Set phasers on stunned: The vast ecosystem of Star Trek fan productions is about to undergo a radical change after CBS and Paramount Pictures released a set of new fan film guidelines.
According to the 10-point guidelines released on Thursday, Trek fan productions cannot “exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes,” cannot include “Star Trek” in their titles, cannot involve anyone who has worked on Star Trek films or series, and cannot raise more than $50,000 for an individual production. In return for following these and other guidelines, CBS and Paramount state they “will not object to, or take legal action against” any “non-professional and amateur” fan productions.
Most prominently, the guidelines would severely restrict plans for Axanar, the Trek fan film that CBS and Paramount sued for copyright infringement in December, and the production that appears to have sparked the guidelines in the first place. Gary Graham was set to reprise his role from Star Trek: Enterprise as a Vulcan ambassador; the production raised over $1.2 million in crowdfunding campaigns; and creator Alec Peters had planned for Axanar to be a feature-length production well over the 30-minute time limit.
The guidelines also seem to directly affect several of the most popular and well-regarded Trek fan productions over the past two decades, many of which operate as ongoing “series,” including Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. The former has raised well over $300,000 via several crowdfundingcampaigns to support its elaborate recreations of the sets from the original Trek TV series, and the latter has featured episodes guest starring established Trek actors like Walter Koenig and George Takei.
Meanwhile, Star Trek: Voyager star Tim Russ is currently directing and starring in Star Trek Renegades: The Requiem, which co-stars Trek alum like Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Terry Farrell, Robert Picardo, and Robert Beltran. According to the new guidelines, none of these actors would be able to continue with the production.
In response to the guidelines, Star Trek Continues creator and star Vic Mignognanoted in a Facebook post that the production “has the utmost respect for CBS and their right to protect their property as they see fit,” and that he is not yet certain what impact the new guidelines will have on his production. (The other aforementioned productions did not immediately respond to requests to comment, and a spokesperson for CBS said she could not comment on how the guidelines would affect individual fan productions.)
Alec Peters in Prelude to Axanar. Axanar Productions
As BuzzFeed News detailed in a story last week, the lawsuit between Axanar Productions and CBS and Paramount has drawn so much attention that J.J. Abrams — who is producing the latest film, Star Trek Beyond — announced at aTrek fan event in May that due to lobbying from Beyond’s director Justin Lin, the lawsuit would be “going away” in a matter of weeks.
CBS and Paramount subsequentlyannounced in a joint statement that, along with its ongoing settlement negotiations with Axanar Productions, the studios were “working on a set of fan film guidelines.” While those guidelines are now official, however, the suit continues to be litigated by both sides.
In a brief joint statement from CBS and Paramount to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, a spokesperson said that lawsuit talks are still “ongoing,” and that the companies “continue to be hopeful that we will reach a settlement shortly.”
Peters told BuzzFeed News in April that he had specifically asked CBS executives for fan film guidelines in August 2015. “They told me, ‘We can’t tell you what you can do, and we can’t tell you what you can’t do, but we’ll tell you when you’ve crossed the line,’” said Peters. “I kind of was frustrated, because I wanted guidelines.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, however, Peters made clear that the guidelines CBS and Paramount ultimately created were not what he wanted:
I’m really disappointed that this set of guidelines represents the studios’ best efforts on behalf of fans. These guidelines appear to have been tailor-made to shut down all of the major fan productions and stifle fandom. In no way can that be seen as supportive or encouraging, which is very disheartening.
While CBS and Paramount claim to want to encourage the passion of fans to produce “reasonable fan fiction”, the restrictions presented do just the opposite, willfully ignoring over forty years of fan works that helped buoy the Star Trekfranchise through some very lean years and enthusiastically spread the magic of the franchise in more plentiful times.
Around the franchise’s 50th anniversary, we would have hoped CBS and Paramount would have taken this opportunity to unite with Star Trek fans in celebration of their creativity, not seek to crush it.
This story has been updated with statements regarding the Star Trek fan film guidelines from Axanar creator Alec Peters and Star Trek Continues creator Vic Mignogna. Jun. 23, 2016, at 4:55 p.m.
Now that was an excellent episode of Game of Thrones.
And an equally excellent episode of Penny Dreadful.
