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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 February 2018 at 6:27pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I have tried Googling, but to no avail; I wondered what the tenures for Captain Pike and Captain April's missions were?

I'm wondering if five-year missions were the norm or whether that was applied, perhaps arbitrarily, to Kirk only?

And, canonical or non-canonical, did either April or Kirk travel as far as Kirk's Enterprise?

Thanks!
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 04 February 2018 at 8:36pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Aside from whatever may have appeared in an LCARS display in the TNG era (and I'm not sure about the current stance on the various Encyclopedia's place in official canon) , I don't think there's ever been an official determination of April or Pike's full tenure as captain.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 6:37am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Oh well. I don't lose sleep over it, just curious. :)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 6:54am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

It makes sense to assume the "five year mission" concept was SOP for Starfleet. Given the mandate of starships like the Enterprise, having them head "out there" for a mission of specific duration is logical -- a logic, which, unfortunately, the various iterations of the show (excluding VOYAGER) largely ignored.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 7:54am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Yes, when you put it like that, it does make sense.

My perception/memory could be playing tricks with me, but it seems like Picard's Enterprise was returning to earth or visiting a starbase regularly.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 8:13am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

My perception/memory could be playing tricks with me, but it seems like Picard's Enterprise was returning to earth or visiting a starbase regularly.

••

As was Kirk. There are barely a handful of episodes in which our doughty crew actually goes "where no man has gone before." Most of the time, in fact, they are following up on other ships!

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 8:44am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

It's one reason I liked VOYAGER (and am dismayed when I hear criticism of it), they truly were out there. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 05 February 2018 at 10:11pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Don't get me started, Robbie... :-)

In the meantime, the Okudas did put out a Star Trek Chronology that nails all of this stuff down with unfortunate certainty. They set the original launch date for the starship Enterprise in 2245, with April in charge for a standard five-year mission. He returns in 2250, and Pike assumes command in 2251. He stays on for twelve years, returning in 2263. Kirk assumes command in 2264.

Again, all of this is as reckoned by Michael and Denise Okuda. Take it or leave it as you like.


Edited by Brian Hague on 05 February 2018 at 10:14pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 February 2018 at 8:27am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

This doesn't apply solely to STAR TREK, but I've read guides for various franchises and often seen things that have been slotted in, but are apocryphal. 

It'd be impossible, I'm sure, for an editor to pick up on all of this. And if someone has made something up, perhaps due to subconsciously wanting something to be canon, then such things can slip through.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 February 2018 at 9:22am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

In the meantime, the Okudas did put out a Star Trek Chronology that nails all of this stuff down with unfortunate certainty.

••

Did they? As you note, they set a launch date for the Enterprise in 2245 -- the Twenty-Third Century, even tho TOS at least twice established that the show took place in the Twenty-Second Century.

And the whole thing crashes off the rails from there. In STNV I have made several Twenty-Second Century references, and no one from Paramount or CBS has objected.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 February 2018 at 9:29pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

THE MAKING OF STAR TREK states that the Enterprise-class ships (though not necessarily the Enterprise herself) had been around for 40 years, prior to TOS. The Okuda timeline halves that number, but I find the idea of an even longer lifespan for the ship intriguing.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 7:35am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Sometimes I think the Okudas qualify as the Saul of Tarsus of STAR TREK. Roddenberry clearly wanted two things: that the Future seen on STAR TREK be distant enough to allow for the necessary sci-fi elements, but close enough to not seem too "alien", and second that the Enterprise be a ship with a history.

The legions of anal fanboys who have wormed their way into the managing of TOS mythology have all too often treated Roddenberry's concepts and intent as entirely dispensable. Oh, did we catch up to the Eugenics Wars without them happening? Bump 'em ahead a century, no matter that doing so contradicts several references in TOS. Et cetera.

Blech!!!

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I feel that certain STAR TREK books are akin to WHO'S WHO? and OHOTMU. Probably started with good intentions, but may have become a tad pedantic. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 11:40am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

You can track the development of Hollywood’s obsession with origin stories over the course of the STAR TREK franchise. TOS (both the pilots and the series proper) began in media res, with a real sense of unseen history to them. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to put the pieces of the backstory together, since the Enterprise was akin to a Navy ship, and therefore the crew didn’t need an “origin story” to show how they came together.

THE MOTION PICTURE sorta-kinda plays like an origin movie, with the crew coming (back) together, and the ship’s (re)launch being shown onscreen, but it was a reunion movie, rather than ground zero for those characters.

Beginning with TNG, every pilot episode of every series showed how its respective ships and crews came together, and set the stage for the series to come. The first Abrams film provided a ridiculous and unnecessary origin story for the TOS crew. And, STD produced a two-part prequel film to serve as backstory for the actual pilot episode.

I get the feeling that this all boils down to the fact that writing the beginning of a story is easy, whereas writing in the middle and yet still keeping things accessible is less so. TOS wasted no time in hitting the ground running, whereas the other shows and films took their time. There are things you gain and things you lose with both approaches, but I think clean and simple tends to be the better way to go. 


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 07 February 2018 at 11:43am
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Well put, Greg!

In medias res worked so well in countless classic movie franchises/TV shows. And maybe, just maybe, it was done that way because it was felt to be more compelling. I mean, did we want to see the A-Team as mercenaries on the streets of L.A. or did we want to see their history in 'Nam? I guess the former. Today, I suspect we'd need a three-part "origin" story for them.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 February 2018 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Yup. The two easiest stories to write are the first and the last. When DC chose to seriously undercut MAN OF STEEL and the subsequent Superman books, they created a lot of fans who wanted to know why I "didn't write like that" (Moore's "Man of Tomorrow"). My answer was to ask what they imagined Moore doing in the "next issue".

