme than fans have seen before.  Intimidation is clearly key to the new Klingons, who still sport their cloven-toed boots and familar tradition–small etched lettering on the knife blade on one d’k tagh blade states in Klingonese, “There is honor in death.”

Binderup trek 3

Check out a few photos:

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The big news this week for sci-fi genre fans–besides that surprisingly good trailer for The Orville previewed here earlier this week–is the release of the first full trailer for CBS All Access’s new series Star Trek: Discovery.  The new subscription service network released trailers for its new series Wednesday.  Along with Star Trek: Discovery are trailers for a S.W.A.T. reboot, a SEAL series, a crime drama, and three new comedies.

Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Bones will be happy to see David Boreanaz back as the star of another drama, SEAL Team.  SNL’s hilarious comedian Bobby Moynihan stars in his own comedy, Me, Myself, and I.

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jeremy Piven, who we last saw as an early 20th century businessman in the brilliant PBS series Mr. Selfridge, will star as a modern-day successful businessman with Richard T. Jones in a new crime series about crowdsourcing called Wisdom of the Crowd.  And fans of The Big Bang Theory will get a prequel series called Young Sheldon.

Check out all the previews for the new TV series from CBS All Access below, along with the network’s PR descriptions:

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It’s a parody, but the next science fiction series on your watch list looks just like the real deal.

While the next Star Trek series Star Trek Discovery remains somewhere in the shadows, a new, fully-realized sci-fi universe is heading our way this year on Fox with the new series The Orville.  From director Jon Favreau and creator/star Seth McFarlane comes an incredibly well-designed future world full of ships, aliens, cool costumes, and… humor?  In the vein of the Star Trek-spoof Galaxy Quest–but with a more finely-tuned science fiction look and feel–the next ship to hit television screens will be the USS Orville. 

Seth McFarlane returns to outer space, playing Captain Ed Mercer, newly tapped commander of The Orville, an exploratory vessel 400 years in our future.  Its crew, a mix of alien and human–and better yet, non-humanoid–races, encounters all those trials of space life found only in the lower decks of past sci-fi series.  Adrianne Palicki (G.I. Joe: Retribution, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is the X.O., Captain Mercer’s ex-wife Kelly Grayson, Scott Grimes (Family Guy, Band of Brothers, Star Trek: The Next Generation) is Ed’s best friend Gordon Molloy, Penny Johnson Jerald (Deep Space Nine, Castle) is Dr. Claire Finn, Peter Macon (Supernatural, The Shield) is Bortus, newcomer Mark Jackson is Isaac, J. Lee (Family Guy) is John Lamarr, Halston Sage (Goosebumps) is Alara Kitan, and Norm Macdonald (Saturday Night Live) is the voice of Yaphit.

Plus, the series has tapped the real deal for its music, composer Bruce Broughton, who worked on classic TV scores for years–everything from Barnaby Jones to Hawaii Five-O, to Gunsmoke, Amazing Stories, and Buck Rogers in the 24th Century, and memorable movie scores to Silverado, So I Married an Axe Murder, Tombstone, and the Lost in Space remake.  Get ready for a surprise–this looks a lot better than we would have guessed–the first trailer for The Orville:

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Never been to a comic book or pop culture convention before?  Always wanted to go to San Diego Comic-Con but you don’t have the vacation time available or the funds?  Planet Comicon is next weekend in Kansas City and although it isn’t as big as SDCC, it is a great way to get a complete three-day convention experience centrally located in the Midwest, ideal for a last-minute road trip for the family or a car full of friends.  It’s less than 8 hours by car from Dallas, less than 7 hours from Minneapolis, a little more than 7 hours from Indianapolis, and a little more than 8 hours from Denver.  And you don’t need to buy advance tickets–you can purchase them at the door.

So why make the trip?  How about meeting Jason Isaacs, the latest captain of a Star Trek television series and star of the Harry Potter movies (and great TV roles)?  Want to compare notes on Doctor Who companions with Catherine Tate (in her first U.S. convention appearance) and Billie Piper?   Want to talk Arrow and Torchwood with John Barrowman, or have another chance to meet Arrow star Stephen Amell?  Are you a Hellboy and Star Trek fan and haven’t yet met Ron Perlman?  It’s the Star Wars 40th anniversary–how about meeting the newest actor to portray Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Spencer Wilding?

Are you a Browncoat? Firefly’s Summer Glau is scheduled to attend, and Supernatural’s Jim Beaver.  Do you want to talk 20 years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Emma Caulfield?  Are you a fan of Lost Girl and need to get your fae fix with Anna Silk, Rachel Skarsten, Zoie Palmer, and Emmanuelle Vaugier?

Want to buy comics, books, or sketches from some of the best creators from across the country, like one of the all-time greats, Howard Chaykin, or Timothy Zahn, creator of the new novel Thrawn?  Click here to see everyone you can meet at Artist Alley.  Do you collect busts of superheroes and are missing some key characters?  Check out thousands of square feet of dealers selling everything from action figures to T-shirts to limited edition prints and toy lightsabers.  Whatever you collect, crazy or not, if it’s related to TV, movies or comics you’ll likely find something there.  And that’s just part of your day.  There will also be panels, and cosplay is always a highlight of the show.

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USS Discovery Star Trek 2016 take off

CBS has now revealed six cast members for the next Star Trek television series, the CBS All Access pay channel series Star Trek: Discovery.  Focusing on another ship of the Starfleet line that flew the friendly galactic skies ten years before the original Star Trek series, USS Discovery NCC-1031 is slated to be available to subscribers sometime in 2017.  Supporting many fans’ analysis that the ship sports design elements from Federation and Klingon vessels from the era of the original show, three new cast members were revealed this week–all of them to play Klingons.

Along with word that originally-tapped showrunner Bryan Fuller is no longer part of the production, CBS announced in the past few weeks that award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh, known to genre fans for both her leading role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and as a “Bond girl” in Tomorrow Never Dies, will play Captain Georgiou, but at least at first she will not be leading the Discovery, but a vessel called the Shenzhou.  Known for his extensive work in heavy make-up, genre fans were pleased to learn Doug Jones will be featured in the series.  Known for roles in Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, DC’s CW Network series, and much more, Jones will play Lieutenant Saru, a Starfleet science officer and member of an alien species new to Star Trek.  Anthony Rapp (Psych, A Beautiful Mind, Rent, The X-Files, Twister) will play Lieutenant Stamets, an astromycologist (a fungus expert) and Starfleet science officer aboard the Discovery.

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So who are the Klingons?  Chris Obi will play T’Kuvma, a Klingon leader set on uniting the Klingon houses.  Shazad Latif will play his protégé, Commanding Officer Kol.  And Mary Chieffo will play the Klingon vessel’s Battle Deck Commander L’Rell.  Obi has worked in series including Doctor Who and American Gods as well as Snow White and the Huntsman.  Latif has been seen in series from MI-5 to Penny Dreadful.  Chieffo is a relative newcomer to television, known for her “statuesque” 6-foot tall presence.

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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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