It is hard however for me to imagine Dracula being more ominous than Lucifer, but perhaps he is. Just not as cunning. But I thought the writers did something rather brilliant with that juxtapositioning.
I had suspected for some time that the Children had created the White Walkers, but not in that way. Now it makes sense why they would turn on them. They weren’t ever meant to be controlled. It seems they were meant to be Wild Card. A Doomsday Machine.
Or monster in this case. One on which they misunderestimated.
Though I was hoping that eventually Hodor would fight and kill (for good) the Mountain. I guess that’s out of the question now. At least on a man to monster basis.
I am really, really looking forward to this. If you haven’t seen Star Trek Continues then you really should. Superb work by everyone involved! It’s one of the best things on the internet. As a matter of fact it should be on TV.
Actually, I am finishing up a script for Star Trek Continues right now. Whether they will use it or not I don’t know, but I sure am having a ball writing it. And it’s science heavy and something I’ve always wanted to see in Star Trek.
You know I’ve always known something was off about the Red Woman. That she was not who she appeared to be. For the first and most obvious thing she was far too interested in ancient and pagan human sacrifice whereas the rest of the followers of the Lords of Light were interested in things like Resurrection. (As a matter of fact she was rather stunned by both the evidence of resurrections she saw performed and even by the idea, wasn’t she?) Secondly she was far too consumed with political and collective authoritarian power whereas the other followers of the Lord of Light seem more interested in the individual and a rebellion against worldly authority (take the Brothers without Banners, as just one instance).
So she was a conundrum, a misstep, a paradox, an openly hidden thing compared to the others. So I never assumed she was actually a follower of the Lord of Light anymore than I assumed she was as she appeared. But today at lunch I rewatched that final scene from last night’s Game of Thrones and it finally struck me (though I had a suspicion a couple of times before, such as when she summoned the demon out of herself) as she disrobed and took that necklace off (which seemed to go dead the moment she took it off) to become an Old Crone. (A pregnant old crone, or a “carrier” crone?)
Now I suspect I know exactly who she serves and why. Something far more ancient even than the White Walkers. Something far more Chthonic.
And I also suspect that she wasn’t at all disappointed by the overthrow of Stannis, but rather she had been planning it all along.
The thing now is, what exactly does she intend by the White Walkers. She and they would be natural enemies I suspect, but does she intend the Walkers and mankind to wipe each other out (for if she is what I think she is, she is enemies of both) or just to weaken man enough that after the Walkers are defeated she and her kind can then drive men again from Westeros?
If they just concentrate upon science and exploration, as the original did, and even to some extent as TNG did, then I’m in. Totally in.
Strangely enough, at least from this write-up, that seems like the way they might be going.
But I can’t stomach another “Enterprise” or yet another Jedi-wanna-be science fantasy or life-action anime series. I just can’t stomach that modern pseudo-science and amoral modern crap in my Star Trek anymore. That kinda stuff is for Star Wars, not Star Trek.
A totally new Star Trek television series is coming in January 2017! The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast of the premiere episode on the CBS Television Network, and the premiere episode and all subsequent first-run episodes will then be available exclusively in the United States on CBS All Access.
The brand-new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.
Alex Kurtzman will serve as executive producer for the series. Kurtzman co-wrote and produced the blockbuster films Star Trek (2009) with Roberto Orci, and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) with Orci and Damon Lindelof. Both films were produced and directed by J.J. Abrams.
The new series will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout. Kurtzman and Heather Kadin will serve as executive producers. Kurtzman is also an executive producer for the hit CBS television series Scorpion and Limitless, along with Kadin and Orci, and for Hawaii Five-0 with Orci.
The new program will be the first original series developed specifically for U.S. audiences for CBS All Access, a cross-platform streaming service that brings viewers thousands of episodes from CBS’s current and past seasons on demand, plus the ability to stream their local CBS Television stations live for $5.99 per month. CBS All Access already offers every episode of all previous Star Trek television series.
Star Trek, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, is one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time. The original Star Trek spawned a dozen feature films and five successful television series. Almost half a century later, the Star Trek television series are licensed on a variety of different platforms in more than 190 countries, and the franchise still generates more than a billion social media impressions every month.
