Next year will mark 40 years since the release of arguably the greatest film in this history of the Star Trek franchise — The Wrath of Khan. While nearly every list ranking the cinematic Trek films puts Wrath at the top (except for Rotten Tomatoes, which ranks J.J. Abrams’ 2009 flick as the best), many other movies released in 1982 which were quite significant.
From that year, film enthusiasts and fans can cite a number of great titles, including E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, TRON, Poltergeist, Dark Crystal, Conan the Barbarian, The Road Warrior, Blade Runner, and so many others as part of the 1982 film experience. So, for Star Trek fans, Wrath of Khan was the cherry on top of a magnificent year at the box office.
Mark A. Altman, who Trek fans know well as the co-host of the popular podcast, “Inglorious Treksperts,” has an idea of how to properly explore why 1982 was so superb. Just to be clear, his Treksperts gig is just for fun. His day job is the showrunner and executive producer of the science fiction show Pandora, which airs on the CW and Amazon Prime. Altman is an industry veteran who has worked on shows such as The Librarians, Castle, Agent X, and many others.
Altman and his co-host, Daren Dochterman, form the very best podcast for fans of classic Star Trek. Anyone who started watching Trek with The Next Generation and later owes it to themselves to binge the Treksperts, as each episode is a journey into a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at creating the franchise.
For Altman, the natural way to honor the films of 1982 is to make a documentary about those productions. Altman’s project is called 1982: The Greatest Geek Year Ever, and it will soon be available to support on Kickstarter.
Part of the appeal of this project is to dig into the stories behind the films, which did not perform monetarily but are recognized now as among the very best.
“Then you start to dig down to the cult films like Liquid Sky and Halloween III and Megaforce, and there’s so much to unpack there,” said Altman. “Plus, the genuine comedy classics like Tootsie, Diner, 48 Hours, and My Favorite Year as well as action classics like First Blood, Rocky 3, and Firefox.”
“You also had the first film Paul Newman won an Oscar for, The Verdict, and Costa-Garvas Missing, which are two personal favorites as well,” said Altman. “Any way you cut it, [it was] pretty spectacular. On par, with 1938, which many consider the greatest year for movies ever.”
The idea for a documentary on 1982 has been in the back of Altman’s mind for some time, and thanks to that, he’s assembled a talented crew who will help him create The Greatest Geek Year Ever.
“With 2022 being the 40th anniversary, I realized it was time to do something while many of the key creators were still with us,” said Altman. “Together with Roger Lay, Jr., who produced and edited most of the incredible Star Trek bonus features over the years and film critic Scott Mantz along with my Pandora producing partner Tom Vitale, we decided, to quote Nanculus, ‘there’s never been a better time.’”
“And we realized that while we could help pay for production, we’d need to raise more money to cover a lot of the expenses in terms of clip licenses, insurance, legal, travel, and it was Tom who strongly encouraged us to pursue Kickstarter,” said Altman.
“I was initially reluctant but realized it was the only way to raise the funds we needed to do it on the schedule we were on and quickly came to embrace it, realizing what an amazing platform it was for this project where we really could share our love for this material with the fans, and they could be stakeholders in its success,” said Altman.
While E.T. and the rest of the Class of 1982 will get their due, fans can rest assured that Wrath of Khan will get its rightful turn in the spotlight. This is not Altman’s first time at the “William Shatner” rodeo, as he is the writer/co-producer of the cult-classic Free Enterprise, which starred “Bill.” Altman also has written many books on Trek, including the oft-quoted “Star Trek, The Fifty-Year Mission,” which collects thoughts in paragraph form from the people who crafted Trek, including Shatner.
“Star Trek II was considered a big success that year, particularly relative to its cost,” said Altman. “The whole reason Paramount produced Star Trek II through the TV division was to keep cost overruns to a minimum, unlike with the first film. As such, it was much more profitable for the studio than The Motion Picture.”
Altman said that fans will be able to support his 1982 film and become part of the production through the Kickstarter campaign.
“The fun thing is we tied the launch of the Kickstarter to the anniversary of the release of Star Trek II and Poltergeist, which both were released on June 4,” said Altman. “So, starting this Friday, you can go to Kickstarter and support the project at whatever level you feel comfortable.
“There are some great rewards, but I think the greatest reward is assuring this movie is made and released for the 40th anniversary of all these amazing films,” said Altman. “These include the poster, limited edition art, associate producer credit, DVDs of the finished film, exclusive bonus footage… and autographed copies of my books, of course.”
Altman hopes to conclude production of 1982, so it can be released into theaters to mark the 40th anniversary of both Wrath of Khan and Poltergeist in 2022.