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File:Galaxy-Quest-Poster.jpg

In 1982, Galaxy Quest, a series very much like Star Trek, was cancelled. Eighteen years later, its washed-up stars are fixtures on the fan circuit, though most of them despise the show, its fans, and each other. Only Jason Nesmith (played by Tim Allen), the egomaniac actor who played The Captain, is still enjoying himself -- and the rest of the cast think he's a total jerk (again, very much like Star Trek).

One day, a hungover Jason is approached by what he believes to be a group of fans who want him to star in an amateur film. Only when the "film" is over does he realize that it was all real. He had been abducted by real aliens, and taken to a real spaceship, a perfect copy of the show's Protector, where he'd fought a real space battle.

When the aliens ask him to pay a return visit, Jason ropes in the rest of the main cast, plus one Red Shirt, for what Jason believes will be more ego-boosting fun. Instead, the actors find that they are the last hope of the Thermians, a race of naïve aliens fighting a losing war, who mistakenly believe that Galaxy Quest was actually a documentary. They now have to play their roles for real, defeating an alien warlord with nothing more than mediocre acting skills.

This brilliant, loving parody of Star Trek (with aspects of the film Three Amigos) hangs a lampshade on most of its tropes. The film won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and the writers accepted the award almost in tears because they were so pleased that the Sci-Fi community "got it" - that the film was a valentine, not a sneer. And some fans consider it an honorary Star Trek film to begin with (especially because including it in the timeline helps keep the Star Trek Movie Curse straight).


This film provides examples (and in most case parodies) of:

 "Go for its vulnerable spot!"

"It's a rock monster! It doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"

  By Grabthar's hammer...What a savings!

  It's a core meltdown! It can't be stopped!

  • Bad News in a Good Way: "Heeey, guys. ...Listen, they're telling me the, uhh, the generators can't take it. Ship's breaking up and all that. Just FYI."
  • Bamboo Technology/Improvised Weapon: also lampshaded in the same scene. ("I know! You can make a weapon, look around you, can you construct some sort of rudimentary lathe?" "A lathe?!? Get off the line, Guy!") From the original Star Trek episode "Arena", in which Kirk literally made a cannon out of bamboo and gunpowder out of coal and sulfur and whatnot that he just happened to find lying around (though given the aliens had chosen a place of combat where either party could win, this likely wasn't just luck).
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Jason is badmouthed as delusional and a hack, eventually making him snap at his fans and get drunk.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Double Subverted.

 Guy (alarmed at shuttle door being opened): Don't open that! It's an alien planet! Is there air!? You don't know!!!

Fred: *sniff sniff* Seems okay.

  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted with the friendly, helpful, and generally benign Thermians, who look a lot nicer than Sarris and his crew... when their appearance generators are turned on, anyway. And again with the inhabitants of the planet they visit, who appear childlike and cute until the fangs come out.
  • Becoming the Mask: Over the course of their adventure, the actors become actual heroes.
  • Bishonen: The Thermians... sometimes.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: A classic example. Once Sarris has captured everyone, instead of just shooting them, he orders them to be thrown out of an airlock by just two guards.
  • Bowdlerise: A minor example. Watch Gwen's mouth when she sees the chompers and exclaims "Well screw that!" Clearly the filmmakers had a different second word in mind, which got altered after filming.
    • Also happens when Tommy tells Jason "You are so full of 'it', man!".
    • To get a lower rating, the filmmakers cut a minor scene which explains Fred and Guy's behavior throughout the movie. It arguably works better for Fred, as his calm demeanor is a better Lampshade for Scotty's frantic behavior.
  • Break the Cutie: Sarris forces Jason to do this to Mathesar by revealing that Galaxy Quest is fiction.
    • This is also part of the backstory. The Thermians were about as peaceful a people as you could imagine, not even aware of the concept of intentionally speaking flasehood. And then they met Sarris.
  • Brick Joke: Bet you forgot about the alien shot out of the airlock.
  • Bridge Bunny: Gwen, as a parody.
  • Brutal Honesty: One of the Thermians describes the pig-lizard's disintegration from the teleporter very matter-of-factly, much to Jason's chagrin.
  • Buffy-Speak: Happens during the first fight against Sarris

 Guy: "Red thingy moving toward the green thingy... I think we're the green thingy."

