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Wednesday Sci-Fi Miscellany

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 13, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 13, 2010 |

Fun fact: wednesdays are more likely to have a lack of big news and excess of small news than any other weekday. This is why posts of miscellany always seem to be on Wednesdays. It’s a pattern that goes back to ancient times when it was considered unlucky to announce big news on the midpoint of the week. If the town crier announced something significant on a Wednesday he was ritually buried alive lest all of the male goats should go blind. In fact, “wednesday” derives from the ancient gallic for “Odin made my belly button hurt,” which admittedly loses something in the translation.

In any case, Carrie Fisher gives us our first interesting tidbit, in which she describes in a one-person show that she was hooked on cocaine during the filming of Empire Strikes Back. I doubt anyone is shocked in retrospect that she was high when Lucas managed to talk her into that golden bikini. Says Fisher: “We did cocaine on the set of Empire, in the ice planet. I didn’t even like coke that much, it was just a case of getting on whatever train I needed to take to get high” Little know fact: Empire required three weeks of reshoots when it was discovered in post-production that Fisher was visible snorting the artificial snow in the background of most shots on Hoth.

And hey, remember how Star Trek Nemesis was the worst of the Star Trek movies and a blight upon your memory? Well, it turns out that it was so bad that it killed the planned swan song film for Picard. Says Patrick Stewart:

While we were filming Nemesis an idea was being developed by John Logan, the screenwriter of Nemesis, and Brent Spiner for a fifth and final movie. It was a very exciting idea for a screenplay. It would have been a real farewell to Next Generation, but it would have involved other historic aspects of Star Trek as well. I can’t go into details because the project wasn’t mine. When that didn’t happen, the studio announced in its own inimitable way that we were suffering from franchise fatigue and that there was to be no more, and I am absolutely content with that. I remain very proud of the work that we did, very proud of the series and the movies, but I do not wish to return to it.

… Well, he gives absolutely no details about what exactly this great idea was that he insists will never happen under any circumstances, but he does say that John Logan was instrumental. That would be the same John Logan who wrote Nemesis. So maybe Nemesis was the mercy flush that saved us from whatever else Logan wanted to do the series. See, bright side: Star Trek Nemesis was the best thing that could have happened under those circumstances.

Finally, Morgan Freeman is telling everyone that he still wants to make a film version of Rendezvous with Rama, a legendary science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke featuring an enormous alien spacecraft that enters the Solar System and is explored by humans. The book is fairly well regarded and has numerous sequels, but it’s exactly the sort of sci-fi book that rarely makes a good transition to film. Its strengths as I recall are all in the big ideas, not in the characters or particular action. Personally, I never quite got the following this book series had among hard core sci-fi geeks. It was a decent enough novel, but it wasn’t Clarke’s best in my less than humble opinion. And Freeman also says that it would be great to do in 3D, which makes me hate it a little inside, though I presume it’s likely that he’s saying that more because it’s the sort of thing studios like to hear these days rather than slavish devotion to the gimmick.

(sources: ABC, Airlock Alpha, Blastr)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.