Saturday, November 28, 2009

Zoë Saldana talks about her roles in Star Trek and with Sam Worthington in Avatar

SHE was the sexiest officer ever to serve on board the Starship Enterprise when she walked on board JJ Abrams' remake of Star Trek.

Now Zoë Saldana is returning to cinema screens next month as a 10-foot tall angry and kicking alien, starring opposite Sam Worthington, in Avatar.

"I’ve become a little action whore. I’ve always gravitated toward the Sigourney Weavers, the f***ing Linda Hamiltons, the Angelina Jolies," Zoë tells next month's Details magazine.

"I just love strong women that are in tune with their bodies - that don’t just use their bodies as sex tools.

"I’m very dominant – feisty. I’m not a man-hater, just a very proud woman."

Zoë, who has already signed for the sequel to Star Trek, and has just finished shooting in Puerto Rico, an adaptation of The Losers.

"I'm such a physical person, action-film work came natural," she says.

"Zoë's definitely fiery," says Abrams, who has signed her for the Star Trek sequel. "She has the fortitude for you to put her in control. She could really do the job - not just look good in a ridiculously short dress."

Take a good look at Zoë, as it's not her body in Avatar. Director James Cameron used modern technology to turn her into Neytiri,a blue, 10-foot-tall kung-fu-fighting creature.

"Motion capture isn't like shooting ," Saldana explains. "You're in a suit with all these dots on you, and whatever you do, they get it. Sam and I did all sorts of stupid shit. If you burp, your character burps. I'd shake my booty, and you'd see my character shaking her booty."

What We Want: Star Trek 2


With the release of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek on DVD last week, there's been a flurry of talk about where the sequel to the hit film will take the characters. Will the Klingons show up? Will Spock and Uhura go "all the way?" Will the ultimate Trek villain get rebooted - the one, the only, the genetic superman known as Khan?!

Abrams and his team aren't discussing their plans in any detail, but they aren't ruling out any of the above either - particularly the Khan idea, which seems to be very popular among the fanboy and mainstream viewing audience. Your fearless, girlfriend-less, living-in-our-mothers'-basements-less IGN Trek experts, however, have mixed feelings on the matter to say the least. Why try to top what Nicholas Meyer and Ricardo Montalban did in Wrath of Khan, we ask?

Of course, we think the filmmakers can do whatever they want at this point, given the success of the first film. Still, we hope that they do it within reason, and don't take to rebooting just for the sake of doing their equivalent of fan-fiction (but with more effects and better casting).

Speaking of fan-fic, what follows is our take on how Star Trek 2 could work. We've accepted that Paramount and Abrams are probably going to go with something familiar in terms of villains - likely either Khan or the Klingons - but if they're gonna do that, then here are a few suggestions on how they might go about it…

One thing that's been pretty much missing from all the Star Trek films is the whole premise of the original show - the seeking out strange new worlds, new life and new civilizations thread.

Typically, the movies involve very Earth-centric stories and there's very little exploration to be found. And when a filmmaker has attempted something along those lines, the results have been pretty weak - just take a look at that planet of New Age California types in Insurrection, or the lame God planet in The Final Frontier.

As we've already noted, Abrams and his crew are more than likely going to go with a familiar villain or threat in this film. But that doesn't mean that they can't give us some kind of exotic, alien plotline. Maybe the idea is to take a cue from his first outing, where we spent the first 10 minutes, pre-credits, with the U.S.S. Kelvin. In the sequel, open up with Kirk, Spock and McCoy on an away mission to some strange new world, only to have it all go to hell in a hand-basket for a bang-up action scene that gets the movie going… and demonstrates why Kirk and his guys deserve to be manning the flagship of the fleet.

Of course, if Trek 2 does tackle a new planet, it can't be made of ice. Or lava. Or water. It can't be a forest, or a city in the sky. And no floating mountains. We've seen all that. So what kind of crazy alien world should it be? Don't ask us - that's why Abrams gets paid the big bucks.

The crew of Abrams' Enterprise survived the encounter with Nero with minor damage - not bad for a first mission opposite a very surly Eric Bana wielding black hole-making red matter. But for the sequel, the characters (and the audience) deserve a movie that doesn't end with a bridge full of smiling faces and full speed ahead.

This crew needs to be tested, especially its Captain. And we think Khan can be the one to make Jim Kirk earn his rank.

