Galaxy Quest (1999) Poster



The design of the N.S.E.A. Protector is based on a Star Trek comm-badge.
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The scene when Tim Allen is in a men's room overhearing how the cast of Galaxy Quest are nobodies and all the co-stars can't stand him mirrors an actual event in William Shatner's life. He discovered the exact same things about himself when he attended a 1986 convention.
Sam Rockwell based his portrayal on Bill Paxton's performance in James Cameron's classic Aliens (1986). In particular, his hysterical fear of being killed, and his mental collapse upon seeing a motion detector that shows their enemy closing in on them.
Although Alan Rickman hated sci-fi as a genre, he could not resist taking part in the film as he found the material so funny.
Tim Allen admitted that he was quite star-struck when he met Sigourney Weaver, as he's a huge fan of Alien (1979). Allen even got Weaver to sign some of his Alien memorabilia between takes. She ultimately did, writing "Stolen by Tim Allen; Love, Sigourney Weaver", which she said made him very upset.
Alexander Dane never removes his headpiece throughout the entire movie, even when he and Gwen DeMarco are talking to each other by home phone.
Director Dean Parisot and star Tim Allen have revealed in interviews that the original tone of the film was much darker, with more scenes of violence. After test screenings, the film was recut to emphasize the comedy and obtain a PG rating.
At the beginning of the film, Tommy's line "You are so full of sh**, man!" was redubbed to "You are so full of it, man!" When faced with going through "the chompers", Gwen's "Well, f*** that!" was redubbed to say "Well, screw that!". These edits were to avoid a PG-13 rating. The original lines are still obvious when reading their lips.
On the rock planet, Lt. Laredo chides Dr. Lazarus for holding his tracking device upside down, claiming that he actually thought Dr. Lazarus' character was "smart or something" by the way he was leading the group to find the nearest Beryllium sphere, before realizing he was using the device incorrectly. This is a subtle reference to the first season of the original Star Trek (1966) series, where Mr. Spock often held his tricorder upside down due to Leonard Nimoy being not yet familiar with the prop.
Gwen DeMarco laments that her TV Guide interview was "six paragraphs of my boobs and how they fit into my suit". This actually happened to Jeri Ryan, who played Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager (1995).
Just after the crew arrives via the 'pods', the Thermians appear without their appearance generators. When the captain asks "Who wants a tour?", at least Sigourney Weaver did not know that 'Guy' was going to scream in terror as he did. You can see a very real reaction from her at that moment.
In theaters, the first twenty minutes of the film were presented in the 1.85:1 widescreen image. When Tim Allen first realizes he's on a real spaceship and the vista of Thermia is revealed, the screen image widened to 2.35:1.
The film won over many Star Trek actors:

Patrick Stewart: "I had originally not wanted to see Galaxy Quest (1999) because I heard that it was making fun of Star Trek, and then Jonathan Frakes rang me up and said "You must not miss this movie! See it on a Saturday night in a full theatre." And I did, and of course I found it was brilliant. Brilliant. No one laughed louder or longer in the cinema than I did, but the idea that the ship was saved and all of our heroes in that movie were saved simply by the fact that there were fans who did understand the scientific principles on which the ship worked was absolutely wonderful. And it was both funny and also touching in that it paid tribute to the dedication of these fans."

Tim Russ: "I've had flashbacks of Galaxy Quest (1999) at the many conventions I've gone to since the movie came out. I thought it was an absolute laugh-a-minute."

William Shatner: "I thought it was very funny, and I thought the audience that they portrayed was totally real, but the actors that they were pretending to be were totally unrecognisable. Certainly I don't know what Tim Allen was doing. He seemed to be the head of a group of actors, and for the life of me I was trying to understand who he was imitating. The only one I recognized was the girl playing Nichelle Nichols."

Wil Wheaton: "I loved Galaxy Quest (1999). I thought it was brilliant satire, not only of Trek, but of fandom in general. The only thing I wish they had done was cast me in it, and have me play a freaky fanboy who keeps screaming at the actor who played 'the kid' about how awful it was that there was a kid on the spaceship. Alas."

George Takei: "I think it's a chillingly realistic documentary. [laughs] The details in it, I recognized every one of them. It is a powerful piece of documentary filmmaking. And I do believe that when we get kidnapped by aliens, it's going to be the genuine, true Star Trek fans who will save the day. ... I was rolling in the aisles. And [star] Tim Allen had that Shatner-esque swagger down pat. And I roared when the shirt came off, and [co-star] Sigourney [Weaver] rolls her eyes and says, 'There goes that shirt again.' ... How often did we hear that on the set? [Laughs]"
In the audio commentary for Star Trek (2009), director J.J. Abrams says, "By the way, I think we've all gone on record as saying one of our favorite 'Trek' films is 'Galaxy Quest'. And this sequence [where Kirk and Sulu are falling toward Vulcan without a parachute] is clearly an homage to Tony Shalhoub's great save in that film."
