Trek X & Series V Rumour ControlBy Christian
March 29, 2001 - 3:47 PM
The next Star Trek film and the next Star Trek series, both still in very early production, have been the subject of a wide variety of rumours over the past months, ranging from the fairly trustworthy to the rather unlikely. This week, two reports of the latter kind surfaced.
Though Series V has been getting most of the attention in the online Trek world, the next Star Trek film is also moving along, with Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) recently saying he expected Star Trek X to start filming this Fall (story). According to the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, not exactly known for its high journalistic standards, Stewart said a whole lot more than that, and supposedly revealed Picard would die in the next film.
"With the movie I have very strong feelings that it should be the last for the Next Generation, at least the last for Jean-Luc Picard," the Sun claimed Stewart said. "We have at the moment a 28-page storyline, which sounds really exciting. I have written an ending for Picard in which we finally kill him off and producers are looking over it now. All I can say is that this film will deal with a supreme and hopefully memorable villain. There's some cloning involved, and enemy Romulans. But I will say no more."
If this sounds familiar to you, it should. The last two sentences are almost literally the same as those spoken by Rick Berman in his recent interview with Ian Spelling (story), in which Berman said, "All I can tell you now about the plot is that it will deal with a supreme and hopefully memorable villain. There's some cloning involved, and there are also a lot of Romulans involved. But I will say no more."
As for the first sentences, to long-time readers they might sound familiar as well. Last year August, Stewart was interviewed by the British Popcorn magaine (story). "What we have at the moment is a 28-page storyline," he said at the time, and described it as "very impressive." Since then, Rick Berman has repeatedly stated that the story was developed by himself, Brent Spiner (Data) and John Logan, and in that same interview two weeks ago told us a second draft of the screenplay already existed - undoubtedly weighing in at far more than 28 pages.
The Sun went on to claim that British actor Alan Rickman (Dr. Lazarus in 'Galaxy Quest') would play the villain in the movie, and also went on to reliably inform us that "Star Trek has already disappeared from TV" and the "last series of The Next Generation was filmed two years ago and producers say they have no plans for another." Finally, the paper said that Stewart's death scene "is one of a number being considered by executive producer Rick Berman. But he HAS agreed that Picard must die."
Patrick Stewart himself is currently in Minneapolis, appearing in the play 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', and has so far not given out any story info on Star Trek X. While it very well may or may not be the case that Berman, Spiner and Logan wrote an ending for the next film in which Picard dies, the many inconsistencies in the Sun article suggest that it should not be taken as proof, one way or the other.
Ever since the appearance of the Series V casting sheet three weeks ago, 'insiders' have been emerging from the woodwork to declare it a fake. Today, one of those insiders switched allegiance from a 25th century premise to one set before the original Star Trek series, but in the process managed to expose himself as a fraud.
Science fiction news site SyFy World was contacted by one of its sources, who had previously claimed Series V would be set in the 25th Century, and would feature a Romulan officer aboard a future Enterprise. This morning, the source backtracked on these statements, and said he was now "believing the current reports that this COULD be a pre-TOS series."
In support, SyFy World's source sent along what he claimed was a Paramount test shot of the character of T'Pau, which he said was to be played by Daljit Dhaliwal. Dhaliwal is the anchor of the English ITN World News program, and has no professional acting experience whatsoever. According to the source, Dhaliwal was photographed behind a plain background for test purposes, and was dressed in a uniform that was likely not going to be a uniform in the new show, though it could be.
With this last statement the source at least seemed to speak the truth, as it appears that the photo is nothing more than an elaborate fake. On the Unofficial Daljit Dhaliwal Appreciation Page, we found several screencaps from an appearance by Dhaliwal on the 'Lowri' talk show. One of these was the below image, which looks to have been used as the source for the supposed 'test photo':
With a short comparison, it quickly becomes clear that the 'test photo' is simply a manipulated version of the original talk show screencap. Dhaliwal is photographed from the same angle, and the positions of the shadows, facial features and even individual hairs are exactly the same.
Interestingly, after posting this news item it turned out the picture was originally created by Dennis Bailey for a discussion thread on our own Star Trek discussion forum, the Trek BBS. "This is pretty funny," he said. "I faked up that photo two or three weeks ago when we were first chatting about Series V, [after suggesting] Dhaliwahl would make a good T'Pau (sue me, I like her). So I'm to blame for the existence of the T'Pau photo -- but I didn't represent it as real and have not done so elsewhere. I sure didn't send it to SyFyWorld or anyone else."
With this photo being false, it is still not known who will actually be playing T'Pau in the new series, and in fact no news has yet come out about Paramount reaching an agreement with an actor for any of the roles in the next series. It was reported two weeks ago that casting would be announced soon, so hopefully Paramount will indeed not let us wait for much longer.
Though with these two reports it was possible to demonstrate their likely falsehood, with other anonymous reports this often is not the case, but this does not make them any more true. Until official announcements are made by Paramount on the new series and film, the best option would be to only attach belief to reports from those sources you consider to be trustworthy, and to treat even those as you would any unconfirmed rumour.