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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 10:33pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

If only the term 'Elseworlds' existed when 'Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?' was published. The best thing about that story was that Curt Swan worked on it.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 1:23am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Brian, it flat out identified itself as an Imaginary Story. Why would it need an Elseworlds designation as well?

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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 6:28pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Latter-day comic critics sometimes miss that designation...and the 'Aren't they all?' Moore appended to it was unnecessary.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 10:58pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

The non-imaginary final stories of Superman during that era should draw more ire from the fans, including the secret marriage of an amnesiac Supergirl to the alien hero Salkor; Superman bringing her body into her parents' home as his means of telling them of her death, and the final issue of DC Comics Presents wherein Steve Gerber revisited his "Phantom Zone" mini-series, fused Mxyzptlk's fifth-dimensional consciousness with that of Gerber's sadistic God-being Aethyr, and dropped the massive kryptonite-chunk upon which Argo City was set onto Metropolis, bombing the city and killing untold numbers of citizens. The blast littering the city with tons of kryptonite and the bodies of the Argo City dwellers who'd been killed in Supergirl's origin story lo, those many years ago.

That was how DC actually left the Pre-Crisis Superman. With no mention of Imaginary Stories anywhere, Metropolis was a kryptonite-strewn nightmare landscape with dead Kryptonians and humans alike for miles in every direction, completely uninhabitable for Superman and the few survivors of Mxyzptlk's final prank.

You'd think more people would be up in arms over that.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 11:07pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

The trippy thing about CRISIS, for me, is that, since the multiverse was wiped away and the merged Earth introduced after # 10, then anything after that should by definition take place in the post-CRISIS universe.

But, no, we got a few more months of pre-CRISIS stories and pre-CRISIS characters which technically shouldn’t have even existed. Right? Wouldn’t all of those issues were technically have to be Imaginary Stories, sorta?
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 11:18pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Concerning April and Pike, I wonder if we wouldn't all just be better off without more attention being paid to these "untold chapters" in the life of the Enterprise and those aboard her. Gerber went back and "data-mined" the ghost city of poisoned Kryptonians atop a floating chunk of deadly rock from Supergirl's otherwise rather innocuous 1959 origin. I wonder that even more modern writers would do as much if not more with similar hidden gems from the past of Star Trek. 

I'm reminded of a DC annual which purported to tell the story of Kirk's final mission aboard the Enterprise before retiring; a trip which took the ship back to Talos IV where they found the Klingons had taken over the planet and were sadistically torturing the Keepers and those under their care. We were specifically shown what the Klingons were doing to the crippled Pike and aged Vina. It was a truly ugly scene.

Not that ugly, sadistic material can't be written in the present tense, but it's somehow all the more appalling when it upends and spits upon earlier material that was never intended to be written with that sort of viewpoint. Metzler's "Identity Crisis" is all the more unpleasant in its intents and aims for the way it cannibalizes earlier JLA storylines and Silver Age characterizations to gut the League like a fish and put it's characters through a meat grinder.

I fear the more stuff from the past we unearth, whatever our intent in doing so, the more material we unfortunately provide the modern-day sadists. Writers today seem to love a good, gory Wonder Dog mauling or Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends massacre.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 11:29pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

In theory, exploring the tenures of April and Pike is a fun idea. New stories, “new” crews, same ship we love. Heck, our host has even told a few of those stories, in CREW. And I loved them. Just keep the usual TREK format, but with new characters and new adventures. The Enterprise, Pike, and Spock are the only characters who would have to be safe. Beyond that, you could do anything.

In reality, this sort of...er...enterprise would surely descend into awful retcons, wink-wink foreshadowing of “later” stories, and strip-mining of beloved characters and ideas.

Just look at the two canonical STAR TREK prequels we actually have: ENTERPRISE and DISCOVERY. I’d love to see more April and/or Pike stories, but the right people would have to be doing them, and with the right intent. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 11:31pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Greg, DC's original intent for the Crisis, spelled out in the series was for the heroes to all remember the Crisis and the Multiverse as it originally existed, even if the new context no longer had a "place" for them in it. It was anything but a clean restart. 

In the planning stages, Wolfman intended to have the heroes and villains all gathered at the dawn of time and be altered by what took place there along with everything else. No one would recall the Multiverse and it would never be mentioned again.

DC editorial however somehow reasoned that forgetting their pasts would somehow be seen as punishing the heroes alongside their foes and stripping them of their history. It was then decided that the heroes would remember everything, but the villains wouldn't with the exception of the Psycho-Pirate, whose tale would later be told in Morrison's "Animal Man," one of DC's first meta-examinations of it's own tendency to kick over its own chessboard every time the game starts going awry.

Since no one really wanted to write the Earth-1 versions now walking about thinking such things as, "Great Hera, I am apparently nineteen years old now in this new Universe, and Mother's hair has changed color..." that structure went by the wayside almost immediately.

But not so immediately that DC didn't publish a handful of titles under this presumption just the same before the heroes' individual reboots kicked in. The result isn't so much a series of Imaginary Stories as it was the company saying "Here's a bunch of last looks at the Earth-1 versions doing things we're not going to follow up on. Enjoy."

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 11:35pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Oh, I’m aware of why things went they way they did. I was just pointing out how jarring it must surely have been for readers, at the time.
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