Chris Pine's Kirk kinda sorta lucked out to get the center seat. The sequel should follow up on how Kirk is tested by the responsibility of his rank; we should see him in action and earning his crew's respect and loyalty by facing a "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" choice. Moreover, we should see the crew react to Kirk's orders - the tough ones, especially - and witness why and how this crew is so fiercely loyal to each other based on the mission testing them.

That test should come courtesy of one Mr. Khan Noonien Singh. Now calm down, Wrath of Khan addicts. We're not suggesting that they remake Trek II (and we bet Abrams and Co. are smart enough to not do that). Rather, we think they should do what Harve Bennett and director Nick Meyer did 27 years ago: Revisit "Space Seed," the classic Star Trek episode that introduced us to Khan and his cryogenically frozen, genetically-engineered super humans.

Expand upon some of the ideas in that episode that a budget as big as this sequel would allow. Show us a Khan in his prime, with an army of test-tube Caesars taking over a planet, a siege that prompts the world to send out a distress call that Enterprise responds to.

Or have the events in "Space Seed" play out aboard Enterprise, but spice them up. Enterprise locates the Botany Bay, Khan's ship full of refrigerator coffins, and has to rescue it from "insert destructive space anomaly here". Khan boards Enterprise, recognizes a keen intellect in Kirk, in Spock, but also recognizes that they are inferior to him, and that he must reign in this timeline.

The original Khan.

And from there, it's Die Hard on the Enterprise. Let's see Kirk have to use his smarts on screen; let's see Kirk have to beat the no-win scenario any way he can and pay for the party with some blood on his hands (and no, that doesn't mean kill Spock). Let's see Khan trying to take over the ship, advancing deck by deck, with Kirk on the bridge, using the computer's intruder countermeasures to thwart Khan.

Khan stays one step ahead of Kirk, and a firefight between Kirk's officers and Khan's men is all that stands in the way of Khan gaining control of the bridge. Then, Kirk has to give the order to save the ship by jettisoning the deck. He evacs the deck, but some have to stay behind and hold the line.

All eyes are on him to mark the moment this genius-level, repeat offender from Iowa becomes Kirk, Captain James T., and we hold on Kirk as the voices of his dying crew over the speakers go silent -- and we only hear the sound of the deck clamps disengage. Stay with Kirk, his back towards the viewscreen, as the jettisoned deck tumbles into space…

Thinking he has saved the day, and not wanting to feel the looks of the crew anymore, Kirk leaves the bridge to see how badly Enterprise has been hurt. As he reaches the turbolift… Kirk is sent flying back, hard, into his Captain's chair and onto the floor. Reveal Khan in the lift, having survived the jettisoning of the deck alongside three of his men.

Khan's grunts take out select bridge officers, and it takes all three of them to subdue a very strong, very pissed off Spock.

The scene ends with Kirk slowly rising from the floor to find Khan taking a seat in the Captain's chair. From there, the movie plays out like the original episode: Khan puts people in the airlock - even Kirk - until he can get the access code to unlock the ship's computer and put Enterprise under his command. Eventually, Kirk and the crew take out some of Khan's men in their attempt to regain control of the ship, ending with Kirk marooning Khan and his followers on (drum roll, please) Ceti Alpha V.

Now here's the thing. It's the year 2009 and this isn't, as the marketing campaign for the first film told us, your father's Star Trek. The cast of this series are reportedly only signed for three films, meaning that in all likelihood this incarnation of the franchise is going to have a fairly short lifespan.

Actors like Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana, who are already being groomed for Hollywood greatness, probably don't have too much reason to stick with Trek beyond their contractual agreements. And Abrams doesn't want to become just a Star Trek guy, so expect him to step back to a producing capacity eventually. With that said, why not give this group's remaining adventures some real drama and a bona fide sense of danger by actually killing off main characters?

Abrams and his team already got this ball rolling in the first film, when they changed up the status quo and not only destroyed Spock's homeworld, but also killed the Vulcan's mother. Those elements really served to make Spock a more interesting character, and in fact helped fuel one of the most surprising aspects of the film - his romance with Uhura. So why not continue to mine that storytelling vein and kill off Uhura - perhaps Khan himself can do the deed in violent and gripping fashion, in fact.

