Star Trek was all over the news in 2015, for reasons that ran the gamut: heartbreakingly sad, exciting, amusing, inspirational, informative. So, please join StarTrek.com as we look back at some of the biggest Trek-centric stories of the year...
Leonard Nimoy's Death
Nimoy, Star Trek's Spock and arguably the face and soul of the franchise, succumbed to COPD in February. We addressed Nimoy's death in our "Remembering" recap the other day, but it had to be addressed again here, as his passing truly marked the end of an era. In typical Nimoy fashion, he exited the stage gracefully. He spent his final months playing "grandpa" to his many Twitter followers and urged fans who smoked cigarettes to quit immediately, hoping to spare them the death sentence of COPD. Not surprisingly, our Nimoy remembrance/obituary proved to be StarTrek.com's most-widely read story of 2015, as well as our most-commented-on and most-shared. Of course, we wish we never had to write it.
Star Trek Beyond
The 13th Star Trek feature, in 2015, landed a director (Justin Lin) and a major co-star (Idris Elba), went into production, got a title and wrapped production. Oh, and the first trailer was unveiled in December. We're pretty sure you'll be hearing more about Star Trek Beyond in the coming year as well.
New Television Series
CBS, in November, announced that a new Star Trek series is on the way, to debut in 2017. It'll be produced by Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote and co-produced Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness. The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast on the CBS Television Network. The premiere episode and all subsequent first-run episodes will then be available exclusively in the United States on CBS All Access, the Network’s digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service.
Nichelle Nichols' Stroke and Recovery
Nichols, Star Trek's Uhura, suffered a minor stroke in June. Fans feared the worst, but it truly was minor. Two weeks later, she was back on the convention circut and, in September, she blasted into space (or near space) as part of NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infared Astronomy (SOFIA) telescope mission. Nichols was one of the first non-essential personnel to fly on the plane, a specially outfitted Boeing 747 that carried the telescope, instrumentation and crew. According to Popular Mechanics, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy instrumentation "makes observations in infrared of planetary atmospheres, distant supernova, comets, and other objects not always easy to see from the ground in the visible spectrum. By flying into the stratosphere, the plane is above interference from water vapor." Throughout her journey, Nichols answered questions from the public and tweeted about her experience.
George Takei Starred in Allegiance
Takei, Star Trek's Sulu, spent the better part of the past decade aspiring to bring Allegiance to Broadway, and he at long last succeeded in November, when the musical opened at the Longacre Theatre in New York City. Allegiance, which is partially inspired by the hardships he and his family – and thousands of other Japanese-Americans -- experienced during World War II, co-stars Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung. Shortly before the show premiered, Takei told StarTrek.com that he was eager for Trek fans to see Allegiance. "They've been the people who made it possible for me to do this," he said. "And that’s because, in this business, it takes a little celebrity to make to make projects viable. Star Trek, and the Star Trek fans, that is what had given me my celebrity. I am well aware of that. It’s the Star Trek fans’ absolute, unrelenting support and dedication and love that have kept the franchise alive all this time. I mean, next year we’re going to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. They’ve been incredibly supportive of all of us, and I do hope as many of them as possible can get to the Longacre Theatre to see Allegiance and be a part of this experience with me."
Colorado Man Transforms House Into Trek Dream Home
Steve Doman transformed his house in Colorado's Rocky Mountains into a Star Trek-themed home. According to a story in the Colorado Caters News Agency, there are six Trek-themed rooms throughout the place; he sleeps in the Klingon Ambassador quarters. It took him 14 years and $30,000 to make it so, and he's not done yet. "I still have a couple more rooms to finish off when everything downstairs is to my liking, so I figure I have enough work to last me until I’m 73 years old – if I ever get that far!" the 69-year-old told the outlet. "This is my version of playing in the future, so my house and everything I have created is used daily just like a normal house."
Shatner Became a... Stormtrooper
William Shatner boldly went where no man had gone before when, on November 4, Star Trek's James T. Kirk joined Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley on stage during the opening of the Country Music Association Awards. Oh, and did we mention that he was wearing a Star Wars Stormtrooper costume, or that he referred to Underwood as Carrie Fisher? Well, he was -- and he did (though we're pretty sure that was a scripted joke). Shatner then went on to "sing" a bit of "Girl Crush" and praise the merits of "Shatting out loud." We're not sure if you had to see it to believe it or believe it to see it, but either way, it was pure Shatner and an unexpected 2015 highlight. And another Shatner-centric highlight was this: in July, at Comic-Con he read excerpts from The Autobiolgraphy of James T. Kirk.
Transporting Edged Closer to Reality
StarTrek.com ran several stories in 2015 that detailed how Trek's sci-fi was fast becoming reality. One such story really struck a chord with readers, and it centered on the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany, which has devised a CG teleporting system that they've called Scotty, after everyone's favorite Trek engineer. A six-member team created a process that enables small objects to be scanned on one end of the system, a layer at a time, as a grating machine slowly but steadily destroys it, the idea being that layering permits a full exploration of the object, including cavities. A second machine in turn receives a full and encrypted digitally transferred replica and it reconstructs the object with a 3D printer. "The micro-controller and camera that encodes and decodes information complete the job of recreating or, in a sense, transporting the object to the designated location," Techtimes.com explained in a story. "The device is made easy enough for use; just place the chosen object into the sender section in your end, specify the receiving unit to whom or where you want to send it and then press the button for teleporting." The technology isn't quite at Trek levels yet, as the original objects used in the process can be ruined. And real-world applications are far from numerous at the moment. But, really, everything has to start somewhere.
What did YOU think was the biggest Trek story of 2015?