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Where No Man Has Gone Before? No

September 15, 2008

The new Star Trek film will have a new cast playing the familiar characters from The Original Series. And until that cast list was finalized last year, a lot of names were being knocked around. Remember the report that Matt Damon was going to be Kirk? Or Adrien Brody as Spock? All just rumours, as it turned out.

But these rumours are nothing new. Fans have been debating this for decades: If you had to re-do Star Trek today, who would you cast?

Here’s just one example from online fandom:

Were I in charge of the next Star Trek permutation, I would first consider recasting the original series (maybe George Clooney as Kirk, Hugo Weaving as Spock, and Gary Sinise as McCoy). - Tom Bondurant, Comics Ate My Brain, 2005

The Houston Chronicle’s Amy Bioncolli proposed Christian Bale as Kirk, Heath Ledger as Spock and Jason Lee as McCoy back around the same time, as shown in this nifty chart.

Anthony Pascale of trekmovie.com has a list at that link, too – his includes Britney Spears as Janice Rand, and he explains why, and I like his reasoning.

I found this online the other day, from artist Brian Murray:

The credits might be hard to see. That’s Thomas Jane as Kirk, Hugh Laurie as Spock, Ian McShane as McCoy, Hugh Jackman as Mitchell and Antonio Banderas as Khan (actually a pretty decent idea). This is just design work, not any serious concept, so indulge Mr. Murray. Also, it’s kind of weird, so I like it.

I have often wondered what would have happened if the movies and TNG had never been made, and Star Trek had instead been revived in the early 90s alongside other TV-to-movie stalwarts like Lost In Space, The Brady Bunch and Coneheads. Bruce Willis as Kirk? David Duchovny as Spock? Not hard to imagine. I spent a lot of time thinking about this stuff back then, which explains a lot.

As the release date for the new film approaches, I listen to a lot of debate over whether it was right to recast, whether another prequel is the best direction for Star Trek after the suckness of Enterprise’s ratings.

I think it was. I’m excited about it. Maybe it’s because TOS is my Star Trek, the first I saw and, for many years, the only Trek. Maybe it’s because I’m the guy who loves remixes and cover versions, TV edits of movies and remakes of old ones. I like seeing how someone else tells the same story.

And I’m no purist. I just can’t work up the geeky outrage that so many others can. This isn’t Shatner. So what? It’s something new. And I look forward to it. In the end, I’d rather see a new take on something familiar than yet another failed attempt to try something brand-new.

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