We at She-fi had the good fortune of interviewing Star Trek writer, Marc Zicree, about his exciting, new sci-fi series, Space Command. Zicree is a writer, producer, and director with hundreds of hours of TV credits for most of the major studios and networks. He’s worked on such iconic shows as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Twilight Zone, Babylon 5, Sliders, Forever Knight, Friday the 13th – The Series, He-Man, The Smurfs, and many others. He’s also the author of The Twilight Zone Companion, and the Magic Time trilogy novels, and has collaborated with Guillermo Del Toro on Cabinet of Curiosities.
Space Command is the story of Captain Jack Kemmer and his crew aboard a starship vessel called the Paladin. The story takes place 60 years from now, and covers 150 years of a future chronology as humankind colonizes the solar system. Working with Zicree, will be his wife, Elaine Zicree, who is also an excellent writer, director, and producer in her own right. The cast will include well-known actors from the Star Trek universe, and other notable sci-fi franchises. The cast includes Doug Jones (Star Trek Discovery, Pan’s Labyrinth), Robert Picardo (the holographic doctor in Star Trek Voyager, Stargate Atlantis), Mira Furlan (Babylon 5, Lost), Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5, Tron), Bill Mumy (The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space), Michael Harney (Orange is the New Black, Deadwood), Faran Tahir (Star Trek, Iron Man), James Hong (Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China), and John Hennigan (a.k.a. Johnny Nitro from WWE, and currently wrestles for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide).
Zicree felt that it was important to create something that relayed the message that love, compassion, and hopefulness are powerful forces, and that we need to take an active role in life to promote them, and create a better future. In these current times, a lot of today’s TV shows are edgier, and have darker themes than in the past. Today, we watch shows in which good characters are killed off, and the characters that survive are sometimes the cruelest, the most ruthless, or the most sociopathic, sending a message that hard-heartedness is what’s needed to make it through this world. Zicree believes too much cynicism in television can send people a message of hopelessness, teaching them to be inactive in the face of today’s atrocities when we should be taking action against the evils of the world. Space Command looks at the heart, the humanity of its characters, giving us hope and inspiration to bring about change in our world.
Inclusivity is another important element of Space Command. Zicree felt it was important that his series featured characters with racially diverse backgrounds in order to reflect the world we live in. He wanted to make sure that his characters don’t fall into some of the racial stereotypes we see in some shows and movies, where, for instance, a Muslim character might be portrayed as a terrorist or a taxi driver. One of the many things he loved about working on Star Trek was its positive message about diversity. Star Trek was one of the first trailblazers to tackle issues relating to inclusivity and representation. At its core, Star Trek was about a crew whose strength came from its diverse members. Zicree wants his series to carry on Trek’s hopeful ideology of what the future could be, in order to inspire people to stand up for what they believe in, and fight against fear, hatred, oppression, racism, and the forces that try to divide us.
Zicree is very drawn to the visual aesthetics of science fiction in the 1950s, especially from shows like Space Patrol, Tim Corbett Space Cadet, and Forbidden Planet. For his series, he wanted to create a fusion of modern day and past aesthetics with cutting edge visual effects. To make Space Command, he is working with some of Hollywood’s top designers and visual effects geniuses from Star Trek The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Serenity, Babylon 5, Harry Potter, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Space Command is being made as an online series, but Zicree is open to bringing in a network or platform such as Amazon or Netflix. So far, the Internet has been an invaluable tool, allowing the Star Trek writer to work with people around the world, and have Space Command find a substantial fan base that’s passionate about the series. Zicree says that creating one’s own show without the aid of a big network was impossible when he started in television. Back then, you needed a network or studio to reach an audience, and there were only a handful of them out there. That’s not the case today. Anyone could have their own podcast or shoot their own web series using their phone. Zicree says what’s most important is the relationship he has with his audience. The studios and networks act as a conduit, connecting a creator to his or her audience. If Zicree does bring a network or platform into the mix, it would be to help expand his reach, and connect with audience members he may not have access to otherwise.
Space Commmand is currently raising money on Kickstarter to complete visual effects and post-production on the first story of the series. Any additional funds made will be used to make the second installment. Here is a link to the campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/58936338/space-command-redemption?ref=creator_nav
I asked Zicree if he had any advice for those who wanted to create their own online series, and he had some inspirational words to share. He said, “Any dream you have, do it. Don’t be stopped by anyone. If anyone is toxic in your life, cut them out. Do not let them rob you of your dream.” He also said to become clear about what you really want. Ask yourself, “what is your big dream?” Once you know what your big dream is, hang onto that dream, become a warrior for that dream. Start making small actions toward realizing your objective. If you want to make a sci-fi show, start by using your phone camera. Even if it’s crap, it’s better that it exists because as long as it exists, you can start to make it better and better. Don’t be afraid to try. Make affiliations with artists, actors, directors, producers, and writers who can help you in creating your dreams. Start thinking of forming your team. Zicree’s dear friend and mentor, Ray Bradbury, would say, “Jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.”