2014 was an eventful year in so many ways, and Star Trek, as it always does, remains a huge player in the pop culture conversation. More of Star Trek's sci-fi gadgetry inched closer to becoming sci-fact. Captain Kirk flew into space, sort of. A politician quit his post... and did so in true Klingon fashion. Terry Farrell capped a memorable reunion with Trek makeup maestro Mike Westmore by not only once again sporting her old Dax spots, but by slipping back into the wedding dress she wore for Dax's wedding to Worf. And, sadly, fans bade farewell to more than a dozen Star Trek figures, including guest stars, directors and more. Today, StarTrek.com take a closer look back at Star Trek in the news in 2014.
Volkswagen Germany launched a multi-platform campaign, #vwfuture, linking Star Trek and VW's futuristic electric cars. It started with a winsome commercial involving a young Star Trek fan meeting William Shatner, with Shatner and the boy -- driving in a Volkwagen e-Golf -- crossing paths with Leonard Nimoy, as he drove a concept car. Volkswagen Germany subsequently released assorted behind-the-scenes spots, including one charming spot in which Shatner reminisced about Tribbles and phasers as the boy from the commercial showed Shatner around his Trek memorabilia-laden room.
It was deja vu all over again for Deep Space Nine fans who happened to be on hand at Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 2. Terry Farrell and Mike Westmore reunited for an event called Dax 539. Westmore had personally applied Farrell's Dax makeup 538 times during her years on DS9 and on this day he did it for the 539th time, with Farrell and Westmore both miked and chatting amiably during the process. By the time Westmore finished, Farrell felt nostalgic, asking out loud, "Can we do a scene?" Farrell then left the stage, only to return a few minutes later, this time escorted by longtime Trek costume designer Robert Blackman and wearing her Dax wedding dress, all 35 pounds of leather. It still fit. And the crowd went nuts.
Star Trek: Live in Concert beamed into cities all over the world, with screenings of Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness accompanied by live symphony orchestra performances of Michael Giacchino’s scores. The Star Trek: Live in Concert tour kicked off in Europe in May with events in the UK and Switzerland, followed by U.S. premieres in Houston in July in Houston and in San Diego, which coincided with Comic-Con International. The Star Trek: Live in Concert tour will carry on into 2015; click HERE for details.
Back in mid-April, NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Instagram-ed a photo of himself from aboard the International Space Station home, and in it he sported a tee-shirt emblazoned with the Klingon Empire symbol. In related news, the Orion, NASA'S next-generation spacecraft, blasted into space for a test flight in early December. The Orion carried into space with it sci-fi collectibles/memorabilia, much of it provided by celebrities, as well as historic artifacts. So, in addition to a Marvel challenge coin (provided by Jon Favreau), Sesame Street's Slimey the Worm, one of Cookie Monster's cookies and a Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil, the payload included William Shatner's NASA-issued Orion EFT-1 "boarding pass" and a boxed Captain Kirk action figure.
Ever contemplated what a real-life ship designed for faster-than-light travel might look like? Matthew Jefferies, legendary designer of Star Trek's Enterprise, took a pre-Enterprise stab at it in 1965, but in June of this year NASA engineer/physicist Dr. Harold "Sonny" White teamed up with artist Mark Rademaker and longtime Star Trek graphic designer Michael Okuda to create a model -- using genuine mathematics -- of an updated version of such a ship. It's name? IXS Enterprise.
In October, StarTrek.com revealed that Voyager stars Jeri Ryan, Robert Picardo, Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips and Tim Russ would reprise their respective roles in Star Trek Online: Delta Rising. Set 32 years after the events of Voyager, Delta Rising brings players into the Delta Quadrant – a mysterious region of space recently made easily accessible through an ancient Iconian gateway. Click HERE for more details about the game.
Back in February, Leonard Nimoy, Trek's legendary Spock, went public with the fact that he’d been diagnosed with COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is defined a group of lung diseases – including chronic bronchitis and emphysema -- that block airflow and make breathing difficult. Nimoy acknowledged the illness after photos of him at an airport in a wheelchair and using an oxygen cylinder, were published and, quite logically, caused great concern among fans. The actor, who will turn 84 in March, took to Twitter to explain the situation and in several subsequent tweets implored followers/fans who do smoke to stop immediately. In one tweet, he wrote, "I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Gandpa says, quit now! LLAP." In another, he said, "I'm doing OK. Just can't walk distances. Love my life, family, friends and followers. LLAP." Nimoy looked and sounded well in subsequent convention appearances he made from his home via Skype.
David Waddell, a councilman in Indian Trail, North Carolina, resigned in style... Klingon style, in January. He penned his exit letter to Mayor Michael Alvarez in Klingon, also providing a handy English translation. Waddell described his actions as an inside joke designed to elicit one last laugh before he beamed off the council. Translated, the letter read: "Teach (the) city (the) constitution/I will return next time to (witness) victory/Resignation occurs in 2014 the 31st of January/Perhaps today is a good day (to) resign. -- David Waddell." Mayor Alvarez accepted Waddell’s resignation, though he chided Waddell for being childish and unprofessional, calling his actions “an embarrassment.” Later, however, talking to the Charlotte Observer, Mayor Alvarez invoked some Trek-ese of his own. “When things have a galactic or absurd quote, that’s when people pay attention,” Alvarez said. “I would’ve preferred if he had sent (a resignation letter) in English to give to the council. But I wish him luck. Live long and prosper.”
Lastly, StarTrek.com saluted the Star Trek figures who passed away in 2014. Among them were Voyager guest star Booth Colman, stuntmen Edward Donno (The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, First Contact and Enterprise) and Kim Robert Koscki (First Contact, Enterprise and Star Trek Into Darkness), Oscar-winning special effects wizard Joe Viskocil (Nemesis), and actress Arlene Martel, who played T'Pring in "Amok Time."
Others included prolific directors Cliff Bole (42 combined hours of TNG, DS9 and Voyager) and Robert Wiemer (TNG, DS9) and one-time director Joseph Sargent (TOS episode "The Corbomite Maneuver"), TNG guest stars Stephen Lee ("The Vengeance Factor" and "Gambit, Part 1") and Wendy Hughes (Lt. Commander Nella Daren in "Lessons"), and TOS guests Don Keefer (Mission Control Director Cromwell in "Assignment: Earth") and Sarah Marshall (Dr. Janet Wallace in "The Deadly Years"). We also said farewell to Joe Longo, a property master who worked on The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, TNG and DS9, and to James G. Becker, a longtime background actor and stand-in who appeared on seasons one through three of TNG.