What were the biggest Star Trek stories of 2016? They actually come very quickly to mind. Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary. Star Trek Beyond beamed into theaters across the globe. Fans welcomed the official word that a new series, Star Trek: Discovery was in the works, and also learned the identities of much of the cast. Plus, fans all over America and the world attended a number of special 50th anniversary events. And, sadly, we bid farewell to Anton Yelchin, who died far too young, at just 27 years old, in a horrific accident. We paid tribute to Yelchin on Wednesday in our Remembering Those We Lost in 2016 feature. So, please join us as StarTrek.com recaps Trek in the News 2016:


Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery is on the way in May 2017, with the show's hero ship called the U.S.S. Discovery (NCC-1031). Series co-creator Bryan Fuller revealed the details and debuted a logo in July, during a standing-room-only “Star Trek 50th Anniversary” panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con that also featured William Shatner, Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan, Scott Bakula and Michael Dorn. Fuller -- who in the early morning served fans in line donuts and coffee -- treated Hall H attendees to an exclusive first-look video of the test flight of the U.S.S. Discovery, the newest Starfleet ship in the storied franchise’s return to television.

"There are so many reasons why we settled on Discovery," Fuller told StarTrek.com. "But the chief one amongst them was that I couldn't think of a more Star Trek-themed name for a ship than Discovery."

Over the ensuing weeks and months, Nicholas Meyer, Kirsten Beyer and others came aboard the creative team, join Fuller and co-creator Alex Kurtzman. Fuller, in the fall, exited as show runner, and his longtime collaborators, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, took over. Later, at the end of November, Doug Jones, Michelle Yeoh and Anthony Rapp were announced as the first cast memembers. A couple of weeks later, it was revealed that Chris Obi, Shazad Latif and Mary Chieffo had been confirmed to play Klingons.

Discovery will air on CBS All Access, following the premiere on the CBS Television Network. And the show will be distributed concurrently on Netflix in 188 countries and through Bell Media in Canada.


Star Trek Beyond

In May, more than 500 people joined Beyond director Justin Lin, producer J.J. Abrams and co-stars Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine and Karl Urban in kicking off the Beyond juggernaut at the exclusive Star Trek Beyond Fan Event on Stages 31 and 32 on the Paramount Pictures lot. Among the highlights, Simon Pegg, via video, introduced the new trailer, a street on the lot was named in honor of Leonard Nimoy, and J.J. Abrams announced that the Beyond premiere would be held at Comic-Con in San Diego, adding that everyone in attendance at the Fan Event was invited to the premiere in July. Lin also revealed that Beyond would be presented as the first-ever open-air IMAX world premiere, with special appearances by him, the Beyond filmmakers and cast, as well as a live concert performance of Michael Giacchino’s film score by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.

Sure enough, Comic-Con was the place to be for Star Trek fans, and Embarcadero Marina Park played host to the Beyond world premiere. And this was no ordinary screening. We're talking IMAX outdoors, on a picture-perfect evening, with the San Diego Symphony performing the score live to screen. We're talking a dazzling pre-screening fireworks and laser display. Conan O'Brien cracked the crowd with a mini-routine and with his introductions of the cast and crew. Then, one by one the actors, Lin and producers Abrams and Lindsey Weber took the stage and greeted the appreciative audience of several thousand fans. Urban noted that the black Starfleet delta badge he sported was in tribute to Anton Yelchin, who'd died the month before. Quinto paid tribute to his friend and Spock predecessor, Leonard Nimoy, and recounted sharing the spotlight with Nimoy at Comic-Con in 2007, while Abrams shared memories about Yelchin and forcefully said "He should be here tonight," then noted that Yelchin's parents, Irina and Viktor, were in attendance at the screening. Then, at Abrams' request, everyone observed a moment of silence.

 

Further, thousands of fans enjoyed a variety of pre-screening activities, freebies and a suprise appearance by Star Trek's original Uhura, Nichelle Nichols. On screens adjacent to the main screen, "The Corbomite Maneuver" played to an enthusiastic response, as did Rihanna's "Sledgehammer" video. There was free ice cream, and giveaways of seat cushions and more. Meanwhile, just outside the enclosed screening area, the stars and filmmakers engaged in pre-screening red carpet festivities, chatting with media from all over the world, including StarTrek.com.

Beyond opened on July 22 to mostly favorable reviews. The adventure went on to gross $159 million in the U.S. and another $184.5 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $343.5 million.


50th Anniversary Celebrations

The Beyond-centric events at Comic-Con weren't the only major festivities celebrating Star Trek's landmark 50th anniversary. Fans turned out by the thousands for Star Trek Las Vegas, Destination Star Trek Europe (in Birmingham, UK) and Star Trek: Mission New York. Also, people flocked to Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, a special musical event designed to bring five decades of Star Trek to concert halls in more than 100 North American cities, and to Star Trek -- Live In Concert, which beamed into the legendary Hollywood Bowl on July 8 and 9. Attendees enjoyed under-the-stars screenings of Star Trek (2009) accompanied by Michael Giacchino's score performed live by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted by David Newman. Star Trek -- Live in Concert, with screenings of both Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness, went on to touch down in numerous other cities.

Another ongoing event was Star Trek. 50 Artists. 50 Years, a new art exhibition that features Trek-inspired works by 50 artists from 10 countries around the globe, including one by Leonard Nimoy. The exhibition -- which is still ongoing, actually -- includes original 2D and 3D pieces by the artists, who selected a variety of mediums -- illustrations, photographs, sculptures, paintings, graphics and more -- to express their love of the franchise and the inspiration gained from it. 50 Artists. 50 Years debuted at Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts in San Diego’s historic Gaslight Quarter during Comic-Con, and went on to New York, England, Germany.

And, from July to October, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City served as the home to the interactive exhibition Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience. It offered visitors the chance to experience life as a Starfleet Academy cadet, as they attended the Academy's Career Day in the 26th century. After student orientation, cadets visited nine zones focused on the training center's specialties: Language, Medical, Navigation, Engineering, Command and Science. Following these interactions, cadets were assigned a specialty and a demeanor based on their individual training. Trek fans surely recognized many of the props and costumes on display from the television shows. In addition, there was plenty of interactive activities and unique technology, including Leap Motion, voice recognition to communicate in Klingon, a Medical Tricorder table with RFID sensors, planet projection mapping, holograms and a target game using Star Trek's iconic phasers. The Starfleet Academy Experience will move on to Telus Spark in Calgary, Canada, in January and run until early June, 2017.


Facebook Like Buttons

Facebook, starting on September 8 and running for a limited time, took their Like buttons to the final frontier. The Love button was represented by Spock's Vulcan greeting gesture. Also represented were Kirk (Haha), Spock (Wow), Geordi (Sad) and a Klingon (Angry). Fans could Trek-ify their profile picture with a custom frame. 

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