It’s the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and the fans had been hoping for a grand celebration. With no new Star Trek on TV this year, and with much of the original core fanbase not happy with JJ Abram’s 2009 rebooting of the franchise, this might be the most depressing birthday party you ever attend (or more likely, don’t even hear about).
For a short time there, Keir Dullea was going to be the face of science fiction in the 1970s. After starring in 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, Dullea went on to front an ambitious Canadian TV production, The Starlost - this was going to be the new Star Trek, the next big thing (four years before Star Wars), syndicated world-wide.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Many people argue that Galaxy Quest is one of the best Star Trek movies. If you know the movie, you know it isn’t a Star Trek movie at all, but it has the heart, soul and humour of a great Star Trek movie.
I’d argue that we had a great Star Wars Episode 1, but it was released a year later than the Phantom Menace. It was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Star Wars (1977) introduced us to many interesting characters, among them a perhaps under-appreciated C-3P0. In the original trilogy, Threepio had agency. He had purpose, and he played a key role in bringing down the empire. Threepio doesn’t always make wise decisions, but he does keep the action moving forward (or at least keep up with it). He’s intelligent, articulate, the intellectual partner of R2-D2. He tells R2 what to do, gives directions (“Come on, R2, we’re going”) and takes initiative - talking his way past the guards in the security room of the Death Star.
So what went wrong?
A year ago I would have told you that I can’t write short fiction, that I need to write stories in the 100,000 word range (about a 350 page novel).
That was then, this is now.
A year ago, I was in a bad place, psychologically. I’d torn a tendon in my shoulder. I could barely type. I had a novel sitting at 123,000 words, feeling so close to done, and yet so far. I didn’t type anything for two months. By the time I could type again the universe of that long story had slipped a bit from my grasp, and trying to write inside it felt awkward and embarrassing, like I was intruding. I’m still struggling to get back into that universe.
NOTE: This is speculation, some might say wishful thinking. I’m not siting sources, just offering an opinion.
Star Wars movies have shrouds of secrecy around them, it’s a given. It isn’t just JJ Abrams who keeps things close to his chest. One of the few tidbits that has leaked about the next Star Wars movie, Rogue One, is that there will be a few appearances by characters that we are familiar with. So far (March 14, 2016), the cast is named, but the characters aren’t.