And we're not talking "she's dead until the next movie" death here. This would have to be legitimate and lasting, the kind of blow to the gut that knocks not just the Enterprise crew down and down hard but also the audience. Which leads to…

We got a taste of Spock's inner anger early in the first film, when the character was just a boy being taunted by his classmates. And again later, when the young adult Spock was offered a place at the Vulcan Science Academy despite his "disadvantage of being half human," the rage of the man could be seen just boiling beneath the surface of his calm, collected, logical exterior.

But when Uhura - his true connection to his human side since his mother died - is killed, not even the teachings of Surak would be enough to contain his rage. Screw the attainment of kolinahr, this is war!

It's something of a running joke for Star Trek fans how often we've seen Spock lose control of his emotions on the old series, especially considering that he's supposed to be the stoic one. Of course, what would the point be of always telling us how unemotional the character is if we didn't get to see those emotions unleashed? And for all his proper and straight-laced ways, this Vulcan has proven that he will go medieval on your Andorian ass if he's pissed off enough.

So take that basic concept and imbibe it with the Abrams flair for style and action that made his Star Trek so successful. The Zachary Quinto Spock, pumped up and out of control when his woman bites it, could take on a battalion of Klingons or a Botany Bay's worth of genetic supermen and quite possible win… or at least provide us with one of the more memorable fight scenes to ever show up in a Trek film, while further adding texture to the first film's most interesting character.

If the only Khan you ever want to see is of the Ricardo Montalban variety, then may we suggest making the Klingons the primary villain in Trek 2?

But here's the thing: Make the Klingons scary. They have never been especially menacing or threatening, but they should be, given their warrior-race past. Make them more than aliens with spines on their foreheads and crooked teeth. These are warriors bred for the love of combat - let them act like it.

The Klingons haven't had the spotlight in a feature film since 1991's Star Trek VI, though a deleted scene from Abrams' movie shows us the Klingons interrogating Nero on the prison planet Rura Penthe. The Klingons here wear masks that hide their features, but the masks have forehead ridges that indicate the make-up of the aliens will not change too much from what we have seen before.

If the Klingons are to be our main villain in a second movie, whomever Kirk battles has to be a great heavy. He has to pose as great a challenge to Kirk as Joker does to Batman. The last time we saw a Klingon give as good as he got was Christopher Lloyd's Kruge in Star Trek III. It's time to revisit the Tribble-hating, prune-juice loving warriors and give them, and the Enterprise, a conflict to end all conflicts. (Perhaps the colony Spock Prime relocated his people to belongs to the Klingons, which prompts an interstellar war when Enterprise encounters the Klingons who want their land back?)

Imagine what Team Abrams could do by giving us a Klingon villain that can hold his own opposite the young Captain, while simultaneously reminding us that Klingons live for that one good day to die.

Any movie that has the title Star Trek 2 has to have a space battle. It's law. No, it's Geek Law, which trumps human law any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

One of the best elements in Wrath of Khan is the run silent, run deep game of cat and mouse the Enterprise and Reliant play. Abrams' movie gave the Enterprise plenty of money shots and hero moments, but the Narada was too big a vessel to give us the type of space-based combat we like to see when it comes to starship vs. starship.

So pit Enterprise opposite a ship of equal or slightly greater size and remember that these ships fight in space, where there are multiple planes of battlefield to wage war upon. Fire phasers and photon torpedoes on all axis. We're not suggesting Khan (if he's the baddie) should low-jack himself another starship, but we think an ol' fashioned space battle is in order, one that makes the U.S.S. Kelvin attack look like a square dance. The movies have yet to give us the definitive Federation vs. Klingon battle. How awesome would that fight be with ILM's effects and Abrams' direction?

It's OK if you can't answer. Our brains turned to flubber when we thought aboutf it, too.

Star Trek Contest Winners!

Last Thursday we began our little Star Trek Caption Contest, and we now have our three winners. If you remember, the prize is “Star Trek: The Art of the Film”, published by Titan Books. First, here’s the image we asked you to humorously caption:

Star Trek

We had a lot of great entries, and I want to thank everyone for participating. Here are the winning captions:

From Cynic710:

I was just sitting here thinking, ” I canna change the laws of physics! I’ve got to have thirty minutes”, so i called microsoft and BAM, physics changed in 5 minutes now” 7, my idea.

From Ashton:

First I fight off zombies….then I have to straighten out a town full of crazy town folk… you want me to be head of engineering of a Federation ship? Haven’t I given you all I got already?!