  • Can Not Tell a Lie: The Thermians have no concept of lying or fiction in their culture. The protagonists learn this the hard way. It gets even worse in that they're beginning to learn about malicious lying from Sarris, but still have no concept of benign fiction not intended to deceive.
  • Captain Obvious: A bit misleading, since this is not actually The Captain, but rather Gwen, since the show actually wrote her that way.
  • Cargo Cult: Arguably, the Thermians are an inversion of real-life cargo cults: they produce real, working technology based on nonfunctional, for-show templates.
  • Catch Phrase: "Never give up, never surrender!" "By Grabthar's Hammer!" (now hugely despised by its original user, especially since fans constantly repeat it to him.)
  • Car Meets House: In the final scene, a space shuttle crashes into a convention centre, injuring no one.
  • Charge Into Combat Cut: The camera cuts away just as Alexander starts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Omega-13.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mathesar, twice in a row; at the end, Jason Nesmith.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Midway through the film, Jason decides to practice his forward-roll maneuver (just like he did on the show) when the crew first lands on the rock planet. It comes in handy at the end, when he rolls out of the way to shoot Sarris.
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Alexander Dane. He's not quite an "extra", but he still held a very low opinion of his role.
    • The credits list him as "Sir Alexander Dane", which makes his appearances at Department Store grand openings all the more demeaning. (He once played Richard III, you know. There were five curtain calls.)
  • Clothing Damage: Gwen's costume gradually disintegrates over the course of the movie. Jason also tears his shirt just like William Shatner often did (which is Lampshaded by Alexander), and Alexander Dane's facial appliances gradually deteriorate.
  • Command Roster: Done in classic tradition, with the actors slowly becoming these roles for real.
  • Conversational Troping: Constantly.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: The parking lot at the end.
  • Cool Guns: Averted hard - Sarris' mooks' guns look like submarine sandwiches.
  • Cool Starship: The Protector, obviously. It's design is also a Fridge Brilliance reference to the Enterprise: instead of a disk-like primary hull and a cylindrical secondary hull, it has a cylindrical primary hull and a disk-like design for its secondary hull(s).
  • Crazy Prepared: Years of meticulous Fan Wank means Brandon and his friends know everything about the Protector, right down to the timing of the Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alexander.
  • Death Course: Again, lampshaded and parodied. Jason and Gwen have to navigate a death course complete with jets of fire, giant crushers, and tiny air vents, despite the fact that there is no rational reason for any of those things to be there. Why are they there? Because they were on the original TV show, so the Thermians have replicated them.
  • Decon Recon Switch: Many of the tropes involved are mocked on their first appearance and used straight later on.
  • Defictionalization: In-Universe example (essentially the whole main plot of the movie is a sci-fi show brought to real-life).
  • Doom Doors
  • Dumb Blonde: Gwen, at least in the show itself. (Sigourney Weaver stated that her IQ dropped significantly every time she put on the wig...)
  • Enfant Terrible: The beryllium miners.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Sarris
  • The Face: Parodied like everything else in the movie. The fact that Gwen has no technical speciality is lampshaded: Her 'social skills' amount to "repeating everything the computer says."
    • The Chick: Gwen really spoofs this. She gives a rant early in the movie about an interview that ended about "My boobs and how they fit into my suit." Her character in the in-universe original series plays it straight, for the actress it's an Enforced Trope because the aliens copied her function from the show.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: "Guy Fleegman" - and before that, it was just "Crewman Number 6". When he joins the cast of the new series, he's given a cool nickname to make up for it.
  • Fake Nationality: Parodied with Arab-American Tony Shalhoub playing Chinese-named Fred Kwan/Sgt. Chen, a reference to Japanese-American George Takei playing totally not Japanese-named Sulu on Star Trek the Original Series, Englishman Patrick Stewart playing French Jean-Luc Picard on TNG, and Canadian James Doohan playing Scotty.
    • Kwan isn't even his real name. He visibly squints for the camera in an attempt to make his eyes look Asian.
  • Fan Boy - The convention attendees and the Thermians.
  • Fan Convention
  • Fictional Counterpart
    • When interviewed about it, George Takei described it as a "chillingly realistic documentary".
    • Alan Rickman covers several bases: his character is a mix of Spock and Worf, and Alexander's inspired by Patrick Stewart as a classically trained stage actor (though he never resented his time as Captain Picard or took it as seriously as Dane, and continues to be successful in the theatre, including Shakespeare) and Leonard Nimoy's resentment that Spock hung over him for the rest of his career.
    • Gwen Demarco is definitely Counselor Troi and Commander Uhura. Other female leads had more active roles and this was before Linda Park. The bit about the interview references an actual interview Jeri Ryan, the actress playing Seven of Nine, had.
    • The big one: The Captain is all Kirk and Jason Nesmith is all Shatner. The relationship between Nesmith and the rest of the crew and the arc it follows in this series mirrors Shatner's relationship with the original series actors and his eventual reconciliation with them.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Thermians in their natural form are pink, squid-like entities. However, with "appearance generator" technology, they are able to change their appearance to appear less foreign to the humans.
  • Gallows Humor

 Jason Hey Sarris, how're you doing?

