Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary


Here are a few things we learned that we didn’t already know maybe some of these will be a surprise to you.

David Mammet named it as one of the best movies of all time. Who’s he? A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright known for films like Hoffa, Hannibal, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and The Untouchables.

Galaxy Quest is what most fans consider a love letter to Star Trek. It didn’t make fun of the fans but honored them in a way that no other movie had been able to do.

The fandom of Galaxy Quest is what made it a cult classic. So what other factors contributed to it’s rise

The original script by David Howard’s original script was later adapted by Robert Gordon screenwriter. Though even his version would get several tweaks before it went to the big screen.

Harold Ramis was originally signed on to direct the film. He’d done other films like Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Multiplicity. He abandoned the project when Tim Allen came on board as the lead actor. Though still a fan of the final product at the time he didn’t feel he could bring what the movie would ultimately need.

Cue director, Dean Parisot. He directed Home Fries and wasn’t in the same caliber as Ramis, but rose to the occasion. Made writing adjustments to tone down the goofiness of the movie. He took out the cheese and directed it as a drama. Making one of the best cinematic choices ever, and putting this movie into a brand new category of science fiction comedy.

Notable Mention: NTE-3120, written on the hull of the Protector ship designed by Geogg Z. Walters, stood for ‘not the Enterprise’.

The casting was a huge deal and finding a lead actor to carry the movie was the studio’s first and biggest problems after landing on a director they loved. Kevin Kline and early favorite by the studio and the only actor the original director agreed on might have worked but he declined the offer. Other honorable mentions include Bruce Willis, Tim Robbins, Mel Gibson. and Alec Baldwin (who really wanted the part).

Tim Allen coming off the end of his own show and Toy Story wasn’t the obvious choice, though few could imagine anyone else in the role. When the studio found Parisot to do the film it was a perfect match.

Corbin Bleu was written in as the younger Tommy Webber just so that they could get the young comedian-actor Daryl “Chill” Mitchell to play the part of the older Tommy and still fit in with the rest of the crew.

Notable Mention: Most of Rainn Wilson’s lines as Lahnk was pulled for the Expendables so he lost some of his parts.

Sam Rockwell, brilliant as “Guy” and originally didn’t want the part but Dana Zane the movie’s amazing casting director ‘never gave up and never surrendered’.

Not everything in the script was insta-love between the writers and directors. On the chopping block was the subplot with the fans. If you couldn’t imagine this movie without Justin Long please put it in the chat. He was twenty-one at the time of filming and though he’s aged, you’d hardly know it to look at him today. Justin combined Chris Farley, Michael J. Fox, and the comic book store guy from the Simpsons to create his character.

The Galaxy Quest show fans are instrumental in saving the day showing that there’s more to the fans than costumes and using their favorite quotes IRL.

Justin wasn’t the only one instrumental in the creation of his character’s unique voice. Enrico Colantoni created the voice and mannerisms for himself and the other Thermians aliens. Poor extras. But it didn’t stop there as Missi Pyle, Jed Rees also had their own distinct vocal patterns while Patrick Breen invented the walk with the marionette vibe. Though to look at them they had so much fun doing it, you’d never know it was work.

Three weeks before shooting there was talk that the octopodes were not sleek enough for the movie and too ugly. However, with no time left, thankfully, the octopus body type of the Thermians stayed.

At the end of the documentary, there is a lovely tribute to Alan Rickman as the cast and crew discuss his last moments with them before his death at sixty-nine.

Overall, it was a nostalgic glimpse at the making of a cult classic and the fans that in a very meta way have kept it relevant down to this day.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to watch the entire documentary it is, as of this writing, available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

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