This film was one of the earliest to have its own internet domain and website, GalaxyQuest.com (now available only via Wayback archive). However, rather than being a polished part of the film's marketing campaign, the site (in keeping with the film's fandom theme) was deliberately designed to look like a fan page, with screen captures and poor H.T.M.L. coding.
During the fight with the rock monster, Commander Taggart loses his shirt. This is a clear nod to the original Star Trek (1966) series' Captain Kirk, who mysteriously lost his shirt in nearly every hand-to-hand fight.
The N.S.E.A. Protector's serial number is NTE-3120. N.T.E. stands for Not the Enterprise.
The rock monster is a mock tribute to William Shatner, who desperately wanted to put rock monsters in the climax of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), but had to cut them out of his script for budgetary reasons. There are a couple of references to Star Trek: Arena (1967), particularly the suggestion to "build some kind of rudimentary weapon" during Jason's encounter with the rock monster.
Justin Long's debut cinematic appearance.
According to writer David Howard, the continuous melodic yet monotone voice of Thermian commander Mathesar was an original idea that Enrico Colantoni brought to the character. Everyone on the set loved it so much, they kept it in the shoot.
The promotional campaign for the film included a mockumentary for the E! cable channel about the fictitious Galaxy Quest television series. Most of the cast members appeared as their actor characters from the film. Extras from the film's convention scenes also appeared as fans giving candid interviews. Outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage from the film were used as clips from the television series. The humor even went so far as Sigourney Weaver's character, Gwen DeMarco, claiming that she had turned down "a small part in a Woody Allen movie" to do the Galaxy Quest series, which is a nod to her early gig as an extra in Annie Hall (1977).
Laliari is the first main role Missi Pyle landed in a feature film. Her role was expanded after the producers noticed Sigourney Weaver was the only female main character.
Harold Ramis wanted to cast Alec Baldwin in the lead role, which he turned down. Steve Martin and Kevin Kline were considered, though Kline turned it down for family reasons. When Tim Allen was cast, Ramis left the project. After seeing the film, Ramis said he was ultimately impressed with Allen's performance.
The set of the N.S.E.A. Protector was built on an articulated platform so that it could move a few feet in any direction, for a touch of realism (instead of actors leaning in unison). When it was first used, the set dropped two feet and shifted to the side, causing several cast members to fall out of their chairs and two lights to fall down.
The film's script originally contained a mention of Alexander Dane having been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Alan Rickman asked that this be changed because he believed it was inconsistent with the character, and all mentions of the knighting were removed. However, the character is still listed in the credits as Sir Alexander Dane.
The evil warlord Sarris was named for film critic Andrew Sarris, who once trashed producer Mark Johnson's The Natural (1984). Sarris' metal eye-patch mimics that worn by General Chang (Christopher Plummer) in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
Sigourney Weaver said that whenever she put on the blonde wig to become Gwen DeMarco, "I could feel my I.Q. drop precipitously".
The Thermians use appearance generators to assume human form, while their true form is that of amorphous tentacular entities. This concept was possibly taken from the original series episode Star Trek: By Any Other Name (1968), where in that episode, the Kelvans assume human form, but their true form (which is never shown, but described by Spock to Captain Kirk) is that of "massive creatures with hundreds of tentacles".
There were plans to release a sequel, but the sudden death of Alan Rickman on January 14, 2016 brought this to an end.
When the crew are eating aboard the ship, they are told that the food has been prepared based on their regional cuisine. Commander Taggart comments that the steak tastes like Iowa Beef. This seems like a subtle reference to the fact that Captain James Kirk, this character's Star Trek (1966) analogue, is, in the future, going to be from Iowa.
The character Guy Fleegman was an intentional homage to a very busy Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) actor Guy Vardaman, who not only played several no-name extras in the series, but also served as a stunt/stand-in double for Brent Spiner (Data) and Wil Wheaton (Wesley). His reaction to the homage: "I just about fell out of the chair!" having forgotten being told that the character would appear in a film someday.
Rainn Wilson's debut cinematic appearance.
The design for Sarris' flagship is a cross between the designs for the Planet Killer from Star Trek: The Doomsday Machine (1967) (notably the massive, glowing maw in the front of the ship) and a D'deridex-class Romulan warbird from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) (the open design of the rear nacelles).
Instead of ripping off the standard Star Trek (1966) "Swooosh-thweep" sound for their automatic doors, the N.S.E.A. Protector's automatic doors were given the same "Tweeep-Clunk" sound effect as the doors in the original version of the videogame Doom (1993).
Tim Allen performs several classic James Kirk mannerisms through the course of the movie, most notably the classic thinking position while seated in his command chair on the bridge.
