Ben Solo’s parents couldn't hide away from their extremely busy lives for long. Because she was an important politician, Leia didn't sit idly at home and often had to travel far and long. Finding himself the husband of someone so prestigious, Han fell into a sort of first-husband role, turning from his life of crime to a successful career as a sport race driver. He sponsored important races, raced for charity, and more.
Despite his best efforts, Han started to drift further and further from his son. Ben Solo was often left alone at home.
Making matters worse, the Solo’s worked hard to protect young Ben from the knowledge of his lineage. They worried how knowing the true identity of his grandfather would affect him. Once he did learn the truth, Ben’s trust in his parents was broken. The events that followed while training under Luke completely separated him from his family and sent him hurtling into the dark side.
Han was so dismayed by Ben’s downfall that he left Leia to return to the smuggler's life of crime. After many years on the straight and narrow, there’s no doubt that he did this as a form of punishment inflicted on himself. Perhaps he felt that he never truly deserved his loving family in the first place. He became just like his own father, a runaway. Han traveled the stars with his pain.
During the week between episodes I've found myself re-watching the first cartoon Star Trek ever produced, "The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's STAR TREK." Bit of a wordy title, yeah? We'll just call it STAR TREK: THE ANIMATED SERIES, or TAS for short. TAS was something I watched a lot in the '70s, and as a kid I didn't really separate it from "The Original Series", it was all just "Star Trek" to me. My friends and I would watch it alongside the syndicated reruns of TOS we got after school. Everyday there were episodes of our favorite show - "Real or cartoon", it didn't matter to us. We loved it all.
On Saturday mornings - right after The Animated Series aired we'd all "beam down" outside on the banks of the lake behind our houses. All of us (every one) wearing our "Star Trek Shirt."
In those days we were all wearing different colors of the same short sleeved Starfleet Uniform "Tunic." Our engineer was in red, our "Spock" (my friend "Tack" had his black hair cut into shape not unlike Mr. Spock's with bangs and all) wore blue, and I was always wearing gold or green. We carried a collection of different devices for our "landing party equipment", but most everyone had a Remco utility belt with a miniature phaser, communicator, and a tricorder. We would play for hours running around on the surface of some strange new world wearing our uniforms, and "being" the characters we had just been watching on TV. It was too much fun.
"Fun", is what we had in mind when we recreated those original short sleeved Star Trek Shirts for Trekkies today.
Fresh from our overseas partners, we have less than 50 of the Rey Salvaged X-Wing Helmet remaining IN-STOCK !
These finite few helmets are READY TO SHIP from the final run of this iconic collectible.
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After the events of “Solo”, Han and Chewbacca seemed to prefer to stick to relatively petty crime. He ran marked Sabbac decks to the casino of the planet Marquinn, smuggled spice all over the galaxy and dodged the empire all along the way. Make no mistake, the Imperial Army had every intention of recapturing Han and bringing him to justice. They never caught him. The duo quickly made a name for themselves as the best around.
Like all good pirates, Han had a place to stash all of his treasure.
After he and Chewie crash-landed on an unnamed planet in the Monsua Nebula, the duo fought through storms and cyclones to reveal a secret oasis. Finding the storms a suitable deterrent, they located a hidden cave and declared it their secret spot. Over the years they hide all manner of treasures and trinkets from their adventures there, including a nostalgic store of Corellian wine for Han.
Capt. Hernandez: "Commander, drop by the quartermaster's at the end of your shift."
Cmdr. Tucker: "Ma'am?"
Capt. Hernandez: "Might want to update your uniform."
::Indicating his sleeve with the "Enterprise" patch still attached::
Cmdr. Tucker: "Aye, Captain."
- Trip Tucker and Erika Hernandez aboard the NX-02 COLUMBIA.
When Trip Tucker transfers to Columbia from the Enterprise its for a number of reasons, mostly personal rather than professional. Headhunted by Captain Erika Hernandez to be Chief Engineer aboard her newly finished NX-02, Trip initially refused to leave Enterprise but later accepted the transfer.
For Trip it ended up being a relatively short assignment to Columbia, but for us it marked a fun block of episodes in the final season of STAR TREK: Enterprise. Those are some of our favorites from that series, and so we couldn't resist recreating Trip's assignment patch from his sojourn to Enterprise's sister-ship.
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The helmet had belonged to a Rebel pilot named Dosmit Raeh, and Rey used to wear it and pretend that she was flying for the Rebel Alliance against the evil Galactic Empire!
Rey’s childhood doll of Rebel Pilot, Dosmit Raeh.
