‘By Grabthar's Hammer’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Galaxy Quest’

‘By Grabthar's Hammer’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Galaxy Quest’

Certainly, one of the best sci-fi parodies ever made, Galaxy Quest might not have dominated the 1999 box office, but it sure did the hearts of Trekkies across the globe. The satirical space comedy follows a bunch of actors best known for their cult hit TV show, Galaxy Quest, who find themselves in a real-alien-world scenario where fans know better, and an alien species think their TV show is an actual documentary. It’s all very fun, the movie’s cast members are all at their finest (yes, even Tim Allen), and everyone clearly had a blast making the movie. On the latter count, check out this video where Sigourney Weaver and her co-stars rap a birthday song for her agent on set:

For more, here’s a shuttle of trivia delights about the movie in which Sam Rockwell screams like a child for a full five seconds...

Harold Ramis Was Initially Going to Direct It

DreamWorks originally hired the Ghostbusters co-writer to take on its Star Trek parody, but Ramis wasn’t feeling Tim Allen for the lead. “I had a very peculiar lunch with (DreamWorks founding partner) Jeff Katzenberg and Harold Ramis,” Allen told The Hollywood Reporter. “Katzenberg pitched me the idea of the commander character, and then they started talking, and it became clear that Ramis didn’t see me for the part. It was pretty uncomfortable.” He added that Ramis’ idea of Galaxy Quest felt like a version of Spaceballs to him. “For some reason, he was hung up on having an action star who could be funny versus a comedian who could do action.”

Weaver, too, was frustrated about Ramis’ choice of casting. “I had heard that Harold was directing a sci-fi movie, but he didn’t want anyone who had done sci-fi in the film,” the Alien actress said. “Frankly, it’s those of us who have done science-fiction movies that know what is funny about the genre.”

The Movie Paid to Have Goblin Valley State Park Paved

While most of the movie was filmed in Los Angeles, the alien planet scenes (as seen in the clip up above) were shot at the Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. During production, the terrain was tough to navigate thanks to the complete lack of paved roads, so the park used the funds acquired from the production company to build an asphalt path.

The Inspiration Behind the Thermians

The group of actors (including Rainn Wilson, Enrico Colantoni and Missi Pyle) who portrayed the alien race known as the Thermians attended a “Thermian school” for a week during pre-production to figure out how these blob monsters would walk and talk in their human forms. Their stiff-legged walks were inspired by the super-marionettes from the 1960s TV series Fireball XL5.

Tony Shalhoub’s Lines Kept Changing Every Day

Director Dean Parisot said that the Monk actor greatly helped shape his character, Fred Kwan/Tech Sergeant Chen, who served as a parody of non-Asian actors playing Asian characters. “It’s a tribute to the other actors that they were open to us changing my lines every day,” Shalhoub said about the challenging interpretation of his character, while Parisot explained that the actor took inspiration from David Carradine in Kung Fu. “And the story goes — I don’t know if it’s true — that David Carradine was completely stoned all of the time on that show. Dialogue would just come out of his head, and people would just stare at each other and think, ‘Where did that come from?’ We knew we couldn’t do a stoner because we needed to hit a PG-13, but we basically suggested that.”

The ‘Westworld’ Tribute

Co-writer Robert Gordon said that the scene where Quellek (played by Patrick Breen) says, “I’m shot,” was a tribute to the same line said the exact same way in Westworld.

“The little blue babies are a nod to Barbarella, cute and then mean,” he further explained, referring to the childlike aliens on the Martian planet who may or may not have been both miners and minors.

Apparently, There’s an R-Rated Version

Producer Lindsey Collins told Collider that she once met with Weaver and that the actress told them about an R-rated cut of the movie. “We had lunch with Sigourney, who was telling us that there actually used to be an R-rated version of (Galaxy Quest), which was awesome,” Collins revealed. “It was the director’s cut, and it was R-rated, and everybody was swearing, and there were sex scenes, and the whole thing. They didn’t know what to do with it, so they had to re-edit the whole thing and made it what it is today. We were like, ‘How do we get our hands on the R-rated version of Galaxy Quest?’ She said, ‘I don’t know!’ and we were like, ‘Come on, Sigourney!’”

One piece of proof that the film was changed to make it more kid-friendly can be spotted in the “Chomper” scene, where it’s pretty clear Weaver is actually saying “Fuck that” instead of “Screw that.”

Sam Rockwell Wanted to Turn It Down

“I auditioned for the part, but once I got it, I was reluctant to play Guy Fleegman,” Rockwell has said. The actor, at that point, wanted to do more serious projects and follow in the footsteps of actors like Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis. “Then I thought about Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Michael Keaton in Night Shift. I figured I could play Guy Fleegman and still do The Deer Hunter. I can play a buffoon and then turn it around with a versatile role in the next film.”

A Lot of Actors Were Considered for the Lead Role of Jason Nesmith/Commander Peter Quincy Taggart

When Ramis was still in charge, he considered many actors for the part that would ultimately go to Allen, including Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and Kevin Kline. Actors who were reportedly considered for other parts were Jennifer Coolidge as Laliari the Thermian (played by Missi Pyle), Paul Rudd as Guy (Rockwell) and Kieran Culkin as Brandon, the fanboy played by Justin Long in his feature film debut.

Steven Spielberg Had a Hand in the Movie

Long said that someone told him (he couldn’t remember who) that his character wasn’t in the original script. Apparently, Spielberg suggested they add an “element to connect to the fans, a human element.” 

Missi Pyle, in turn, said that it was Spielberg who “saw my character and makeup and decided she should be a bigger part. I was only supposed to be in two scenes, and then they realized they didn’t have another female except Sigourney Weaver. And I just think, ‘Am I in a dream because this is ridiculous?’ So they added the relationship with Tony Shalhoub’s character.”

There Was a Fake Documentary to Promote the Movie

Titled Galaxy Quest: 20th Anniversary, The Journey Continues, the mockumentary ran on E! and featured the cast as their characters, talking about the making of their Galaxy Quest TV series within the movie’s universe.

George Takei Praised the Movie for Its Accuracy

When asked what he thought about the movie parodying his famous franchise, Takei said he couldn’t stop laughing when he first saw it. “The details in it, I recognized every one of them,” the actor who portrayed Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek said. “I was rolling in the aisles. And Tim Allen had that Shatner-esque swagger down pat. And I roared when the shirt came off, and Sigourney rolls her eyes and says, ‘There goes that shirt again.’ How often did we hear that on the set?”

It Was Rainn Wilson’s First Movie

While Wilson had a supporting role in the TV film, The Expendables, Galaxy Quest was his first feature, in which he played the Thermian, Lahnk.

There Was Almost a Sequel

Talking to Chris Harwick, Rockwell said that Amazon, at one point, was trying to get a sequel going. “They were going to do a sequel on Amazon, and we were ready to sign up for it,” the actor said on an episode of the Nerdist podcast. “And you know, Alan Rickman passed away, and Tim Allen wasn’t available, he has a show, and everybody’s schedule was all weird. It was going to shoot, like, right now. And how do you fill that void of Alan Rickman? That’s a hard void to fill.”

A TV show spin-off, however, seems to be in the works over at Paramount+.

Fans Have Rated It As One of the Best ‘Star Trek’ Movies of All Time

While technically not a Star Trek movie, fans don’t seem to care about such trivial semantics as they ranked Galaxy Quest at number 7 on the list of all-time best Trek movies in 2013. The parody film beat out Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek Into Darkness, which came dead last for some inexplicable reason.


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