The film proved quite popular with Star Trek fans. At the 2013 Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, it received enough support in a Star Trek Film Ranking, and was included with the twelve Star Trek films that had been released at the time on the voting ballot. The fans at the convention ranked it the seventh best Star Trek film.
According to this film, Sam Rockwell's character played an adult on the original series, whereas Daryl Mitchell's character played a child. Daryl Mitchell is actually three years older than Sam Rockwell.
The name Alexander Dane alludes to this character's seriousness as an actor in the legitimate Shakespearean theatre. William Shakespeare's character Hamlet, universally regarded as the most desirable Shakespearean role to play on stage, is sometimes referred to as "the melancholy Dane".
The comely Lt. Tawny Madison's function of informing everyone information that the computer has already related, is likely a subtle allusion to Counselor Deanna Troi, the comely psychic of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), whose limited telepathic powers rarely discovered anything that wasn't either trivial or already blatantly obvious. A common Counselor Troi cliché is her calmly saying "I sense hostility, Captain" after the villain-of-the-week has already made an angry face, demonstrated a deadly weapon, and made an explicit verbal death threat.
When the crew meet the Thermians for the first time, one of the tentacled creatures is holding a speculum.
Sam Rockwell almost backed out after winning the lead role in an independent film, but Kevin Spacey convinced him otherwise.
Reportedly originally developed by Harold Ramis for Disney, but Ramis dropped out before production began.
Although uncredited, Robin Sachs played a second role in this film. In addition to Sarris, he was also Brandon's dad.
Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman) accuses Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) of stealing his best lines and cutting him from entire episodes. This references the alleged diva behavior of William Shatner during the production of Star Trek (1966), as well as the growing dislike that many of his fellow cast members developed towards him. Shatner was said to frequently request additional takes of scenes to extend his own screen time when he felt that other actors became too famous. In many instances, he ordered lines of dialogues to be rewritten for his own character, and he also demanded that the lighting on set should be specifically focused on him.
Tony Shalhoub originally auditioned for Guy Fleegman, but Sam Rockwell won the role, and Shalhoub was cast as Fred Kwan instead.
Alexander Dane's resentment of being typecast following his famous television role reflects on Alan Rickman similarly trying to avoid typecasting as a villain. Also, both Dane and Rickman came from Shakespearian acting backgrounds.
Tech Sgt. Chen would seem to satirize the method of casting Europeans as other races (although Tony Shalhoub is ethnically Lebanese). The character Fred Kwan (who admits this is not his real name) only ever goes into "Chen mode" (narrowing his eyes as if to imitate an East Asian appearance) occasionally, usually when prompted by someone saying his name or otherwise reminded to be in character.
The robot on stage with Guy Fleegman at the movie's beginning is also one used in Toys (1992) with Robin Williams. They are the back-up security system his uncle uses.
The design of the Protector is the Enterprise in reverse. Each of the Enterprises have a round command section and long cylindrical engines. The Protector has a long cylindrical command section and round engines.
The tear-drop-shaped formations in the background when the ship is taking off from a rocky planet are based on Roger Dean's cover for the live album "Yessongs" (1973) by the rock band Yes.
A piece of Star Trek (1966) fan-fiction with a similar plot, Jean Lorrah and Willard F. Hunt's "Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited", was originally published in the magazine ''Spockanalia'' in 1967, and was reprinted in the 1970s in "Star Trek: The New Voyages", an anthology of fan-fiction edited by Sondra Marshak, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Myrna Culbreath. In the story, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley are accidentally beamed to the actual U.S.S. Enterprise in a crisis with the Klingons.
When the Thermians state they are part of the Klatuu Nebula, it is homage to the alien Klatuu in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), one of the all time greats.
Actress Heidi Swedberg (Brandon's mom), appeared on one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993).
Justin Long said he was nervous auditioning as an unknown actor at the time, competing against Kieran Culkin, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Tom Everett Scott for the role of Brandon.
The control labels on the engine core control panel include "General Purpose Computer", and "MKL" (a real computer acronym for "Math Kernel Library").
The ship's computer voice reports an error as "Memory check-sum invalid". "Check-sum" is an actual method of mathematically validating computer data.
The weapons used by Sarris' boarding party are quite similar to those used by Zorg's fighters from the set of The Fifth Element (1997) filmed two years prior.
Paul Rudd auditioned for a role, while David Alan Grier was the second choice for Tommy Webber, and Jennifer Coolidge for Laliari.
The characters who are actors in the fictitious Galaxy Quest television series are largely based on the actors in the actual Star Trek franchise. The film contains numerous references to events in the lives of the Star Trek actors.
