Visit our sister site Sci-Fi Wire
for daily news updates from the world of SF

A Weekly News Digest Of
Sci Fi Wire

 July 6, 1999
 June 28, 1999
 June 21, 1999
 June 14, 1999
 June 7, 1999
 June 1, 1999
 May 24, 1999
 May 17, 1999
 May 10, 1999
 May 3, 1999

Submit news


Back issues




The Staff



Star Trek: Flight Academy Grounded?

The New York Post is reporting that rumors of a new Star Trek series called Flight Academy that centers around a young cast of unknown actors are unfounded. The Post quoted an unnamed Paramount spokesperson as saying a show about Starfleet Academy has "never even been discussed."

However, Paramount did confirm that Trek vets Brannon Braga and Rick Berman are "in the early stages of a new series concept" that could hit the airwaves in 2002. There's no word on what that new concept might turn out to be, though Paramount executives have previously said they're hoping to reinvigorate the Trek franchise.

Hatch Unveils Galactica Trailer

Former Battlestar Galactica star Richard "Apollo" Hatch wowed fans at DragonCon in Atlanta, Ga., during the July 4 weekend with his self-produced trailer for a new Galactica movie. According to several reports, the fans gave Hatch a standing ovation for the theatrical teaser, which featured Hatch as the commander of the Galactica fleet squaring off against a new generation of Cylons.

Hatch filmed and financed the trailer in hopes of convincing Universal Studios to allow him to make a Galactica film, which he says already has a script and $60 million in promised financing. Meanwhile, producer Glen Larson is reportedly continuing with his plans for a Galactica movie, which will focus on the adventures of Commander Cain and the battlestar Pegasus.

It's not clear at this point if either film has official sanction from Universal, which supposedly owns all the rights to Galactica. However, Hatch at least appears to have plenty of fan support for his project, which promises to reunite all the surviving Galactica cast members and ignore the existence of the maligned spin-off series Galactica 1980.

Reeves Going Back Into The Matrix?

Keanu Reeves has reportedly signed a deal with Warner Bros. to star in two sequels to his 1999 blockbuster SF film The Matrix. The Australian Sunday Telegraph claims that a "prominent industry insider" spilled the beans about the pact, which is "a bigger deal than James Cameron got for Titanic."

Andy and Larry Wachowski, the brothers who wrote and directed the film, will supposedly shoot the sequels back-to-back in Sydney, Australia. Warner then hopes to release the movies within months of each other, with the second picture ending in a cliffhanger that's resolved in the third.

ABC Orders Dinotopia Miniseries

ABC plans to air a six-part miniseries in May 2001 based on the first two books in James Gurney's illustrated series Dinotopia, according to Variety. The books center around a utopian island where talking dinosaurs and humans live in peace and harmony.

The ABC series is being developed by Hallmark Entertainment, which has signed Gulliver's Travels writer Simon Moore to pen the screenplay. The project will be executive produced by Robert Halmi Sr. and Robert Halmi Jr., with a reported price tag of $50 million.

The miniseries will likely be shot in Australia, New Zealand, the Gobi Desert and Mongolia, with a mixture of computer-generated effects and animatronics used to bring the dinosaurs to life. To date the Dinotopia books have sold more than 2 million copies, and HarperCollins plans to publish the third installment in the series, Dinotopia: First Flight, in October.

Schwarzenegger To Play Doc Savage

Arnold Schwarzenegger has agreed to star as the brainy pulp superhero Dr. Clark Savage Jr. in the upcoming film Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze. According to Variety, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are developing the project, with Chuck Russell (Eraser) and Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) signed to share producing and directing duties.

The film is based on the Doc Savage character--created by pulp author Lester Dent back in 1933--who starred in his own magazine and later appeared in numerous novels. In 1975 Warner came out with a Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze film, but the campy flick was denounced by both critics and fans.

