An affirmed and amusingly ingenious sci-fi comedy cult classic, 1999’s Galaxy Quest nearly got the small screen sequel treatment, but sadly went crashing back to earth with the passing of much loved co-star, Alan Rickman.
“If you haven’t seen it, rent it. It is genuinely one of the funniest films that you will watch.”
When Alan Rickman asked an audience at The Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne last year if they had seen Galaxy Quest, the crowd erupted in cheers befitting a dedicated legion of Questarians.
A cult favourite, one of the film’s stars, Sam Rockwell, revealed this week that plans by Amazon to produce a follow-up with the original cast were shelved when Rickman sadly passed away earlier this year. “They were going to do a sequel on Amazon,” said Rockwell. “We were ready to sign up, and then Alan Rickman passed away and Tim Allen wasn’t available. It was going to shoot, like, right now. And how do you fill that void of Alan Rickman? That’s a hard void to fill.”
Amazon, in partnership with Paramount Television, had reportedly been developing a Galaxy Quest TV adaptation last year. At the time unclear as to whether the original cast members would reprise their roles, it was reported that one of the original’s co-writers, Robert Gordon, would fulfil the same function on the pilot, with Dean Parisot stepping back in as director and executive producer.
Grossing $90 million on its original release and growing in popularity thereafter, Galaxy Quest plays on all the Trekkie tropes – the expendable crewmen who always die first; the precocious “Wesley Crusher” teenager who is somehow allowed to fly the ship; and the understanding that physical relations between aliens and humans are probably not as simple as Star Trek would have you believe.
Kicking off at a fan convention, the cast of the fictional hit sci-fi drama, “Galaxy Quest”, begrudgingly sign glossy photographs while answering obscure questions about interstellar engine combustion. Led by Commander Taggart (Tim Allen), Alan Rickman stars as British theatre veteran Alexander Dane, a fond analogy to Star Trek icon Sir Patrick Stewart, bemoaning to his fellow cast, “How did I come to this? I played Richard III!” Most frustrated of all is Lt. Tawny Madison (Sigourney Weaver), confined to tight-fitting costumes and repeating the directions of the ship’s computer, fulfilling about as much function on the bridge as counsellor Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Picked up by a group of pseudo-Vulcans called Thermians and whisked off into space, the cast find themselves in command of a vessel, combating a real-life alien general and protecting the ship’s crew, who took their show way too seriously. With the ship modelled on the “Galaxy Quest” cruiser, the actors have to use their wits and memories of the show to fight off the bad guys, even manning an away-mission to a nearby planet.
Essential viewing for science fiction die-hards and certainly most accessible for those familiar with Star Trek, watching the cast take on their fictional mantles and fight off the alien horde is a pure delight. As yet unclear if a TV adaptation or sequel will ever go ahead, the ingenuity of the original, like the vast expansions of space only glimpsed by its heroes, has still left much to be explored.
Glen Falkenstein on FilmInk