Born from the mind of Gene Roddenberry, the original Star Trek series debuted on Sept. 8, 1966 and aired for three seasons – a short run that belied the influence it would have for generations. The series also broke new ground in storytelling and cultural mores, providing a progressive look at topics including race relations, global politics and the environment.
“There is no better time to give Star Trek fans a new series than on the heels of the original show’s 50th anniversary celebration,” said David Stapf, President, CBS Television Studios. “Everyone here has great respect for this storied franchise, and we’re excited to launch its next television chapter in the creative mind and skilled hands of Alex Kurtzman, someone who knows this world and its audience intimately.”
“This new series will premiere to the national CBS audience, then boldly go where no first-run Star Trek series has gone before – directly to its millions of fans through CBS All Access,” said Marc DeBevoise, Executive Vice President/General Manager – CBS Digital Media. “We’ve experienced terrific growth for CBS All Access, expanding the service across affiliates and devices in a very short time. We now have an incredible opportunity to accelerate this growth with the iconic Star Trek, and its devoted and passionate fan base, as our first original series.”
The next chapter of the Star Trek franchise will also be distributed concurrently for television and multiple platforms around the world by CBS Studios International.
“Every day, an episode of the Star Trek franchise is seen in almost every country in the world,” said Armando Nuñez, President and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group. “We can’t wait to introduce Star Trek’s next voyage on television to its vast global fan base.”
CBS All Access offers its customers more than 7,500 episodes from the current television season, previous seasons and classic shows on demand nationwide, as well as the ability to stream local CBS stations live in more than 110 markets. Subscribers can use the service online and across devices via CBS.com, the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, as well as on connected devices such as Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku players and Roku TV, with more connected devices to come.
The new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film Star Trek Beyond, which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016.
The next few weeks are going to be rather huge for Marvel Studios. This Friday will see the release of their first Netflix series, Daredevil; then Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be dropping on May 1st; and soon after that the company will begin production on Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Civil War. That’s all pretty huge stuff, but evidently it’s not enough, as now a big Avengers announcement has been scheduled for tomorrow morning.
This extremely exciting news comes to us from Marvel Cinematic Universe star Robert Downey Jr. himself, who teased the special reveal on his personal Twitter account. In addition to revealing that there will be big Avengers news tomorrow morning on Good Morning America, he also presented us fans with a rather cryptic image as well:
Given the source of the tease, the metallic plates, and the red and gold coloring, it’s pretty clear that what we’re looking at is a close-up of some kind of Iron Man-related “thing” – but what the hell is it? Is it a new suit of armor? Is it something bigger? Is it some kind of vehicle? (UPDATE #1: As one of our commenters pointed out below, it looks like this shot is a closeup of Iron Man’s shoulder from his character poster). Perhaps even more importantly, what’s up with the very strange and very specific white spaces. My first instinct is to look at them as letters, but that still doesn’t really clear things up.
Because the image isn’t much help, let’s look at this mystery from another angle. It’s interesting to note that Downey Jr. says “Avengers announcement” as opposed to “Iron Man” announcement, and while that could be a reference to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, what if it is instead something to do with The Avengers: Infinity War? That movie is certainly many years away, but Marvel Studios has earned a reputation for always thinking 10 steps ahead.
Without more information, it’s tricky to figure out this puzzle at face value – and hopefully throughout the day we see more clues pop up and give us more of a hint of what to expect. Of course, speculation is always fun, and this is a fun and exciting jumping off point to do just that. Hit the comments section below to tell us both what you think the image is and what you think the big announcement is going to be tomorrow. And be sure to come back in the morning, because you can be sure that we will have full coverage of what goes down!
UPDATE #2: The official Good Morning America Twitter account has posted a clue of their own, which appears to be Hawkeye-centric, and has more of what now definitely appear to be big white letters. Check it out below:
UPDATE #3: Now the official Jimmy Kimmel Live! Twitter account has chimed in with their own post, this one featuring Captain America’s chest star. It’s pretty clear that the letters here say “Jimmy,” and as one of our commenters pointed out below, it looks like the lettering in the Iron Man image above is very similar to the logo of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
A government that is a dysfunctional, bloated, complacent mess prompting several other governments to abandon it and led by people who allow Star Fleet to become outdated and ineffective?
