The month of April is a sad month for fans of Galaxy Quest, the 1999 science fiction comedy film that was voted the seventh best Star Trek film by a bunch of fans at a Star Trek convention in 2013. The movie stars Tim Allen as Jason Nesmith, an actor who played a Captain Kirk-like Commander on an old TV show and during a fan convention he and his fellow washed up actors (played by Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell) are abducted by a race of aliens that had mistaken the old TV shows as a historic record of human space travel.
The movie became a cult classic since it’s release, with individual scenes and lines becoming as recognized among Star Trek fans as canonical entries in the series. At the aforementioned Star Trek convention in 2013 held in Las Vegas, Galaxy Quest beat Star Trek: Generations, The Motion Picture, Nemesis, Insurrection, The Final Frontier, and Into Darkness. That’s puts it squarely in the middle of a ranking of Star Trek films. Pretty good for a comedy that both embodies and spoofs the tone of the Star Trek original series it is satirizing.
Of course, the era of 1990s nostalgia and internet streaming services reviving old properties is upon us, so sometime around the film’s 15th anniversary, rumblings that something else Galaxy Quest was coming were heard. Those early rumors were so vague, it wasn’t clear if it was a new home video release (maybe the rumored R-rated cut of the original film?) or a reboot or spin-off. No one was really thinking a sequel could happen, then Sigourney Weaver started doing crazy things like saying she’d be in Alien 5, so…. Never give up, never surrender.
Then, devastatingly, Alan Rickman passed away in January of this year. Probably best known to the geek community as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies, Rickman was also Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazerus to fans of Galaxy Quest (and thereby Star Trek). In a piece memorializing his Galaxy Quest co-star, Tim Allen mentioned that whatever this rumored Galaxy Quest revival rumor had been about seems to actually be a reality: “I’m not supposed to say anything — I’m speaking way out of turn here — but Galaxy Quest is really close to being resurrected in a very creative way,” he wrote, “It’s closer than I can tell you but I can’t say more than that. The real kicker is that Alan now has to be left out..”
According to Sam Rockwell, who appeared on an episode of The Nerdist podcast this week, that creative resurrection most definitely fell apart with Rickman’s death. In breaking the bad news to the world, he also revealed that the project that almost was could have been the realization of a Galaxy Quest fan’s wildest dream: ““They were going to do a sequel on Amazon,” said Rockwell. “We were ready to sign up, and [then] Alan Rickman passed away and Tim Allen wasn’t available – he has a show – and everybody’s schedule was all weird. It was going to shoot, like, right now. And how do you fill that void of Alan Rickman? That’s a hard void to fill.”
Tim Allen probably wouldn’t mind still doing a Galaxy Quest 2 for Amazon if he can make his schedule work, but that doesn’t mean we all get to live with the pain now that we got so close to an honest-to-Grabthar sequel with the original cast.