with contributions from Sam Darragh and Carole Malson
First announced just two weeks ago at San Diego Comic Con, more details on Star Trek: The Roddenberry Vault were shared by the team putting the amazing new Original Series material together for release later this year.
Producer Roger Lay, Jr., along with Rod Roddenberry, Mike and Denise Okuda, Roddenberry Entertainment’s Trevor Roth, and CBS Home Entertainment’s Phil Bishop took the stage in Las Vegas on Friday to share with the Trekkie crowd their plans for the massive film recovery project – and share the first restored footage set to hit Blu-ray towards the end of 2016.
“There is missing footage from the original show that we have discovered; there are moments you haven’t seen,” said Lay. “Even some scenes from some of our favorite episodes that didn’t make the final cut.”
“It’s snippets [of footage],” said Denise. “It’s what ended up on the cutting room floor.”
Denise Okuda revealed that Roth brought her and Mike into this massive secret – the existence of this lost-to-time collection of Original Series film reels – nearly a decade ago, and that the team had to keep their endeavour to bring it to the public under wraps up until this month.
The crowd was treated to the same documentary interview preview clips featured at the Roddenberry Vault SDCC panel from last months, featuring shots of the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’-like warehouse of film reels, and the Okudas’ exuberance at the experience of seeing brand new Star Trek footage for the first time in five decades.
“It was very difficult to approach [this project] without having an endgame,” said Bishop. “It was no good [just] looking at a few cans – we really had to look at absolutely everything… thousands of cans of film. We had to look at every can, because that ‘golden moment’ could be in the last can.”
“This wasn’t reels of film, neatly labeled – you’d open a can and find four or five snippets… and the audio that matched might be two hundred feet away in another can,” Bishop continued. “It was a true puzzle.”
“To be honest,” said Rod Roddenberry, “Ninety-five percent of it is just the end of the take or something; not that interesting. But the gems were in there – and you need someone to go through all of it to find those gems.”
Trevor Roth detailed the long and complicated life of these film clips, from their origination in piles of loose film from the cutting room floor, to storage in multiple locations with terrible climate and humidity issues, to the difficult process of getting the ragged film ready for digital scanning… and all that was before the three-year project watching the footage even began.
“They were almost done,” revealed Roddenberry. “And then we came across like another fifty cans!”
In terms of presenting the footage to Star Trek fans on home media, Lay revealed that nearly eighty hours of new interviews were conducted with “pretty much everybody who’s still alive” from the Original Series, cast and crew from the modern shows, and other Trek fans, to “create a narrative” in which to feature the new material.
Entertainment reporter (and massive Trek fan) Scott Mantz joined the group on stage, describing his shock and amazement at seeing clips of the newly-restored footage, and talked about some of the content – including an extended scene between Kirk and Edith Keeler from “The City on the Edge of Forever,” and the long-rumored lost ending of “Who Mourns for Adonais?,” where Carolyn Palamas is revealed to be pregnant by Apollo.
Denise Okuda clarified Mantz’s description of the scenes: “Yes, we have it, but it’s a single shot of Spock, and the script supervisor is reading McCoy’s lines,” she said, reaffirming to the audience that much of the footage is ‘behind the camera’ content, and not final episode clips with music or voiceover work.
“I don’t want you guys to get the DVDs and go, ‘We’re going to see all this extra footage!’ Well, you will, but it’s presented in a different way,” she stated, making sure to calibrate fans’ expectations of this new material. “The footage will be intertwined [in the new interviews].”
Mantz still maintained his excitement: “Try to imagine Paul McCartney taking you track by track through a lost Beatles album. That’s what this is.”
The Star Trek: The Roddenberry Vault release is expected in late 2016.
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Roddenberry.com filmed the panel today, and we’ve embedded their video below.