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SciFriday: Beware Of Tribbles In Next Star Trek Movie

PLUS: Internet is abuzz with news Oprah Winfrey will play a Klingon


We have finally entered the fun part of “Star Trek 2’s” pre-production process where speculation — and bad rumors — begin to circulate about the new film.

Of course, I’m only assuming they’re bad rumors, because I don’t know what’s really being planned for the film. But I have to say, I seriously doubt the big bad guys to follow up Capt. Nero will be some renegade Klingons out hunting Tribbles when they stumble upon the Enterprise.

Well, if Brannon Braga was in charge, maybe. But he isn’t. It’s J.J. Abrams, along with a great writing team of Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof. And who knows, maybe there will be some Klingons hunting Tribbles — but I would be shocked if they were the main characters we’ve all been waiting for.

Seriously? Benicio del Toro hunting Tribbles? This guy did win an Oscar, you know.

The Internet has made gossip and bad rumors so easy to spread. And there’s been a time or two even this site has fallen for them. Many of us who have been doing this for years have become more skeptical about rumors, especially when we see where they originate from (places we’ve never heard of), so you aren’t as likely to read a headline here about Tribble-hunting Klingons, unless it’s part of my weekly column making fun of it. But these stories still circulate.

If you do a quick Google News search on “Klingons,” “Tribbles” and “Star Trek,” we find this latest rumor picked up by the MTV Movies Blog, a site called Flickering Myth, Comic Book Movie, and one-time Star Trek news leader TrekToday.

All of them sourced a blog called Think McFly Think, a site whose name obviously comes from the Back to the Future trilogy. The site is run by Peter Georgiou and Jamie Williams. The domain it’s a part of is just three years old, so the site itself isn’t much older. I tried looking up more about Georgiou and Williams, but believe it or not, both names are quite common, with Georgiou’s being more common than I thought it would be. So there’s nothing definitive I can offer there.

Maybe they have some insight the rest of us don’t? Maybe they think they have insight that the rest of us don’t? Or maybe they are feeding us a line of BS. To be honest, in this day and age, any of these possibilities could be true.

But it is real easy to make things up and have it spread like wildfire across the Web. I once was acquainted with someone from Great Britain who would make up Star Trek news for fun, and then tip it to various Trek websites, hoping they would pick it up and spread it. He tried doing it to me, and I saw through it. We both had a great laugh over it, and then become online friends, thinking about ways we could really parody this whole cottage industry of fake news that was circulating back then.

In fact, we even joked that we should create a Trek parody site called The Inside Trek Site (abbreviate it for an additional bit of juvenile humor, where the name came from), which would have nothing but Onion-style stories based in the world of Star Trek. And it was a busy place at the time with two television series — “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” — and movies with the cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

We never actually did the site, mostly because of how much time it would require from both of us. But there are times when I think back to those discussions and laugh at the possibilities.

The sad part was, his sport of pitching fake Trek stories to online news outlets was not as fruitless as it was to me. Many of his stories were picked up and spread as if they were coming from Wolf Blitzer. He would send me emails whenever his stories popped up online, and I would just roll my eyes, and pray for better fact-checking in the future.

I think fact-checking has gone a long way, and you don’t see news outlets, even blogs, fooled as much by stories anymore. And to give these other sites I mentioned credit, there is a small chance that Tribbles will be a key villain in the next Trek film.

But I doubt it. And you probably should, too. It will save some disappointment when you find out that Tribbles will, at best, get a cameo. And that’s it.

There will probably be Klingons, because Star Trek fans like Klingons. But I can’t see a major summer tentpole for Paramount relying on a comic character in what is supposed to be a serious story.

Then again, NBC has ordered a pilot of “The Munsters” — a sitcom being converted into an hour-long drama from “Dead Like Me” creator Bryan Fuller. I was hoping that was a bad rumor, too. Sadly, however, it’s true.

I guess stranger things can happen.

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Could they be a gh...gh...gh...ghost? Rut-ro! Shaggy
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