Sam Lloyd and Matt Winston, who appear together as Thermian crew members, later appeared on Scrubs (2001), with Lloyd as Ted Buckland and Winston as Dr. Jeffrey Steadman. Winston also appeared, around the same time, on Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) as a recurring character. Sam Lloyd is the nephew of Christopher Lloyd, who played a huge fan of Star Trek (1966) on Taxi (1978), and a Klingon commander in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
When looking for the ship's core and entering the air ducts, Gwen DeMarco says "Ducts? Why is it always ducts?". This is a very possible reference to Sigourney Weaver's involvement in the Alien films where a great deal of the action takes place in ducts.
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When the Thermians run, in their silver suits and moving their arms up and down in front of them, and with stiff legs in an awkward gait, they appear to paying homage to the space aliens from the classic Invaders from Mars (1953).
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The main characters are clearly based on the main cast members of Star Trek (1966) - Tim Allen is obviously William Shatner; Gwen DeMarco is Nichelle Nichols; Alexander Dane is Leonard Nimoy with a little Patrick Stewart (the classically trained thespian who resents being best known for a sci-fi role); Fred Kwan is a mixture of James Doohan and Walter Koenig (an actor playing a fake nationality), though his easygoing attitude is from Doohan and DeForest Kelley; and Tommy Webber is a mixture of George Takei and Wil Wheaton, being a young ethnic minority being the helmsman.
Missi Pyle and Justin Long would later appear on screen together in the film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004).
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During the period of filming, the entire cast of the movie attended a 20th Anniversary screening of Alien (1979). After filming completed, Sigourney Weaver kept the wig she won for her role as Gwen DeMarco/Tawny Madison.
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The comment about Gilligan's Island was a fact that some Americans believed the castaways was a real story.
Commander Peter Quincy Taggart is a reference to Peter Quince in Shakespeare's comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
Patrick Breen (Quellek) appears as Auble the Christmas cards guy in the film Christmas with the Kranks (2004) starring Tim Allen.
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Sigourney Weaver, Sam Rockwell and Daryl Mitchell created an amateur music video for her agent's birthday surprise.
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This is one of two 1999 films where Alan Rickman plays a non-human (or at least a human playing a non-human). The other is Dogma (1999) where he plays an angel.
This is the first time Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver appear on screen together. They reunited eleven years later in the film Crazy on the Outside (2010).
The second feature film from director Dean Parisot, whose first television directing gig was the episode of "Reading Rainbow" in which host LeVar Burton takes the viewers behind the scenes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
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Sarris has what looks like insect, spider legs coming out of his head. This is exactly how the head in The Thing (1982) looked when it sprouted off the legs on the head, before the things formed and ran into the base.
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When the crew first arrives on the Protector, they are given a tour. If you listen carefully, you can hear Tech Sergeant Chen (played by Tony Shalhoub) comment on how clean the floors are. This mirrors something the OCD character Shalhoub would play on the television series Monk (2002) might say, three years after this film's release.
Sam Rockwell and Justin Long have both starred in films directed by Victor Salva. Rockwell starred in Clownhouse (1989) and Long starred in Jeepers Creepers (2001).
The scene in which the Protector leaves the spacedock is very reminiscent of a similar scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Although with Sulu at the helm, the departure went a great deal smoother.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Despite frequent whining about his character Crewman Number Six being expendable and going to die, Guy Fleegman is the only crew member not to be shot and killed by Sarris during his surprise assault.
At the movie's ending just before the opening credits for the new Galaxy Quest series, the announcer says "Now back after 18 years, the New Adventures of Galaxy Quest". The original Star Trek (1966) series was cancelled in 1969 and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) premiered in 1987, also 18 years later.
As the Protector departs the spacedock, the structure is shown to have been built into a shard of a once-habitable planet, foreshadowing the later revelation that the Thermians have been nearly exterminated.
The scene in which Sarris kills almost everyone on the command deck is very reminiscent of the Kobayashi Maru scene in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), in which most of the command deck personnel are killed. It is later revealed to be a training exercise, and similarly to Galaxy Quest and the activation of the Omega 13, no one is actually harmed.
The scene where Sarris kills almost everyone on the command deck is a homage to the final scene in the Blake's 7 (1978) series finale "Blake" where all the main characters are shot in a similar manner.
Guy is constantly saying throughout the film that he is going to die because he is a 'no name' crew member. In the scene where Sarris is shooting everyone on the main deck, Guy is the only member who is not shot and killed before the Omega 13 is activated.
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When the captain is fighting the pig lizard and the ship reports they are going to use the digital conveyor to 'beam him up', Captain Taggert says "cut me into cubes and send me up in a million pieces". Dr. McCoy on the original Star Trek (1966) series and the Star Trek (2009) reboot. Karl Urban plays Dr. McCoy and says the same thing DeForest Kelley said that "It's not right to be taken apart and put back together in a million pieces, your parts might be scattered throughout the universe, it's not natural!".
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When they use the Omega 13 device, almost a minute passes before the activation, so the Omega 13 must go back a full minute to relive not 13 seconds as stated.
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