There’s been talk about the 1999 film, Galaxy Quest, getting a sequel. The movie was popular with fans of science fiction, particularly of Star Trek. The cast was strong, with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shaloub, Missi Pyle, Darryl Mitchell, Sam Rockwell, and Enrico Colatoni. The plot involved a group of aliens called Thermians who, after watching the fictional series Galaxy Quest came to Earth to get help from the crew, all without realizing that the TV series was fictional.
The Thermians convince Jason Naismith (Allen), who played Commander Taggert on the show, that the special effects they showed him were real. Taggert manages to cajole the rest of his castmates plus Guy Fleegman (Rockwell) who played an extra to hear out the Thermians. The first hurdle is that while the fictional characters know what to do, the actors who played them are clueless. Everything was a set with special effects added in post-production. As the movie contunues, the actors figure out who their characters are and what they meant to fans both earthbound and alien. The moment that Alexander Dane (Rickman), a classically trained actor who is not happy with how his career turned out, figures out how Dr. Lazarus has motives is particularly poignant.
The film made gentle fun of Star Trek, the series’ actors, and the fans. The Thermians built the Protector based on “archival footage”, down to items, like the chompers, that didn’t make any sense to include. On Earth, fans of the series help out as they can, with their encyclopedic knowledge of the old series, knowing the Protector better than the actors do.
The cast had great chemistry. The writing was strong with room for improvisation as needed. The movie had a heart to it that many blockbusters forget about including. The movie wasn’t so much a parody of Star Trek as a love letter to the series, the cast, and the fans. And that’s where an adaptation is going to have problems.
Since the movie was first released, there’s been attempts to either make a sequel or make a TV series. Currently, Simon Pegg is looking at adapting the movie as a TV series. The catch is, how would it work? Would it be the new series that was created in-universe with the same cast? Would the adaptation focus on the actors instead of their characters? Would the series be serial instead of episodic? What will be done about the hole left by the passing of Alan Rickman?
On the plus side, Simon Pegg has the capability to understand the draw of Galaxy Quest to audiences. With Shaun of the Dead, he had a love letter to horror and zombie movies while still being comedic. Likewise, Hot Fuzz was also a love letter, this time to 80s and 90s action movies like Point Break. Pegg also played Scotty in the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot movie, and has made the convention circuit to meet fans of his works. If anyone will be able to create a gentle parody, Pegg is the one. At the same time, there is trepidation.
Galaxy Quest was bottled lightning when it was released. Recreating it will take a deft touch under someone who can pull in the different parts of the movie and maintain the chemistry the cast had. It will be tough.