From William M:

What? I know it’s a Federation computer, but gimme’ a break. You try being stationed all the way out here without scoping a little porn now and then.

Congratulations to all the winners! Please email me at dankoelsch[AT] with your full name and mailing address so we can get you your prize!

Star Trek: The Art of the Film” is a lavishly illustrated celebration of that new vision, tracing the evolution of the movie’s look through a stunning array of previously unseen pre-production paintings, concept sketches, costume and set designs, unit photography and final frames. Written by New York Times-bestselling author Mark Cotta Vaz in close co-operation with the film’s production team, and including a Foreword by J.J. Abrams, this is the essential companion to the film.

Free update for Star Trek D.A.C.

New content for the Star Trek: D-A-C video game is now available for download via Xbox Live Arcade. For players that previously purchased the game on Xbox Live Arcade, the new content for Star Trek: D-A-C is available as a free download. New players can purchase the updated game on Xbox LIVE Arcade for 800 Microsoft points.

Star Trek: D-A-C is a fast-paced, top-down space shooter where up to 12 players can compete in intergalactic battles between Starfleet and the Romulan Empire. Since its maiden voyage on Xbox Live Arcade earlier this year, Star Trek: D-A-C has been expanded with two additional ship classes, a single player game mode, several new pick-ups, a new map for Assault Mode, enhanced gameplay features and more.

Star Trek: D-A-C supports online multiplayer, online co-op and single player gameplay. There are four different game types - Survival, Team Deathmatch, Conquest and Assault. In the all-new single-player Survival Mode, Starfleet captains have only three lives to blast through waves of enemy ships. When destroyed, enemy ships and drones drop special ability and score pick-ups, and players are challenged to grab as many as they can before their lives run out. Top scores will move players to the top of the leader boards and Starfleet ranks.,13470,5721414_technology,00.html

Looking for something to do? Beam over to Star Trek con at Eastside Marriott

or former Lafayette resident Garrett Wang, the role of Ensign Harry Kim on “Star Trek: Voyager” was more than a job. It was a personal quest — powered by racism.

Wang, who headlines this weekend’s Star Trek convention in Indianapolis, wanted to portray Asians in a better light. It bugged him to see Asian-Americans stereotyped as restaurant workers and martial artists. Worse, he hated laughing stocks like the bucktoothed Mr. Yunioshi in the classic 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

“Being in the South really impacted my life,” Wang (pronounced “wong”), 40, said by phone recently, recalling his high school days growing up in Memphis, Tenn. “Having to deal with racial epithets every day really molds your life.”

That’s why he dumped his pre-med ambitions and Asian studies major at UCLA and turned to acting. He bounced from one theater production to another before landing an audition for “Voyager” (1995-2001), the fourth “Star Trek” TV series. It took him six auditions to earn the gig, he said.

Knowing his role was historic in Trekdom — he was the first Asian-American actor to appear regularly in a “Star Trek” series since George “Sulu” Takei in the original 1960s show — Wang, then 24, quickly set the tone.

“I approached (the producers) about my concerns” on stereotypes, said the Riverside, Calif., native. “I told them, ‘I really don’t want scenes of (Kim) ordering a bowl of noodles from the food replicator. Just make him a normal, young Starfleet officer.”

The show was a natural fit, said Wang, who admits to growing up a science-fiction geek.

“ ‘Star Wars’ was a big influence on me. From that point forward, I watched every sci-fi thing I could,” like “Battlestar Galactica” and “V,” Wang said. He watched the original “Star Trek” in reruns, too, but “it really didn’t impress me.”

“When you’re nine, 10 years old, you want to see special effects. ‘Star Trek’ at that time didn’t really have that. ‘Star Wars’ looked way better. There were spacefights and battles. You’re not looking for storylines (at that age), you’re looking for action.”

Wang tried to watch “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in college, but struggled to stick with it after seeing the season one episode about kidnapping titled, “Code of Honor.”

“It probably is one of the worst episodes in the entire series,” he said. “I’m watching this and thinking, ‘This blows. This is the worst writing.’ Months later, he tried to give the show another shot — only to find a rerun of the same “crappy episode.” In the end, Wang never got into “TNG” or the subsequent series, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” aversions he said helped keep his nerves in check when he auditioned for “Voyager.”

