George Takei Is Ready To Beam Up
Have there been any official discussions about this?
Takei: There's been no official discussion. It's always [only] after
the fans have accomplished their goal that they get in touch with us
[actors]. I lobbied Paramount vigorously to get promotion for [the
Excelsior] when Star Trek became a series of movies. As a
matter of fact, with [1982's Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan] I lobbied
both [director] Nick Meyer and [producer] Harve Bennett strenuously, and we
even had many lunches on it. ... I continued the push with [director] Leonard
[Nimoy] and Harve on Star Trek III, IV and V. ... By that
time, I had given up on it. When the script for Star Trek VI arrived,
there it was, beginning with the very first scene, which was with Capt.
Sulu. And the crisis is won by Capt. Sulu coming to the rescue of Capt.
Kirk. ... and the movie ends with Capt Sulu. It happened completely by
surprise, after I'd stopped active advocacy. ... In this case, my lack of
advocacy may be the trick again [laughs].
Do you speak about the Excelsior Campaign at convention
Takei: I don't even have to initiate it. It comes up from the fans. ...
They ask, "How do I feel about it?" ... What makes this campaign different
from all previous campaigns ... is that we now have access to the Internet, so
the letters and demands are coming in from Germany, England, Italy, Japan,
Singapore, so it's really a global approach.
What are the chances that a new Star Trek series will actually be
based on Excelsior?
Takei: Well, the whole history of Star Trek is the market
demand. As I understand it, there were two or three proposals that were made
by [Voyager executive producer] Rick Berman to the studio [for a
series to follow Voyager], all of which were rejected. ... They
tested those ideas to a sampling of the fan audience, and they were turned
down. And here's an initiative coming from fandom itself on this huge scale.
So if Paramount is a true profit-making corporation, it seems to me they
would listen to the market.
Do you have any sense of how Berman or fellow Voyager executive
producer Brannon Braga feel about the Excelsior idea?
Takei: I have no sense of that. I've not had any conversation with
Are you working on any other SF or Trek projects?
Takei: I do a guest appearance on [the video game] Klingon
Academy. There's also an SF genre feature film called Overload,
with a very interesting cast. ...[Leave It to Beaver star Tony] Dow is
directing it, and [Babylon 5 star] Bill Mumy has co-written the
script. ... I'm also very active in the non-profit arena as well. I'm serving
as chairman of the board of the Japanese American National Museum. ... I'm
also serving as a commissioner on the Japan-U.S. Commission, appointed by
President Clinton, which will be taking me to Tokyo in June.
Have you seen Galaxy Quest? What did you think?
Takei: I think it's a chillingly realistic documentary
details in it, I recognized every one of them. It is a powerful piece of
documentary filmmaking. And I do believe that when we get kidnapped by
aliens, it's going to be the genuine, true Star Trek fans who will
save the day. ... I was rolling in the aisles. And [star] Tim Allen had that
Shatner-esque swagger down pat. And I roared when the shirt came off, and
[co-star] Sigourney [Weaver] rolls her eyes and says, 'There goes that shirt
again.' ...How often did we hear that on the set? [Laughs.]