Saturday, September 14, 2013

Film Fantasy Calendar December 1988


At some point in the 80’s Starlog added a monthly column called the “Film Fantasy Calendar” which gave the anticipated release date for upcoming sci-fi and fantasy movies. I am not sure why they called it the “Film Fantasy” calendar, maybe because a lot of the dates and some of the movies turned out to be a fantasy! Let’s see how they did with this one. The dates after the movie title are the actual release dates. The calendar only provided titles, so it can be a little difficult to figure out some of these.


Scrooged – 11/23/1988

Oliver & Company – 11/13/1988

Vengeance: The Demon – 1/13/1989 (as Pumpkinhead)

The Land Before Time – 11/18/1988

Watchers – 12/2/1988

Cocoon: The Return – 11/23/1988

Hellhound: Hellraiser II – 12/23/1988


My Stepmother is an Alien – 12/9/1988

Winter/Spring 1989

Second Sight – 11/3/1989

Millennium – 8/25/1989

The Fly II – 2/10/1989

The Punisher – 10/5/1989

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen – 3/10/1989

SpiderMan – The only thing I can find related to Spiderman at that time is a fan film called Viva Spider-Man.

Warlock – 1/11/1991

Nightbreed – 2/16/1990

Witch Hunt – Not sure what this is. Maybe it was a working title for Warlock and they did realize it was the same movie.

Parents – 1/27/1989

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure – 2/17/1989

Summer 1989

Ghostbusters II – 6/16/1989

Back to the' Future II – 11/22/1989

Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade – 5/24/1989

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – 6/9/1989

Batman – 6/23/1989

The Abyss – 8/9/1989

License Revoked – 7/14/1989 (as License to Kill)

Grounded  - This could be Tremors which was released in January of 1990. The title Grounded sort of fits that movie.

Leviathan – 3/17/1989

Sgt. Rock – Arnold Schwarzenegger had planned to play the title role in this film but it never materialized.

Winter 1989

The Little Mermaid – 11/17/1989

Strat – See my post about this movie.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Battleground: Earth

I have talked about a few movies that were mentioned in Starlog but never materialized, and I am sure I will cover quite a few more of these. There are also projects mentioned in Starlog that took a long time to become a reality. One of example of this comes from Issue 7 (August 1977). In the Star Trek Report column it talks about some of the other projects that Gene Roddenberry had in the works including this one:

Another possible Roddenberry project is a pilot for CBS television called Battleground: Earth. Set in Earth's immediate future, the series deals with subversive infiltration of this planet by a superior alien race. The pilot script is by Brian McKay (McCabe & Mrs. Miller), based on a story by Gene Roddenberry. We are presently awaiting word from Twentieth Century-Fox on a beginning production date.

This project became a reality 20 years later (and six years after Roddenbery’s death) under the guidance of Majel Barret-Roddenberry, in the form of the syndicated series Earth: Final Conflict. Gene Roddenberry was given the writing credit on the actual pilot episode of the series, but you can read Brian McKay’s original script here. Anyone familiar with the show will find a lot of familiar things in the original script including a lot of the names and the general setup for the story. One of the big differences in the original script (spoiler alert) is that the audience and Boone find out that the Taelons have a clearly nefarious purpose in coming to Earth. The series kept the Taelons intentions a mystery for quite some time and in the end they turn out to not actually be here to conquer the Earth.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mars Exploration


Starlog’s primary focus was sci-fi and fantasy, but they also did articles on science fact, especially about the space program. Just like the fiction news, some times that fact news didn’t come about as expected either.

In issue 6 (June 1977) there was an article about what we would see from NASA as a follow up to the successful Mars Viking mission, he is an excerpt:

The mission that NASA is now working on is the one that many space scientists would have preferred as the initial investigation. It calls for landing a pair of Mars Rovers ("Vikings on Wheels") on that planet's surface in the early 1980's. The Rovers would gather scientific data from several wide-ranging areas and send it to their mother Orbiter for relay to Earth. It is projected that these mission-controlled vehicles could travel up to three  miles a day and help one another as needed.

NASA did have plans for a Mars rover mission in the late 70’s or early 80’s but they never made it off the drawing board. You can read more about them in these two articles from Wired:

Mars Multi-Rover Mission (1977)

A 1979 Mars Rover Mission (1970)

This timeline turned out to be far to optimistic. After Viking the next successful Mars mission wouldn’t come until 1988 with the Russian Phobos 2 mission,  a rover wouldn’t make it to Mars until the NASA Mars Pathfinder mission in 1996, and the plans for dual rovers on Mars would have to wait until the Mars Exploration Rover missions in 2003.