Several hundred hardcore Star Trek fans, along with select media, were the first people in the world to see the highly anticipated Star Trek Beyond trailer, which was unveiled at the climax of a special Star Trek Beyond Fan Day event at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.
Yours truly was in attendance for the event, and in this blog I will recount my experience.
6.15pm. I arrive at Paramount Studios and pick up my accreditation. Apart from being able to skip the lengthy queue, my media lanyard grants me no more access than the Star Trek fans who scored tickets. Nevertheless, I can't help but appreciate the separate designation. We are instructed to wait in front of the historic Stage 31, where much of the original Star Trek series was shot.
6.32pm. Still waiting for the stage to open. I start chatting to the journalist standing next to me, who turns out to be from Holland. So naturally I subject him to a lengthy, passionate rant about my love for Dutch director Paul Verhoeven.
6.41pm. The doors to Stage 31 open, revealing a Starship Enterprise-esque hallway which leads us into a large futuristic octagonal set with a round stage in the middle. Several giant video screens resembling Starship windows line the walls behind multiple rows of seats. The set-up is impressively immersive, and the illusion of being in the 25th century is only threatened by the three white suburban kitchen-ready stools that sit on the stage.
7.31pm. The show finally kicks off with a series of video testimonials featuring Star Trek Beyond cast members and other celebrities talking about how much Star Trek means to them on the occasion of the franchise's 50th anniversary. Noteworthy participants include Rihanna and Slash.
Prominent Trekkie and (now former)
host Adam Savage is introduced as the evening's MC, and he welcomes
producer JJ Abrams out on to the stage, who then brings out the film's director, Justin Lin (
7.42pm. After some initial chat about how excited everyone is, JJ informs the crowd that Lin has taken it upon himself to get Paramount to drop its lawsuit against the makers of a crowd-funded Star Trek fan film. This naturally draws huge applause from the audience.
7.47pm. Lin tells Savage that he grew up on Star Trek, which the director says is why, despite pretty having his pick of any blockbuster thanks to the crazy success of the Fast & Furious films, he chose Star Trek Beyond as his first post-F&F movie.
7.55pm. Lin announces that Star Trek Beyond will have its world premiere at an outdoor IMAX screening during San Diego Comic Con on July 20. JJ then announces that everyone that everyone in attendance this evening will be receiving a credential to attend the premiere. The audience flips out. This must be what that Oprah audience who got cars felt like. See you in San Diego, guys!
7.58pm. Abrams and Lin leave the stage and some lighthearted Star Trek Beyond behind-the-scenes clips roll out.
8.05pm. Savage then brings out Chris Pine (Captain Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock) and New Zealand's very own Karl Urban (Bones). The three leads display jocular chemistry in describing some of what their characters get up to in Star Trek Beyond. Urban and Quinto reveal that Spock and Bones spend most of the film trapped together, tapping into one of the most potent character conflicts from the original series, a conflict that has remained relatively unexplored in the new films.
8.17pm. Following more chat from the lads, during which our Karl proves himself by far the most charming of the central trio, Savage brings out Star Trek superfan Scott Mantz to conduct a brief quiz.
8.23pm. Savage introduces another celebrity testimonial, this time from Stephen Colbert, who focuses on Leonard Nimoy. This leads into a touching video tribute to Nimoy, who died in 2015.
8.29pm. Savage then announces that we're all going to witness the dedication of a street on the Paramount lot to Nimoy, and we all file onto large metal bleachers outside Stage 32. It takes forever for everyone to clammer on, and the clanking can't help but evoke the metal gangway that fell on Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations.
8.51pm. With Nimoy's relatives standing by, Quinto gives a short but emotive speech about the actor before the sign for 'Leonard Nimoy Way' is unveiled. We are instructed to leave the bleachers and head into Stage 32 (also a Star Trek: TOS stage), where the trailer will finally unspool.
8.52pm. Even though the trailer is due to be released online moments after we witness it, laborious anti-piracy measures are employed: promo models body-painted green to resemble Orion Slave Girls take our phones, seal them in a small neoprene wallet, then give them back to us. The wallet/bag thing is locked with a magnet fastener not unlike those used on clothing store security tags. So we still have our phones on our person. We just can't use them. I can't remember if I put mine on silent or not.
9.11pm. Everybody in attendance has now had their phone placed inside a small green bag-thing, and we are all standing beneath a giant screen at one end of Stage 32.
A video of Simon Pegg introduces the trailer. The room is suitably wowed by the bombastic scenes that follow (see above). The concerns generated by the lacklustre initial teaser appeared to have been well and truly quashed.
9.16pm. We are then informed that we'll get to see a few scenes from the film. These include a montage detailing daily life aboard the Enterprise deep into its multiyear mission (Kirk amusingly describes things onboard as having become "episodic"), Bones and Kirk enjoying a contemplative whiskey (a scene briefly glimpsed at the beginning of the trailer), and an insane action sequence in which the Enterprise is attacked by an apparently insurmountable enemy. There are further glimpses of other set-pieces and characters, including all sorts of aliens. The film is looking very cool indeed.
9.23pm. After the footage finishes, Adam Savage announces that it's time to party. The giant black curtain next to us is drawn aside to reveal a large party area populated by Star Trek Beyond costumes and props. Everyone lines up to get their phone bag thing unlocked by the Orion Slave Girls, who are doomed to spend the rest of the evening posing for selfies with partygoers. I think the real Orion Slave Girls had it easier.
9.27pm. With my phone at last liberated from its soft green prison, I head straight to the bar and ask for a Romulan Ale. The bartender just stares at me.
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