“Trouble with Tribbles” Writer David Gerrold talks about the heritage of Star Trek

With Star Trek marking its 50th anniversary this week, all of fandom has been celebrating the launch of the television series that inspired generations of science fiction lovers and created a lasting legacy.

As part of the celebration, CBS Home Video is releasing a special collector’s edition blu-ray set that gives Star Trek fans a look at the series as they’ve never seen before. (I’ll be posting my review of the set in the coming week. There’s a LOT to check out!) They also had original series writers D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold doing interviews with different media outlets to talk about Trek and the new blu-ray set.

I was able to get a few minutes with Gerrold, who I must admit being a fan of for decades. In addition to writing “The Trouble with Tribbles”– considered one of the most popular Star Trek episodes ever – he’s also written the Hugo and Nebula Award winning novella “The Martian Child.” But I really became a fan when I got hooked on his “War Against the Ch’Torr” series, a tale of alien invasion that this geek discovered in high school after reading an excerpt in “Starlog Magazine.” (Gerrold informs me that he has finished the 5th book and is awaiting edits.)

Gerrold spoke to me by phone as he was on the road doing the Star Trek convention circuit:

Geek To Me: Have you had a chance to look at the set, and if so what do you think about it?

David Gerrold: I’ve looked at some of it. It’s 30 discs, you know, it’s going to take a while to get through the whole thing. But I am so jazzed by the blu-ray remasters. If you have a good TV set – and most of us have 42 inches and up now – you’re actually seeing Star Trek better than it’s ever been presented before.

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I remember we would get the dailies for Star Trek the original series, and it was a 35 millimeter print, the same you would go to the movies (to see). It was crisp, clear, there was no grain, no jumping around, no scratches, and it was on a high quality projector, right?

What you’re seeing on the blu-rays is as if you’re seeing (the dailies) but it may be even better because it’s been digitally remastered. For instance there’s a shot in “The Trouble with Tribbles” where Leonard Nimoy has some coffee on his velour at lunch. And you can see it, the coffee stain. Nobody ever noticed that before.

So, I am so excited to actually have this high-quality version of Star Trek. Because Star Trek is iconic. It’s just one of the very best things that American television has ever created. As a science fiction fan, how can you not be enthralled?

I’m excited, did I say that?

More after the jump!

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Talking to Gary Whitta about faith, fantasy and his new novel “ABOMINATION”

Gary Whitta is no stranger to the realms of fantasy. The acclaimed screenwriter first made a name for himself by penning the script to “The Book of Eli”, a post-apocalyptic tale that starred Denzel Washington. He has written for acclaimed game-maker Telltale Games“The Walking Dead” series; and recently made a splash when he was tapped to write the screenplay to “Star Wars: Rogue One”, one of the Star Wars Anthology films that is currently in production. (He has since written a script for the animated television series Star Wars: REBELS.) Whitta has now transitioned into the realm of prose, having just released his first novel titled “ABOMINATION.”

Whitta_ABOMINATION-CV“ABOMINATION” tells the story of Wulfric, a knight from England’s Dark Ages, who after fighting a war against his country’s enemies, finds himself battling the forces of darkness. It’s a story where the reader travels to some very dark places that Whitta has created, with elements of horror, action and (thankfully) humor that keeps you turning pages until you get to the last one.

After having a copy of ABOMINATION sent to me by his publisher, Inkshares, Whitta and I corresponded via e-mail to discuss the book; where the idea came from; how he explores themes of faith and fear; how Whitta would cast the ABOMINATION movie; and his involvement with Star Wars: Rogue One:

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TOASTY! Talking about Mortal Kombat X and the Mortal Kombat franchise with Shawn Kittelsen

Ever since it debuted in game arcades over twenty years ago, Mortal Kombat has become more than a video game franchise. It has spawned numerous sequels – including a series of motion pictures, a television series and comic books – all feeding a ravenous fandom.

No stranger to this franchise – or fandom – is Shawn Kittelsen, a video game producer turned comic book writer. He makes his debut in the four-color pages as the writer of “Mortal Kombat X”, a comic-book prequel to the like-named video game which hits store shelves today.

Kittlesen took a quick break from his writing (and gaming) endeavors to answer some questions about Mortal Kombat X; how he got involved with the comic; his favorite “kombatants”; who he’d like to see the MK Universe collide with next; and which MK console he’d like to have in his home:

Elliott: Hey Shawn! Congrats on making your debut in DC Comics with Mortal Kombat! Can you tell us about how you got involved with the project?

Shawn Kittelsen: Thanks for the congrats, Elliott! A few years back, I was a creative executive at DC working on their video games. One of my favorite projects was Injustice: Gods Among Us because I’ve been a fan of Mortal Kombat for over 20 years and suddenly I got to collaborate with NetherRealm Studios. Fast forward to last year, I’m working at an ad agency and writing by night, and I get a call asking if I’d like to pitch for this series. I put my heart and soul into that pitch, and now here we are.

E: I’ve written comics myself, but have always wondered how different it is to write for video games. Are there any differences that you feel are most remarkable?

SK: Writing a game itself is tedious. You don’t just write scenes, you also write long spreadsheets of dialogue and text, and when you do write scenes, there are a variety of game design and technical concerns to address over and over again.

Writing a comic based on a game, on the other hand, is a lot more fun, because it’s like someone handing you the controller and saying, “Play on!” All the backstories and side quests that you daydream about while you’re playing a game can take on new life on the comic book page. And with a game as iconic as Mortal Kombat, that world comes alive in such vivid detail that it’s fun just to turn over stones and discover every secret corner of someone else’s universe.

