Stardate 2016: It’s the near future, and one of America’s most beloved science fiction icons is celebrating a major milestone. Phasers on stun: Star Trek is turning 50.
Back here in 2014, that event seems almost light years away, but it’s never too early to plan or start celebrating a franchise that spawned six TV series (the first episode aired in 1966 and starred William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and George Takei) and a dozen movies.
At least that’s the position of Wikia — home to countless Star Trek wikis, including one of the most popular, “Trek Initiative,” which was launched by Rodenberry Entertainment and Wikia last year. On Thursday in Las Vegas, at the start of one of the most popular and longest-running Star Trek conventions, it will launch a two-year campaign, “Warp 5.0.”
In addition to live and online showcases that will include panel discussions and even Star Trekgame shows, the Trek Initiative is collecting what may be the first-ever fan census, a sort of Vulcan mind meld with fan memories. In short videos, Star Trek fans will explain what the franchise has meant to them. The videos will be published on trekinitiative.wikia.com.
The first one has already been shot, and it features Rod Roddenberry, son of the late Star Trekcreator Gene Roddenberry and CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment.
In the video (posted above), Roddenberry, who says he’s been attending this particular convention with his family since he was young, shares a story about his first introduction to Star Trek.
Roddenberry.com COO and head of Development Trevor Roth told Mashable that while there are currently no cast members included in the census, they will certainly offer them the option of participating.
“We built it for the fans, but many of the cast members have become fans,”“We built it for the fans, but many of the cast members have become fans,” said Roth, adding he would not be surprised if every once in a while someone from one of the TV series or movies showed up in the database.
Ultimately, though, this celebration is really about the fans. They’ve “been a huge part of this legacy,” Roth said.
Rod Roddenberry also said that this celebration will not focus on any one particular cast member, series or movie.
“As far as I’m concerned, you need to have everyone who was involved in all the series involved in the 50th anniversary," he said. "We’re not celebrating the original series, we’re celebrating the idea of Star Trek and the fans. They’re the ones who kept it alive for 50 years.”
Speaking of those fans, some of them have been making fan films for years. Most are original stories that continue the voyages of the original Star Trek series crew.
“There are fans out there doing Star Trek better, sometimes, than CBS and Paramount," Roddenberry said, referring to the two companies that own the rights to the TV and film franchises, respectively. "I think my father would be proud of what they’re doing,” Roddenberry said of the fans.
As part of the two-year celebration, Wikia will kick off a fan film contest. Even though there are already a lot of fan films out there, the Trek Initiative has something special for the amateur filmmakers. Prior to Gene Roddenberry’s wife and longtime Star Trek collaborator Majel Barrett’s death in 2008, she recorded fresh Star Trek audio. Filmmakers will be able to take a single line of audio and build an entire story around it.
Wikia has already had some success with March-Madness-style character brackets from Star Wars. Now, as part of the two-year celebration, they hope to apply the same strategy to Star Trek characters. By 2016, the fans will have chosen their all-time favorite character.
Put simply, Trek Initiative is now on a two-year mission, seeking out old and new fans to boldly remember where others have gone before.
Mashable contacted CBS and Paramount for comments on their 50th anniversary plans. Paramount said it was working on various projects for the anniversary, "but nothing we can confirm officially as of now."
The studio, however, does have some near-term plans. Its home entertainment division is releasing The Star Trek Compendium on Sept. 9. It will include 2009's Star Trek and 2013's Star Trek: Into Darkness, along with bonus material and never-before-seen footage.
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, FILM, STAR TREK, TELEVISION, WILLIAM SHATNER