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Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture

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Author(s): Preston Neal Jones
Illustrator(s): Roger Stine
Publisher: Creature Feature Publishing
Published: October 2014
Pages: 672

Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a forthcoming reference book from Creature Feature Publishing, written by Preston Neal Jones. A limited edition of 1,000 copies, the book is based on work carried out by Jones in 1979 for a planned special issue on Star Trek: The Motion Picture of the magazine Cinefantastique, and is expected to be released in October 2014.

Summary Edit

From the book jacket
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) is one of the most beguiling and important science fiction films ever made. Its spectacular realization of Gene Roddenberry's inspirational future and humanistic storytelling are a cinematic achievement unlikely ever to be matched. At the same time, the film was a deeply troubled production that rolled without a completed script and saw a wholesale change in visual effect companies–barely making its release date.
In 1979, Preston Neal Jones was given unparalleled access to the cast and creators of Star Trek: The Motion Picture for what was intended to be a cover story for Cinefantastique magazine. Owing to the late completion of the film and ambitious scope of the manuscript, it was never published–until now.
This book is a priceless time capsule, a 672-page oral history in the words of sixty of the film's cast and creators, interviewed as the film was being prepared for release–and nobody had any idea if it would succeed or even be finished on time.
From the stars (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and the entire cast) to the filmmakers (Gene Roddenberry, Robert Wise) to the brilliant visual effects artists, illustrators, model builders and technicians who realized the 23rd century on screen (costumes, sets, props, models, music, sound FX and more), no aspect of the film’s creation is overlooked.
Go behind the scenes of this pivotal sci-fi masterwork and hear the unvarnished, uncensored truth of how it was created.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Background information Edit

  • The book was advertised by Image Publishing in 1991, but was not released at the time. [1]
  • Author Jones discussed the manuscript in conversation with Steve Roby in the mid-2000s (predating the 2014 publication):

"This work began in the summer of 1979 as a commission from Frederick S. Clarke, the editor of Cinefantastique magazine, to create a double-issue honoring the imminent Star Trek movie, similar to previous special issues covering Star Wars and Close Encounters. Given to understand by my Trek fan friends that they would wish to read as detailed an account as possible, I interviewed sixty participants in the creation of this film, from Roddenberry and his original cast to director Robert Wise, science advisor Isaac Asimov, composer Jerry Goldsmith, screenwriters, set designers, special effects technicians and on and on, up to and including the young Executive in Charge of Production, one Jeffrey Katzenberg. I edited this material like a montage of memories, as if all sixty people were holding a round-robin seminar about the making of the movie. Wherever possible, I let them tell the story in their own words. [...]

"Even given that it was impossible to complete this magnum opus in time for the film's opening in December of 1979 – as I'm sure your readers are well aware, the special effects teams were working on ST-TMP until literally a few days before its premiere – my editor still had cause to regret the great amount of time I took on this assignment. By the time I was finished, the picture was long gone from theaters, and the completed manuscript totaled some 1,800 pages – more than enough for three books, let alone one. Cinefantastique kept promising its readers that it would print Return to Tomorrow, but this never happened, for reasons known only to Fred, now sadly gone from the planet. My book was never designed to be a muck-raker, but it was an honest, straightforward account of the amazing series of crises and difficulties encountered by this particular big-studio production. One reason why I believe the book should finally be published is that it examines a major motion picture in more detail than any previous book of its kind. Now that a few relatively honest books on the Trek universe have been published in recent years, with no resulting collapse of Gulf and Western or its assets, my hope is that Return to Tomorrow can finally take its place among them." [2]

  • The cover art was originally done by Roger Stine for the abandoned Cinefantastique theme-issue, and was later acquired by former Star Trek production staffer Daren Dochterman at auction in 2006. For this edition he made his property graciously available to the publishers of the book. [3]
  • Lukas Kendall provided editorial assistance.

See also Edit

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