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23 Weeks of NEW Trek - Week Ten

Nine weeks into the "23 Weeks of Star Trek", and STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS unlocked a whole new level of cool last week with episode "Crisis Point." 

We got to see Ens. Mariner's Khan fixation come out to play in the name of "therapy.” It gave us more insight into Mariner's relationships aboard the U.S.S. CERRITOS & her Captain, and a whole lot of fun along the way.  

Lower Decks continues to amaze with it's depth. 

How even with its relatively short weekly runtime - it still manages to shoehorn a little message into each episode. 

Another reminder that this show is pure STAR TREK down to its core!

This week brings with it the last episode of LDS, "No Small Parts." I can't help but be a little sad. 

In its first season Lower Decks has done something unexpected. It not only proved that it was a good Star Trek show, it became one of our favorite Star Trek shows ever! 

Seeing Starfleet from the point of view of it's newest members was expected, but what that point of view would show us about ourselves wasn't something I counted on. The young crew of the Cerritos demonstrates the wide eyed enthusiasm I expected, but Beckett Mariner is something else entirely.

Ensign Mariner is something we've seen glimpses of in the past with Wesley Crusher - she's a "Starfleet Brat." 

With a father who's an Admiral, and a Mom who's a Captain, Beckett grew up on starships. She's been on a few different ships in her life and career, and she's seen some things - not all of them good, but she joined Starfleet anyway. 

Her perspective on what a good officer should be is unique. It's something quite different from her friends, or anyone who's only gone through The Academy. Her indoctrination into Starfleet began long before most people, she's known Starfleet her whole life. 

Unlike Wesley who took off with The Traveler into places & times unknown, Beckett joined Starfleet and stayed. The best of her class, it was expected that she'd be the first among them to make Captain. But then, life doesn't always work out as we expect.

It's THAT kind of depth that I didn't expect from a 25 minute long, animated comedy show. BUT, I should have known to expect it from any show with “STAR TREK” on its title card. 

The purest versions of Star Trek have always had that introspective nature, and Lower Decks has that built into its DNA.

So long for now U.S.S. CERRITOS.

We grew very, very fond of you all this season. We're happy to know that with Season 2 in animation, and Season 3 stories on the way - that there will be a lot more STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS to come!

🖖 LLAP, 
John


p.s. OK STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, you’re on deck! Time to show us what 3187 looks like...    

John Cooley

John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.

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John Cooley October 08, 2020 4 tags (show)

STAR TREK & The Number 47

The Number 47

I’m supposed to be writing about our STAR TREK™: FIRST CONTACT / DEEP SPACE NINE - Premier Line Command Uniform Jacket, but as it turns out this is the 47th blog in this particular series of stories. 

And I couldn't let this occasion pass without mentioning the number 47.

The number 47 shows up a LOT in dialog & computer screens throughout 24th century era Star Trek. All the "47s" in Star Trek originate with Next Gen, DS9 and Voyager writer Joe Menosky. 

Joe attended Pomona College in California where there is a club called "The 47 Society" whose members believe that there exists mathematical proof that all numbers are equal to 47 and that the number 47 occurs with greater frequency in nature than other numbers. 

It was Joe that seeded the first 47's into the stories he wrote, and once the Star Trek Art Department got in on the joke 47s started appearing everywhere. The number 23 (half of 47 rounded down) shows up a lot in Star Trek as well as the occasional reversed number - 74. TNG era executive producer Rick Berman once quipped that, "47 is 42, corrected for inflation." 

Here's a bit of trivia for you, there are 47 people listed in the credits of STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT as "Other Crew." Seriously, go check it out at the IMDB- I'll wait.

The Starfleet uniforms first seen in First Contact (and shortly after in DS9's fifth season episode "Rapture") were intended to be for the Next Gen cast what the "The Wrath of Khan" era uniform had been for the original cast. A more structured, more "military" form of Starfleet uniform. It utilized a similar woven wool for the uniform’s taupe grey, ribbed shoulders (which itself had been inspired by the shoulder detail of Captain Picard’s “Darmok” flight jacket). 

Also like the TWOK uniform, it reduced the wearer’s division color to an undershirt and stripe on the cuff. 

It was a uniform designed for more serious material, and it worked! The new uniforms looked...still look heroic.  

Even the new combadge (designed for STAR TREK: GENERATIONS) seemed more at home on the new uniforms as John Eaves had given them "wings" that recalled the backing board of TWOK era officer's chest badge.

The First Contact/DS9 Uniforms were serious uniforms for more serious times. They saw Borg invasions, and The Dominion War. New worlds and new civilizations were defended by the heroic actions of the Starfleet members that wore them. 

Those uniforms - much like the TWOK uniforms of an earlier generation - became fan favorites. They helped to define a unique era of Star Trek, and even showed up recently in a flashback on the show STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS.

