Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of “Star Trek ‘09”
"The purpose is to experience fear. Fear in the face of certain death. To accept that fear, and maintain control of oneself and one's crew. This is a quality expected in every Starfleet captain." - Mr. Spock, Star Trek (2009)
This past weekend was the tenth anniversary of the release of 2009's Star Trek. From then to now, there's been a lot of ink (electrons?) spilled over that film and it's creation of what later came to be known as "The Kelvin Timeline." I'm not going to rehash that here, except to say, REALLY PEOPLE?!?!? That movie is beyond fun! I'm actually very fond of that movie. It came at a time of uncertainty for the STAR TREK franchise and reinvigorated it in numerous ways. It took characters and concepts from the 1960's and remixed them for modern audiences. It introduced new fans to Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the crew of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, and left them wanting more. And what did they find? The Original Series, The Next Generation, and an entire universe that they might never have discovered had it not been for Star Trek '09.
It also marks a significant milestone for our company. When Star Trek hit theaters on May 8th 2009, ANOVOS was in its infancy. We had just formed, and were just laying the foundation for something that had never been tried before. And at that same time, this new iteration of STAR TREK exploded onto the scene. Some folks may not remember, but Star Trek was an enormous hit that summer and played, first run, in some theaters into early fall. We loved it. Crazy, and cool, fun, and exciting, we couldn't get enough, and the whole time we were falling in love with the film's new uniforms.
What costume designer Michael Kaplan did with Star Trek's retro-futuristic uniforms was nothing short of brilliant. Of course, they had to be. His whole NEW approach to William Ware Theiss' iconic Starfleet Uniforms was—to people obsessed with STAR TREK's decades of costumes—nothing short of genius. The classic silhouette, shapes and color blocking of the originals were all present and accounted for, right down to the saddle sleeves, and slightly pointed, contrasting collar that now belonged to an undershirt worn beneath the uniform's tunic. And the colors were striking too! Using the original color pallet left behind by Bill Thiess, Mr. Kaplan only subtly turned up the color saturation. Another innovation was in choosing a spacey, and well wearing jumbo weight spandex for the tunics and dresses, A material that ensured the crew of the Enterprise looked as cool as the rest of the film.
Of course...there is one additional element that made these new uniforms unique, the continuous "Delta Print" found on all the standard shipboard Starfleet Uniform Tunics and Dresses. When Star Trek '09 was made it was among the first to be filmed with the knowledge that not only would its effects, sets, props, and costumes have to look amazing on larger than life movie screens, but they would have to withstand even greater scrutiny on increasingly larger, and higher resolution monitors in people's living rooms. The explosion of super high definition equipment in people's homes led to a new line of thinking among some costume designers working in the sci-fi, and superheroic genres. Traditional textiles can look fairly flat when photographed and displayed in some higher definition formats, and so this led directly to costume designers using repeating prints, and tiny, three dimensional textures printed, or applied to represent futuristic fabrics. It's a trend that continues today.
And so it was that one of the very first products we ever attempted was Zachary Quinto's costume...correction... Mr. Spock's Tunic from Star Trek ‘09. It seemed to represent what ANOVOS was all about, to make something new, to renew something classic. It was the perfect example of our stated mission. Hell, it was even (almost precisely!) the same shade of blue we had chosen for our symbol. It was perfect.
It took a lot of work. Over a year of effort to do it right and bring it to market. We worked closely with CBS, Paramount, Bad Robot, and even spoke to Michael Kaplan himself. We got to examine the original costumes, and meet the people who made them for the film. We had to work diligently with dye houses, and printers, and learned a lot along the way. But at the end of the day we were rewarded with the most accurate replica of an original costume piece ever offered up to that point. And it was incredibly gratifying, to see people wearing and enjoying that tunic. It still is!
Now, it’s time for total truth between us: I'm a "Jim Kirk" when it comes to my uniform choices. I always have preferred command colors to the blue hue of the specialist corps. That being said, the first ANOVOS tunic I ever owned was our original Spock tunic. I love that thing. To me it represents so much more than a simple costume. That blue shirt is tied up with my affection for that movie, and for the people I work with. It reminds me of the crew of the Starship Enterprise, and family.
So, you'll have to forgive me if I feel a bit like celebrating. For all those reasons (and a few I'll save just for me) Star Trek ’09 is one of my favorite movies. It marked a cool time for me professionally, personally, and as a Trekkie. In fact, I think I'll throw it on right now. So if you'll excuse me...I just queued the movie up, and The Future Begins.