As we get closer and closer to the rebirth of our beloved Star Trek (two weeks and counting), I can detect the early stages of an illness, slowly brewing inside me. But this particular viral strain does not manifest itself through elevated temperature, cold sweats or even a mild cough; no, the symptoms of this pesky bug can be far worse – in the past week alone, I’ve found myself dusting off a Phaser, replacing the batteries in an old Communicator toy and, believe it or not, actually watching episodes of Enterprise (just to see if there were any good ones). Try as I might, calls to 911 have proved fruitless – even the most skilled EMT on earth can’t do a thing for a patient exhibiting the signs of Star Trek Fever…
It was only a few short weeks ago that I firmly stood my ground that this new movie was going to suck. The pretty-boy cast, the Apple store bridge and JJ Abrams bragging about the “powerhouse writing team of MI:3 and Transformers” were just a few of the reasons I felt we were in for little more than two hours of action movie cliches and mindless visual effects.
But then there was the surprise “Wrath of Khan” showing in Texas; that surprised me big time. Studios simply do not have public screenings a month in advance unless they are sure they have a winner. And to an audience of die-hard Trek fans? That takes a serious pair of transparent aluminum balls.
Now the mainstream press reviews are trickling in and they have been overwhelmingly positive. Have Paramount pulled a fast one on us? Did they manage to very carefully plant the seeds of lowered expectations, only now to watch us gasp in awe as a towering tree of almighty Star Trek springs from the ground?
Whatever the outcome, for the first time I’m letting myself get excited. Maybe I’ll regret it but, for now, it’s fun to be an optomistic Star Trek fan again!
To commemorate this auspicious occasion, I’ve rendered up a new image of the USS Excelsior, in a handy wallpaper size format for all of you who are in dire need of new starship porn:
This render is of a never-before-seen model created by Lightwave guru Ed Giddings (click here to see more of his handiwork). A few years back, when I was working on a Star Trek book for Simon & Schuster, I hired Ed to help out with modeling chores. The CGI Excelsior model we had used on DS9 wasn’t very detailed, so I asked Ed to create a new one. Armed with a ton of reference photos of the physical model, he went to work, sending me daily progress images, upon which I would scribble notes and make suggestions (click below to see a few examples of how merciless I was):
After a few weeks, Ed put the finishing touches on what is easily the best CG model of the Excelsior to date, matching the studio model rivet by rivet.
So please, enjoy the fruits of his labor and my current Star Trek-induced fever. Who knows, if enough people ask, maybe I’ll keep posting new renders of Trek ships. Leave your requests in the comments section, keep your fingers crossed and remember to live long and prosper!