star trek 50th anniversary

I know: you’re still high on Star Wars and you will probably continue to be high on it until Star Wars: The Force Awakens slowly trudges out of theaters in a few months. But can we all pause for about 10 minutes and shift gears to Star Trek? Okay, five minutes. Deal. Let’s do this.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the greatest (well, most consistent) science fiction series of all time and everyone involved is pulling out all the stops. Paramount is releasing Star Trek Beyond, which will hopefully be a necessary course correction after the bummer that was Star Trek Into Darkness. CBS is planning a new television series that will premiere in January 2017. And now, Roddenberry Entertainment, the namesake company of Trek’s original creator, Gene Roddenberry, is getting in on the celebration. They will release a never-before-seen image from Star Trek history every single day throughout 2016…and they’ve already revealed three bonus images, just to whet your appetite.

“The 366 Project,” initially revealed by Entertainment Weekly, will do exactly what its title implies and spend next year revealing a new image of some kind each and every day on their Facebook page. While there are literally hundreds of hours of Star Trek to revisit and celebrate, this initiative will serve as a constant reminder that one of the most popular media franchises of all time came from the vision of a single man. Here’s the heartstring-tugging part of their initial message:

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating a man named Gene, his visions and concepts – that were so much more than just a show… they were a philosophy that became a way of life.

50 years later, the community lives on, right here. And with the 366 Project.

LLAP friends.

 

What makes Star Trek special, and what separates it from similarly long-running series and franchises like James Bond and even Star Wars, is its density. This is not just a series of movies, although there are 12 of them now. This isn’t just a single TV series, but rather six separate shows spanning 29 seasons and hundreds of episodes. And that’s before you get to the novels and comics and cosplay and the fact that modern geek fandom exists because of what Star Trek built.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that there is so much Star Trek out there and so much left to explore from behind the scenes. This is why the 366 Project sounds so cool – each and every image that is revealed will be a piece of film and television history worth examining.

Take the three images Roddenberry Entertainment revealed early. Here’s a rough storyboard from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which serves as a reminder that even the most iconic images begin as rough ink and marker sketches:

star trek 50th anniversary 1

And here’s a look at the late, great Leonard Nimoy getting his Spock applied in the make-up chair:

star trek 50th anniversary 2

And in what may be the coolest image so far, here’s a look at an early draft of Star Trek‘s iconic opening narration. William Shatner‘s iconic spiel (“Space, the final frontier…”) is so firmly embedded in popular culture that it’s easy to imagine it arriving fully formed. But like all creative endeavors, there was blood and sweat and tears and multiple drafts:

star trek 50th anniversary 3

Eventually, that block of text became this:

We’re going to be spending a great deal of 2016 diving into all things Star Trek. As we look toward the future, it’s sure going to be nice having a daily snapshot into the past.

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