Sci-Fi Roundup for November 5

Compiled by Carl Slaughter: (1) Disney charges high price for Last Jedi, smaller town cinemas refuse to play.

(2) Star Trek movie scenes: “Star Trek: 15 Deleted Scenes You Won’t Believe Were Cut”

In this deleted scene from Insurrection, Captain Picard has an unsuccessful working lunch in his ready room. He drops a bowl of well-dressed cheese salad on himself, which would have provided a hefty laugh in the cinema.

Riker enters, and sneakily snares a bit of the salad, while Picard talks about the mission at hand and cleans himself off. The pair discusses the radiation in the region, before being summoned to the bridge.

This scene wasn’t exactly crucial to the plot, but it was full of interesting character beats. Picard enjoys dramatic orchestral music at lunchtime, Riker expresses amusement upon seeing his captain covered in gorgonzola, and the pair are clearly very comfortable together, discussing complex science while one of them is walking around and trying to smarten himself up. None of this is plot-essential, but it helps the characters feel fully fleshed out. They should’ve kept it in.


(3) Orville versus Discovery: ScreenRant denies it — “No, The Orville Is Not Better Than Star Trek: Discovery”.

The Orville debuted on FOX a couple of weeks ago to strong ratings (aided by its Sunday Night Football lead-in) before settling into its regular Thursday night time slot. Executive Produced by Star Trek veteran Brannon Braga and MacFarlane, who also headlines the series as Captain Ed Mercer, The Orville features a very familiar (by design) premise to Star Trek fans. A science fiction comedy/drama set in the 25th century, The Orville centers on an exploratory ship in the service of the Planetary Union – essentially Star Trek‘s United Federation of Planets – commanded by Mercer and his First Officer and ex-wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki). Their crew is a multi-species assortment of humans and aliens, and together thus far, they’ve engaged in the morality plays and space battles fans associate with classic TV Star Trek. The Orville is very clearly modeled after Star Trek: The Next Generation in nearly every way, save for its sitcom-level comedy.

This Sunday, after years of production delays and creative upheavals, Star Trek: Discovery premiered its first hour on CBS also to strong ratings (better than The Orville‘s) before settling into its berth behind the paywall of the network’s streaming service, CBS All-Access. Melding the visual style of the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films with the more complex drama classic TV Trek is known for, Discovery is a prequel series set a decade before the voyages of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the Starship Enterprise. The first way (of many) Discovery breaks Trek tradition is by centering not on a captain, but on Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), the First Officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou commanded by Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). Raised on Vulcan by Sarek (James Frain), the father of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Georgiou makes a life-altering and tragic decision when the Shenzhou comes face to face with impending war with the resurgent Klingon Empire

(4) Star Trek: Discovery premise: “New ‘Star Trek’ Series Makes Massive Science Blunder”.

…But alas, the writers have stumbled into a scientific error so egregious, and so entangled in the entire plotline, that I fear the new Star Trek cannot recover. (Note: a few mild spoilers ahead.)

Episodes 4 and 5, released on Oct. 8 and 15, revealed that the USS Discovery, the ship that the series revolves around, has an advanced form of transport that allows it to travel anywhere in the universe instantaneously. Unlike all previous Star Trek transport tech, this one uses a biological mechanism, based on mushrooms.

(5) Unused: io9 invites you to “Listen to This Short Album of Unused Star Trek: Discovery Theme”.

“When I came in [Bryan] described what they were doing and he was so interested in me possibly scoring this series, he asked me if I would write a theme,” Eidelman said. According to Eidelman, he initially connected with Fuller on the recommendation of Nicholas Meyer, Star Trek VI’s director, and a consulting producer on Discovery. So Eidelman wrote a theme, and then another piece, for Fuller’s consideration.

But when Fuller stepped down as showrunner, the deal fell apart. “New people came in and they went in a different direction,” Eidelman explained. “The reason I was there was because of Bryan Fuller, and when he left I kind of went with him and wasn’t kept on. I was not signed on. I was never hired or engaged formally. I was just encouraged.”

(6) Star Trek: Den of Geek knows “57 nerdy things about the original crew films”.

  1. Persis Khambata had also been cast for Star Trek: Phase II as the Navigator – Lieutenant Ilia – and also had test footage and photos taken of her, in an original series skant-type uniform, and wearing a bald cap. In those shots, Ilia was wearing the head band that Dr Chapel ends up placing on the head of probe-Ilia in the film.

(7) Den of Geek claims to have the answer: “Does Gene Roddenberry’s ghost haunt the Star Trek set?”

There have been whispered rumors that the ghost of Roddenberry, who died in 1991, haunts the old Star Trek sets, leaving a whiff of aftershave in his wake.

(8) Discovery producers defend darker tone: “‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is a journey toward optimism”.

It’s the darkness of the characters and the background, which is set amid a war with the Klingons, as well as potentially continuity-bending aspects like Burnham being the adoptive daughter of Sarek, Spock’s dad, that have some longtime Trekkies nervous.

If you’re among those worried about the changes brought on by “Discovery,” the producers have some advice for you: Just wait a little bit.

“We are canon,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman said in an interview Saturday. “You’ll have to be patient with us.”

(9) Anthony Rapp interview at TV Guide. “Star Trek: Discovery’s Anthony Rapp Weighs in on Stamets’ Game-Changing Decision”.

Warning: This post contains spoilers from Episode 5 of Star Trek: Discovery, “Choose Your Pain.” Read at your own risk.]

Star Trek: Discovery just dropped even more shocking details about Lorca’s (Jason Isaacs) fascinating creature who is proving to be more than meets the eye.

In Sunday night’s episode, we find out that not only is the tardigrade sentient, it doesn’t like being forced to navigate the spore drive. The stress from one too many jumps sends the creature into survival mode, prompting Paul Stamets, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Cadet Tilly (Mary Wiseman) to look for other alternatives.