George Takei Talks Excelsior ClosureBy Christian
April 3, 2001 - 6:00 PM
With Series V looking to be a prequel series, set long before Hikaru Sulu was even born, during this year's Grand Slam convention George Takei (Hikaru Sulu) held a press conference to announce the closing of the Excelsior fan campaign. On his web site, he recently posted some more thoughts on this.
After looking back at the amazing 35 years that the Star Trek franchise has now lasted, Takei wrote about the Excelsior Campaign. "It was their idea to recapture that invigorating spirit of adventure with Captain Sulu commanding the Starship Excelsior," he said. "It was an amazing effort. Wherever I went in the world, whether Europe, Asia or Latin America, there were groups of fans organized as part of the Excelsior Campaign. They were dedicated, energetic activists. Whether German, British, Japanese or Brazilian, they were the kind of fans who, throughout the 35-year history of the show, galvanized and directed the course of Gene's creation. I was impressed, honored and most certainly humbled by their dedication and devotion."
"Alas, it was not to be," he continued, explaining that he had recently learned Rick Berman is indeed planning a series set at the beginning of the Federation. "I understand that they are now casting for this new show so this project is moving ahead. I wish him well in this endeavor."
The Excelsior campaign got started in late 1999, when fan organisation the International Federation of Trekkers first set up the campaign's web site and urged people to write letters to Paramount. The mainstream press got interested in the campaign, with articles appearing in such publications as TV Guide and the Los Angeles Times. However, interest quickly faded after only a few dozen people showed up at an April 2000 demonstration rally in front of the Paramount lot (story) and after the campaign failed to meet the challenge by Pocket Books editor John Ordover, who had promised to publish a Captain Sulu novel if he received a thousand letters about it (story).
Still, Takei was gratified for all the support the campaign had received. "At the Grand Slam Convention, I expressed my heartfelt gratitude to all the fans there with the Excelsior Campaign. [...] At its core, [this] glorious crusade was reminiscent of the spirit of the 'Star Trek Lives' campaign of the 70's that brought Star Trek back from cancellation as a major motion picture. I have always believed that the real course of Star Trek has been set, not by the studio, not by the networks and not by the 'powers that be,' but ultimately by the fans. The future of Star Trek has always been determined by the fans. And I will always hold near my heart, my deep appreciation for the constancy of the fans' support."
To read Takei's full column, in which he also writes about meeting the rest of the Original Series cast at the Grand Slam, please follow this link. To visit the web site of the 'Excelsior' Campaign, click here.