Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The cast and crew of STAR TREK CONTINUES finished principal photography on our series a few months ago, and we are working at warp speed to put all of the finishing touches on Episodes 9, 10, and 11 – which will complete our salute to The Original Series.
And while we are all sad to see STAR TREK CONTINUES come to a close, we have committed to our supporters that these last three chapters in our story will be finished and released this year. That means three more upcoming premieres of the continuing voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Episode Nine is in sound design and will have a debut screening at the end of July at Florida Supercon in Ft Lauderdale. We’re so honored to announce some very familiar names in guest starring roles for Episode 9, including John de Lancie and Anne Lockhart.
Of course, John needs no introduction. His character will be among the first to appear on our Planet Set (constructed with support from our crowdfunding campaign).
Anne Lockhart may be best known to science fiction fans for her role as “Sheba” on the original Battlestar Galactica, but she has also been in hundreds of other productions and commercials – including a recurring role in Chicago Fire on NBC. (And, of course, her Mom was June Lockhart, the matriarch of Lost in Space!)
John de Lancie, Chuck Huber (McCoy) and I will each be guests at Florida Supercon. So we hope you might plan a trip to Fort Lauderdale to enjoy the world premiere screening of “What Ships Are For,” at the end of July. Details about the screening will be on the Supercon website.
Keep this comm channel open for more info about our final installments. And again, thank you to all of you for your enthusiasm and support for this "love letter to Star Trek".
Captain of STAR TREK CONTINUES
With Episode 9, STAR TREK CONTINUES adds another feather to its cap -- versatile actor, comedian, singer, director, and producer John de Lancie. Well-known to fans for his strong Trek background, de Lancie met STAR TREK CONTINUES founder Vic Mignogna on the convention circuit, and Mignogna offered him a role in the production.
“Vic asked me if I’d be interested in appearing in STAR TREK CONTINUES, and he told me a little bit about the show. I asked him to let me read the script, and I was immediately impressed with it. It’s definitely classic STAR TREK, because it’s a secular moral story and one that I think is particularly poignant in our current times. I believe the material is the most important thing, and this is really good material.” Episode 9 is penned by Kipleigh Brown, who appears as Lt. Smith in the series.
De Lancie says he’s “also very sympathetic to people who put together their own projects. I know how much work it is. And in this case, Vic has his hands in every element of the production. It was an easy choice to say yes because I knew I could be somewhat helpful in a modest sort of way. And I knew I would be acting in an interesting story.”
Strange New Worlds
De Lancie said he didn’t really have any preconceptions about STAR TREK CONTINUES, since he had not seen any of the series’ episodes.
“I have to say legitimately that I was really impressed,” once he joined the production crew on set in southern Georgia. “There is a lot of attention to detail, and a lot of love went in to all of this.”
He said that he was surprised and “got chills” as he walked the halls of the Enterprise.
“I had the feeling that I was on a historic set, even if it is a facsimile of the original. These were the identical colors to what was used in the 1960’s, when they were trying to sell color TVs. And the other thing that struck me is that these sets have a certain 1960’s look, from the gadgets to the crew quarters. This had the same look of all the shows that I used to watch as a kid.”
Growing up in the 1950’s, de Lancie said that he didn’t watch that much television, and in fact his parents had taken the TV away. “I had a real problem with reading, so my parents just took the TV out of the house.” De Lancie’s escape was Saturday afternoon science fiction movies at the theater.
For Episode 9, de Lancie is careful not to reveal any plot details when describing his character, except to say that there are elements of the character that are revealed as the story unfolds.
“He is a character not unlike many of us. He has recognizable human traits and deep-seated prejudices.”
De Lancie came prepared for his role, just as he is for any acting assignment, and spoke his first lines on the Planet Set that had just been dressed into a lush forest environment.
A frequent guest at conventions throughout the world, de Lancie had just returned from FedCon in Germany when he spoke to STAR TREK CONTINUES.
“I really do enjoy meeting the fans at the conventions. I enjoy being up on stage and answering the questions. And I enjoy having drinks later with the actors. But what is becoming wearisome is the travel – especially if you go overseas. It takes your body about three days to adjust to a new time zone, and then the event is over and you’re heading back the other way.”
Travel has certainly been on his agenda of late for another reason, since the entire de Lancie family recently returned from a big journey.
“My wife was in Burma, teaching. So I went with her. Then we went to Vietnam, and then our kids joined us in Japan and the whole family took a boat trip. I was back for a couple of days, did a convention in Phoenix, and then it was off to Bonn, Germany,” for FedCon.
Ponies, Dragons, and Video Games
The busy actor has another fan base, far different from those who appreciate his Trek credentials. For the past six years, de Lancie has been the voice of a dragon named Discord on the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
“Yes, there are conventions for My Little Pony. But it’s a very different fan base. I like particularly talking with the little kids. They have a hard time imagining that they’re looking at someone their grandfather’s age who plays a mischievous dragon. It’s also an unusual fan base, in the adult world. I did a documentary about that. I like the show very much, because it also has a sort of secular morality attached to it. You don’t need to have a religious text to be the source of a moral lesson. There are a lot of unusual people involved with My Little Pony. I talk to a lot of people in the military who just like looking at something bright, happy, and upbeat,” de Lancie says.
