Captain’s Blog: Episode 309, 13.03.2017

Greetings, captains! I apologize for my delay with this post.  This week brought further discussion of the possibilities of CGI and saying hello to Jason Isaacs.  Engines to full; here we go!

Movie credit from 'Star Trek Beyond'

Tribute from the credits of Star Trek Beyond.

First, I’d like to take a moment to raise a glass to the memory of Anton Yelchin, the Kelvin universe’s Pavel Chekov. Mr. Yelchin would have turned 28 on the eleventh of March, but he was killed last year in an accident. He began acting at the age of nine and appeared in a wide range of films, including The Smurfs, Terminator Salvation, and Only Lovers Left Alive. J. J. Abrams told the Toronto Sun in July that the role of Chekov will not be re-cast, and that the character will be written out of the films. The credits of Star Trek Beyond included first a tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who also passed away last year, and then the above tribute to Mr. Yelchin.

Picture of actor Anton Yelchin from his IMDB page

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
“The Old Astronomer” by Sarah Williams
Photo courtesy of IMDB.

Community Questions: This Week

Most of the discussion around recreating Star Trek characters with CGI has revolved around Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, since it was his son who raised the subject. It wasn’t until I was writing the above tribute to Anton Yelchin that I realized the Kelvin universe had already lost an actor. In one sense, this creates the perfect opportunity to explore the feasibility of “continuing” an actor’s work through recreating them in CGI. Chekov wouldn’t have to be written out of the script, and you could argue it wouldn’t be a re-casting per se since it would still be Mr. Yelchin’s face and voice. But does that mean it should be done?

As much as I appreciated the technical achievement of recreating the late Peter Cushing for Star Wars: Rogue One, I felt ambivalent about it. I was always aware that I was watching a digital replica; I felt like the end credits should have said, “Peter Cushing’s appearance courtesy of the Uncanny Valley.” While I suppose some people might have found a re-casting too jarring, I think it honestly would have bothered me less. It’s not like I would have been sitting there thinking, “I don’t see why they couldn’t have gotten Peter Cushing back.” I know perfectly well he’s been dead for twenty-three years. I think what bothers me the most about recreating actors is that it’s illusory. Star Wars: Rogue One isn’t listed on Peter Cushing’s IMDB page, nor should it be. Peter Cushing didn’t appear in it; the acting is not his work. It’s Guy Henry’s work. As much as I hate to let Spock Prime go, his story is over. Spock now belongs to Zachary Quinto; it remains to see what they will do together.

Spock Prime salutes Spock at the end of 'Star Trek' (2009)

This is how Vulcans pass torches. Or do anything, really.

In related untold story news, last week we learned that Jason Isaacs will be playing the captain of the USS Discovery. Our crew immediately theorized that Mr. Isaacs will be a bad guy of some sort. To be fair, if you look over Mr. Isaacs’s résumé, that is a completely understandable theory. His roles include:

    • Lucius Malfoy
    • Captain Hook
    • Lex Luthor
    • The bad guy in Mel Gibson’s The Patriot
    • Dracula
    • Satan
Art of Satan from the game 'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2'

Hell’s dress code is very casual.

I still feel like I don’t know enough about the show to be able to say whether I think our crew is on to something. We do know he’s a main cast member, so we’ll be seeing quite a lot of Captain Lorca. But what will his purpose in the show be? Here are four possibilities. (I’m very into lists this week.)

  1. He’s a villain and we will know that from the outset.
  2. He’s a villain and we will not know that from the outset.
  3. He’s a good guy and we will know that from the outset.
  4. He’s a good guy and we will not know that from the outset.

I think scenario three is the least likely because all Star Trek captains have been good guys so far, and it would be an interesting twist on the formula to do otherwise. Scenario one is arguably the most likely simply because Mr. Isaacs is most well-known for playing villains. Along that line, you might argue that scenario two is unlikely because if the Powers that Be did intend to make Captain Lorca a surprise villain, the choice of Mr. Isaacs has given it away. I’m intrigued by scenario four because of the possibilities it suggests, and I wish I knew more about Discovery‘s storyline so I could try to extrapolate more. I believe we know Sarek is travelling to help the Klingons negotiate for a unified empire; what if Captain Lorca sabotaged the negotiations for some reason?  What if the Discovery has to clear her captain’s name?  Why do I feel like I’ve seen this in Star Trek before?It’d be nice to hear some

Promotional poster for 'Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country'

Oh, right.

I find it maddening that CBS still hasn’t shared any kind of plot synopsis with fans. I think it would do a lot to build some enthusiasm for the series, which is supposed to premiere in about six months. Hopefully CBS will start putting some energy into promoting Discovery, especially since they’re relying on it to drive up numbers for the All Access subscription service.

That’s all I’ve got for this week!  I’ll see you much sooner next week with hopefully more news.

Whitby, out.

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