[TV] George Takei and the Dragon
- The Trek Report: Uncle George Tilts at His Windmill
Roddenberry's Vision, series updates and more.
December 10, 2004 -
George Takei and the Dragon:
George Takei, the man who gave life to Mr. Sulu in the original
series and eventually got his own ship, the Excelsior, in the films,
talked to GM TV recently about Enterprise and his own aspirations in
the Trek universe.
"I don't think it's Gene's vision, because he was forward-looking and
this show is going backwards," said Takei when asked about the latest
Star Trek incarnation in a Web chat. "He loved the shock of the new,
unknown lifeforms, discoveries, challenges, all that is lost when you
Takei has lobbied for years to front either a film or mini-series
based on Capt. Sulu and the crew of the Excelsior. The International
Federation of Trekkers pressed hard for Paramount to consider such a
move but, according to Takei, the idea was never taken seriously.
Even when he was called back to active duty for an episode of Star
Trek: Voyager, the actor admits that he was the last one to
know. "One day I got a phone call from a friend who called to
congratulate me about a guest appearance and I said I knew nothing
about that," Takei recalled. Checking with his agent, the actor was
reassured that there was no Voyager guest shot in the works. "Two
weeks later I was working on a TV thing in Canada and my agent rang
to tell me that the Internet was correct and I was doing a guest shot
on Voyager...so I've been checking the Internet ever since." Smart
man but it does make one wonder about the effectiveness of your agent
when everyone knows about a job you've landed except the actor and
Look, I've met George Takei many, many times over the years and he
is, without a doubt, one of the most gracious, friendly and genuinely
nice people out there, regardless of his involvement with Star Trek.
But he's also a lot smarter than he lets on in these chats. There
are several reasons why the most we'll ever see of Captain Sulu or
the crew of the Excelsior will be guest shots, supporting roles or
off-shoot projects like novels.
First of all, Takei seems to contradict himself while attempting to
make his own case. By making an Excelsior series, he's taking yet
another leap backwards. Admittedly not as far as Enterprise but
still going backwards from where Voyager left off, which seems to be
the point that fans critical of Enterprise point to as the launch
point for any new series.
Personally, the complaint just doesn't seem to hold any water.
Apparently, according to the section of Trek fandom that thinks
Enterprise has no reason to live, nothing interesting happened in the
Trek universe before Kirk, Spock and McCoy started that first five-
year mission. One fan who wrote in tried to tell me that the purpose
of science fiction was to always look forward, to take place further
and further in the future and to always create new technologies, not
show how the technology we've made up could have come to be created.
This is, of course, on the list of Dumbest Things I've Ever Heard.
Science fiction can take place in any time period and involve new
technology, old technology or NO technology. The story is the thing,
people, not the setting.
Another factor over the years has been the strangle hold that Rick
Berman has had on the franchise. The more that exists in the
franchise that was created by Berman (or at least attributed to him),
the more he makes in royalties and the less he has to answer to the
universe that Gene Roddenberry brought into existence in the 1960's.
While he might be convinced to acknowledge that original work when it
comes time to do a little stunt casting during ratings sweeps, it
wasn't in his best financial interest to create any series or films
that revolved around any of Roddenberry's main characters.
As a fan, I would like nothing more than to see a project with Sulu
or any of the other members of the original cast involved but using
the lack of success of Enterprise as an excuse to try and make
another run at it is slightly disingenuous. Takei would be the first
one in line if Manny Coto decided that it was time to give up on the
attempts to get William Shatner to do a guest shot (see this week's
edition of "Shatner & Enterprise" below) and he knows it.