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We're gonna move away from the pop culture movies for one night, on this the birthday of Canada, to give some props to our mother nation and to its fine cinematic tradition.
Unless you want me to to get into Canucksploitation, but that's a story for another day.
Today, we're going high brow as we check out the Star Trek alumni from this cinematic classic known as Chariots of Fire.
Chariots of Fire, a UK film released in 1981, is the story of two British athletes competing in the Paris Olympics of 1924. One a former missionary to sees his running as a way of honoring his God and showing his will,, while the other was a Lithuanian Jew who used athletics to earn respect and a place at the table of society. Both runners face obstacles from anti-Semitism to running an race on a sunday, but both persevere by sticking to their convictions.
The role of runner Harold Abrahams was played by Ben Cross, who also appeared as Sarek in the 2009 Star Trek film, acting as a foil for Spock whom tried to console two conflicting halves, his Vulcan and his human side. Eventually, Sarek would reconcile and even encourage Spock to forge his own path. As the role of famous ambassador and father who only wants best for his son, Ben Cross played it masterfully.
Alice Krige, who played as Harold Abrahams' wife Sybil Gordon, also had a prominent role in Star Trek history. She played the first Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact. Though the role was taken over by Susanna Thompson for most of Star Trek: Voyager's run, Krige would play the Borg Queen again for Voyager's series finale, 'Endgame'. It was Krige's depiction that immortalized the Borg Queen as one of Star Trek's greatest villains. That ice-cold, calculated voice and that imperious strut became iconic. We would also see her depiction again in Star Trek: The Experience - Borg Invasion 4D, and in the Star Trek: Armada II videogame.
Rumor has it she was going to be on Star Trek: Enterprise as a starfleet officer who came in contact with Borg material and it would become the Borg Queen's origin, but that was for Season 5, which never materialized.
Oh well, I think it was a silly idea and probably would have made a lot of fans displeased anyways.
(Not that such a feat is difficult mind you.)
Lastly, and I didn't expect another actor in Chariots of Fire to be a Star Trek alumni, but I found one!
Dennis Christopher, who was athlete Charles Paddock, also played bit roles in Star Trek, first in Deep Space Nine as 'Borath' in 'The Search: Part II' (Season 3, Episode 2), and as 'Danik' in the Enterprise episode 'Detained' (Season 1, Episode 21).
Chariots of Fire received critical acclaim, including multiple Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Music Score.
Speaking of music score, you can thank famous composer (and specialist in synthesized music) Vangelis for the soundtrack. This composer is also well known for his work the sci-fi classic Blade Runner.
'Chariots of Fire', his song for the movie, is one of his most famous works, and has been repeated in other properties, even 'National Lampoon's Vacation'.
One should keep in mind that a lot of Star Trek alumni are veteran actors who've been in major productions before Star Trek. You never know when a small role is being played by an absolute theatrical legend!
X-Men, the iconic society rejected superhero mutants, have been around since the 1960's. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the superteam, nobody suspected X-men would become comic's biggest franchise... at least until The Avengers hit the scene.
(If anything, X-Men was the more popular franchise, hence Fox's purchase for the film rights, which left Avengers open for Marvel Studios... and the rest is history!)
X-Men (2000) was one of the movies that turned the superhero genre from a bit of a joke to the blockbuster juggernaut we know today. It was directed by Bryan Singer, who is the director for The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns, Bohemian Rhapsody, and several movies in the X-Men franchise.
Bryan Singer is also our first alumni, for he played a bit role in Star Trek: Nemesis as Lieutenant Kelly.
But let's go with the big ones first. Patrick Stewart, Mr. Jean Luc Picard himself, was perfectly casted as Professor Charles Xavier. Professor X would become Patrick Stewart's second iconic role, which he'd return to play in multiple X-Men movies, including the first trilogy (X2: X-Men United and X-Men The Last Stand), and his last Professor X appearance in 'Logan'.
It wouldn't be a megathon without some other big names, but who would that be?