Next you’ll be throwing in a treasonous leader making secret deals with the enemy, the desertion of your own men in the field, a corrupt State Dept. (probably led by a Romulan) and a Senate of degenerates and cowards.
Now who could possibly believe in that kinda thing?
By the way there has been talk of this for years now. I’ll believe it when I see it.
A lot of hardcore Star Trek fans have been critical of the rebooted film franchise, and almost every time a story drops about that, there is a minor clamor for the franchise to return to television, where it began almost 50 years ago. According to one new report, that could be closer than we think, and new series may be on the way.
Sources tell Latino Review that CBS is working to bring Star Trek back to your TV sets. They don’t offer much in the way of details, but the biggest tidbit they share is that X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer has been bandied about as an executive producer through his Bad Hat Harry Productions. We’ll have to wait and see if this news pans out, but there’s definite potential, and Singer is a well-known fan and has a history with the franchise.
Star Trek: Enterprise, the most recent series, went off the air in 2005, and since then there have been a couple of attempts to mount another in its wake. Bryce Zabel (Dark Skies) and Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski worked on a version called Star Trek: Reboot the Universe. There was also another one called Star Trek: Federation, and wouldn’t you know, Singer was one of the main three involved with that project, along with Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) and Robert Burnett, with novelist Geoffrey Thorne handling the writing.
Singer is the only name specifically mentioned in LR’s report. There’s no concrete word on whether any of the others are still involved, but Burnett has continued dabbling in that realm, working as a producer on the fan-funded film Star Trek: Axanar, from the people behind Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar. McQuarrie is busy getting Rogue Nation in shape for its release in July, though he is working with Bad Robot on that one, and has mentioned Trek on social media as recently as last December. For his part, Singer is prepping X-Men: Apocalypse, but has sporadically talked about Star Trek over the years. If nothing else, they all still appear to have love for the franchise.
If Singer and/or any of these people are working on a new Star Trek series, it will be interesting to see if it is similar to Federation. That idea didn’t reboot the universe, but instead takes place in the distant future. In this vision, the United Federation of Planets has become bloated and complacent, and Starfleet has become outdated and ineffective. Basically, it imagines a world where the Federation is a dysfunctional mess, causing many worlds to withdraw due to the ineffective way the government responds to an emerging threat called the Scourge. That’s definitely fertile ground for a new series to explore.
Who the hell knows if this will actually amount to anything? Paramount is still working to get Star Trek 3 together, though there appears to be movement — Simon Pegg has been talking about the script, and Idris Elba is reportedly up for an as-yet-unnamed villain role. The Justin Lin-directed film is scheduled to hit theaters on July 6, 2016, but it would also be pretty cool to have more Star Trek on TV to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s groundbreaking franchise.
The X-Files revival is inching ever so closer to an official green light from Fox, according to sources for TV Wise.
In January, Fox revealed that they have had conversations about bringing back The X-Files. Not much was known at that time, but Fox did say they were planning on bringing back creator Chris Carter and the show’s stars David Duchovny and Gillain Anderson. Since then, Duchovny and Anderson have both expressed interest in reprising their roles as Agents Mulder and Scully.
TV Wise is reporting that Fox is planning to order a shortened season of The X-Files – less than 10 episodes. Which is similar to what the network did with Keifer Sutherland’s 24, however, it had 12 episodes. The Daily Mail claims that it will be six episodes, but TV Wise says the number still hasn’t be determined at this time.
TV Wise claims that the revival will clear up unresolved plot lines that the original series and the two films that followed never did. They add, Chris Carter will write the scripts and serve as the executive producer.
The reason for the short order? One of the main reasons is said to be scheduling.
The feeling was that it would be easier for the always in demand Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny to schedule a block of time to shoot the revival with a short order. The duo, who were always committed to doing more X-Files, have, sources say, agreed to reprise their roles. It is understood than an offer has also gone out to Mitch Pileggi. Other key cast members will also return.
The X-Files ran on Fox from 1993-2002 and earned 21 Emmy nominations.
Ever fancied joining a viking army? Now you can. Here’s how to apply…
Vikings, the hugely successful History Channel production that is filmed in Ireland, has announced a casting call to find a minimum of 8,000 extras to work on its forthcoming season, which will be filmed here.