Sarris (shows the head of his lieutenant mounted on a stick) Better than my lieutenant!

  • Genre Blindness: Pretty much everyone except Guy. Played doubly straight with the Thermians. Sarris defeated them soundly in the backstory because of it, which he uses to hurt them again in the Break the Cutie moment.
    • Completely averted with Sarris, whose defeats tend to come because he has absolutely zero chance of knowing something ( Omega-13, or that the Thermians had based their beliefs on another culture's entertainment), or because he's an actual military leader, not merely pretending ( and thus didn't expect a deft maneuver that'd be suicide for any but the best pilots, from a pilot who nearly crashed the ship as they disembarked. Plus said maneuver was Crazy Enough to Work but would never be tried in real life; the actors did it because that would be the TV method of doing it).
  • Genre Savvy: Guy Fleegman, who berates the others for their Genre Blindness. Ironically, he is the only character who is not mortally wounded before Jason activates the Omega-13.

 Guy: Didn't you guys ever watch the show?!

    • Wrong Genre Savvy: On the other hand, Guy goes nearly the entire film believing himself to be a Red Shirt because he played one.
      • He's not the only one.

 Gwen: Let's get out of here before one of those things kills Guy!

    • In possibly one of the most well done moments of villain genre savviness ever, once shown the "historical documents" Sarris is the only nonhuman character who actually realizes that he is dealing with actors who have been mistaken for real explorers. This implies that unlike the Thermians, his own race produces entertainment.

  Sarris: How adorable. The actors are going to play war with me!

      • Which creates a bit of Fridge Horror when you realize the Big Bad empathizes with humans much easier than the kind, gentle Thermians.
  • Glory Days: Jason Nesmith hasn't done anything since Galaxy Quest. Alexander Dane bemoans that he was a 'proper' Shakespearian Actors before Galaxy Quest.
  • Godzilla Threshold: What's that? Sarris is killing your crew and the only thing that could stop him is a device that could possibly destroy the universe? Well, turn it on!
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Alexander Dane, played to perfection by Alan Rickman. You can feel the self-loathing as he has to say "that stupid line". However, he's ready to bask in adulation for saving the Thermians - until they all yell joyously that "Captain Naismith has saved us!"

 Dane: (sighing) It's just not fair.

  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: "OH, THAT'S NOT RIGHT!"
  • Hellish Pupils: Sarris's eyes are yellowish-green with dual pupils (one large one and a smaller one next to it).
  • Hero Insurance: The crash landing at the end sure looks like it must have killed and wounded a bunch of people, and it certainly destroyed a whole bunch of property. No one cares.
  • Human Aliens: Subverted when it turns out that the cephalopod-like Thermians use "appearance generators" to put the visiting Earthlings at ease (and presumably, to man the Protector II prior to their arrival).
  • Humorless Aliens: The Thermians appear to be like this (until the end, at least).
  • I Knew It!: In-universe, this is Brandon's reaction when Jason tells him it's all real.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Tommy Webber at the helm, Fred Kwan on the Digital Conveyor, justified because the controls were designed by the Thermians replicating them from the "Historical Documents".
    • And at least in Weber's case, he had worked out in his head what the controls did and applied that consistently throughout the original television show. Also a Shout-Out to Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher, as he did the same thing on the set of Next Generation.
      • Itself a bit of a Shout-Out to child actors. Since child labor laws prevent children from being on set as often as other actors, they're absolutely grilled in rehearsals to avoid filming delays.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:

 Gwen: "Where are you going?"

Alex: "To see if there's a pub!"

