RIP Grant Imahara

Actor Grant Masaru Imahara (October 23, 1970 ‚Äď July 13, 2020) was an American electrical engineer, roboticist, and television host. He was best known for his work on the television series MythBusters, on which he designed and built numerous robots and specialized in operating computers and electronics to test myths. Prior to his television career, Imahara worked at Lucasfilm in the THX division as an engineer and in the Industrial Light and Magic division in visual effects.

Imahara also appeared on the television show BattleBots, for which he designed and competed with his robot Deadblow and later returned as a judge. Imahara starred in the 2016 Netflix series White Rabbit Project alongside his MythBusters co-stars Kari Byron and Tory Belleci.

One of Imahara’s independent projects, during early 2010, was constructing a robotic¬†sidekick¬†for¬†Craig Ferguson, host of¬†The Late Late Show. The robot, named¬†Geoff Peterson, was unveiled on the April 5, 2010¬†Late Late Show¬†episode and is controlled and voiced by comedian and voice actor¬†Josh Robert Thompson.

Imahara portrayed¬†Hikaru Sulu¬†in all 11 episodes of the web series¬†Star Trek Continues. This the only project of his that I have seen and I think that he did a fine job. He also played Lt. Masaru in the 2015 fan movie¬†Star Trek Renegades. In 2014, Imahara appeared in a series of videos showing the behind the scenes process of how several¬†McDonald’s¬†foods are made. In 2015, he appeared in the TV movie¬†Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! In December 2016, Imahara became engaged to his long-time girlfriend, costume designer Jennifer Newman. Imahara died on July 13, 2020, at the age of 49 as a result of a¬†brain aneurysm.

Star Trek : Strange New Words Announced

We seem to be getting a lot of Star Trek theses days on television even if the movie world has been let without a proper answer (as to will we see another Trek movie any time soon). Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be a fresh addition to the franchise. CBS All Access has announced a fifth new series called Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which will star Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The trio originally appeared in said roles on Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will be set aboard the famed USS Enterprise a decade before Captain Kirk’s time ‚ÄĒ a similar starting point as Star Trek: Discovery ‚ÄĒ and follow the aforementioned three in Spock, Pike, and Number One as ‚Äúthey explore new worlds around the galaxy.‚ÄĚ

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds co-creator and executive producer Akiva Goldsman is also the writer on the first episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, off a story by Jenny Lumet, Kurtzman, and himself. Lumet, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth also serve as executive producers on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds in addition to Goldsman, Kurtzman, and Alonso Myers. Aaron Baiers, Akela Cooper, and Davy Perez will serve as co-executive producers. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a production of CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout, and Roddenberry Entertainment.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds joins an ever-growing list of Trek series on CBS All Access, alongside the aforementioned Star Trek: Discovery, which kicked things off in September 2017, followed by Star Trek: Picard in January 2020. Beyond that, we’ve the animated series, Star Trek: Lower Decks, from Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty), and the Michelle Yeoh-led spin-off series from Star Trek: Discovery writing duo Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt. And if we’re counting Trek for kids, there’s an animated series in the works at Nickelodeon as well.

There’s no word on a filming start date, let alone a release date, on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There’s also no word on the international platforms for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. (CBS All Access is only available in the US, Australia, and Canada). Previous Trek shows are split between Netflix (Discovery) and Amazon Prime Video (Picard) in India.

Both Discovery and Picard share a highly serialized format, however, the new series set on Captain Pike‚Äôs U.S.S. Enterprise promises a return to classic Trek storytelling. In the announcement video from yesterday, Strange New Worlds star Anson Mount (Captain Pike) described the new series as a ‚Äúclassic Star Trek show that deals with optimism and the future.”

Here is what I want – more episodic and more optimism, Klingons, Vulcans, Andorians, Tellerites & Orions, no changing of cannon, stop messing with the Klingons, introduce new interesting alien races and perhaps bring them as recurring characters, cut out lens flares and finally and more importantly, bring back the excitement & fun elements.