The Canadian/Irish production recently began its third season and will begin filming the fourth in Ireland in April. The producers have today announced they are looking for extras to take part, and the selection process will be held in Dublin, at the Film Base in Temple Bar, and at the Grand Hotel, Abbey St, in Wicklow.
We covered the application process last year, and you can learn a bit more about what life as an extra on Vikings is like HERE
The work is casual and temporary, but with 8,000 spots to fill it would appear you’ll have a good chance of getting the call sometime between April and December, when filming wraps up.
Those interested can attend the open casting days, with the events page on the Vikings Extras Facebook page offering the following advice to applicants turning up to stake a claim.
They are mainly looking for adults aged 16+
People from all ethnic backgrounds are required
You do not need an appointment
You only need attend one day of auditions
Each person who attends will fill out an application and have a photo taken
The process will take roughly 20 minutes
When you head along, have your measurements to hand. E.g. Height, chest, dress, shoe size etc. (You’ll need them for the application form)
No need to bring a CV or headshots, but the team will accept them if you do have them with you
There’s a long list of specific skills and appearances they’re looking for, including: Fishermen, carpenters, skilled swords people, bowmen and women, ship hands, Latin speakers, tree surgeons, and males with long hair and beards (you can find a full list of these – and there are plenty more – on the Vikings Extras Facebook page).
There will be 3 x Extras Open Casting days in 2015 – 2 days will be held in Dublin and 1 day will be held in Wicklow. Details are below
FILMBASE, Curved St, Temple Bar, D2
Tuesday 31st March 2015 between 9.30am -4.30pm
Wednesday 1st April 2015 between 9.30am – 5pm
The Grand Hotel, Abbey St, Wicklow Town
Wednesday 7th April between 10am – 6pm
Check out the Vikings Extras Facebook page for more information
Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.
His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.
His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.
Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock,” published in 1977, and “I Am Spock,” published in 1995.
In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”
“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” — an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some primitive special effects by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s.
His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cultlike following — the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) — coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication.
The fans’ devotion only deepened when “Star Trek” was spun off into an animated show, various new series and an uneven parade of movies starring much of the original television cast, including — besides Mr. Nimoy — William Shatner (as Capt. James T. Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), George Takei (the helmsman, Sulu), James Doohan (the chief engineer, Scott), Nichelle Nichols (the chief communications officer, Uhura) and Walter Koenig (the navigator, Chekov).
When the director J. J. Abrams revived the “Star Trek” film franchise in 2009, with an all-new cast — including Zachary Quinto as Spock — he included a cameo part for Mr. Nimoy, as an older version of the same character. Mr. Nimoy also appeared in the 2013 follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
His zeal to entertain and enlighten reached beyond “Star Trek” and crossed genres. He had a starring role in the dramatic television series “Mission: Impossible” and frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography.
He also directed movies, including two from the “Star Trek” franchise, and television shows. And he made records, singing pop songs as well as original songs about “Star Trek,” and gave spoken-word performances — to the delight of his fans and the bewilderment of critics.
But all that was subsidiary to Mr. Spock, the most complex member of the Enterprise crew, who was both one of the gang and a creature apart engaged at times in a lonely struggle with his warring racial halves.
In one of his most memorable “Star Trek” performances, Mr. Nimoy tried to follow in the tradition of two actors he admired, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff, who each played a monstrous character — Quasimodo and the Frankenstein monster — who is transformed by love.
In Episode 24, which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth, compassion and playfulness, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.
“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declares after the spores’ effect has worn off and his emotions are again in check. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber.
From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions, winning parts at a community college, where he performed through his high school years. In 1949, after taking a summer course at Boston College, he traveled to Hollywood, though it wasn’t until 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, “Queen for a Day” and “Rhubarb.”
He continued to be cast in little-known movies, although he did presciently play an alien invader in a cult serial called “Zombies of the Stratosphere,” and in 1961 he had a minor role on an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” His first starring movie role came in 1952 with “Kid Monk Baroni,” in which he played a disfigured Italian street-gang leader who becomes a boxer.
Mr. Nimoy served in the Army for two years, rising to sergeant and spending 18 months at Fort McPherson in Georgia, where he presided over shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. He also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before receiving his final discharge in November 1955.
