Thursday, July 24, 2014

Galaxy Quest: By Grabthar's Hammer, What A History!

Alan Rickman as Alexander Dane, as Dr. Lazarus
Image courtesy of Dreamworks SKG
In news that is undoubtedly going to make many of my readers feel very old, the sleeper hit cult classic sci-fi comedy film Galaxy Quest turns fifteen years old this week. To celebrate, interviewed the cast and crew to create Galaxy Quest: An Oral History. The entire article is filled with insights, like who was considered for the lead before Tim Allen, and how Steven Speilberg randomly showing up on set led to some extensive changes to the movie, like Missi Pyle's character Laliari getting more screen time:
Pyle: I heard that Spielberg was there. He came and then he saw my character and makeup and decided she should be a bigger part. I was only supposed to be in two scenes and then they realized they didn’t have another female except Sigourney Weaver. And I just think, “Am I in a dream, because this is ridiculous?” So they added the relationship with Tony Shalhoub’s character.
Since it was a deft spoof of science fiction media fandom in general as well as Star Trek in particular, did any veteran Star Trek actors happen to see Galaxy Quest? As it turns out, a number of actors in the Star Trek franchise did get to see it, and one fan site compiled some of their reactions. For example, here's Patrick Stewart's reaction:
I had originally not wanted to see [Galaxy Quest] because I heard that it was making fun of Star Trek and then Jonathan Frakes rang me up and said ‘You must not miss this movie! See it on a Saturday night in a full theatre.’ And I did and of course I found it was brilliant. Brilliant. No one laughed louder or longer in the cinema than I did, but the idea that the ship was saved and all of our heroes in that movie were saved simply by the fact that there were fans who did understand the scientific principles on which the ship worked was absolutely wonderful. And it was both funny and also touching in that it paid tribute to the dedication of these fans.
While the general consensus is that the marketing for the movie was what ended up tanking the film's chances for success at the box office despite the strong world of mouth, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can see one way the online marketing team got it on the money: the website promoting Galazy Quest was done up as an enthusiastic Geocities-style fan site, complete with visitor counters.

On the flipside of that, there is also a really cool meta-fanfic for Galaxy Quest that is not only a first person account that takes Galaxy Quest into today's media fandom landscape, but also comes with its own spin-off free downloadable fanzine: There Are Things We Don't Talk About In This Fandom.

For an official look at some pars of Glaxy Quest that could have been but never where, check out 9 minutes of deleted scenes... including a very young Rainn Wilson!

While both fans of the movie and most of the princpal cast have clamored for a sequel, with each year going by it seems more and more unlikely. It looks like the closest you're going to get is a comic that was published in 2008 called "Galaxy Quest: Global Warning". It was written by Scott Lobdell and featured the cast of Galaxy Quest leaving a launch party for Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues only to end up having to save the world from a "Judgement Ship" causing natural disasters all over the globe.

And if all of this Galaxy Quest talk has you itching to see it again, it's available for free viewing online in HD if you are an Amazon Prime or Amazon Student Prime member!

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