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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country by J.M. Dillard (Review)

This June, we’re taking a look at some classic Star Trek movie tie-ins. Check back daily for the latest reviews and retrospectives.

Reading her novelisation of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, it’s hard to shake the feeling that author J.M. Dillard really does not like this film.

It’s a very peculiar sensation, to read an adaptation clearly written by somebody who could not care less for the source material. It is not unique, of course. Diane Carey’s adaptation of Broken Bow is downright scathing in its attitude towards Star Trek: Enterprise. It just seems rather strange that J.M. Dillard’s early adaptation of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier seems a lot fonder of its source material.

st-theundiscoveredcountry-dillard

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Star Trek – Shadows on the Sun by Michael Jan Friedman (Review)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

It almost feels like sacrilege to fill in the gap left at the end of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The film was such a perfect send-off that picking up a novel directly after the end credits role feels like it might undermine the perfect farewell story for the veteran crew. After all, director Nicholas Meyer suggested that the film was an attempt to capture the spirit of Fukuyama’s “end of history”, representing the “end of history” for the original crew.

Except, of course, it wasn’t the end. In terms of internal Star Trek chronology, episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation had picked up on the later adventures of Scotty and Spock. Star Trek: Voyager would flashback to a Sulu story unfolding concurrently with The Undiscovered Country. Scotty and Chekov would appear in Star Trek: Generations, which would also serve as a disappointing farewell to one James Tiberius Kirk. It seems bitterly appropriate (if far from fair) that Uhura should remain the only major player whose story actually ends with The
Undiscovered Country
.

Still, despite his passing of the torch appearance in Encounter at Farpoint, you could make an argument that The Undiscovered Country was the end of the line for Leonard McCoy more than Kirk or Spock. And, as such, Michael Jan Friedman’s Shadows on the Sun serves as an effective (if flawed) reflection on the way that McCoy’s presence sort of faded from the 24th century spin-offs. startrek-shadowsonthesun

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Star Trek: Excelsior – Forged in Fire by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels (Review)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

I have to admit, when I first saw Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, I was a bit surprised to be introduced to Captain Hikaru Sulu. This was a character who didn’t even have a first name before The Undiscovered Country. The name chosen – “Hikaru” – was taken from Vonda N. McIntyre’s 1981 tie-in The Entropy Effect. Still, I suppose it could be worse. Uhura didn’t get a first name on screen until the release of Star Trek in 2009.

So it seemed strange that this supporting character should find himself the commanding officer of a starship, let alone a state-of-art ship of the line which opened the fond farewell to the original series crew. Still, the character of Captain Hikaru Sulu remains one of the most interesting branches sprouting off the trunk of Star Trek. Takei would reprise the role on Star Trek: Voyager, hold down a couple of Simon & Schuster audio adventures and even feature heavily in tie-in novels and comic books. Takei is quite fond of recounting his campaign to launch a television show centred around the character.

It’s quite remarkable, as Sulu is probably the only major character who could credibly “spin-off” from the original Star Trek show, which is remarkable for a supporting performer whose most iconic moment in the classic Star Trek show was waving a sword through the corridors while practically naked.

excelsior-forgedinfire

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Star Trek Special #2 (DC Comics, 1994) – A Question of Loyalty (Review)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

A Question of Loyalty is essentially a Star Trek character study, comparing and contrasting the two young Vulcan female characters to appear in the film franchise, providing a meeting between Valeris and Saavik, Spock’s two young protegés. The production history of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is interesting, as there were early plans to include Saavik. For a variety of reasons, this didn’t work out and director Nicholas Meyer and his writers decided to cast a new role, Valeris. A Question of Loyalty allows the two characters to come face-to-face, and offers both some character motivation for the under-developed Valeris and a fond farewell for Saavik.

Her ears are tingling...

Her ears are tingling…

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