In addition to the My Little Pony TV series, de Lancie has also voiced his character for a Pony video game. And he’s worked as a voice actor for games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, and others.
“While I don’t play video games, I was asked a few years ago to do voices for one. I’ve watched my kids over the years play a lot of games. I’m a big history buff, so one thing I really liked about the game Assassin’s Creed was the fun way they went back in time with very detailed representations of Florence and Constantinople.
“I like the fact that doing video games keeps me current in the minds of people who are 20 years old,” he adds.
An actress and voiceover artist with literally hundreds of credits to her name, veteran performer Anne Lockhart will be a guest star in Episode 9, which will have a debut screening in late July.
Lockhart is best known to science fiction fans for her groundbreaking role as Sheba in the original Battlestar Galactica in 1978. Now her travels take her to another science fiction universe. An invitation to join the cast came from STAR TREK CONTINUES creator Vic Mignogna.
“I’ve known Vic for a couple of years. He called me one day and said that he had an idea to talk about regarding STAR TREK CONTINUES, which was a guest starring role in an upcoming episode. And I asked him what took him so long! It’s such an honor to be in an episode, because I’m a fan. I love the whole look and the concept of it. And the fact that I got asked to be part of that universe is amazing,” Lockhart says. “I was there before I’d even read the script!”
Lockhart loved working with fellow guest star John de Lancie on the episode, and it was actually the second time that both had worked together.
“We did the first two-hour episode of EMERGENCY, a long time ago. I don’t think he remembered being in that one with me. He played a doctor, and I was his patient – rescued from a burning building. I remembered him because he was so dear. Working with John is joyful. There are so many actors who just show up and do it in their sleep. But not him.”
Lockhart has built an impressive resume over several decades of TV, film, and commercial work. Her first series was Lassie in the late 1950’s, as a child actress. Years later, Glen Larson, the creator of Battlestar Galactica approached Lockhart about a role in proposed series.
“The role of Sheba was written for me. I knew Glen Larson because I had done episodes of the The Hardy Boys for him. He sent me the barebones pilot script for Battlestar Galactica. And basically it was about a bunch of guys and a girl who came in every few pages and said ‘don’t forget your laser gun.’ I turned it down,” Lockhart explains. She was recovering from a fire that had burned down her house and was living with her mom (TV actress June Lockhart) at the time.
“Glen said he could always rewrite the character, and the script went through several re-writes.” Lockhart loved the revised script and came aboard the Battlestar.
“Jane Seymour didn’t want to do a series. So they killed her character. The character of Sheba was so strong and so wonderful to play – and it was nothing like the original script. I ended up with a better character.”
Being in space was nothing new to the Lockhart family. Lockhart’s real mom played Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space, the mother to a family traveling the stars. Some days, Anne and her sister were dropped off at the 20th Century Fox lot to wait for their mom to finish her work and do homework in her dressing room.
“I remember one day there was a chunk of time when Billy Mumy (who played Will Robinson) had nothing to do. We just took off and wandered the Fox lot for two hours, exploring the sets of shows like Peyton Place. And then we finally wandered back. My mom was panicked. And so was Billy’s mom,” Lockhart laughs as she recalls the memory.
Currently, Lockhart stays busy with the recurring role of a dispatcher on Chicago Fire, a role that she has to reprise at the drop of a hat. “There are some times when they’ll call me over the weekend and say that I have to be in Los Angeles on Tuesday.”
She worked out the schedule to come to southern Georgia and the new planet set of STAR TREK CONTINUES for her role in Episode 9.
“We worked our tails off. Vic shot over twenty pages in three days. That’s just insane. But that shows how good he is. It shows how good the crew is. I was just so overwhelmed with the commitment and the people who were there volunteering their time, just out of love. It was really a wonderful experience.”
Like William Shatner, Anne Lockhart has a fancy for horses and has raised thousands of dollars of the years with rodeos benefitting autistic children. And she serves on the board of directors for the Thousand Oaks, California Kingsmen Shakespeare Company.
“It’s been several years since I’ve appeared on stage with Kingsmen. It was started by my friend Lane Davies, and literally it started with a dirt stage and two lights. Now it’s one of the premiere Shakespeare companies in the country. My children have grown up performing with me. It was so cool to go there, thrown down your blanket, and see Shakespeare presented in a very contemporary way. We did Julius Caesar, but set in a city like New York. It was like The Godfather. We did The Merry Wives of Windsor as if it was the swinging London scene of the 1960’s. It’s not just a bunch of people in togas,” says Lockhart.
While she has seen some rough cuts of the episode, Lockhart says she’s looking forward to the public release of Episode 9.
“This was kind of like a dream come true for me. Being part of the STAR TREK universe is something I’ve looked forward to doing. I adored STAR TREK. And Lost in Space, to be honest, kind of became a comic book. STAR TREK was always just my favorite.”