Fifteen years ago, Galaxy Quest premiered in the U.S., adorably and amusingly skewering the sci-fi movie genre in ways that remain funny and fresh to this day. To celebrate, here are 20 things you might not have known about the movie that proved you don’t have to set out for space on the U.S.S. Enterprise in order to explore brave new worlds.
1. The film had to cut out some salty language in order to get a PG rating
But some of the original dialogue is easy enough to spot. For instance, during a memorable scene, Sigourney Weaver yells, “Screw that!” but her lips are quite clearly saying, “F**k that!”
2. The film took aim at film critics before it even hit the big screen
You know the movie's big baddie, Sarris? He was reportedly named after film critic Andrew Sarris, who was outspoken about his dislike of producer Mark Johnson’s previous effort, The Natural.
3. Alan Rickman’s character was originally a knight
Well, kind of. His Alexander Dane was supposed to have been the recipient of an honorary knighting by Queen Elizabeth, but Rickman himself thought that such an event didn’t jibe with his character. Still, Dane is billed as “Sir Alexander Dane” in the film’s credits.
4. A fake documentary about the film aired on E! in 1999
“Galaxy Quest: 20th Anniversary, The Journey Continues” was a mockumentary that (quite effectively) tapped into the movie's universe and attempted to chronicle the making of the fake Galaxy Quest television show that inspired the satirical film.
5. There might still be a sequel
Fans of the film have been begging for a follow-up for years, but recent comments from star Tim Allen hint that something might actually be in the works, nearly twenty years on. At the very least, there are plenty of ideas for the script and other cast members have expressed interest in revisiting the material.
6. It’s the seventh greatest Star Trek movie ever made
At least, according to Trekkers who voted on the matter during the Star Trek 2013 convention in Las Vegas.
7. The film’s aspect ratio changed in theaters to help hammer home the story
In theaters, the first twenty minutes of the film were presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, before blowing out into 2.35:1 when the spaceship lands on Thermia. Eye-popping!
8. The film was one of the first to use its own website
Although you can’t see GalaxyQuest.com anymore, the site was once live, and it amusingly took the whole “fake television show” gag to the next level. Instead of being a standard issue movie website, the page kept up the ruse that Galaxy Quest was a real show with real stars. It even included a giant trove of fake episode guides.
9. The website even invented a fake, superfan webmaster
His name was “Travis Latke,” and no one else loved Galaxy Quest quite as much as he did. The site included references and nods to "Travis," who took the time to thank his mom for paying the website’s server bills.
10. The film’s spaceship includes a nod to Star Trek
The NSEA Protector's serial number is listed as NTE 3120. “NTE” is believed to be short for “Not The Enterprise.”
11. The film was star Justin Long’s feature debut
Hard to believe, especially considering the young co-star had a major role in the final product. Long had previously goofed around with a comedy troupe, but Galaxy Quest was his first actual gig. Not a bad start.
12. It was also Rainn Wilson’s first movie
The Office star appears as one of the aliens in the film, and though his part is mainly confined to background work, he pops up in a number of deleted scenes. This was Wilson’s first feature film work—he had only been credited for a role on the soap opera One Life to Live before landing the part.
13. It was originally known as “Captain Starshine”
And it was set to be directed by Ghostbusters' Harold Ramis. However, Ramis reportedly left the project when they insisted on casting Tim Allen in the lead role.
14. Ramis’ first choice for the part was Kevin Kline
Another option the original director wanted to explore was Alec Baldwin. Disney didn’t dig either choice and Ramis left the film, unhappy with his inability to cast it as he saw fit.
15. The Thermians might be related to another cinematic alien race
The Thermians claim to be from the planet “Klaatu Nebula.” “Klaatu” is the name of the alien from the 1951 alien invasion thriller The Day The Earth Stood Still.
16. The film itself promises a return that also echoes Star Trek
At the end of Galaxy Quest, a trailer touts the return of the fake television series, slated to come back a full eighteen years after the show originally aired. Star Trek also saw an eighteen-year gap between two of its television series (1969 to 1987). Like Galaxy Quest, its film outings were not included in that gap.
17. Tim Allen almost starred in Bicentennial Man instead
The sci-fi film wound up starring Robin Williams and notoriously bombed at the box office.
18. Long almost lost his role to some other well-known actors
Given his newbie status in the business, it’s no surprise Long almost didn’t snag the part. Other actors auditioned and came close, including Kieran Culkin, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Tom Everett Scott.
19. You can thank Steven Spielberg for that romantic subplot
When the director visited the set, he suggested that Missi Pyle’s alien role be expanded, which is why a subplot involving a romance between her and Tony Shaloub was added in.
20. Sigourney Weaver kept her wig when shooting was over
And who can blame her? That thing looked amazing on her.