Obama and Uhura – the Great Communicators

I hope that the sheer awesomeness of this photo transcends politics. Actually, I know it does:

The Great Communicators

via Nichelle Nichols herself, who tweeted at the time:

I’ve always thought Obama had a bit of that Spock Cool about him – that classic photo of Nimoy and his Buick somehow encapsulated the character better than any on set.

Spock's Car

and of course, now in the “Alternate Reality” Spock and Uhura are getting it on. So there’s cosmic resonance.

Cumberbatch is Smaug! (h/t @Sherlockology)

Buried at the end of this tidbit about Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch being cast as principal villain in the next Star Trek movie, is this awesome news: Cumberbatch will be the voice, and the body (based on motion-capture) of the mighty Smaug in The Hobbit!

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast as the principal villain in the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek, according to Variety and trekmovie.com.

A source is quoted as saying that the 35-year-old impressed director JJ Abrams and his team with an audition that “blew them all away”. Benicio Del Toro had been previously considered for the role of chief adversary but talks apparently broke down about a month ago.

Cumberbatch’s most recent big-screen projects include Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and War Horse, and he will also be providing the voice and motion-capture for Smaug the dragon in Peter Jackson’s forthcoming Hobbit film. Filming is expected to begin on the Star Trek sequel in a couple of weeks, with the movie scheduled for release in 2013.

Frankly the Star Trek news is less interesting, though the movie will be better for having Cumberbatch run amok in it. I discount the rumor that the baddie is Khan as the timeline would require it to be Space Seed and not Wrath, and let’s face it, Space Seed was pretty lame. Also, I personally believe that the events of Star Trek: First Contact created the new timeline well before Spock’s return, which is why suddenly we had an Archer-captained Enterprise come into existence, and so the entire Trek prehistory is probably askew anyway. And if they are going to use Khan anyway, then there’s absolutely no excuse for not using an Indian actor – my preference is Shah Rukh Khan, but Fahran Tahrir would also do nicely. But I digress. Cumberbatch! Smaug! OMFG!

Scotty’s send-off

The remains of James Doohan have been sent into space (briefly):

UPHAM, N.M.–The cremated remains of actor James Doohan and U.S. Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper soared to suborbital space yesterday aboard a rocket.

It was the first successful launch from Spaceport America, a commercial spaceport being developed in the southern New Mexico desert.

The Canadian-born Doohan was most famous for portraying engineer Scotty on Star Trek. Cooper, one of the original Mercury astronauts, had been in space twice during his lifetime.

Doohan died in July 2005 at age 85. Cooper, who first went into space in 1963, died in 2004 at age 77. Doohan inspired the legendary catchphrase “Beam me up, Scotty” – even though it was never actually uttered on the popular television show.

Suzan Cooper and Wende Doohan fired the rocket carrying small amounts of their husbands’ ashes and those of about 200 others at 8:56 a.m. local time from the launching grounds near Truth or Consequences, N.M.

During the 15-minute flight, the rocket separated into two parts and returned to Earth on parachutes – coming down at the White Sands Missile Range – with the capsules holding the remains. The maximum height reached was about 116 kilometres. Capsules containing the ashes are retrieved, mounted on plaques and given to relatives.

While nicely symbolic, I think a far more powerful memorial to Doohan was his final turn as Scotty in the TNG episode Relics. In a way, that episode really closed the book on the old Star Trek for me. And whose heart didn’t leap when Scotty walked onto the holodeck and recreated the Enterprise bridge, “no bloody A, B, C, or D!” ? It’s hard not to think that Scotty’s words to Picard on that recreated bridge of legend weren’t as much coming from Doohan himself.

Star Trek Online – temptation

UPDATE – the sale is over. Star Trek Online is now priced at $39 (still $10 off retail).

Excalibur class starship - looks familiar
It’s bad enough that I got hooked on World of Warcraft. Now I see Amazon is selling the new Star Trek: Online MMO for a ridiculous 45% off – $28instead of $50.

Man, though, it looks cool. I haven’t seen a decent space combat sim since the X-Wing days. And they are integrating it into the timeline of the original series/movies and the reboot. The Klingons are at war with the Feds again, the Romulans are creeping around, there’s the Borg and even Species 8472. No mention of Section 31, though, unfortunately…