I’ve seen your work on Army of Darkness, so I know you appreciate that process!

Read more and check out artwork from the Mortal Kombat X Comic book after the jump!

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Soldier for The Empire: Peeking Inside “The Imperial Handbook” with Dan Wallace

If you ask me, Dan Wallace is living the dream! As the author of such geek-tastic tomes like The Jedi Path and The Iron Man Manual,” he has gotten to play with some of the most iconic characters in pop culture.

Now, after giving readers a look at what it’s like to become a Jedi Knight (or follow the path to the Dark Side in Book of Sith) he delves into the life of an Imperial recruit in “Star Wars: Imperial Handbook.”

Corresponding via e-mail, Wallace and I discussed what it’s like working in the Star Wars Universe; how Stormtroopers really aren’t clones; and who would win in a face-off between Darth Vader and Iron Man:

Geek To Me: Let’s get some of the basic fanboy stuff out of the way, shall we? How long have you been a Star Wars fan?

NewessentialguidetodroidsDan Wallace: Since forever! I had the toys, memorized lines, the whole deal. I’ve soaked in Star Wars pretty much my whole life, so to have a chance to contribute a tiny piece to it in my own way is just the best.

Geek To Me: Of all the characters in the saga, which one really resonated with you the most?

Dan Wallace: Personality-wise, I’m most like C-3PO. Not particularly heroic, obsessed with minutiae and procedure. But from a favorite character standpoint I’ve always liked Lando Calrissian. He’s like Han Solo but with a lot more suaveness and gambling skills. Lando is 20% James Bond.

Read more after the jump!

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Gotham star Robin Lord Taylor talks about becoming The Penguin

Via YouTube comes this interview with Robin Lord Taylor of the television series “Gotham.” The “Young Penguin” actor visits with Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrrare of the “Home & Family” Show to talk about auditioning for the role, carrying on the tradition of The Penguin (from Burgess Meredith & Danny DeVito) and working with co-star Carol Kane.

As You Wish: Cary Elwes discusses “The Princess Bride”, William Goldman, and the secret to true love.

Fans of the fairy-tale film “The Princess Bride” won’t soon forget Cary Elwes and his character “Westley”, the farm-boy who won the heart of Robin Wright’s “Buttercup” with three words: “As you wish.”

But Elwes himself will admit that he wrote his bookAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making Of The Princess Bride because he was afraid that his own memory would fail him eventually.

I’d As-You-Wish-Inconceivable-Tales-from-the-Making-of-The-Princess-Bride-HC-Bookalways wanted to write something, I didn’t know quite what.” Elwes explained as we spoke via telephone. “And it was the 25th anniversary that we had at Lincoln Center in 2012, we were all asked ‘what was the best memory’ for me.

“And I really couldn’t put it down to one moment or one scene, or anything. For me the whole experience was so joyful. And that’s why I wanted to write the book and share that joy with the fans before the memory started to fail.”

While he did keep a short video diary, which became an “extra” on “The Princess Bride” anniversary DVD release, he hadn’t kept notes during the film’s production.

“I didn’t keep a diary or a journal, which I wish I had now in hindsight,” Elwes admitted. “Luckily Norman Lear gave me all the call sheets for the film, and I went through them all and I started to remember exactly where I was each day.”

“And then my memory – thank god it had been 26-27 years – it all came flooding back.”

Read more after the jump!

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Talking toys and launching Lavabear with Nathan Hamill

I first met Nathan Hamill in 2010 at the San Diego Comic Con.  That year the then-burgeoning toy designer had already debuted his creation “Boris the Raccoon” and was following up with a second design titled “tyrannoCECILrex.” He’s since gone on to create several toys and characters, the most recent being “Lavabear” which will be celebrated at a launch party this Saturday. The party will be hosted by 3D Retro Toys in Glendale, CA.

I recently caught up with Hamill to talk about “Lavabear”, his creative process, his favorite toys, and whatever happened to his plans for a “Hamill Land” theme park:

Geek To Me: Since we last spoke a lot has gone on with you! Care to bring us up to speed?

Nathan Hamill: It’s been a few years, yeah. I’ve done a few more vinyls and resins. Art shows. A cartoon show called Weasel Town.

Not to be confused with “Frozen” by the way. Some little Disney flick.

You know…just keeping it going.

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Creating a WWE phenomenon – The Bray Wyatt Interview

Before he took the WWE Universe by storm as Bray Wyatt, Windham Lawrence Rotunda was known by other aliases. As the son of former “WWF” Superstar Mike Rotunda (AKA Irwin R. Schyster) he started his career as “Alex Rotundo”, working his way up through the ranks of the WWE’s developmental league. He would later change to “Husky Harris” and arrive in the “big leagues”, wrestling in the WWE as a member of the faction known as “The Nexus.”  That stint would end with Rotunda returning to the developmental league and ultimately creating a new character.

Enter Bray Wyatt, the persona Rotunda created to serve as the leader of the “Wyatt Family”, a trio of scary “swamp people” that would be embraced by WWE fans with a fervor that took many in the industry by surprise.

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Prior to his visit to Chicago for the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con last month, the man WWE fans have come to know and fear – and in many cases love and admire – spoke with me via telephone about his current success; what the difference is between Bray Wyatt and Husky Harris; what it’s like coming from a wrestling family; and why he thinks WWE fans have embraced The Wyatt Family:

Geek To Me: How has it been for you for you in the WWE, with your current stint, as opposed to your last one through?

Bray Wyatt: Um, well of course this one has been more lucrative, you know? And the real reason behind that is because I am myself. It’s different when you’re asked to be something you’re not. As opposed to be able to create and be what you want to be. You know what I’m saying?

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