Famke Janssen, who played Jean Grey/Phoenix in the first X-Men trilogy, also played as Kamala, the misplaced Kriosian empath metamorph with an accidental connection to Captain Picard (TNG Season 5, Episode 21, 'The Perfect Mate'). During the time of the X-Men movies, she'd already made a name for herself as a sex symbol and actress in such shows as Melrose Place and such movies as Golden Eye, The Faculty, and House on Haunted Hill.
Another big name however would show up after the X-Men movie. Rebecca Romijn, the former supermodel turned actress, would play the first Mystique in the X-Men trilogy. She would later join the cast of Star Trek Discovery as Una, or 'Number One'.
Bruce Davison, who played Senator Kelly in X-Men, played some bit roles in Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.
Star Trek and X-Men would cross over in more ways than one. The novel 'Planet X' and the X-Men/Star Trek crossover comics were also featured in Get Trekucated, and predate the X-Men movies.
One can easily see the cross-appeal of the two franchises.
You sort of seen that coming considering the first picture from the weekly post, right? But yes, Total Recall is a personal favorite of mine. For it's campy, over-the-top action to it's cast of Hollywood B-Listers working alongside the Austrian action star himself, and directed by one of Hollywood's most infamous directors himself. And it's chock full of Star Trek alumni!
Total Recall (1990) stars Arnold Schwartzenegger as Quaid, an everyman who take a virtual vacation and ends up blurring the lines of reality and fiction as he's wrapped up in a Mars rebellion.
The movie is directed by Paul Verhoeven, who is as entertaining as he is hit-and-miss. He's directed such box office bombs as Basic Instincts, Showgirls, and Hollow Man, right alongside such guilty pleasures as Robocop and Starship Troopers.
He might be the schlockmaster general, but Paul Verhoeven's a good sport about it. He even accepted his own Razzie Awards for his movie Showgirls!
But onto Total Recall. Who in Star Trek got to play in the movie?
The first obvious choice, though a brief appearance, is Robert Picardo, who played the 'Johnny Cab' robot on Mars.
Another, more infamous, would be the three-breasted stripper named Mary. This mutant gal paying off her college tuition was played by Lycia Naff, who also played Ensign Sonya Gomez in the TNG episodes 'Samaritan Snare' and 'Q Who'.
But the biggest appearance had to be Marc Alaimo as soldier Everett. Mr Gul Dukat himself!
Other appearances from one off alumni include Mel Johnson Jr. as Benny the Cab Driver (Playing Legate Broca in the last season of DS9), Roy Brocksmith (the Zakdorn Sima Kolrami in TNG), Michael Champion, Gregg Sargeant, Milton Barnes, Elliot Schick, and Frank Kopyc.
And for an added bonus, legendary composer and Star Trek alumnus Jerry Goldsmith was the composer for the movie.
Ok, for added bonuses, we can also include Total Recall 2012 for Star Trek Alumni. We have John Cho (Star Trek Kelvinverse Trilogy)... and that's pretty much it!
Total Recall brought on a lot of star power, with the likes of Arnie and Sharon Stone, as well as a who's who of b-list actors and TV thespians. It was also one hell of a movie!
This week I'm going to take a personal challenge.
Star Trek alumni in movies. But there's a catch.
No TV shows, no streaming series, no Star Trek. Just alumni actors in a feature-length film.
Oh, and there has to be at least two Star Trek alumni per film.
Think I can find five films like that? I'm gonna try!
On the subject of re-used props, our next examples are some of the most recycled of all Star Trek. Spanning over three different series, the next weapons were seen in use in all four quadrants of the galaxy.
You know what they say... great minds think alike!
The Jem'Hadar, the official genetically-engineered shock troopers of The Dominion, have more than impressive fighting abilities and chameleon-like shrouding. They also pack some impressive weaponry which, if not kill you outright, cause agonizing wounds that won't clot. (DS9 Season 5, Episode 2, 'The Ship')
The Jem'Hadar fielded their brand of energy weapons for the entirety of the Dominion Wars. It's speculated that plasma variants (DS9 Season 7, Episode 22, 'Tacking in to the Wind'), a later-war deviation from the standard disruptor (DS9 Script: 'Rocks and Shoals'), or phased polaron (DS9 Technical Manual), and some were manufactured in the Alpha Quadrant as supply lines to the Gamma Quadrant were cut off.
