PRESCOTT - The new film "Star Trek Into Darkness" will beam into theaters Friday, May 17, and the novel based on the film will appear nationwide four days later.
And there's someone in town who's already seen it.
Prescott-based author Alan Dean Foster knows everything there is to know about the closely guarded film - as he penned the film's novelization.
Like everyone involved in the motion picture, he too has been sworn to utmost secrecy when it comes to the plot. The Internet has been a swarm of activity regarding the identity of the film's villain in particular. The true identity of the character of John Harrison, played by English actor Benedict Cumberbatch, has been a well-kept secret. Foster knows, but he's not letting anything out of the bag.
"I think it's better than the first film," Foster said. "All the actors in the first film were still finding their way around the roles. They're all playing the same characters now, so it's something they don't have to work on. That's one of the good things that comes out of sequels."
Foster traveled to Los Angeles where he viewed a rough cut of the film. When later edits developed, Foster was subsequently kept in the loop.
"I had to do a lot of last-minute rewriting," Foster said. "It took a couple of months. There were breaks in between as they were making changes to the film. I wrote 'Alien' in three weeks because it had to be done quickly. Most of these things, they want them yesterday."
One hiccup when it comes to quick novelizations, he said, is waiting for the publisher, which can take 10 to 12 months of lead-time.
Foster is the author of the popular "Icerigger" trilogy, the "Spellsinger" novel, the "Pip and Flinx" series and the "Humanx Commonwealth" novels.
Though he's already seen the film, Foster said he still plans to see the movie on the big screen.
"I love seeing the audience's reaction," he said. "Even though I have no financial interest in the film itself, I'm always curious to see if the audience reacts the same way to a story that I reacted. When I was writing Alien, I did it mostly at night, and it just scared the Dickens out of me," Foster said.
Besides his most recent Star Trek novelization, Foster also wrote the novelization for the prior film, 2009's "Star Trek," nor is he a stranger to film novelizations. Foster's written books based on the films "Krull," "The Black Hole," the first three "Alien" novels, "Pale Rider" and many others. He's also written original novels based on Star Trek, Star Wars and more.
Foster most recently participated as a speaker during Prescott Film Festival's Sci-Fi Mini-Fest on the Yavapai College Campus. Foster spoke April 21 about his Star Wars novel "Splinter of the Mind's Eye." He also introduced the film "Forbidden Planet," which screened during the festival. Foster can also be heard on the special features of the film on DVD.
"This is the sort of things that towns the size of Prescott always aspire to, but never manage to bring off. It's a great thing the people in Prescott were able to do that. It's a remarkable town," Foster said.
He's currently working on a couple of projects, including a film to be shot entirely in China, a possible adaptation of his "Spellsinger" novels and a project involving William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek television and film series.