What We Left Behind

In 2017 television producer¬†and¬†screenwriter, Ira Steven Behr who was the showrunner¬†and executive producer of the show, announced he had reconvened much of the former cast and crew of Star Trek Deep Space Nine¬†for a documentary film entitled¬†What We Left Behind. The purpose behind it was to commemorate 25 years of `Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’, an exploration of the film’s legacy.¬†It had a very positive response and surpassed its fundraising goals, and this success lead to ground-breaking conversions of¬†Deep Space Nine¬†footage into higher definition although it caused some delays. A screening version was released in late 2018 in Hollywood, New York, and at the¬†Destination Star Trek¬†convention in the U.K.

By February 2017, the documentary was partially finished, according to Behr, with an¬†Indiegogo¬†fundraising page set up to crowdsource the rest of the money needed to complete it. In addition to interviews with cast and crew, the documentary will explore¬†Deep Space Nines legacy; Behr also reconvened the series’ old writers’ room to develop a script for the first episode of an imagined eighth season, which will be featured in the film. In 2017, a fundraiser for the documentary surpassed its target of nearly $150,000 within a day of going live. It went on to raise over $500,000 by March 2017, almost four times the amount requested. When it concluded it had raised over $631,000 from thousands of donators.

the documentary would have original music scored by¬†Star Trek¬†veterans¬†Dennis McCarthy¬†(256¬†Star Trek¬†episodes scored) and¬†Kevin Kiner¬†(10¬†Star Trek¬†episodes scored). The documentary’s producer is Kai de Mello-Folsom, in consultation with others from the original creative team including¬†Star Trek¬†franchise legends such as¬†Michael Okuda, Jonathan West, and¬†Doug Drexler. The documentary includes interviews with the following:

  • Cecily Adams
  • Marc Alaimo
  • Rene Auberjonois
  • Ira Steven Behr
  • Hans Beimler
  • Felecia Bell Rutkowski
  • Rick Berman
  • Marc Bernardin
  • Avery Brooks
  • Casey Biggs
  • B.C. Cameron
  • David Carson
  • Jeffrey Combs
  • Dan Curry
  • James Darren
  • Nicole de Boer
  • Michael Dorn
  • Doug Drexler
  • Ren√© Echevarria
  • Aron Eisenberg
  • Terry J. Erdmann
  • Terry Farrell
  • Lolita Fatjo
  • Max Grod√©nchik
  • Hana Hatae
  • J.G. Hertzler
  • Penny Johnson Jerald
  • David Livingston
  • Cirroc Lofton
  • Junie Lowry-Johnson
  • Dennis Madalone
  • Chase Masterson
  • Kerry McCluggage
  • Colm Meaney
  • Ronald D. Moore
  • Bill Mumy
  • Larry Nemecek
  • Denise Okuda
  • Michael Okuda
  • Robert O’Reilly
  • Steve Oster
  • Michael Piller
  • John Putnam
  • Lou Race
  • Andrew Robinson
  • Ben Robinson
  • Wallace Shawn
  • Armin Shimerman
  • Alexander Siddig
  • Luke Snailham¬†(uncredited)
  • Ian Spelling
  • Ron Surma
  • Nana Visitor
  • Jonathan West
  • Michael Westmore
  • Robert Hewitt Wolfe
  • Herman Zimmerman

RIP René Auberjonois

American actor and singer René Auberjonois best know for his role as the alien shapeshift Odo in Star Trek : Deep Space Nine has passed away at the age of 79. He had been married to his wife Judith since 1963. They had two children, Tessa and Remy, and three grandchildren. René Auberjonois died from lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles.

Auberjonois was born in¬†New York City. His father, Swiss-born¬†Fernand Auberjonois, was a¬†Cold War-era foreign correspondent and¬†Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer. His paternal grandfather, also named¬†Ren√© Auberjonois, was a Swiss¬†post-Impressionist¬†painter. His mother, Princess Laure Louise Napol√©one Eug√©nie Caroline Murat (1913‚Äď1986), was a great-great granddaughter of¬†Joachim Murat, one of¬†Napoleon’s¬†marshals¬†and¬†King of Naples¬†during the¬†First French Empire, and his wife,¬†Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s youngest sister.

