Vic Mignogna – Part Three – Actor, Producer, Voice Actor, Musician, Composer

Photo © Trek Continues, Inc. 

On the set of the multi-award-winning web series Star Trek Continues (from left) Wyatt Lenhart as Pavel Chekov; Steven Dengler as Lt. William Drake; Chuck Huber as Doctor Leonard H. McCoy; Kipleigh Brown as Lt. j.g. Bargara Smith; Kim Stinger as Lt. Uhura; Vic Mignogna as Captain James T. Kirk; Michele Specht as Lt. Elise McKennah, PhD; Cat Roberts as Lt. Elizabeth Palmer; Todd Haberkorn as Commander Spock; Grant Imahara as Lt. Hikaru Sulu; Chris Doohan as Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott.

Vic Mignogna is an abundantly talented man, equally gifted in front of the camera, behind the scenes, in the recording studio, and addressing crowds of admirers at comic and anime conventions.  He is also an accomplished musician whose skills include composing, arranging, producing and performing original music.

 

Beginning in 2013, Mignogna fulfilled the wishes of legions of Star Trek fans around the world, as well as his own childhood dreams, by creating the multi-award-winning web series Star Trek Continues (STC).  The project’s goal – to boldly complete the five-year mission of the original Star Trek ship and crew – was beautifully realized in 11 high-quality webisodes, supported by crowdfunding campaigns that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

Vic tackled multiple roles on the web series, most notably Executive Producer and actor in the lead role of Captain James T. Kirk.  His additional STC credits include director, writer (story and teleplay), film editor, composer, music editor and more.

 

Star Trek Continues has been praised by critics and viewers, including Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.  After attending an episode screening in Las Vegas, he said, “I'm pretty damn sure my dad would consider this canon.  The fact that you do stories that mean something, that have depth, that make us all think a little bit, I really think he would applaud you guys, and I applaud you guys.”

 

Click here to read Part Two

 

Photo © Trek Continues, Inc. 

Actors Vic Mignogna as Captain James T. Kirk (left) and Chuck Huber as Dr. McCoy (right) in a scene from Episode 5 of Star Trek Continues, called "Divided We Stand."

It must have been very hard to choose which episodes or themes from the original series you wanted to revisit in Star Trek Continues.  One of Trek’s favorite tropes was time travel, which allowed the crew to visit all sorts of historical periods.  The STC episode “Divided We Stand” takes place in the Civil War. Out of all the time periods available, how did you choose that one?  Is the Civil War a particular interest of yours?

 

Yes, it certainly was.  I could talk about this stuff forever, because there’s so much behind the scenes that people don’t know.  So much of my life, my effort, energy, work and time went into making these episodes, and thousands of hours that people don’t know anything about, because they just see the on-screen stuff.

 

My favorite episodes of the original series were always the ones where they went to some period in time.  I loved those ones, whether it was the gangsters in the ‘20s, the Depression of the ‘30s, Germany in the ‘40s; they did the Roman Empire.  I always loved those episodes.

 

I was sitting around one day – it was probably around the second or third episode – and I thought, “What’s a period of history they never went to?”  The period I came up with was the Civil War.  Then, I started thinking about what the substance of a story set in the Civil War would be. I thought, McCoy is from Georgia, a southerner, and he probably would have been in the Confederacy; Kirk is from Iowa and he probably would have been in the Union.  I started thinking of the merits of a story where these two very close friends were thrown into a conflict where they are supposed to be enemies.

 

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  I was sitting at dinner with Todd Haberkorn one night and I told him the story idea and I said, “The only thing I’m still really struggling with is what the vehicle will be to get them into the Civil War.”

 

What I mean by that is, there are only two ways that you get back in time:  either time travel itself, or an Earth-parallel planet. In the Nazi Germany episode, that was not actually Nazi Germany; they went to a planet that had adopted the ideas of Nazi Germany.  They didn’t actually go back in time – they went to an Earth parallel; but for the Depression, they actually went back in time.

 

I told Todd that I wanted to come up with an idea, a vehicle, to get them into the Civil War that was not time travel and not an Earth parallel.  It was actually Todd who came up with the idea of them being infected with some kind of organism that makes them think they are there, and you craft the story in such a way that the viewer thinks they’re really there until the scene where you see them both lying in sickbay and suddenly the viewer is like, “Oh, my gosh, they’re not in the Civil War at all!  They’re in comas and they only think they’re in the Civil War.”

