Patrick Stewarts’ Captain Jean-Luc Picard once said, “What we leave behind is not as important as how we lived”.
Created by Gene Roddenberry, “Star Trek” began in 1966 as a weekly TV show but it was cancelled after 3 seasons in 1969 because of poor ratings. Fortunately, reruns of the intergalactic adventure series proved its worth during the 1970s. The franchise extends a wide range of spin-offs including video games, novels, animated series, comics, and feature films.
Helmed by Justin Lin (who also directed the final 4 films in the “Fast & Furious” franchise) and produced by J.J. Abrams, “Star Trek Beyond” centres around the Enterprise’s famous “5-year mission” to explore the furthest reaches of uncharted space. Halfway into their mission, the crew is attacked by a seemingly unstoppable wave of unknown aliens, forcing them to abandon ship. Stranded on an unknown planet and with no apparent means of rescue, the crew find themselves in conflict with a new and mysterious enemy.
So, before you celebrate the epic franchise’s 50th anniversary and the film’s premiere later this month, here’s what else you need to know about “Star Trek Beyond” :)
1. 50 years ago, Gene Roddenberry modelled “Star Trek” on Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”
When Gene Roddenberry drafted the proposal for the science fiction TV series, now referred to as “The Original Series”, in 1964, he publicly marketed it as “Western (cowboys) in outer space”. But in actuality, he modelled it on Jonathan Swift’s best-selling classic, titled “Gulliver’s Travels”, intending each episode to act on 2 different levels: A suspenseful adventure story and a morality tale. It’s no wonder that most of his heroes have high altruistic values (selflessness).
2. “Star Trek Beyond” is Anton Yelchin’s Pavel Chekov final “Star Trek” film after his death
On 19th June, Anton Yelchin was killed outside his Studio City home in Los Angeles when his Jeep slid backwards and pinned him against a brick pillar and a security fence. Upon the news of his death, tributes and heartbreaking messages poured in on social media from fans, with many wondering if he was filming a new “Star Trek” film when he died. But this speculation was quickly denied as Paramount has yet to announce a 4th movie. Though “Star Trek Beyond” is Yelchin’s final “Star Trek” film, fans can see still him in several upcoming movies including “Rosemary”, “We Don’t Belong Here”, “Porto”, and “Thoroughbred”.
3. 50 different alien races will be introduced to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary
In conjunction with the franchise’s 50th anniversary, Paramount Pictures confirmed that the film will feature 50 different alien races! The studios first announced the news on the film’s official Twitter account and makeup designer Joel Harlow told Gizmodo that aside from the Vulcans, every other alien species is brand new. “The nature of the story allowed us to bring into play alien races we haven’t seen before,” he said. This means that we won’t be seeing any familiar extraterrestrial faces like Jem’Hadar or Bajorans in this “Star Trek” movie.
4. John Cho’s Hikaru Sulu will be the franchise’s first LGBT character
As a tribute to LGBT actor and activist George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in “The Original Series”, John Cho’s character will be the first LGBT character to be introduced in the “Star Trek” universe. Vanity Fair recently reported that in the upcoming film, Sulu will be revealed as an openly gay man raising a daughter with his yet-to-be identified partner/husband. While Takei expressed his disappointed over the news, Cho is extremely delighted with the decision. “I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out of it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientation,” he said.
5. Rihanna’s latest single, “Sledgehammer”, was featured in the film’s 3rd and final trailer
Bad girl RiRi is a self-professed Trekkie and her Trekkie dreams come true when she was given the opportunity to sing the theme song for “Star Trek Beyond”! Written by Aussie singer-songwriter Sia, “Sledgehammer” was featured in the film’s 3rd and final trailer and her music video became the 1st music video to be entirely shot using IMAX cameras. In regards to her love for the science fiction franchise, she said, “You always felt emotionally connected to the characters and whatever they were going through. This is something that’s been a part of me since my childhood and it’s never left me so it wasn’t like just doing a song for any random film. I love Star Trek. It was automatic”.
6. J.J. Abrams declined to direct the film because of his obligations for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Prior to the production of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), J.J. Abrams (real name Jeffrey Jacob Abrams) directed 2 “Star Trek” reboot films: “Star Trek” (2009) and “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013). Though the Emmy award-winning director was recruited by Paramount Pictures to helm the 3rd film, he declined the offer because of his directorial obligations on “Star Wars”. Well, it’s no big secret that Abrams has never really been a devoted Trekkie. “I was never a ‘Star Trek’ fan. The only reason why I was intrigued was, I thought, this was a way to find a way to love it the way my friends loved it,” he said. But he stayed on as producer nonetheless.
7. All 3 villains in the reboot have been played by a Marvel hero
All 3 “main villains” in the rebooted series have been played by an actor who has also portrayed a Marvel superhero on film. Eric Bana, who played Nero from the first film, previously played Dr. Bruce Banner in “Hulk”; “Sherlock” actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Khan Noonien Singh in the 2nd film, will be portraying Dr. Stephen Strange in the upcoming “Doctor Strange”; and Idris Elba, who will be playing the villainous alien Krall, portrayed Heimdall in the “Thor” series.
8. Idris Elba is the 3rd “Thor” actor to remain in the franchise’s reboot
Did you know that Idris Elba is the 3rd actor from Marvel’s “Thor” series to play a “Star Trek” character in the reboot? Chris Hemsworth aka “Thor” played George Kirk in the first film while Joseph Gatt aka “Frost Giant Grundroth” plays the Humanoid Starfleet Science Officer 0718 on the bridge in the 2nd film.
Watch the latest trailer for the film below:
Slated for release on 21st July 2016, “Star Trek Beyond” stars Chris Pine as Captain Kirk; Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura; Zachary Quinto as Spock; Idris Elba as Krall; Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov; John Cho as Hikaru Sulu; and Karl Urban as Leonard McCoy.