Fandom has changed, so any series satirising it must change too. The writer for the upcoming Galaxy Quest TV series says the show is going to be about two generations of the NSEA Protector‘s crew, as well as how much pop culture fandom has shifted from the days of Commander Nesmith to a new generation of nerdy “rock stars”.
In an interview with /Film, writer Paul Scheer gave an update on the Galaxy Quest TV series, which has been in the works (off and on) for years, with the latest iteration being promised by Amazon. Scheer said he just turned in the first script for the show, which will “continue the story of our original characters and have consequences from the first film”. This means it isn’t a hard reboot, and opens up the possibility of Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and other actors from the movie returning to the franchise – sadly without Alan Rickman.
That said, Scheer said there will also be new characters, who will eventually meet up with the original cast. This indicates Galaxy Quest (the fictional show, not the actual movie) has become a franchise in the years since the events of the film – either by getting a reboot, such as Netflix’s upcoming Lost in Space, or more akin to Star Trek: Discovery‘s relationship to the world of Star Trek.
“It is mixing two casts… The only way I’ve been looking at it is, using everything from the first movie and making the reasons for everything not just – I want to avoid anything that could be viewed as a reboot for reboot’s sake,” Scheer said.
However, the most interesting tidbit from the interview had to be how the series is going to handle the topic of modern fandom. When Galaxy Quest was first released in 1999, nerd culture wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today. For example, in 1999, San Diego Comic-Con had an attendance of 42,000 – nowadays, it’s typically over 130,000 at least, with hundreds more cons around the world. Marvel and DC films are dominating the box office, and Star Wars and Star Trek are hitting big on both the big and small screens. Fandom isn’t just a niche market any more. It has a wide, diverse and ever-growing reach.
I love that in 1999, as a fan of Star Trek and going to these conventions since I was a kid: sci-fi, fantasy, those worlds have changed so drastically. I really wanted to capture the difference between the original cast of Star Trek and the J.J. Abrams cast of Star Trek. I think that, to me, is my entry point. Sci-fi heroes are rock stars now. If you look at Thor, in 1999 if that movie came out, it would not be received the way it is. People would not want to see a cosmic, galactic thing on that level. But now we’re accepting it. I think just by virtue of that switch in our environment, it will make the story feel a little bit more fresh.
This is a really interesting angle. It not only makes the new series more relatable for modern audiences, but it’s also poised to showcase an ongoing issue for fans: The wide consumer acceptance of nerd culture, and fandom’s place within it. The original geeks of Galaxy Quest were ostracised and mocked for their interest in the show. Now, their fandom is shared by everyone – but not all of them may like that. I see their new lives as one long refrain of Felicia Day’s The Guild song “I’m The One That’s Cool“. I’m glad to see the new Galaxy Quest handle the mass commercialisation of geek culture, but I hope it also examines how that’s affected those who were fans before the Protector‘s crew were rock stars – because they’re the ones that are cool now.