Since August, when Creation Vegas con-goers realized what should have been obvious all along—that any "new" Star Trek: The Experience in downtown Vegas at Neonopolis (model, above) is months if not years away—the drip of rumors and interest has dried up considerably.
Now comes a story in the Las Vegas Sun I have not seen breathlessly hyperlinked everywhere—yet—but there's nothing new there, only to stay "it's still alive."
As local developer and year-old CBS licensee Rohit Joshi told me earlier this year, and as I still hear from sources, there's still two hurdles to cross before opening day: the slow economy for both investment and tourism, and the design, approval and contruction phase of at least a couple years. Remember, development on the original Experience began in 1995 if not earlier, and it didn't open til January 1998—and the universe for both design and approval is much more splintered than it was back then.
A simple jigsaw recycle of architectural pieces, an early crutch for a faster or temp re-open, was eventually discarded as impractical, Joshi told me months ago. So now ... How much of the new JJverse from ST '09 to include—visually, if not thematically? How much of the feel and the nostalgia of the old Experience to retain, or of the older series—and how much to reinvent? How do you balance the fans' notoriously precise needs with what draws the general tourist? What aspect of Trekland do the museum, shops, eateries, bars and especially the rides represent, and how will technology (and available space) dictate for the next generation?
I've seen a couple of basic passes at floor plans, but those are pretty prelim from a year ago: A lot of folks from a lot of different turf need to sit down at the table and hash this out... folks who do not know each other near as well, nor are all located on the same Paramount lot, as did the first group to do so. Production of active Star Trek was not only a going concern, but was a tight bundle of series and movies under one roof; today there's only JJ's Bad Robot for a movie every couple years or so, and the prior series/films' DVDs make the big news.
I'm betting a picked-up economy will be a great catalyst for forward movement, but even then you've got to have a vision that doesn't look like it was approved by a committee. Not impossible—but it takes the T-word.
And another factor fans overlook: it's not all about them. The local scene is a big part of this: Neonopolis is part of a needed downtown revitalizing effort that's been up and down and always under the microscope for years in Vegas, and Joshi's complex has to have other component tenants that make a logical fit with each other...and the rest of the area.
Add it all up ... and it's still a while before the Warp Core Breaches and Holy Rings of Betazed are being slung again at Quarks—or wherever. But nobody's giving up any time soon.
(Neonopolis model: LN photo)