Just north of Jacksonville,
FL, is a warehouse known to its occupants as “Stage 9.” This is in honor of the
Paramount sound stage in which the original Star
Trek series was filmed. Because inside an unassuming metal building just
off Interstate 95 sits a full-scale replica of the original Star Trek set.
Bridge, sick bay, transporter room, everything, recreated in meticulous detail.
Originally it was created by
the producers of Starship Farragut, a
fan series available on YouTube. They later turned it over to the team at Star Trek Continues, another fan series
that has produced 11 episodes, supposedly cover the remaining two years of the
original five-year mission.
Star Trek Continues is led by actor Vic Mignogna, who writes, directs and stars as Captain
James T. Kirk. He is also known as the voice of Edward Elric on the animé
series, Full Metal Alchemist. “I hand
picked and invited each and every one of the cast of STC,” he says. “They are
all talented actors in their roles and great friends as well. I never wanted to
make STC with hired hands… I wanted to make it with friends.”
The cast includes Todd
Haberkorn as Spock; Grant Imahara (Mythbusters)
as Sulu; and Chris Doohan – son of James Doohan – as Scotty, reprising the role
in which his father starred. Added to the cast has been Michele Specht as Dr.
Elise McKenna, the ship’s counselor.
Back Row: Steven Dengler as Security Chief Drake; Kipleigh Brown as Lt. Smith; Cat Roberts as Lt. Palmer; Chris Doohan as Chief Engineer Scott. Middle Row: Chuck Huber as Dr. McCoy; Kim Stinger as Lt. Uhura; Vic Mignogna as Capt. Kirk; Michele Specht as Dr. McKenna; Front: Wyatt Lenhart as Chekov; Grant Imahara as Lt. Sulu
Guest stars have included
actors from the original series, as well as other science fiction programs such
as Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who. Other actors to be featured
include Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk),
Erin Gray (Buck Rogers) and John De
Lancie (Star Trek: The Next Generation).
Thanks to the generosity of
fans, STC’s “Kirkstarter” campaigns have funded not only new episodes, but also
new sets, such as the engine room and a planet set. The cast and crew have
managed to recapture the feel and sound of the original series. Mignogna
credits his director of photography Matt Bucy. “He’s a genius! He and I had
many discussions about what we needed to do to capture TOS as closely as
Over the course of 11
web-produced episodes, the crew of the Enterprise has enjoyed some stellar
adventures, featuring characters from original episodes, such as Apollo and
Edith Keeler. They have revisited the Mirror Universe, and Chekov has finally
earned his promotion to lieutenant.
Episodes 10 and 11 are a
single story, “To Boldly Go.” The cast and crew have excelled in creating a
stunning film filled with action, passion, and some humour. Not only does it
lead up to where Star Trek: The Motion
Picture picks up, but it also returns to the very first episode of Star Trek.
In the story, Kirk and his
crew encounter a number of high-level ESPers who intend to surmount the
boundary at the edge of the galaxy. It is their intent to be “uplifted,” as
Gary Mitchell was in the premier episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” With
god-like powers at their command, they expect to be the next step in human
evolution. While Kirk has an unlikely ally to assist him, how long can he bear
the strain of command in this time of crisis?
The episode is superb, and
sure to delight fans of the original series. It also reconciles some of the continuity
concerns that have risen over the years, between the original series, the
feature films, and the later iterations that followed.
“My lifelong love of the
show gives me a very strict vision about what I want it to look like,” says
Mignogna. “I feel like we’ve pretty much accomplished what we set out to do.”
Whether the series will be
considered canon remains to be seen, but many fans agree that it should be.
That would include Rod Roddenberry, son of the series creator Gene Roddenberry,
who endorsed the project, saying, “I'm
pretty damn sure my dad would consider this canon. The fact that you do stories
that mean something, that have depth, that make us all think a little bit, I
really think he would applaud you guys.”
If you are a die-hard fan of the
original Star Trek, and are disappointed by Star Trek: Discovery, you would do
well to visit YouTube for a look at Star Trek Continues. You may just fall in
love all over again.
View the teaser reel on YouTube