He then returned to California, where he worked as a soda jerk, movie usher and cabdriver while studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He achieved wide visibility in the late 1950s and early 1960s on television shows like “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide” and “Perry Mason.” Then came “Star Trek.”
Mr. Nimoy returned to college in his 40s and earned a master’s degree in Spanish from Antioch University Austin, an affiliate of Antioch College in Ohio, in 1978. Antioch University later awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate.
Mr. Nimoy directed two of the Star Trek movies, “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), which he helped write. In 1991, the same year that he resurrected Mr. Spock on two episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Mr. Nimoy was also the executive producer and a writer of the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”
He then directed the hugely successful comedy “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), a far cry from his science-fiction work, and appeared in made-for-television movies. He received an Emmy nomination for the 1982 movie “A Woman Called Golda,” in which he portrayed the husband of Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, who was played by Ingrid Bergman. It was the fourth Emmy nomination of his career — the other three were for his “Star Trek” work — although he never won.
Mr. Nimoy’s marriage to the actress Sandi Zober ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Adam and Julie Nimoy; a stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck; and six grandchildren; one great-grandchild, and an older brother, Melvin.
Though his speaking voice was among his chief assets as an actor, the critical consensus was that his music was mortifying. Mr. Nimoy, however, was undaunted, and his fans seemed to enjoy the camp of his covers of songs like “If I Had a Hammer.” (His first album was called “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”)
From 1977 to 1982, Mr. Nimoy hosted the syndicated series “In Search Of…,” which explored mysteries like the Loch Ness Monster and UFOs. He also narrated “Ancient Mysteries” on the History Channel from 1995 to 2003 and appeared in commercials, including two with Mr. Shatner for Priceline.com. He provided the voice for animated characters in “Transformers: The Movie,” in 1986, and “The Pagemaster,” in 1994.
In 2001 he voiced the king of Atlantis in the Disney animated movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and in 2005 he furnished voice-overs for the computer game Civilization IV. More recently, he had a recurring role on the science-fiction series “Fringe” and was heard, as the voice of Spock, in an episode of the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”
Mr. Nimoy was an active supporter of the arts as well. The Thalia, a venerable movie theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, now a multi-use hall that is part of Symphony Space, was renamed the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002.
He also found his voice as a writer. Besides his autobiographies, he published “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life” in 2002. Typical of Mr. Nimoy’s simple free verse are these lines: “In my heart/Is the seed of the tree/Which will be me.”
In later years, he rediscovered his Jewish heritage, and in 1991 he produced and starred in “Never Forget,” a television movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sued a neo-Nazi organization of Holocaust deniers.
In 2002, having illustrated his books of poetry with his photographs, Mr. Nimoy published “Shekhina,” a book devoted to photography with a Jewish theme, that of the feminine aspect of God. His black-and-white photographs of nude and seminude women struck some Orthodox Jewish leaders as heretical, but Mr. Nimoy asserted that his work was consistent with the teaching of the kabbalah.
His religious upbringing also influenced the characterization of Spock. The character’s split-fingered salute, he often explained, had been his idea: He based it on the kohanic blessing, a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter in Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God.
“To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior,” Mr. Nimoy wrote years after the original series ended.
But that wasn’t such a bad thing, he discovered. “Given the choice,” he wrote, “if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”
Correction: February 27, 2015
An earlier version of this obituary, using information from Antioch College, misstated the name of an institution that award Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate. It was Antioch University, not Antioch College.
Vixen and Vibe owe their origins to a forgotten reboot of DC’s ‘Justice League of America’
Chuck Patton/DC Entertainment
Throughout the long and illustrious history of DC Entertainment’s Justice League of America — a team that debuted in 1960 and has been in near-continuous publication ever since — one era in particular stands out for many comic book fans as the nadir of the concept, a time when an attempted reinvention failed to such a degree that the series was actually cancelled. But, thirty years later, that period has proven to be source material for the CW’s The Flash, Cartoon Network’s DC Nation and the upcoming Vixen animated digital series on CW Seed. Could this be the second life of the Justice League Detroit?
The “Detroit Era” of the Justice League was the creation of writer Gerry Conway, who wrote the Justice League of America series from 1978 through 1986. Late in his run, with the series beginning to be eclipsed in popularity by companion titles The New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes — both of which centered around teenage soap operatics — Conway decided to revamp the League by replacing established characters like Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman with his own, younger, creations.
