Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Discovery Update

Last night, Star Trek: Discovery had a gala premiere in Hollywood.  Many Trek alums including William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, Nicole DeBoer, Nana Visitor, Roxann Dawson, Connor Trinneer, John Billingsley, Anthony Montgomery, and the Okudas were in attendance.  The news from Discovery has been flying fast and furious this week with new behind the scenes videos and images being shared on social media. The titles of the first four episodes of the series have been released.  The first half of the pilot is entitled "The Vulcan Hello".

One of the recent videos has given us a glimpse of Michael Burnham in a Vulcan costume.  The costume fits in well with the movie-era Vulcan designs we've seen like T'Lar's costume from Star Trek III. The context of the images seems to be Sarek delivering Burnham to the USS Shenzhou.

The same video shows a young Burnham, presumably on Vulcan, it what looks like one of the learning pods from Star Trek (2009).

We've also seen a glimpse of James Frain's Sarek makeup being applied.

Reviews of the new series have been embargoed until the 25th but the comments on social media from those who were at last night's premiere have me pretty excited for Discovery!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

James Frain as Sarek

CBS has released 14 new official stills from Star Trek: Discovery including one of James Frain as Sarek.

Check out the other images over at  If you're in the US, click below to sign up for one week of CBS All Access for free.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Discovery Posters Revealed

Today, the Television Critics Association was able to ask questions of a Star Trek: Discovery panel and the team revealed 11 new posters, each featuring a different character.  Here is James Frain as Sarek.

The panel also revealed the show's new theme song. Apparently it includes references to the original Alexander Courage theme and was recorded by a 60 piece orchestra.  I can't wait to hear it!  

I expect more Discovery news to be forthcoming this week as the Star Trek Las Vegas convention begins tomorrow.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery at SDCC

For anyone who spends any time online, it will have been difficult to miss all the news coming out of the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend.  Star Trek: Discovery had a large presence with a display of costumes, props, and artwork at the Michael J. Wolf Fine Art Gallery, a large panel with cast and creators on Saturday, and new merchandise at the QMX booth.

While most of the attention has gone to the Klingons thus far, two items on display in the gallery will be of special interest to Vulcanologists.  First, a costume worn by James Frain as Sarek.  When I did my breakdown of the first trailer, the costume designer had not yet been confirmed.  We now know it is Gersha Phillips (Falling Skies, House of Cards, Mortal Instruments).  The plaque beside the costume reads:

"The father of Spock, husband to Amanda Grayson, and mentor to Michael Burnham, Ambassador Sarek (James Frain) is a Vulcan diplomat held in extremely high esteem.  His traditional robes reflect the Vulcan culture and its devotion to a life of pure logic, serious intellectual pursuits, and spiritual contemplation."

In their panel and subsequent press interviews, the cast and writers revealed that Michael Burnham is a human whose parents die and who is then adopted by Sarek and Amanda.  Some fans seemed to be quite distressed by this idea since Spock having an adopted sister is new to canon.  It doesn't bother me.  Spock is not known for discussing his family details unless necessary.  I'm really interested to see Amanda and Sarek raising a human child on Vulcan.

Next to Sarek's costume was a small shadowbox containing an IDIC.

The plaque next to the IDIC reads:

"The IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) pendant is worn by Vulcan Science Academy graduates as well as professors and high scholars."

I quite like the pendant which was apparently 3D printed and hand painted.  The description on the plaque suggests that we will see other Vulcans besides Sarek. This is agreeable.

From what we've seen so far, I am impressed by the attention to detail that the artists and designers have paid to their work.  It's clear that everyone from the writers and producers to the cast is very aware of the legacy of Star Trek and they are eager to do right by fans.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Vulcans in Plastic: Unmade Playmates Designs

eBay user kateunc2 has listed some interesting artwork. They say it was obtained from a Playmates employee.  The artwork is for Star Trek (2009) action figures and ship toys that were never produced. Several of the pieces are Vulcan-related so I'm sharing them here as Vulcans that didn't quite make it to plastic!

This first figure is Spock as he was dressed when he appeared before the Vulcan Science Academy.

I'm not sure about this next one. It seems to represent Spock in his dress uniform from TOS but the reference photo is clearly of Zachary Quinto from the Kelvin Universe.  Does it represent a scene that was conceived for the movie but ultimately cut before filming?

I love this next one! Spock Prime's parka was one of my favourite costumes in Star Trek (2009) and I would loved to add this figure to my collection.

I also quite like this Young Spock design. It's not quite the costume we saw in the final film so perhaps it's based on an earlier design.

I don't care much for these Starfleet Defender designs.

Here's some art for Spock's Jellyfish Ship.

I previously wrote about the Star Trek 2009 figures including an unproduced second wave that would have included Sarek and Spock in his Starfleet Academy Instructor's uniform.  I would guess that the above designs never made it as far as prototypes because I've never seen photos of them like I have of the second wave figures.