The Jem'Hadar Pistol, a simple, curved, triangular, compact weapon, was seen in the hands of species throughout the galaxy. Similar designs are seen in Voyager with the Nyrian, Enathran, Tau, Kyrian, Vaskan, Quorra, and Mobar.
You can even find them in the Alpha Quadrant with the Retillians (ENT Season 2, Episode 11, 'Precious Cargo'), and at a deuterium mine as one of the camp's sidearms (ENT Season 2, Episode 6, 'Marauders').
The Jem'Hadar rifle is a fascinating weapon, in canon and in real life. The prop was originally crafted from a cheap Remco children's crossbow dart gun, but add a few bits, a stock, and a new paint job, and you got yourself a prop that's lasted through three Star Trek series!
We first see it as a weapon of the Hunters, and it still had its crossbow component! (DS9 Season 1, Episode 6, 'Captive Pursuit')
But saw off the crossbow bits and you got a weapon used by the Nol-Ennis, the Kellerun, the forces of the Klingon fugitive known as 'The Albino', and, of course, the Jem'Hadar!
So Kirk's even got one on his wall! (Star Trek: Generations)
The Romulan Star Empire, during the 23rd and most of the 24th century, was one of the three major superpowers in the Alpha Quadrant.
It wouldn't be unreasonable if Romulan weaponry proliferated throughout the galaxy. Why not? With so client states and even enemies of the Federation fielding similar small arms, it's quite plausible.
Heck, the Romulans copied Starfleet weapons and gave them to anti-Klingon rebels on the planet Krios! (TNG Season 4, Episode 24, 'The Mind's Eye')
So there's the Romulan's weapons manufacturing credit. Lets see where we find their weapons.
(Though truthfully, most instances are just recycling and re-using props.)
The 2368 model of Romulan disruptor rifle is found multiple times in the Star Trek universe. You can see it fielded by Tal'Shiar agents during the Unification crisis (TNG Season 5, Episode 7, 'Unification').
The weapon however has been seen in the hands of others, such as the Ruteans and the Ansata Terrorists (TNG Season 3, Episode 12, 'The High Ground'), in the hands of Bajoran freedom fighters (TNG Season 5, Episode 3, 'Ensign Ro'), Ferengi hijackers (TNG Season 6, Episode 7, 'Rascals'), mercenaries, and thieves (TNG Season 7, Episode 4 & 5, 'Gambit', though multiple DS9 and TNG episodes use this rifle as a stand in for alien weaponry.).
The weapon's basic design was even seen in the Delta Quadrant with multiple species! But that might have been a coincidence... maybe.
Romulans didn't appear to trade their pistols often... at least not in the 24th century. Their disruptor pistol of the 23rd century could be seen with multiple alien species. However, it was originally a Klingon weapon (TOS Season 3, Episode 7, 'Day of the Dove', and TOS Season 3, Episode 2, 'The Enterprise Incident', and with the Eminiar, TOS Season 1, Episode 23, 'A Taste of Armageddon').
But what was definitely their rifle was the post 2368 model disruptor, which served before the Dominion War, during, and beyond. (DS9 Season 3, Episode 20, 'Improbable Cause').
It also looks like the Ferengi favored the weapon too, because you could see Ferengi mercenaries, freedom fighters (DS9 Season 7, Episode 12, 'The Emperor's New Cloak') and... amateur soldiers (DS9 Season 6, Episode 10, 'The Magnificent Ferengi')use the weapon as well.
Delta quadrant species the Nakan may have also operated a similar weapon, if just in shape. (VOY Season 6, Episode 14, 'Memorial') I doubt the Romulans were a source.
(But you know, reskin a prop in the prop department and you save time and money!)
It could be coincidence, or it could be like the real world Kalashnikov series of weapons, a political adversary made them plentiful and cheap, then gave them out to many people just to be a headache for the Romulan's enemies.
But you know, it doesn't always have to be plausible. Especially with a props department on a budget.