“I wanted to do something I hadn’t seen at DC, which was a ground-level superhero team that was rooted in a neighborhood,” he’d explain to Back Issue Magazine years later. The result was a storyline that launched in 1986’s Justice League of America Annual No. 2, in which Aquaman disbanded the original League and created a new one that would be dedicated full-time to the job of saving the planet. “The world needs a committed fighting force,” Conway had him explain. “A team of full-time, active members, living together, training together — sharing a common purpose, a common duty.” That that description not only defined Conway’s new League, but also the Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes and competitor Marvel’s uber-successful X-Men, did not go amiss.
Conway’s new League — relocated from a satellite headquarters to inner-city Detroit — consisted of existing DC characters Aquaman, the Elongated Man, the Martian Manhunter and Zatanna, in addition to his own creations, Steel — an angst-ridden cyborg teen who visually resembled Captain America — teenage runaway Gypsy, supermodel-turned-crimefighter Vixen and the breakdancing Vibe. To say that it was an underwhelming line-up in comparison to what it replaced is an understatement; in a later letter column that appeared in the Justice League of America series, the editor described fan response as “moderate,” and that was undoubtedly the peak of excitement surrounding the change. Within two years, the series would end as a result of low sales, Conway having been replaced as writer some months earlier.
The final storyline in the series might point towards the feeling towards the “Detroit League” — whereas other superhero teams might come to an end with the heroes going their separate ways to allow them to be used again in the future, both Steel and Vibe were swiftly murdered in the final issues, with the other characters resigning in the aftermath and — with just a couple of exceptions — fading into obscurity for years afterwards. Within months, DC relaunched the Justice League series (ditching “of America” from the title for almost two decades) and the Detroit team became little more than a footnote or butt of many fan jokes about bad ideas and unsuccessful relaunches… until 2012.
That year saw the first signs that Geoff Johns — DC Entertainment chief creative officer and, notably, a Detroit native — had an affinity for the short-lived Justice League that existed in his hometown, with Vibe, arguably the most derided of all of the Detroit League thanks to his association with the short-lived breakdancing craze, receiving both his own series of shorts as part of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block of programming and his own (short-lived) comic book series, Justice League of America’s Vibe. The character would later show up, in depowered, secret-identity form, as Cisco on the CW’s The Flash. Vixen, similarly, will become part of the Arrow/Flash universe with the recently-announced animated series for the CW’s online sibling CW Seed, overseen by Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim.
In fact, of the Justice League Detroit’s eight-strong line-up, only two members haven’t made it into a live-action spin-off or adjacent project (Aquaman, Zatanna and the Martian Manhunter all appeared in Smallville, with Aquaman obviously preparing for his own big-screen debut in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). That’s an impressive batting average for what was viewed by many to be a “failed” team — for DC characters, it beats the Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, Doom Patrol or almost any other super team outside of the “classic” Justice League line-up of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman and Green Lantern — and a testament to the fact that no character or concept is beyond salvation if someone is dedicated enough to make it happen.
Of course, now we need someone to work on getting Steel and the Elongated Man out of the comics and onto our screens. Surely someone can come up with a pitch for a detective who has stretching powers…?
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is one of the most popular book series of all time. So you’d think the first episode of a TV version would air with massive fanfare… so why did the pilot air in the middle of the night instead? We reached out to the producers and found out why. Now updated with more info!
In a nutshell, Winter Dragon, which aired early this morning on FXX, was not actually FXX programming. It was “client-supplied programming,” according to an FXX spokesperson — which I believe means that someone rented time on FXX to show it. Similar to a late-night infomercial.
So what gives? We spoke to Rick Selvage, CEO of Red Eagle Entertainment and the executive producer of Winter Dragon, who told us “it was more of an [issue of] getting it on the air.”
Selvage had to be very careful about what he told us, but reading between the lines, it sounded as though his company has the rights to make a Wheel of Time TV series — but those rights were about to expire, unless they got something on television by a certain date.
“You probably know that a lot of pilots are put on the air at different times in different ways, and for different reasons,” Selvage tells io9. As with “a lot of other properties, there’s always an airdate that you need to air something by… and that was certainly part of it.”
