Generations of fans venture ‘Into Darkness’

MARSHALL – The premier of the newest “Star Trek” movie at the stroke of midnight on Thursday was poorly attended, but true diehard fans showed generations of loyalty.

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” is the latest in the iconic series beginning in 1966 of five live-action TV series, one animated show, 12 movies and hundreds of books.

The midnight premier was preceded by a two-hour special on Wednesday night on The History Channel about the impact of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision on the lives of scientists and engineers who are creating the future they first saw on “Star Trek” as children.

According to Terry Jackson, manager of the Marshall 6 Theater, the premier was originally scheduled for Friday morning but changed without explanation two weeks ago. A middle-of-the-week premier after Southwest Minnesota State University students have gone home for the summer practically guaranteed a low turnout.

Attendees tended to be high school students who were introduced to the series by their parents, but a few were old enough to remember the original series when reruns were ubiquitous on television.

Jeff Dorman, 18, has been a Star Trek fan for two years.

“My dad introduced me,” Dorman said. “He was a big fan, went to conventions and such.”

Dorman said picking a favorite episode was tough, but he liked the one about the monster underground (“The Devil in the Dark”) and “the one where Spock was on trial.” (“Menagerie”)

Colton Citrowske, 18, came from Balaton to see the premier.

“I watched the original series with my dad when he’d rent them,” Citrowske said. “I watched ‘The Next Generation.’ I loved ‘The Wrath of Khan’ (movie).”

Myah Nelson, 35, watched reruns of the original series as a child and was barely old enough to catch “The Next Generation” when it was first broadcast.

“When I was a kid, I watched the original with my mom,” Nelson said. “Then when ‘The Next Generation’ came along, I wondered how it was going to be as good, and it was so much better.”

When director J.J. Abrams went back to the beginning and completely rebooted the original series with the next-to-last “Star Trek” movie, Nelson was skeptical.

“I waited till it came out on DVD, but I loved it, it was awesome,” Nelson said. “I’m always a little bit skeptical because (series) ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ was awful and ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ was terrible and most of the movies except ‘The Voyage Home.'”

Nelson came by her love of the science fiction genre honestly.

“I was actually named for a character in a cheesy ’70s SciFi series, ‘Space 1999,'” she said.

Stephen and Julie Seward from St. Louis were visiting relatives in Marshall and took in the premier.

“I grew up on ‘Star Trek,'” Stephen Seward said. “My parents were big Trekkies, especially my mom.”

Julie Seward has also been a fan since childhood.

“It wasn’t ‘Star Trek’ that brought us together,” Julie Seward said, “but if he didn’t like ‘Star Trek,’ we probably wouldn’t have stayed together.”

However one attendee, Damien Klemensen, 18, was a newbie, unique among the audience.

“This is the first time I’ve watched a movie, I was invited,” Klemensen said.

With generations of fans present, one would expect the film maker had a high standard to live up to.

“I actually enjoyed it,” Klemensen said after the film. “It’s a mixture of comedy, action and drama.”

Asked if he was disappointed, Dorman said emphatically, “Not at all!”

Nelson was one of the fans so familiar with the “Star Trek” universe she was able to identify all of the allusions and references to the previous series and films.

“I thought it was an action-packed thrill ride with tribbles,” Nelson said, referring to a small furry animal featured in the movie and an episode of the original series.

Chris Clarke and his oldest daughter Megan, 17, from Ivanhoe made it a an inter-generational experience.

“I used to watch the original,” Chris Clarke said. “This was pretty good.”

Megan Clarke came dressed in the uniform shirt with Star Fleet insignia.

“I really enjoyed it,” Megan Clarke said. “But now I’ve got to get home, I’ve got school tomorrow.”