It was recently announced that McFarlane Toys picked up the license for Star Trek figures. I'll be interested to see what they come up and whether they might do a Spock Prime in his parka figure!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

IDIC: Happy Pride

June is Pride month! I have always felt the Vulcan philosophy of IDIC: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations was a perfect message for this month. Happy Pride!

Queer IDIC by Bristrek

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Roddenberry Vault: TOS Films

In today's installment, we examine some Roddenberry Vault images from the era of the TOS films. Here are some storyboards by Andrew Probert of the Vulcan shuttle from Star Trek: TMP.  I've previously covered this shuttle in detail here.

Here's a costume sketch by Robert Fletcher for Spock in Star Trek: TMP.

Here's a behind the scenes shot of Leonard Nimoy in make-up as he directs Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Next we have a series of negatives of publicity stills featuring Jane Wyatt as Amanda and Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  I was so glad the filmmakers were able to bring back Jane Wyatt to reprise her TOS role.  Having that continuity really did make Vulcan seem like Spock's home.

Finally, here is a series of negatives featuring shots of Leonard Nimoy preparing to film on the Klingon bridge in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

The next installment of my coverage of the Roddenberry Vault will jump nearly 100 years into the future with Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery - First Look Trailer

By now, most Trekkies will have seen the "first look" trailer for Star Trek: Discovery that was released on May 17, 2017.  Now, let's examine it with the eyes of a Vulcanologist.

The trailer opens in a desert with lighting storms in the background.  This footage was shot in Jordan and from the first frame it's clear that Discovery is cinematic.  It's generally agreed that the footage in this trailer is all from the pilot. The Director of Photography on the pilot was Guillermo Navarro (Pan's Labyrinth, Pacific Rim).  Some are speculating that this desert is Vulcan's Forge. That's certainly possible. The storms make it difficult to tell whether the sky is red or not.  In these shots we are introduced to Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou and Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham.

Next, we hear a male voice saying "Great unifiers are few and far between but they do come. Often such leaders will need a profound cause for their followers to rally around."  It turns out this is Sarek, or rather a hologram of Sarek, played by James Frain. It seems as though he is addressing Burnham which makes sense since it is rumoured the series will deal at least partially with Burnham's rise to command.  It sounds as though Sarek is giving Burnham advice. Is he a mentor of sorts to Burnham?

We next see Sarek, still in holographic form, saying (presumably to Burnham) "What have you done out there on the edge of Federation space?". It seems as though the two are communicating over some distance and the question is informal enough that it suggests Sarek and Burnham have some significant relationship. The idea that Sarek and Burnham have a relationship is further supported by the fact that the hologram seems to be in crew quarters which would make it a personal communique from Sarek to Burnham.

The next shot of Sarek is him in-person rather than a hologram but it's suggested that this is a flashback because the following shot is a young person, presumably Burnham as a child.  Sarek says, "You will never learn Vulcan. Your tongue is too Human."  The child's haircut seems to be in the traditional Vulcan style which suggests we are on the planet Vulcan for this flashback.

Perhaps Burnham was raised or educated on Vulcan?  Was Sarek Burnham's teacher or guardian?  if an orphaned Human was left on Vulcan it might make sense that Sarek would adopt that child since he has experience with a Human wife and with raising a half-Human child (Spock).

Sarek's costume, to me, is reminiscent of Michael Kaplan's Kelvin Universe Vulcan costumes. The high collar reminds me of Spock's learning pod costume or of Spock Prime's parka.  iMDB currently lists some costume assistants but not the costume designer so I'm not sure whose work we are seeing.

That's pretty much all we get in the trailer that might be related to Vulcans. Some additional details and information will probably trickle out over the summer but we'll have to wait for the series to premiere in the Fall to, ahem, discover the rest.  i'm looking very forward to the new show!

CBS released the below poster which seems to feature Michael Burnham giving the Vulcan salute. That's further evidence that Burnham might have close ties with Vulcan.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Trek Core's Rare Photos May & June 2017

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the amazing site  The folks at Trek Core work diligently to provide high quality screen caps from all the Star Trek series and films. They also collect behind the scenes images, publicity photos, video and audio clips and report on the latest Trek news. If you don't follow them I recommend you bookmark them immediately!

Occasionally, Trek Core puts together a new album of rare Trek photos.  Their latest has two images that will be of interest to Vulcanologists.  First up is a great shot of Leonard Nimoy as Spock with his Vulcan Lyre.

Next is a publicity shot of Kirstie Alley as Saavik from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  I've previously posted some other publicity shots of Alley as Saavik.  I find this shot really interesting. The playful pose is either pure Kirstie Alley or it's showing the emotional Roman half of Saavik.

Thanks to Trek Core for all their work in uncovering images like this and archiving Star Trek's history.