In 1968, Auberjonois landed a role on¬†Broadway, and appeared in three plays simultaneously: as Fool to¬†Lee J. Cobb’s¬†King Lear¬†(the longest running production of the play in Broadway history), as Ned in¬†A Cry of Players¬†(opposite¬†Frank Langella), and as Marco in¬†Fire!¬†In 1969, he earned a¬†Tony Award¬†for his performance as Sebastian Baye alongside¬†Katharine Hepburn¬†in¬†Coco. He received Tony nominations for his roles in¬†Neil Simon’s¬†The Good Doctor¬†(1973) opposite¬†Christopher Plummer; as the Duke in¬†Big River¬†(1984), winning a¬†Drama Desk Award; and, memorably, as Buddy Fidler/Irwin S. Irving in¬†City of Angels¬†(1989), written by¬†Larry Gelbart¬†and¬†Cy Coleman.

Other¬†Broadway¬†appearances included Malvolio in¬†Twelfth Night¬†(1972); Scapin in¬†Tricks¬†(1973); Mr. Samsa in¬†Metamorphosis¬†(1989); Professor Abronsius in¬†Dance of the Vampires (musical), the English-language version of¬†Jim Steinman’s musical adaptation of¬†Tanz der Vampire; and Jethro Crouch in¬†Sly Fox¬†(2004), for which he was nominated for an¬†Outer Critics Circle Award. In films, Auberjonois portrayed¬†Father Mulcahy¬†in¬†MASH¬†(1970), the expedition scientist Roy Bagley in¬†King Kong¬†(1976), and Chef Louis in¬†The Little Mermaid¬†(1989), in which he sang “Les Poissons”. In the American animated musical comedy film¬†Cats Don’t Dance¬†(1997), Auberjonois lent his voice as Flanagan, the human film director of “Li’l Ark Angel”.

His subsequent film roles included the gangster Tony in¬†Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach¬†(1988 ), and Reverend Oliver in¬†The Patriot¬†(2000). He made¬†cameo appearances¬†in a number of films, including: Dr. Burton, a mental asylum doctor patterned after¬†Tim Burton, in¬†Batman Forever¬†(1995), and a bird expert who gradually transforms into a bird in¬†Robert Altman’s 1970 film¬†Brewster McCloud. He appeared as Colonel West in the 1991¬†Star Trek¬†film¬†Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Other notable film appearances have included:¬†McCabe & Mrs. Miller¬†(1971),¬†Images¬†(1972),¬†Pete ‘n’ Tillie¬†(1972),¬†The Hindenburg¬†(1975),¬†King Kong¬†(1976),¬†The Big Bus¬†(1976),¬†Eyes of Laura Mars¬†(1978),¬†Where The Buffalo Roam¬†(1980),¬†Walker¬†(1987),¬†My Best Friend Is a Vampire¬†(1988 ),¬†The Feud¬†(1989),¬†Inspector Gadget¬†(1999), and¬†Eulogy¬†(2004).

Auberjonois portrayed the character of Straight Hollander in the 1993¬†Miramax¬†film¬†The Ballad of Little Jo. He voiced Professor Genius in¬†Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland,¬†Louis the Chef¬†in the¬†1st¬†and¬†2nd¬†Little Mermaid¬†films, Flanagan in¬†Cats Don’t Dance, the Butler in¬†Joseph: King of Dreams, and the concierge in¬†Planes: Fire & Rescue. In various long-running television series, Auberjonois portrayed a number of characters, including: Clayton Endicott III on¬†Benson¬†(for which he was an¬†Emmy Award¬†nominee),¬†Odo¬†on¬†Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and¬†Paul Lewiston¬†on¬†Boston Legal. He was also in two episodes of Frasier. He also branched out into voice acting for video games, having appeared in a number of popular video games. He portrayed the Greek mythological figure¬†Talos¬†in the first¬†God of War¬†(2005) game, the enigmatic Mr. House in¬†Fallout: New Vegas¬†(2010), Karl Schafer in the¬†Uncharted¬†video game series, and Odo in¬†Star Trek Online.