Nacelle CEO Brian Volk-Weiss on Gates McFadden’s InvestiGates and Other Trek Projects (NYCC)

Nacelle is the company behind The Toys That Made Us, The Movies That Made Us, Behind the Attraction, The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek, and so much more.  One week ago today, at New York Comic Con, CEO Brian Volk-Weiss announced the return of Gates McFadden’s podcast, InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are?  The second season will again feature other Star Trek personalities, this time from both legacy and new series.  Included in the guest lineup are Kate Mulgrew, Tawny Newsome, and Anson Mount.

At their panel, Nacelle also announced a forthcoming book, titled “Star Trek III …Remember: The Uncensored and Unauthorized 40th Anniversary Oral History of Star Trek III” by Ed Gross, scheduled for publication in December 2023.  Plus, they’ll soon be launching NacellePop, a new streaming channel, where viewers will be able to watch nearly anything the company’s produced.

Volk-Weiss has chatted with us previously, before the release of The Center Seat, and I caught up with him again on the show floor.  And speaking of that docu-series, he said, “I cannot confirm that we’re not doing more Center Seat, or that we are doing more, but I can tell you, it’s the number one question – We now get asked more, ‘When’s the next season of Center Seat?’ than we get asked, ‘When’s the next season of Toys that Made Us or Movies that Made Us?’ I would love to make more. I want to do the Next Gen films, that’s what I want to do. That would be the end of it, if we did.”

We also spoke about the return of InvestiGates and working with Gates McFadden.  “I can’t gush about her any more. She’s funny. I don’t think people understand how funny she is. She’s cool. She’s cooler than me. She’s cooler than 95% of the people I know. She’s just cool.”  And on the prospect of the podcast continuing beyond the second season, he said, “As long as she wants to do the show, we’ll do the show. She is very quality-minded, and she will know when to stop. She’s not gonna be one of these people that as long as we’re writing checks, she will keep doing it. Cause I’ll keep writing checks. No problem. I trust her to tell me, ‘Brian, there’s no one left I want to talk to.’ And when she says that, it’s probably when we’ll be done.”

Volk-Weiss also took the time to defend Star Trek III, and the choice to celebrate it with a deep dive 40th Anniversary oral history.  “The problem the movie has is, unlike Empire Strikes Back, it’s in the middle between two massive hits. So Star Trek II, I would argue, saved Star Trek. Star Trek IV brought in a whole new era, a whole new generation of fandom. And then Star Trek III is stuck in the middle. But I love it.”  Why does he love it so much?  “It’s the scene where the Enterprise is burning through the atmosphere and Kirk says, ‘My God, what have I done?’ And Bones says, ‘What you had to do, what you always do: Turned death into a fighting chance to live.’  To me, that’s what that movie’s about. It’s about dealing with loss, which is set up at the end of Star Trek II.”

So what in part of this franchise would he like Nacelle to tackle next?  “It’s unlimited what I would do if I could do it. To be honest with you, I’d love to do a deeper dive into Star Trek I. I could do six episodes on The Motion Picture. Everything about the making of that movie didn’t make sense. It was supposed to be a TV show, the budget tripled while making it, they shipped it with literally the prints still wet, scenes weren’t finished. And it still worked. And, as you know, they reused the sets for like 30 years.”

And, of course, when talking Trek, we have to get a little fannish, and Volk-Weiss expressed his frustration with the Playmates action figure line of the 90s: “We have enough Captain Kirks. We have enough Spocks. We have enough Picards. We have enough Rikers. Please make Jellico from ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ Parts I and II. My favorite episode except for ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise.’ Please.”  Personally, I’d have to agree with this sentiment, though I’m usually pleading for a Kai Winn.  “Playmates made like 2000 figures. How did they not…? They made Salamander Tom Paris. They made Mutated Geordi. How does that guy (Jellico) not get a figure?”  Now that they have the license once more, maybe they’ll rectify that situation.

Be sure to check out Nacelle and follow the company’s various social accounts to stay up-to-date with all of their Trek – and, I suppose non-Trek – projects.

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