 

We began developing the story further, where these nanites had infested the Enterprise computer, and the computer blows at the exact moment the nanites were downloading Earth history and information on the Civil War.  Kirk and McCoy think they’re in the Civil War because the nanites get inside them and are projecting this illusion on them, and, because the nanites are networked, they’re in it together. It’s a brilliant idea.  It’s original.

 

One of the most exciting parts about the Civil War episode for me was that, if you think about it, there’s no way our fan production would have enough money to rent cannons and horses and hire thousands of guys in uniforms to stage fake battles.  However, there are Civil War reenactments that go on all over the country and, as luck would have it, our studio is in Georgia; and, as further luck would have it, we scheduled the shooting of this episode around the annual reenactment of Olustee Creek, which is 60 minutes from our studio.

 

We shot three days on location out in the woods – all of Kirk and McCoy’s stuff in the woods and the tents and the campfire – and then we drove up to this reenactment and shot all of that footage of cannons and horses and armies.  When you cut it all together, it makes the episode seem so much bigger than it actually is.

 

Photo © Trek Continues, Inc.   

Actors Vic Mignogna as Captain James T. Kirk (left) and Chuck Huber as Dr. McCoy (right) in a scene from Episode 5 of Star Trek Continues, called "Divided We Stand."

I liked the nod to “The Savage Curtain” with Abraham Lincoln showing up in “Divided We Stand.”

 

Yes!  You know that Lincoln was a big hero of Kirk’s, so the chance for Kirk to actually see him – it’s another one of my favorite episodes.  The production value of the episode is so high, and yet we shot that episode in five or six days.

 

The way it came together was just perfect.  We found a little reenactment group of about 20 guys down in the same area of the country and they were going to be attending this reenactment in Olustee.  So, we contacted them and I said, “What would it take to get you guys to come three days early to our studio in Kingsland, Georgia, and be featured extras in these scenes that we’re going to create before going to Olustee?”  They agreed and they pitched their tents out in this open field on the property that belonged to the guy that owns our studio building.

 

They were the guys who were carrying the stretcher; the guys marching through the woods that came across Kirk and McCoy and the sergeant who got shot; they were the guys sitting around the campfire; charging and running in the battle with Kirk and Palmerton; they were the guys that were injured in the medical tent.  All of those guys were featured extras.

 

Although most of the episode was set in the Civil War, you added a modern sci-fi element with the inclusion of the nanites.  It was a great way to blend a period piece with a bit of futuristic nanotechnology.

 

You probably caught the nod to the Borg when Dr. M'Benga says that he was able to remove one of the nanites and they look at it under the microscope and it looks like a little cube.  That was on purpose. That was our little nod to – maybe, one day, this is what’s going to develop into the Borg.

 

I love all those little touches and I think one of the marks of a great series is that you can watch the episodes more than once and pick up on things you might have missed the first time around.  Of course, fans of Star Trek Continues are clamoring for new episodes.  I know there were reasons you had to limit it to 11 episodes, but is there any hope for new episodes or new vignettes?

 

Even before the fan film guidelines were released, it was only my intention to make maybe 13 episodes.  It was never my intention to just make more episodes until we ran out of good ideas or I got too old to play Kirk [laughs].  It was never my intention to just peter out and dribble to a stop. My desire was to make one more season of television and complete the five-year mission of the Enterprise.  Even though the guidelines necessitated that we shorten the number of episodes we were going to do, I always intended to have a finite number of episodes. Instead of 13, we were only able to do 11.

 

But, I must say, I am extremely proud of the 11 we did make and – even more than that – we did what we set out to do.  We did something historic: we completed the five-year mission of the original series and returned the ship to Earth, into dry dock, right where The Motion Picture picks it up, and explained why each of the characters are where they are when The Motion Picture picks them up.  We did all of that.

    

You have a wonderful scene towards the end of “To Boldly Go – Part II,” the final episode of the web series, where Kirk addresses the crew and updates them on his status.  That’s a very memorable scene.

 

I had conceived of that scene long before we even wrote those final episodes.  When we sat down with Rob Sawyer to discuss the story arc of the final episodes, I said, “One thing’s for sure.  Toward the end of the last episode, I want a scene where the entire remaining contingent of the ship’s crew is assembled at Star Fleet Command on Earth, and Kirk steps out in the admiral’s uniform and everybody’s like, ‘What the heck is going on?  What is he wearing? What’s happening?’ And he steps up to the podium and basically says, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news. First, I’ve accepted promotion to admiral,’ and they all start clapping, and then he quiets them and says, ‘That’s the bad news.’”

 

I just love that moment.  Kirk already regrets – he already knows how much he is going to miss being the captain of a starship.  Then, he moves on to encourage them: the good news is that you’re going to press forward and you’re going to have the opportunity to venture further into the stars.  That was a scene that I wanted to play for a very, very long time.