As a little girl, Rey invented adventures to act out with a doll of Dosmit Raeh that she had made for herself out of the rags of an old flight suit she had found. And when she wasn't playing with her doll, she would escape the loneliness of her makeshift home to be "Raeh" - wearing her helmet & piloting her X-Wing against Imperial Tie Fighters far from the wastelands of Jakku.
Rey's (Raeh's?) X-Wing Helmet is one of my favorite pieces from STAR WARS' sequel trilogy. I think because it resonates with me, and reminds me of playing the way Rey must have. As an only child after STAR WARS came out in '77 (my brother didn't come along till I was thirteen), I can remember pretending that I was an X-Wing pilot, like Luke Skywalker. I recall the time I painted an old helmet to look like Luke's, and imagined I was in the cockpit taking on the whole Empire myself.
An excerpt by Rey about her X-Wing helmet from the canon tie-in book, “Rey's Survival Guide.”
Rey does the same thing in "The Force Awakens." She's grown up, but her doll & her helmet are still with her. They're not just possessions to her. They are among the very few constants in her life, like the drive to find her parents. I don't think it's any coincidence that she's wearing her helmet the moment before meeting BB-8, and starting on her own hero's journey.
Rey sitting all alone against the foot of her AT-AT with her helmet is to me every bit as moving as Luke watching a binary sunset.
Of course, we just got a fresh look at the U.S.S. DISCOVERY's Cmdr. Michael Burnham.
She's back in uniform and wearing the latest iteration of Starfleet insignia.
Side note - anybody else besides me wondering if that's just a combadge, or something way cooler?
Either way, we're in for a wild ride when Discovery returns. Nine hundred thirty or so years into the future what will the galaxy look like? Will friends still be friends? Enemies still be enemies? And what if anything remains of Starfleet and The United Federation of Planets?
I have theories of course. I wonder if there are any clues to be found in Michael Chabon's SHORT TREKS episode "Calypso?" Is Zora the result of The Sphere Data merging with Discovery's Computer? Has the ship Craft found been waiting a thousand years beyond when Burnham and the crew arrived in the year 3187? Is the enemy he fought in the war, which he called “The V'draysh” - all that's left of The Federation?
STAR WARS™ Imperial Royal Guard Helmet Accessory
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Han’s Father makes an appearance in the films but remains unnamed. A worker at the Corellian Engineering Corporation Shipyards (Starships being the major industry of Corellia) he labors but never seems to make much headway and is eventually laid off. He expresses to his young son that his true desire is to escape the planet on one of the ships he works so tirelessly on. He never does make it but the sentiment must have had a profound effect on Han. Eventually, Han’s father abandons him. This influenced his life greatly.
Living as an orphan on the streets, a young Han turns to pickpocketing. In ‘Legends’, he’s picked up by Garris Shrike, a former bounty hunter turned con man and petty thief. Han spends most of his youngest years working for Garris, running various scams and learning the streets.
He befriends the cook of Shrike’s ship, Dewlanna, a Wookie who looks on him like a son and teaches him Shyriiwook, the Wookie language.
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While Supplies Last!!
Captain Picard’s Favorite Jacket is arriving now across the Federation!
We're continuing to ship out our new STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION "Darmok" Captain Picard Jackets, and the response has been extraordinary!
As soon as the first few arrived at their new homes we started seeing photos, and messages from our fellow fans & friends who were already starting to rock their jackets even in this summer weather.
It turns out that it's a good lightweight leather jacket to have on any away team mission.
And that’s precisely how this particular uniform piece was designed to be worn.
At the start of Season 5 Patrick Stewart's Captain Picard was going to be a more action oriented character than in the previous seasons, and needed a new costume that would serve as a dashing counterpart to the two piece standard duty uniform he'd been accustomed to. TNG producer David Livingston once observed that, "The genesis of the design was that submarine and aircraft commanders sometimes have a jacket that's special."
And it is special. I'll admit it...in all the years we spent in the 24th century - from "Next Gen" to "Picard" - THIS jacket is my favorite costume piece.
There's just something so cool about it. The way it drapes...the way it's instantly recognizable as a Starfleet Uniform, but pull the combadge off, and it's STILL a great looking jacket!
It also served as "proof of concept" for the future uniforms Mr. Blackman would design for STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT & for Deep Space Nine. Seriously. Look at the two jackets side by side and note the similarities. This jacket wasn't just something from the future, it pointed the way to the future. Kinda cool if you think about it. A costume from Star Trek echoing exactly what Star Trek is really all about. Entertaining us now, while showing us a future we can have.