The FC/DS9 uniforms are a favorite around here, and we're happy whenever we revisit them. Whether they're aboard the Sovereign Class U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, the U.S.S. QUITO, or the U.S.S. DEFIANT ("Little?"), to us they'll always look cool.

John Cooley

John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.

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John Cooley October 02, 2020 0 tags (show)

23 Weeks of Trek | Last Week of September

For the record I'm treating the 23 Weeks of Star Trek like a new holiday season in my calendar (I hope it repeats next year). And this week brought us a whole bag full of Trek presents! I hope you're enjoying STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS as much as we are, but also looking ahead to the future - that's what STAR TREK is all about right? 

While we all await a formal announcement of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Season Four, we saw some signs (literally) of life this week with the sound stages prepping for filming to begin while some of the cast arrived in Toronto.


For now though, Season Three of DISCOVERY is only three weeks away! Which is both exciting and a bit sad because its arrival marks the end of LOWER DECKS' first season. 

We've all grown really rather fond of our crew of Lower Deckers around here, and none of us are ready to see them go. 

BUT, we also know that Mike McMahon & his team are already hard at work on Season Two, and breaking stories for an eventual Season 3! So, it looks like there's more fun ahead for the U.S.S. CERRITOS!

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There really hasn't been a more exciting time to be a Trekkie than right now! 

We have two new episodes of LOWER DECKS to go, a whole new season of DISCOVERY, and season one just premiered on CBS’ flagship network. It seems like everyday we're talking about STAR TREK either amongst ourselves, with our friends at CBSVIACOM, or our friends and colleagues who also work in and around the franchise. There's fantastic stuff for all of us on the horizon, and we can't wait to see it all!


LLAP
John

John Cooley

John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.  

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John Cooley October 01, 2020 0 tags (show)

"Starring Mark Hamill"

That was the first time most people ever saw the name Mark Hamill. I was six years old when I learned it, long ago. Long enough now that I can barely remember a time when I didn't know who Mark Hamill was. 

Mark (if I can call him Mark) is a friend of mine.

Oh, I don't mean that literally. I've only ever been in the same room with him once, but that doesn't matter. He is absolutely a friend, and one of the best I've ever had.

Today is his birthday, and it's time we all took a moment to say "Happy Birthday, Mark!"

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Like I said, I was six the first time I met Mark on Tatooine. He was 23 years old when he played Luke Skywalker - a moisture farmer near the Jundland Wastes. I spent the next three years playing as a miniature version of the character Mark brought to life in STAR WARS. 

It was fun, but it was about to get a whole lot cooler.

"1980" means The Empire Strikes Back, and where A New Hope had provided unlimited play - Empire unlocked a whole new level. 




It was darker, more "real", and in it Luke had to grow up even more than he had the last time we saw him. Mark Hamill was older too, and so was I.

It was harder to pretend that I was Luke Skywalker, but action figures stood in perfectly well, and my Bespin Luke Skywalker figure went everywhere I did. When that thing wasn't being chased by a little plastic Darth Vader, it was in my pocket.



Perfect in his Rebel Fatigues uniform - that figure went bike riding, shopping, to school, to church, and even the doctor's office. 


In a way Mark was the best friend a kid of nine could have. Ready to play whenever I wanted, and always there. 

The costume Mark wore for most of Empire became something that I wanted to have myself, especially his jacket! "Bantha Tracks" - the newsletter of the Official Star Wars Fan Club (of which I was a member in good standing) even offered a kid's version. A jacket that by now I would have long ago grown out of. 

BUT, I do have a uniform that I'm wearing as I type this. It's one of my all time favorite STAR WARS pieces, and I wear it whenever I get the chance. It's a perfect replica of the costume Mark Hamill wore, and of the uniform Luke Skywalker was wearing the first time he faced Lord Vader.

It's been a few years now since "Empire," and I've grown up & have my own nine year old who loves STAR WARS as much as I do. 

It's fun watching "Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker" in the sequel trilogy with her. He's awesome in "Rise of Skywalker," and it gets me every time he raises Red-5 from it's watery resting place. 

As the years go on I hope there’ll be new Mark Hamill performances to look forward to. In a way he's been there my whole life, and if you ask me it'll never be time for THE Jedi to end.  

Happy Birthday Mark, I hope there's many many more to come!

MTFBWY,
John 

John N Cooley 

-Jedi Knight and friend of Captain Solo   

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John Cooley September 25, 2020 0 tags (show)

23 Weeks of NEW Trek | Badgey

The 23 Weeks of Star Trek just keeps giving us new things to play with, and last week didn't disappoint.

On Star Trek Day, we talked about one of our favorite shapes in the world - The Starfleet Symbol. 

Who could have guessed that by the end of that week we would be given a floating, anthropomorphic version of that very icon?

