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Aside to Aside 11.05.2009

Posted by Commodore Mendez in Star Trek Stuff.
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kirk

Oh Captain, my Captain

You know, you don’t always have to know a hero’s origin. But fans, maybe especially genre fans, we frikkin’ always want more. It’s like a drug!

One thing I always liked about Horatio Hornblower, the serial character on whom Captain Kirk was based, was that his childhood was never fully detailed. It gave him a sense of mystery, and also allowed me to implant my memory engrams onto the character. Pardon, I probably just used that word in totally the wrong way. (They are of course different from engram crackers, which taste great with a cold glass o’ milk.) But what I mean is, with Hornblower’s background a general mystery (father a doctor, lots of whist-playing in the house—that’s about it), I could more imagine myself in his role. Because that’s what a lot of genre heroes are about—becoming the hero. Not wanting the hero as a dad! Not wanting to be the hero at your age! But growing up to become the hero. Paging Joseph Campbell!

So it was nice not to know everything about him. Until, of course, a reboot/biography not written by the original series author.

If I may further geek out, as if this whole thing wasn’t some giant writ large atomically mutated attack-of-the-50-foot geek out, back in the underrated STV:TFF (or Star Trek: The Final Frontier, for the ignorant), Spock’s half-brother Sybok (SPOILER ALERT: he does not make an appearance in the new movie, neither does Spock’s sehlat, and for some reason Vulcan has a blue sky, but never mind that now) . . . As I was saying before I interrupted myself, Sybok—in a move straight out of regression therapy—asks our three principles to share their pain. Spock remembers his birth and his father’s apparent shame. Nice nurturing there, Sarek! Doctor McCoy recalls euthanizing his father—shortly before a cure was found for what ailed him. But Kirk—ah, Kirk—in a perfect move for the archetypal hero—refuses to share his pain. His pain is what makes him the way he is. Not because he is a tough, stoic SOB. But because his pain makes him who he is.  Sharing it—and releasing it, via Sybok—would mean losing part of himself.

What’s my point? I may have one in there. But the tranya is getting to my head. I guess I mean to say that while we will always be curious about our hero’s origins, maybe it’s best that we don’t know them. And it creates forced plotlines, where Watson meets Holmes as a teen, yadda yadda. But Hollywood can’t help itself. If you run out of ideas to go forward, just go back.

This has nothing to do with my review actually. But what the hell? It seems a Starfleet Academy movie idea was floated by Dingleroddenberry in the ‘60s. And in the ‘80s, David Loughery (STV:TFF—don’t make me explain it again) wrote a screenplay called The Academy Years for Trek producer Harve Bennett. Read more about it here. I wonder why they didn’t film that?

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