Set in the 24th century, Wang’s show followed the Starfleet vessel USS Voyager, which becomes stranded 70,000 light-years from Earth while pursuing a renegade ship and then turns to making the 75-year journey home. “Voyager” is the only “Trek” series to feature a female captain, Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) as a lead character.

After “Voyager” ended in 2001, Wang took a break from acting, sold his house in Los Angeles and traveled. He bought some properties in Las Vegas, and he got into the convention circuit, sometimes doing as many as 20 shows a year. He didn’t take on a major project until 2005, when he starred in the six-part TNT miniseries, “Into the West,” produced by Steven Spielberg. Wang blamed the lack of work on the explosion of reality shows and a flood of actors coming over from feature films.

“There were so few jobs,” he said. “In four years I had 20 auditions. That’s a very difficult way to operate and live.”

Fast forward to today, Wang said the latest “Star Trek” movie, directed by J.J. Abrams, has reinvigorated the franchise. He saw the movie nine times — “The only movie I’ve seen more than once was ‘Star Wars’.”

“I thought the casting was great, although I’m not sure I’m sold on John Cho on being Sulu. … The soundtrack was amazing, the pacing, the editing, the script. Everything in the film was super, super cool. Being someone who worked on Star Trek, I was kind of nervous before the release. I thought, ‘What if this thing sucked?’ ”

Wang said he was irked that neither he nor any previous Trek cast member except Leonard “Spock” Nimoy was approached to star in the new flick.

“Word on the street was, (director) JJ Abrams didn’t anybody from any past Star Treks. He wanted all new faces — even down to the makeup artists. That’s insane. But it was like, ‘A new king’s in town. We’re going to have all new people.’ And that’s what happened. And I would say it worked.”

So, after six “Trek” series (counting the animated version), a billion-dollar merchandising industry and 11 movies, does Wang think it’s time to give the franchise a rest?

“No, hell no,” Wang said. “I think they defiantly should do more films. I think there’s room for another series, too, but it has to be edgy. If you can capture what was in the (latest) movie and make it into a series, I think it will be immensely successful.”

Star Trek successfully fuses new with old (Review)

The new J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek is geared directly at guys like me. There was a time when I watched some of The Next Generation, but it was a mild interest that proved short lived. That, and a few Deep Space Nine episodes, is all I know of the Star Trek franchise that I’ve seen with my own eyes. When I hear the words Star Trek, I think about William Shatner’s stunted delivery despite the fact I probably have never actually seen him in the role of Captain Kirk.

So, Star Trek remains, for me, one of those pop culture acquaintances known primarily from second-hand sources, and apparently that’s whom Abrams was hoping to target with his new flick. He succeeds at reaching a new audience, though not on a large scale.

Sometimes it works — the younger Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is a nicely realized arrogant and cocky hero. Sometimes it doesn’t — the scene with Kirk’s ballooning hand is jarringly broad. More often than not, the movie does its job serviceably if not all that memorably.

In shifting the characters to a younger core age, Abrams allows for a clean entrance point for newcomers. He manages to also retain the franchise’s continuity by incorporating time travel, which surely satisfies the hardcore fan base. It’s a tough balancing act, but Abrams seems to have pulled it off. His Star Trek comes with a sense of history on top of being built with Star Wars-type action scenes and Indiana Jones-type fun for a mainstream audience.

Star Trek is a decent sci-fi action romp, and coming from a non-fan, I’d say that’s a job well done.

ATV Icons: Majel Barrett-Roddenberry

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry’s first involvement in the world of Star Trek was when she was cast in the role of Number One in the original pilot for the series. However, Network bosses did not like the pilot Paramountand significant changes were made which included the re-casting of the role, Barrett was dropped. However, she was cast instead in the recurring role of Nurse Christine Chapel. A recurring theme for Christine Chapel throughout the original series of Star Trek was her feelings for Spock [Leonard Nimroy] but also enjoyed friendships with Dr McCoy [DeForest Kelley] and Uhura [Nichelle Nichols] The original series of Star Trek struggled in the ratings and was cancelled by broadcasters NBC in 1969 – shortly afterwards Majel Barrett and series creator Gene Roddenberry married in Japan. The two had been in a relationship throughout the run of Star Trek.