Close-up of Nick Cook’s Captain’s Jacket with his STAR TREK: GENERATIONS com-badge.
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.
The rotunda of the Rio Convention Center.
This past weekend felt weird.
Like I was missing part of myself. Oh, the week was fun. We got the premiere of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS (which was awesome by the way), and with it some fun conversations with other Trekkies, but as the week pulled into Friday I just started to feel antsy. Like I was somehow spending too much time sitting down. And I kept wanting to talk about Star Trek...anything Star Trek. “What do you think of the new show?” "What does a sonic shower feel like anyway?" "Are you conscious of dying every time you use a transporter? Is that why Dr. McCoy really hates using them so much?" I know I probably drove my wife and daughter nuts playing TOS and LDS all weekend long.
In retrospect my symptoms had an obvious cause. I was missing STLV.
Fans enjoying a panel discussion in The Leonard Nimoy Theater.
"STLV", is of course "Star Trek Las Vegas", the planet's largest annual gathering of Star Trek fans. Every year at this time, Trekkies & Trekkers from everywhere around the globe meet up at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino here in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Earth, Sol System, Sector 001 of the Alpha Quadrant.
Speaking as a member of the con-going Trek fandom, our entire year revolves around this convention. I know for some ‘Geek New Year’ is celebrated at SDCC, but for those of us that know who "The Great Bird of the Galaxy" is, STLV is “The Big Show.” For obvious reasons, that show didn't happen this weekend. It's been postponed till December, and hopefully still happens. But, it won't quite feel the same - nor should it.
Let it be its own unique thing for this unprecedented time.
I missed the convention... Correction, I do miss it.
As I sit here writing this piece, I should be recovering from the hardest work I do & simultaneously the most fun I have all year.
For me that means manning the ANOVOS booth at "The Khan." Tuesdays are spent unpacking, assembling, and setting up our booth and its contents. It's a lot of work, but interspersed with those activities are moments to meet up with old friends. Friends from CBS who are usually busy setting up their own amazing exhibits, and friends who are fellow licensees hard at work setting up their booths. All these people make up the core of our community. They are more than just colleagues, they are family.
The Starfleet Museum exhibit - “Jean-Luc Picard: The First Duty” presented by CBS ALL ACCESS.
Tuesday night's "Preview Night" and it's the first chance we have to see the other half of our extended family - the fans. There's nothing better. Hugs and Vulcan hand salutes everywhere. People who haven't seen each other in a year pick up conversations that feel like they were paused yesterday. It's warm, it's comfortable, and it feels like home.
The rest of the convention feels like that. Don't misunderstand, it IS work, but it's the most pleasant kind of work. We're all on our feet for about eleven hours. We usually try to have a schedule, kind of a rotation of sorts where people cycle out of the booth for a few hours. It never works. For example - I never want to leave. And it's not because someone from a Star Trek show might float past our booth, it's because we have so much fun seeing everyone.
Some days I never leave the booth at all.
The ANOVOS exhibit booth during a lull at STLV.
There are lulls in the action. Like the tides, there’s an almost predictable ebb and flow. "Low tide" - William Shatner is on the stage in the Leonard Nimoy Theater. These pauses are a breather. A time when you can even drift from your booth to a friend's on the same isle (mustn't get too far away).
Captain James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner, on the main stage at STLV.
ANOVOS, Gold Bubble, Eaglemoss, Chronicle Collectibles, Hallmark/Pop Minded - we're all usually in the same area. We're all friends and we love to catch up with each other. "What are you guys working on?" "How's the fam?" "Is that a Tribble?" At this point in the game, we all know everyone very, very well, and there's a real sense of community.
"High tide!" William Shatner has just left the stage, and everybody's coming back into the exhibit hall. At first it takes you by surprise. One moment you're having a nice convo with John Byrne about his Star Trek: New Visions series, the next - people have multiplied around you like tribbles.
You get a feel for it in time though. When you're in tune with the larger convention going on around you, you sense when there's a change. A few more people trickle past you in the aisle than there were a moment ago. The noise level starts to increase...just a touch at first, it grows louder every thirty seconds or so. Almost instinctively you start to drift closer to your booth and by the time you're there so too is a horde of people. The decibels go up and so does the temperature. Where you needed an Archer jacket when everyone was at the panel, it gets warm in the hall as all the fans hit the floor again.
More conversations. New faces mix with the familiar - but here - in this Temple of Trekdom, we're a family. "We Reach" and we all "Grok Spock."
