ABOUT STAR TREK: LEGENDS
Why is this series set in the years between The Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country?
As I sit here listening to the soundtrack to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, I realize now why the original-crew Star Trek films are so sentimental to me. Star Trek I: The Motion Picture was released when I was starting junior-high school (1979). The Wrath of Khan came out when I was starting senior-high school (1982). By the time that The Search for Spock was released, I was in my last year of high school (1984-1985). Thus, the first three films of the series were the three of the six sci-fi films that dominated my life during my childhood and adolescence. (The other three being, of course, the Star Wars films.)
Then came college, and three more Star Trek films with the original crew, in 1986 (The Voyage Home), The Final Frontier (1989), and 1991's finale, The Undiscovered Country. After taking off a few years to work up enough money to pay for college, 1991 was also the year that I graduated. Thus, the last three films of the series were the sci-fi films that dominated my early adulthood, which came to an end precisely the year that the voyages of the original crew came to an end. After graduation from college, I joined the Navy, and bade farewell to my carefree days of growing up. And in a way, that feeling of moving on from the past to the future that I felt in 1991 as I bid farewell to college friends and college life and moved on to the responsibilities of adulthood, was also the theme of The Undiscovered Country. Just as the universe of Star Trek as moving on from the past to an undiscovered country - the future, so too was I. (And indeed the rest of the world, as the Cold War - which had lasted all my life up until that year - was also coming to an end, as paralleled in that final film.)
Most importantly, however, it was during the years of these films' release - 1979 through 1991 - that I met many of the great friends that I still am friends with today. From Tom to Clint to Will to Dave to Barb and all the others that I met through them, Star Trek is not only WHEN we met, but also HOW we met. Back in those days, we'd spend countless hours discussing Star Trek, playing the FASA role-playing game, and playing the FASA tabletop starship combat simulator game. I'm delighted to say that we're all still friends even now, decades later. (And Tom was even IN the 2009 Star Trek reboot! He's the crewman running past Captain Robau on the USS Kelvin when Robau steps into the engine-room turboshaft.)
Thus, in a way, the first six Star Trek films, more than any other series, has had a major influence on my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, and came to an end when I moved on to the responsibilities of adulthood and military service. I miss those carefree younger days, like we all do as we age, I miss them so much it hurts sometimes as I pass through my forties. I'm blessed to still have those friends that I did back in those college days, but I'll never have that youthful optimism and adventurous spirit that I did back from 1979 to 1991. That is why these first six Star Trek films are, to me, representative of my lost youth and better days. And I think of those final words of Captain Kirk, which convey exactly what I wish more than ever that I could do but can't...
What does this project consider "canon" in the Star Trek universe?
Our web-master calls this project the "Jimmy-verse" as a nod to the term "JJ-verse" for the new timeline created by JJ Abrams. I suppose that's true, since I've altered some small things like ships, planets, etc in minor ways to either modernize the setting (taking into account modern science and technology, etc.) and/or to fit these stories better. As a general rule, however, I have a "ranking" system for what I recognize as canon and non-canon, and varying levels in-between:
- Star Trek I through Star Trek VI: The most canon. I pretty much watch these six films over and over again at least once each every month. Even Star Trek V. I actually like Star Trek V and absolutely love Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Don't judge me. :)
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Also 100% canon, although I may reserve the right in "flashbacks" to portray the ships' interiors with updated control panels, technology, and colors.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series: Whenever possible, I hope to work in TAS content - characters, events, locations, and starships - into this project too, because I love TAS.
- Memory-Alpha.org: For everything else, I check the fantastic website Memory-Alpha.org - the "Wikipedia" of the Star Trek universe. I try to match my content to theirs. Thank you, Memory-Alpha.org!!!
- The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise: These fine spin-off series ARE canon (obviously), but since I haven't seen all the episodes, much of what you'll see in this project may accidentally - or intentionally - contradict those series, as needed to suit the stories of this web-comic.
- Memory-beta.com: The articles on this site are fun to peruse, but aren't considered 100% canon even within the entire Trek community, so novels, etc. are the least canon in this project.
How are you calculating Stardates in Star Trek: Legends?
Calculating StarDates for this series: I'll have to use my own system for Stardates, keeping as close to the information given by Memory Alpha.org. This is to provide a consistant measurement of time passing, even though the formula for calculating the dates is not canon.
According to http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Stardate, ST4 occurs on Stardate 8390 (2286CE), ST5 occurs on Stardate 8454.1 (2287CE), and ST6 occurs on Stardate 9521.6 (2293CE). Therefore, the Stardates for the first episode ("Mudd's Slide") must be in Stardate year 83 (see below), since the first episode takes place between the last and the second-to-last scenes of Star Trek: The Voyage Home. (All of "Mudd's Slide" occurs after the crew seens the Enterprise-A for the first time, when Kirk says "My friends, we've come home", but before we see the Enterprise-A leaving SpaceDock when Kirk says "Let's see what she's got.") The second episode - "In Equity" occurs between the very end of Star Trek IV and the very beginning of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
The first two numbers (i.e. "74" in Stardate 7493) represent the number of years since the start date of Stardate usage (2203CE). Thus, Stardate 7493 occurs in the year 2277 because (22)03+74=2277. Note that 2277 was the year that the V'Ger Incident occurred, as stated in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The second two numbers represent a percentage point through the year given by the first number. For example, in Stardate 7412, the 12 denotes 12% through Stardate year 74, which is 2277CE. 12% through an Earth year is February 13th. Note, however, that this is NOT an earth-year, but instead a "galactic year" determined by all members of the Federation.
The numbers to the right of the decimal point indicate a percentage of time passed during the day indicated by the last two numbers to the left of the decimal, as explained above. There are NOT 24 standard earth-hours in a day, but instead a number of hours agreed upon in 2203CE by all members of the Federation. A "6" after the decimal would indicate 6% through the day (2:00pm, Earth time) and so on. Thus, Stardate 7412.6 means 2:00pm on the day that is 12% through the 74th year since 2203 - 2277 CE, or - in other words, 2:00pm on February 13th, 2279. Which was 2.7 hours after ("Captain's Log, stardate 7412.6 - 2.7 hours from launch."), the refit Enterprise launched to intercept V'Ger...
(And if you're REALLY into this stuff, Kirk says that the pre-launch countdown was to begin at 0400 hours. If the Enterprise went into Warp Drive about 3 hours after launch, at 2pm, that means she launched at 11:00am on February 13th, 2277. That means that there were seven hours between the V'Ger briefing on the Recreation Deck and the time of the ship's launch from DryDock.)
What is your process for producing this project?
That's a very in-depth question, so I have a separate page for it - here. I'll start, however, by stating that I use Carrara 8.5 Pro, Daz3D (for characters), and FaceGen (for character faces).
Why are you using Carrara Studio, Daz, and FaceGen instead of 3D Studio Max or Maya?
I actually use Autodesk's Maya LT software for my "day job" in the video-game industry, but for Star Trek: Legends I use Carrara Studio, Daz3D, and FaceGen. Why, you ask? Because I started out in 3D modeling in 1996 using a program called Ray Dream Designer. Ray Dream Designer later became Ray Dream Studio, then Carrara, and is still sold today by the same company that sells Daz3D. Since I started out in Ray Dream/Carrara, most of my dozens of 3D spaceships, interior sets, external locations, and props were/are modeled in Carrara. So I still keep Carrara, Daz3D, and FaceGen around for this project, as much for nostalgia as for necessity, to avoid having to completely rebuild them in Maya LT.