Although Star Trek was cancelled by NBC in 1969 the broadcasters did commission an animated Star Trek series in the 1970s. The animated series of Star Trek ran for 22 episodes between 1973 and 1974 and several of the episodes were sequels to the live-action Star Trek Paramountseries. Barrett’s character of Christine Chapel appeared in nine episodes of the series and the actress provided the voice for the character – the actress also lent her voice to several other one-off characters on the series. The animated series led to the possibility of a revived live-action series provisionally entitled Star Trek: Phase Two which would have continued to the story of the Enterprise and its crew from where the original series left. Pre-production work started on the proposed new Star Trek series with test footage shot, scripts written and sets and models built along with the original cast being rehired for the new series. Ultimately the series was abandoned but much of the work that went into it was used in the Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979 and featured Majel Barrett-Roddenberry as Doctor Christine Chapel, having been promoted in the years since the original series concluded. The film was one of only two in which the actress reprised the role of Christine Chapel, the second film Paramountbeing The Voyage Home in 1986 where the character had once more been promoted – this time to Commander. However, the two films were not the actress last association with the franchise, far from it. The success of the Star Trek film franchise eventually led to a revival on the television in the form of spin-off series Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series premiered in 1987 and was set roughly 80 years after the events of the original series on the latest incarnation of the USS Enterprise. Barrett returned to the franchise on television by providing the voice of the Enterprise computer, often un-credited. The television series came just a year after the film The Voyage Home and marked the beginning of the end for the films based around the original series and cast. Eventually the movies themselves would focus on The Next Generation cast of characters starting with the 1994 film Generations.

While continuing to provide the voice of the Enterprise computer on The Next Generation Barrett appeared in the series herself as the recurring character of Ambassador Lwaxanna Troi – the mother of Paramountseries regular Deanna Troi [Marina Sirtis]. The character of Lwaxanna was something of a comic relief in terms of storylines and was most often featured looking for a new husband. The actress reprised the role on three episodes of fellow spin-off series, Deep Space Nine, which was launched in the last year of The Next Generation. The two shows featured a heavy amount of crossover elements with characters crossing between the two in various episodes and Lwaxanna was just one of these. In the series Lwaxanna falls for challenging Odo and even marries him in one episode all be it briefly. Once again Majel continued to provide the voice of the Federation computers in spin-off series. It was a role she continued in the Voyager spin-off series which launched in 1994.

While the actress continued to provide the voice of the Ship’s computers in the spin-offs Deep Space Nine and Voyager the actress was also busy outside of the Star Trek franchise. In 1996 she guest Babylon 5starred in the third season of rival Science Fiction series Babylon 5. There had been, at this point, rivalry between fans of Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as fans felt there were similarities between the two shows and that the producers of Deep Space Nine had stolen ideas from Babylon 5 when it was in the hands of the broadcasters – who eventually passed on making the series in favour of another Star Trek spin-off. Majel Barrett was one of several actors assiocated with Star Trek to appear in the Babylon 5 franchise to dispel the rivalry. Another actor who played a major part in Babylon 5 was Walter Koenig who played the recurring character of Psi Cop Bester in the series. Koenig had played Pavel Chekov in the original Star Trek series and the movies.

In Babylon 5 Barrett played the Lady Morella, wife of an assassinated Emporia of Centuari Prime. Lady Morella visits the space station at the request of Centuari Ambassador Londo Molari [Peter Jurasik] as he has heard that Morella possess physic abilities. Lady Morella is able to see into Londo’s future and tells him one day he will be Emporia of Centuari Prime but so too will be his diplomatic aid, Vir Cotto. The episode was also important in terms of various story-arcs which had been running throughout the series at this point. The episode advances many of them in terms of the Shadow-War arc and the Earth arc - martial law is declared on Earth and all of its colonies as a fascist military dictatorship begins to really take control of Earth, its government and military.

Gene Roddenberry passed away in 1991 and in 1997 Majel Barrett used story ideas left behind by her husband to launch a new science fiction series; Earth Final Conflict. The series was originally to be logotitled Background: Earth but was changed as it was felt too similar to another series. Barrett not only served as Executive Producer on the series but also played recurring character of Doctor Julianne Belman in the shows first two seasons. The series was set in early 21st century Earth where aliens Taelons arrive seemingly peaceful and offering advance technology is exchange for refuse. However, a resistance movement is formed who believe the Taelons have a hidden agenda and over the course of the series it’s revealed that they are indeed using humanity to help them against their enemies, the Jaridians.