Since 2016 & the 50th Anniversary of STAR TREK, STLV has been a five day event. It's a long haul of a convention (especially for those that just wrapped SDCC right before it), but it's always a pleasant one.
Almost the opposite of the manic hurricane of ComicCon. The days spent at the con go very much like I've described it here. Seeing and greeting friends old and new. People we love, and people we've just met, and everyone sharing stories, observations, and affection for the global phenomenon called STAR TREK. Not bad for a little TV show that just barely had enough episodes for syndication.
An aisle in the STLV exhibitor’s hall.
Sunday comes and there's a slight spiritual scent of Dikironium in the air. Bittersweet. People still attend panels, and come to the booth, but there's a soft melancholia to the day. No one really acknowledges it, but it's there.
People drift into the booth to make last minute purchases and say goodbye. "See ya next year!" "Yeah, we'll be right here!" "Live Long and Prosper!" "Peace and Long Life!" "Can't wait till next year!" "Till then..."
The exhibitors work fast to strike our booths. We're all tired, and with the guests off the floor and off to farewell parties and dinners, the air conditioning to the hall is turned off. The large doors open to the loading docks and Las Vegas' August evening heat hits you in the face. Work faster. Let's get going, but hang on. See the guys over there? Let's go help them with their stuff. We are a community after all and help is always there when needed.
Time to go. We get our backpacks together, but hang on...let's go see if the CBS folks are still in “mission control”. Let's say goodbye.
"Hey! The Enterprise bridge set is still up, let's check it out?"
We head out, bumping into lingering Trekkies, most of whom we know personally. More hugs and kisses. "See ya next time?" "Of course."
Of course we know "Next time" hasn't come yet. It's been postponed.
Hopefully only till December, but then none of us really know for sure. That's life though right? You can never really know. I know that there are people we saw last year at STLV who aren't with us anymore.
Covid? For some...sure, but like someone once said "On a long enough timeline everyone's survival rate drops to zero." It's worth remembering that though. None of us ever really know how long any of us are here, So be good to each other.
Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart during the second season of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.
Treat everyday with your fellow fans like a day on the floor of STLV! We have become a splintered collective as a fanbase. Some of us like things about the franchise, some do not, and that disagreement spills out into social media like cancer from a ruptured cell. Stop.
Instead, let's Unite.
Like we did behind Bjo & John Trimble to get a third season of TOS.
Like we did when The Committee organized the First Star Trek Convention.
Announcement flyer for the First STAR TREK Convention ever held.
Let us Unite like we did when we caused NASA to name the first Space Shuttle "ENTERPRISE." Like when we rose up around the world and founded thousands of Star Trek Fan Clubs.
The Cast of STAR TREK at the roll-out of the Space Shuttle Orbiter “ENTERPRISE.”
Unite like we do every year at Star Trek Las Vegas.
We need reunification, and it can happen. Try.
This week saw the launch of a new show and a new time for Star Trek. During the virtual premiere friends and colleagues kept saying how nice it was to meet up.
How great it was that we could share the event together, even if it was via computer.
They were right, it did feel good. In the absence of STLV I've seen fans take to social media and post pictures and recollections of past Khans. I've seen videos, chats, and virtual meet-ups happening all over as people come together to reconnect
Costumed fans in The DeForest Kelley Theater.
And at the center of it all is a shared love.
Love of Star Trek, sure. But, more than that - love for our community, and most of all love for our friends & fellow fans.
Keep it going.
For yourselves and for the fandom, keep it up.
We need that kind of unity now more than ever.
With Bjo & John Trimble at Star Trek Las Vegas.
Remember that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.
And when confronted with a friend that maybe doesn't share the same perspective as you do remember IDIC. I know someone out there will remind us all that Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations was a concept designed to sell a widget and that they're just words.
Perhaps. But good words. That's where ideas begin. Maybe we should listen to them.
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.
Welcome, everyone to 23 Weeks of NEW STAR TREK !
Welcome back to the time of The Next Generation, but in a way that we've never seen it before. We've all just been invited to one of the best times ever to be a Star Trek fan!
I just finished watching the series premiere of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS which kicks off 23 straight weeks of new episodes of Star Trek. For anyone that grew up loving the franchise as I did - this is a new golden age. Ten episodes of Lower Decks laughter followed by 13 episodes of Discovery drama. And if by any chance you haven't yet seen LDS go watch it now! I'll wait…
STAR TREK: Lower Decks
Star Trek: Lower Decks is now streaming, with new episodes on Thursdays.
Watch it only on CBS All Access.