Darabont, Russell and screenwriter David Leslie Johnson are working on a new Savage adventure for their movie, based on a story by Johnson and Brett Hill. There is no script yet, but Johnson and Hill have reportedly written an 80-page treatment for the project.

West Goes Wild With $50.1 Million

Will Smith's new retro-SF movie Wild Wild West beat out studio expectations when it pulled in an estimated $50.1 million during its first six days of release. That was about $100,000 more than West distributor Warner Bros. had hoped for and a considerable coup for Smith following a slew of poor reviews for the film.

West opened on June 30 to moderate crowds and went on to earn $36.8 million during the Friday-Monday July 4 holiday weekend, a solid but not spectacular showing. Those numbers were also far short of Smith's previous July 4 blockbusters, Men in Black and Independence Day, both of which earned more than $50 million in just three days.

Meanwhile, Star Wars: Episode I quietly amassed another $11.7 million during the July 4 weekend, bringing its 48-day total up to $371.6 million. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me pulled in $10.8 million over the holiday for a 26-day cumulative gross of $170.1 million.

The Be Five To Release Album

A band of former Babylon 5 actors called The Be Five will release the album Trying to Forget on July 13. The Be Five includes frontman Bill Mumy as well as Claudia Christian, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas.

The album is being released on the independent label Renaissance Records Inc., which will also be bringing out Mumy's solo tracks "Dying To Be Heard" and "In the Current" on August 3.

Wood Will Star As Frodo

The Faculty star Elijah Wood has signed on to play the sought-after role of Frodo Baggins in New Line's upcoming movie trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's famous fantasy series The Lord of the Rings. According to Variety, Wood will work under the guidance of director Peter Jackson, who plans to begin production on the first of three Rings films in October.

Jackson will likely spend more than a year shooting the first film, which is titled Part One: The Fellowship of the Ring. The production schedule calls for all three movies to be filmed back to back, with a combined budget of $130 million.

Zebrowski, Chiang Win Campbell, Sturgeon Awards

George Zebrowski's novel Brute Orbits (HarperPrism) earned the 1998 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel. The award is named after the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine (now called Analog), who is considered the "father of modern science fiction."

Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" (Starlight 2) won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction of the year. The Sturgeon Award was established in honor of the late SF author Theodore Sturgeon, who is regarded as one of four writers who helped establish the golden age of science fiction.

Both awards were presented July 9 in Lawrence, Kan., during the annual two-week Writers Workshop in Science Fiction, held at the University of Kansas. Also during the ceremony, Jules Verne, A. Merritt, Robert Silverberg and Ray Bradbury were inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, as previously reported in SCI FI Wire.

Roach May Helm Metalheads

Jay Roach, the director of both Austin Powers movies, may take on the MGM science fiction flick Metalheads as his next project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Metalheads is one of four movies that Roach has his eye on, though this one has a particularly strong allure because MGM considers it a major feature.

Metalheads was written by Tank Girl scribe Tedi Sarafian and tells the story of two aliens who are trying to save Earth. Unfortunately for these extraterrestrials, their only knowledge of humanity comes from 1970s exploitation films.

Roach is also said to be keen on the Disney feature film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is based on the Douglas Adams novel of the same name. That project is being scripted by Adams for Roach to both produce and direct.

Briefly Noted

  • The debut of Chris Carter's new SF series Harsh Realm will likely be pushed back until mid-October, according to Variety.

  • The syndicated TV shows Highlander: The Raven, Mortal Kombat, Nightman and Viper have all been canceled, according to various reports. Mortal Kombat may return as a cable series.

  • Astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad died Thursday, July 8, when his motorcycle went off the road near Ojai, Calif. Conrad was the third person to walk on the moon. He was 69.


News of the Week | On Screen | Off the Shelf | Classics
Anime | Sound Space | Site of the Week | Letters | Excessive Candour

Copyright © 1998-2003, Science Fiction Weekly (TM). All rights reserved. Reproduction in any medium strictly prohibited. Maintained by