But the fact that this pilot aired in the middle of the night as paid programming does not mean there aren’t lavish plans for a Wheel of Time series, says Selvage, who promises more announcements soon. Winter Dragon was “a pilot for a high-budget production television series,” says Selvage. “We think there’s huge demand for the television series internationally, and we’re looking forward to producing it and getting it out in the marketplace.”
“Obviously, the pilot was a prologue to the eye of the world, which is the first book,” adds Selvage. “It was not the introduction to the series, although it is a pilot.” He’s gratified by the discussions he’s seeing on the internet about the pilot. “Certainly, we want fans to find out about it and be excited that there’s a lot more to come.”
So if the show does become an ongoing series, will they need to recast? Selvage says that since Lews Therin doesn’t really appear outside of the prologue, no recasting might be necessary. The prologue is “really just a dialogue between good and evil, and you have to do the prologue and the age of legends in the series.” The characters of Lews and Ishmael “don’t necessarily show up other than flashbacks in the series.”
“We don’t have to worry too much about the continuity between [the prologue] and the main story,” because the actual story “starts out with young males and females at the beginning.” So they don’t need to worry too much about recasting those two characters.
[Update: Selvage followed up to clarify that Ishmael, of course, would be a recurring character, but wouldn’t be in every episode. He didn’t mean to say that Ishmael wouldn’t reappear after the pilot.]
As for the mention of “film” just now, Selvage says they had considered trying to do a Wheel of Time movie, but it was just too rich to try and fit the story into two hours. “We felt the story for the Eye of the World was very complicated. You need character development, you have to build the world… And since Game of Thrones came out and did well on television,” with “high production values,” that showed that Wheel of Time could work on television as well.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t do film at some point in the future,” adds Selvage. “But at the moment, this project is destined to be a television series.” And Wheel of Time has one advantage over Game of Thrones: “With all the content, over 13,000 pages, this could go a very long time. Game of Thrones has already run out of material, and we don’t have that problem.”
“This morning brought startling news. A “pilot” for a Wheel of Time series, the “pilot” being called Winter Dragon, had appeared at 1:30 in the morning, East Coast time, on FXX TV, a channel somewhere in the 700s (founded to concentrate on comedy, according to the Washington Post).
It was made without my knowledge or cooperation. I never saw the script. No one associated with Bandersnatch Group, the successor-in-interest to James O. Rigney, was aware of this.
Bandersnatch has an existing contract with Universal Pictures that grants television rights to them until this Wednesday, February 11 – at which point these rights revert to Bandersnatch.
I see no mention of Universal in the “pilot”. Nor, I repeat, was Bandersnatch, or Robert Jordan’s estate, informed of this in any way.
I am dumbfounded by this occurrence, and am taking steps to prevent its reoccurrence.”
I’ve verified the authenticity of that statement with folks from Tor, her publisher.
Fox’s Batman prequel Gotham will have no shortage of Easter eggs in the coming weeks as the show prepares to introduce the eventual parents of Dick “Robin” Grayson as well as nascent versions of supervillains The Scarecrow and The Red Hood. But what about The Joker?
Although executive producer Bruno Heller initially planned to wait a while to introduce Batman’s most famous nemesis, he now says that viewers will actually get a glimpse before the end of the first season. “We’ve said you’re going to be waiting a bit longer for it, but this is America — nobody wants to wait,” Heller tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. “So, we will scratch the surface of that story, yes. But just scratch it — a little tap on the door.”
In the meantime, the remainder of Season 1 will turn its attentions to Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and his path to villainy as The Riddler. “Penguin [Robin Lord Taylor] was born a sociopath and was always going down this path one way or another,” Heller says. “Nygma is someone who becomes the villain, and we see that journey begin in the second half of the season.”
Though he currently seems to be hitting it off with file clerk Kristen Kringle (Chelsea Spack), we’re betting that it’ll be a bitter breakup that starts Ed’s transformation. “What motivates people to do things is oftentimes love,” Spack says. “He is slowly starting to break through her defenses, but we take two steps forward and then one step back. It’s not smooth sailing for Edward Nygma. It’s complicated for her to have somebody’s feelings in her hand. It’s not as simple as rejecting somebody and having a clean conscience because she’s starting to realize how deeply he cares.”