Although the series ran for five years between 1997 and 2002 it was reportedly fraught with problems behind-the-scenes. Earth: Final Conflict went through a lot of cast members in its five year run allegedly due to differences between cast members and the producers. Most characters tended to only last two seasons before being killed off or simply disappearing from the action. The fifth and final year of the series saw something of a radical departure from established storylines with a new hostile alien race introduced.

Earth: Final Conflict was one of two shows Majel Barrett developed from story ideas left behind by Gene Roddenberry. The second was Andromeda which ran from 2000 until 2005 and on which the logoactress once again served as producer. However, this time the actress did not appear in the series itself. However, working on these two series’ didn’t stop the actress continuing to contribute towards the Star Trek franchise lending her vocal talents to the many computer games based around the series and also once again providing the voice of the Federation computers in the last television spin-off, Enterprise. Although Enterprise was a prequel to the original Star Trek series but a sequel to the movie First Contact [slightly confusing timelines] the series featured a two-part story set in an alternative universe in a prequel story to original series and Deep Space Nine stories. Barrett provided the voice of the ship’s computer in these two stories which was from the 24th century. Working on Enterprise meant the actress was the only actor to work on all of the Star Trek television series’.

prequel seriesMajel Barrett continued to work right up to her death with only weeks before recording her part for the reboot of the Star Trek film franchise. The actress once again provided the voice of the ship’s computer in the J.J Abrams produced movie which featured an all new cast playing original series characters. Working on the movie meant that as well as being the only actress to have worked on every version of the franchise on television she also became the only actor to work on every incarnation of the franchise, be it on film, television or computer game.

Captain Kirk And Batman Team Up In Ancient Greece

It's the pilot that brought William Shatner and Adam West together in the early 1960s for some manly Greek historical action. Click through to watch Alexander The Great, the show that could've destroyed Star Trek and Batman. Thank Mark Waid's podcast for the heads-up about this failed pilot starring a pre-Trek Shatner and pre-Batman West. Just think, if this show had been picked up, there might never have been a series about humanity boldly going where no man had gone before...!

'Star Trek Online' to beam gamers to the bridge

The most iconic setting in "Star Trek" almost didn't make it into the series' online video game.

The developers at Cryptic Studios were focusing on recreating the sci-fi franchise's universe for "Star Trek Online," the upcoming massively multiplayer online game that boldly casts players as captains of their own starship. Yet they were leaving out a crucial location -- the bridge. Despite their initial hesitation, the game's masterminds decided to make it so.

"We didn't want to have interiors at launch," said "Star Trek Online" executive producer Craig Zinkievich. "We thought it was just a little bit too much. We really wanted to make sure we delivered a really deep experience, but with your bridge not being in the game it really felt like a hole in the game and it was just something that we had to put in."

When players design their virtual vessels, they can choose from about 20 different bridges -- like one resembling the command centers aboard the famed Enterprises or the brawny Defiant from "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

Zinkievich said the bridges will mostly function as social hubs where gamers can hang out with their bridge officers and other captains online.

The game is set 22 years after the supernova that destroyed the Romulan homeworld and transported an elder Spock and the villainous Nero into director J.J. Abrams' reimagined "Star Trek." Peace between the Federation and Klingons has evaporated, meaning space combat will play a vital role in the game, though there are still strange new worlds to explore.

"Star Trek Online" is scheduled for release Feb. 2.

Star Trek' tops DVD sales, rental lists

"Star Trek" is the top-selling and most-rented DVD in the United States, Rentrak Corp. announced Thursday.

The company's Retail Essentials and Home Video Essentials tracking services said the science-fiction film was No. 1 on both lists for the week ending Nov. 22.

Coming in at No. 2 on the U.S. roster of DVD sales is "Up," followed by "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" at No. 3, "My Sister's Keeper" at No. 4, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" at No. 5, "Bruno" at No. 6, "The Ugly Truth" at No. 7, "Twilight" at No. 8, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" at No. 9 and "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure" at No. 10.

Coming in second on the list of the week's top DVD rentals is "My Sister's Keeper," followed by "The Ugly Truth" at No. 3, "The Taking of Pelham 123" at No. 4, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" at No. 5, "The Proposal" at No. 6, "Up" at No. 7, "Bruno" at No. 8, "The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard." at No. 9 and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" at No. 10.