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Badgey is...let's be honest, one of the best things to have come out of Star Trek in a long time. 

He's yet another gift from the amazing creators of STAR TREK: Lower Decks, and whatever else he is - training program, assistant, friend, foe, nemesis - Badgey is a hell of a lot of fun. 

Just don't make him mad.

I just can't get enough, and it really seems like the rest of the fandom can’t either.

Over the last few days we've seen memes & videos, gifs & animations, wallpapers, and at least one t-shirt (btw, my daughter wants a plush Badgey). 

And I know for a fact that there's more Badgey stuff to come.

I suppose it was inevitable. It was a matter of time before the Starfleet badge became a character itself within the franchise. 

To be fair, Badgey (brilliantly voiced by Jack McBrayer) is fun, and based on time honored tropes of 24th Century Star Trek. Transporter glitches and simulations that develop their own personality and sense of self awareness. 

From McNary and Minuet to Moriarty, Badgey takes his place in the tradition of Holodeck characters gone wrong.

My guess is that we haven't seen the last of Badgey. I hope he sort of becomes a Q-like character, or at least something like TNG's Professor Moriarty. 

Someone (somebadge?) that can pop up from time to time over the course of the whole series.

Love ya, Badgey! Please don’t hurt anybody.

LLAP,
John 

John Cooley 
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.  

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John Cooley September 24, 2020 0 tags (show)

Imperial Stormtroopers -- The Shoretrooper

When Rogue One: A Star Wars story was first revealed, the excitement for a prequel to the original trilogy was palpable. As excited as most of us were for a new story and hopefully a few new planets to explore, I personally know that a good chunk of us were the most excited for something else that popped up in the trailers -- the apparent presence of some never before seen Stormtrooper variants.

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Particularly captivating were the new Coastal Defender Stormtroopers, also known as Shoretroopers

Sharp eyes noticed them in the very first teaser trailer for the new movie and speculation about their identity swirled heavily until the premier. The new armor even toured and made several appearances at events leading up to the big day and fans combed the internet for any information they could find about the new baddies. 

Throughout the galaxy as a whole, Shoretroopers are considered fairly rare. Stationed at tropical and coastal bases, they are specially outfitted to handle combat in their wet and humid environments. 

For their appearance in Rogue One, they patrolled the Imperial security complex (and its surrounding beaches) on Scarif. 

The weaponry we know that they employed, at least, included the E-11 Blaster Rifle, the E-22 Blaster Rifle, and thermal imploders. 

In the extended universe mobile game, Star Wars: Commander, Heavy Shoretroopers who specialize in heavy artillery makes a rare appearance. 

It remains to be seen if further variants will be established in future canon.

Rank is established by unique armor markings of at least three known types;


Foot Soldiers have a red right bicep plate, Squad Leaders share the red plate but also sport an blue band across their chest and shoulders. 


Shoretrooper Captains are by far the most decorated with a red arm band, full blue chest plate and further blue and yellow markings on their left side. 

It’s also interesting to note that the shoretroopers are missing the upper leg armor of their fellow stormtroopers, presumably to aid in mobility on sand and other uneven terrain.

While we may not know much about the formation of the troops and the backstory of these variants is limited (for now), it’s hard to deny that they’re captivating. 

We can only hope that more is revealed about them in the future.

Maybe it’s not so bad to be a stormtrooper if you get to serve your duty in a tropical paradise!


Amanda Avery          
Amanda is a blogger based in Anaheim, CA


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Amanda Avery September 23, 2020 0 tags (show)

23 Weeks of New Trek | Lower Decks ST Day Panel

The 23 Weeks of Star Trek dropped a fun present in our laps with the first coordinated, multimedia observance of STAR TREK DAY! 

September 8th has always been Star Trek's birthday, but this year was different. Twenty four straight hours of Star Trek love, in what I hope is only a taste of future Star Trek Days to come.

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There was a lot to enjoy starting with a marathon of curated episodes from every show. Midday brought us live panels celebrating every Star Trek series (almost, sorry TAS). 

There were exclusive memorabilia drops, and trailers for Lower Decks & Discovery Season three

There was even a Star Trek Day Pub Quiz to end the event with a fun trivia game. Really, it was one of the single best days ever to be a Star Trek fan.

But, if there were some sort of media content award for "Most Fun" it would have to go to the team for STAR TREK: Lower Decks! They really went above and beyond. 

Lower decks creator Mike McMahan and his cast took to the screens for their panel and brought their unrestrained love for each other and their show with them. 

Here's a tip - find someone that loves you as much as that cast loves their show, and you'll be happy all your life.

They brought with them a trailer for the back half of season one that (if you don't mind spoilers) is just amazing.



And as if that wasn't enough, Titmouse, Inc - the company that produces the animation for Lower Decks - even provided a fun, small coloring book specifically for Star Trek Day (which you can find here)

If you missed it, don't worry. 