 

Photo © Trek Continues, Inc.   

Actor Vic Mignogna as Admiral James T. Kirk in the final scene from Episode 11 of Star Trek Continues, called "To Boldly Go" part II.  

It was a fitting way to end the web series and, as you said, to complete the story of the original series.  I’m certainly one of those people who would love to see more of Star Trek Continues, but I understand what you’re saying as well, that you accomplished the mission you set out to do.

 

Let me say this.  I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up – but, as Mr. Spock is fond of saying, “I’d like to think there are always possibilities.”  The fan film guidelines are in place right now, but nobody knows what the future is going to hold. Nobody knows what’s going to happen a year from now, or two years from now, or how the landscape will have changed.

 

In the back of my mind, I would love to do a feature film with the Star Trek Continues cast and maybe find a period – like, in between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan.  I love The Wrath of Khan uniforms.  I think the monster maroon uniforms are the best movie uniforms of all of them.  Maybe, if the climate changes, or anything comes about where we might be able to bring the cast back together, that would be a really neat thing to do.

 

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that and also for the Telly Award winners being announced on May 22.  The episode we were just discussing, "To Boldly Go: Part II," is up for a People's Telly award.

 

I would certainly love for us to go out with a bang.  As I talk to you, I’m sitting here looking at three of our Tellys and would love to add another one to that.

 

Let’s talk about all the upcoming projects in your incredibly busy career.

 

We just finished shooting a short film called When the Train Stops.  It was a project that many of our Star Trek Continues production team worked on:  Lisa Hansell, James Kerwin, Rekha Sharma, John de Lancie, Michael Forest.  It’s a short film that’s in post-production right now, so people can look for that online when it’s released.

 

I just shot another short film that I can’t say anything about, but people will be hearing about that soon enough.  I’m working on an audiobook right now – I haven’t been given the green light to announce it yet – but, when I do, I’m very, very excited about sharing that.*  I’m working on five or six different anime series that I play recurring characters on. I’m directing an anime series at a studio here in L.A.

 

In addition to all of that, I’ve got the convention appearances that I love to do around the country.  I love to do event appearances and meet people. It’s such a thrill and a privilege to meet people who like your work.  As a voice actor, you record alone in a recording studio, so it’s really a thrill to meet people after they’ve seen your performance in a show and get some feedback about what they thought of it and what they liked and didn’t like.  I’ve got a lot of convention appearances scheduled this year all over the country and even internationally.

 

Wrapping up, is there anything you’d like to add?

 

Anybody who has not seen our series can go to StarTrekContinues.com.  In addition to the episodes, there are tons of wonderful features – videos from behind the scenes, bloopers, and fun stuff there.  Share it with anybody you think may be a Star Trek fan.

 

Finally, I just want to let everybody know how grateful I am.  I am just so enormously grateful for the privilege to have done what we did.  I look back at it and – even now – I sit and watch an episode with an audience and I think to myself, “How did we pull this off?”  It is such an enormous undertaking and people don’t realize how much goes into it. But I am so grateful to everyone who was part of the cast and crew, and very grateful to the people out there that have enjoyed it.

 

Photo © Vic Mignogna

Actor Vic Mignogna speaks to fans at one of his many convention appearances.

*Since press time, details of the audio book have been released.  For more information about this announcement, click here to go to the Star Trek Continues Facebook page.

 

[End]

 

Click here to go back to Part One

About Vic Mignogna:  An actor, producer, musician and composer.   Vic is a prolific voice actor for over 200 anime and video games, most well known as Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist.   He portrayed Admiral Isaac Garrett (in both the "Prime" and "Kelvin" timelines) in Star Trek Online.  He is Executive Producer of Star Trek Continues and stars in the lead role of Captain James T. Kirk.  Discover more about Vic at his website www.VicsWorld.net and at the official fan club of Vic Mignogna called Risembool Rangers at www.RisemboolRangers.com.

Star Trek Continues is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning, fan-produced webseries.  From “Where No Man Has Gone Before” to “Turnabout Intruder,” TOS chronicled the first four years (2265–2269) of James T. Kirk’s historic five-year mission before the series was prematurely cancelled.  Star Trek Continues is proud to be part of Trek history, completing the final year (late 2269 – early 2270) of the original adventure.  Vic and the team of talented film professionals raised the bar in the quality of stories and overall production on one of the most recognized, popular fan productions ever made.

Learn more about Star Trek Continues, by clicking here.

 

 

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