Galaxy Quest has another Star Trek reference you might have missed
Galaxy Quest is a feature-length tribute and loving parody of Star Trek with numerous nods to the classic sci-fi series.
But somehow, there's a subtle reference to Star Trek on the main ship, the NTE-3120, NSEA-Protector, that you might have missed, however many times you've watched the brilliant movie since its release in 1999.
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Watch nowNever Surrender on NOW TV
The documentary covers the making of the movie with input from the cast and crew, with the best behind-the-scenes fact coming from ILM's visual effects supervisor Bill George.
George had worked on five Star Trek movies before being hired for Galaxy Quest and he outlined why it was such a unique job to design the Protector.
"It's the only time in my career where doing the design, we had to have the DreamWorks lawyers involved with what we were doing because they were so deathly afraid they were gonna get sued by Paramount," he explained.
Given that Galaxy Quest was such a homage to Star Trek, there was a chance that handled incorrectly, it could have been seen by Paramount – who owned the rights to the entire Star Trek franchise at the time – as being a rip-off of the series.
However, a production assistant at ILM came up with the genius idea behind the designation of the ship as NTE-3120 as a result of the "back-and-forth with the lawyers" over the ship.
"[They said] the number should start off with NTE, which stands for Not The Enterprise. So we could stand up in a court of law and say it is not the Enterprise, it says so right here," George (not a lawyer) noted.
Fortunately, Galaxy Quest never ran into such troubles with Paramount so we'll never know if NTE would have held up as a legal defence.
Never Surrender is a must-watch for fans of the movie as it delves into other behind-the-scenes issues, such as the late-stage change where they had to make Galaxy Quest a family movie after the success of The Rugrats Movie (yes, really).
Even more surprising is that when Harold Ramis was originally attached to direct the movie, Kevin Kline was the main choice for Jason Nesmith, AKA Commander Peter Quincy Taggart.
When Kline declined the role, there was a fairly wild list of suggestions for the lead role, including Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Tim Robbins and Steve Martin.
Fortunately, none of those actors were ever cast due to a variety of reasons and Tim Allen, who really wanted the role, ended up being cast, which indirectly led to Ramis leaving the project as he apparently didn't think he could make it work with Allen.
21 years later, it's hard to think how any other choice could actually improve on the Galaxy Quest we got, so perhaps everything worked out for the best.
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