All the panels, trailers, and bonus content from Star Trek Day can be found at Star Trek Dot Com, and at the CBS All Access YouTube channel. 

I definitely recommend watching the Lower Decks panel and mid-season trailer. They're both too much fun!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a coloring book to tend to. Au revoir.

LLAP,
John 

John Cooley 
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.  

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John Cooley September 22, 2020 0 tags (show)

The Mandalorian | Season 2 Official Trailer

The Mandalorian Helmet Returns

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September 15, 2020 0 tags (show)

The Belt of a Gunslinger - Exploring Han Solo's Iconic Look

"Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me."

Take a look at almost any Han Solo action figure you have. 

It's fine, I'll wait. OK. Good. Now consider the things that make it look like "Han Solo." If it's an original '78 Kenner figure there's not much to go on. Likeness? OK. Vest, boots, check and check. Belt rig? Wow, that really looks like his belt. In fact for an early action figure that's soft on detail, it's one of the elements that the sculptor, and painter made fairly accurately. From that first action figure to the latest hyper detailed statues, Han Solo's right handed belt rig is one thing that all of them get right.

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Han Solo's large hexagonal belt buckle is one of the most recognizable aspects of his traditional uniform. Worn front and center in five of the six films Han Solo appears in - it's one of the defining traits of his look. For 1977's STAR WARS, costume designer John Mollo created a style for Han Solo that recalled the gunslingers of the Spaghetti Western genre. He wore an old shirt & vest with a pair of military striped pants, and riding boots. But, what really anchored the design was this particular piratical cowboy's gun belt. Carl Schmidt of Bapty & Co Ltd. crafted it alongside Roger Christian who, as Star Wars' set decorator - had been tasked with creating Han Solo's DL-44 Blaster along with all the other weapons needed for the film. That belt and buckle design became iconic, and has been worn in that configuration for nearly all of Han Solo’s appearances over the years.

Part of what goes into developing a successful costume, particularly for high adventure, superheroic, or science fiction stories is crafting something that can be dynamic when framed on screen. Han Solo's costume consists of mostly dark pieces broken up by his shirt and gunbelt with the belt's buckle acting as a kind of focal point and image break. Think of it like Batman's yellow utility belt, an artist's tool to add something visually dynamic to break up a silhouette & catch the eye. Han Solo's belt buckle acts exactly in that fashion on screen, and in real life.

I tend to wear my Han Solo buckle a lot. I paired it with my (very old, heavy, well worn) favorite belt, and it gets the occasional complement from people who recognize it. I can't wear Han Solo's full gun belt around town, but I can wear my buckle when I pick my daughter up from school.

MTFBWY,
John 

John Cooley 
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.  


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John Cooley September 11, 2020 0 tags (show)

JOIN THE EMPIRE - Part Three General Hux

Armitage Hux is the only one of our three subjects that actively sought to enlist with the Imperial Army. In fact he didn’t just seek it, he pursued it with a ruthless focus that consumed the entirety of his life. 

Born the bastard son of Commandant Brendol Hux and a kitchen servant, Armitage not only had to live up to his father’s famous name but also overcome the scorn and mockery that followed him from a young age due to his mother’s lowly status.

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If you missed the previous articles of our ongoing series following Enlistment in the Imperial Military, you can find them here.

PART ONE - FN-2187 

PART TWO - Galen Erso

His father was a powerful but truly unloving man. Hux found himself the subject of constant abuse and beratement. This only furthered his intense desire to prove himself in the ranks of the military and gain his father’s full acceptance. 

Of course, by the time he had come of age the Galactic Empire had already fallen. For a while there were no proving grounds for Hux to dedicate himself to. Then, at last, the First Order was formed and Hux was able to follow in his father’s footsteps as a General.

Hux became consumed by a lust for leadership. Understanding his father’s true feelings for him and growing to resent him even further, Armitage resolved to remove the obstacle that was his father by having him killed by Captain Phasma. 

Convinced that he had eradicated the final barrier between himself and unlimited power by eradicating his oppressor, Hux pursued military advancement with a steadfast intensity. Before long, he had worked his way up to the position of one of Snoke’s right hand men, alongside Kylo Ren.

Hux’s bloodthirstiness would ultimately prove to be his downfall. Once Snoke met his demise and Kylo Ren ascended to his throne, the new supreme leader found Armitage impossible to trust. While Hux swore loyalty to Ren, he would ultimately betray him by acting as a spy for the Resistance. 

At the end of the day, Hux’s only loyalty was to his own upward momentum and he was willing to sacrifice everything to get back at the man that stole that from him, even willing to die.  

Inspired by content found on StarWars.com/databank

Amanda Avery          
Amanda is a blogger based in Anaheim, CA

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Amanda Avery September 09, 2020 0 tags (show)
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