    • In the next scene Alex has an empty glass with a twisty straw.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: "We're actors, not astronauts!"
  • Innocent Aliens: The Thermians are the very personification of this trope.
    • For example, the concept of deception is completely foreign to them, to the point that they don't even know what actors are.
  • Interspecies Romance: Fred and Laliari, who decides to go to Earth with her new hubby and star in the reboot under the name "Jane Doe"
  • Inventional Wisdom: The Chompers
  • Ironic Echo: Alan Rickman's character hates his Catch Phrase, but says it with real feeling for probably the first time in decades after Quellek is shot.
  • Irony: Guy spends the whole movie complaining about being a Red Shirt. When Sarris sneaks on board the bridge of the ship and starts shooting everyone, Guy is the only person he doesn't hit.
  • Is This Thing Still On?/Nonverbal Miscommunication - Jason make a "cut transmission" gesture to Gwen, then turns around and describes Sarris as being "as stupid as he is ugly", and trying to think of a way to trick him. Unfortunately, Gwen misunderstood the gesture to mean "we're dead," and the transmission kept running. (Of course, even had she interpreted the instruction correctly, she still wouldn't have known how to follow it.)
  • Jerkass: Some guys Jason heard talking negatively about the show in the restroom.
  • Just in Time: Parodied -- on the show, bombs only ever stopped when the timer was at 1, so the self-destruct device on the new ship is designed to only stop with one second left no matter when the emergency stop button is pressed.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Sarris is an extremely disturbing villain for a PG-rated movie, never mind a science fiction comedy. A genocidal sadistic torturer who not only guns down most of the main characters but beheads his second-in-command, and, to top it all off, he has a Nightmare Fuel worthy design.
  • Lampshade Hanging. All over the place. A very weird sort of Lampshade Hanging, because most of the tropes lampshaded are ones used in the Show Within a Show, not tropes in the movie's plotline itself.
  • Magic Countdown
  • Magnificent Seven: Spoofed.
  • Mandatory Line
  • Mauve Shirt: Guy Fleegman (for laughs) and Quellek (for tears).
  • The Mean Brit: Sir Alexander Dane, of the Jerk with a Heart of Gold variety.
  • Meaningful Echo: Alexander finally says his catchphrase and means it near the end of the film, when a Thermian who idolized him is killed.
  • Meaningful Name: Guy's first name is a generic term for a male - which was his role in the show.
    • Jason Nesmith shares a last name with Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Despite being a major talent in his own right (he won the first Grammy for a music video, has written famous songs and produced popular movies), he's still most recognized for being in a boy band, lip synching, and not playing his own instruments.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: After the crew escape from Sarris' attempt to blow them out of an airlock.
  • Missing Mission Control: Guy only tags along on the planet drop at first because he doesn't want to be "the guy who stays on the ship and gets killed", before realising he could still be "the guy who lands on the planet and gets killed after five minutes".
  • Ms. Fanservice: Gwen DeMarco, and she's well aware of it.
    • Worth mentioning: When TV Guide interviewed Jeri Ryan about playing Seven of Nine, a good chunk of the article was about her costume and how exactly she filled it out. Clearly, the writers did the research...
  • Naughty Tentacles: A doubly-rare example in that the "victim" is both male and fully willing. Made even more hilarious when you remember that the "victim" eventually becomes Adrian Monk. It probably helped that he was an alien himself.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: "You broke the ship, you broke the bloody ship!"
  • Nitro Boost

 Sir Alexander Dane: You don't hold the turbo down, it's for quick boosts!

Jason Nesmith: Oh, like you know!

  • No Biochemical Barriers
  • No Name Given: Guy was one of these in the show, identified only as "Crew Member #6". His panic over the fact that this was not unconnected to his Red Shirt status leads to him freaking out and apparently forgetting that he actually has a name in real life:

 Gwen: "Guy, you have a last name."

Guy: "Do I? DO I?!"

    • If you listen carefully though, you will hear Jason addressing him as "Fleegman" once when they're on the desert planet.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Naturally Lampshaded, to the point where Gwen wants to kill the writers.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: "Not now, Gwen!"
  • Not So Different: Humans and Sarris's race. Its a huge shock to the Thermians.
  • Oh Crap: Right after the line "And what you fail to realize is that my ship is dragging mines!"
    • Played straight the first time the cast is transported aboard ship. Except Fred, who just smiles and goes with it.

  "That was a helluva thing."

    • Also, Jason when he sees the rock monster.

  "Oh darn."

    • Jason again when he realizes Gwen didn't turn off the communication link with Sarris as he tried to imply.

 Sarris: Perhaps I'm not as stupid as I am ugly, Commander!

Jason: *looks up in Oh Crap mode*...Gwen, I thought I gave you the kill sign.

Gwen: NO, you gave me the "dead" signal, I was agreeing with you. Like I know where the "hold" button is.

  • Plot Hole: The Thermians not knowing what the Omega 13 actually does. They built it.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The Trope Namer. Guy is told that he can survive because he might be this instead of a Red Shirt.
  • Post-Historical Trauma: When Jason tells Mathesar that they're actors while he's on the torture table, Mathesar is distraught. Their culture doesn't understand acting or fiction and are only able to equate it to lying (which itself is a concept foreign to their culture). However, after the crew is successful, Mathesar is convinced they really are the crew, and that Jason was lying to Sarris. Some fan theories say that Mathesar knew the truth and was lying for the benefit of his crew.
  • The Power of Acting: Although they end up using their character's skills for real, their acting does come into play a few times.
    • When Jason is fighting the rock monster, Alexander's advice is to attempt to figure out it's "motivation".
  • Precision F-Strike: Unfortunately, Gwen's aghast reaction to the crushy-chompy things - "Fuck that!" - was dubbed to get a PG rating.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Guy, who formerly played a Red Shirt on the canceled Show Within a Show, plays the chief of security on the relaunched series.
  • Recycled in Space: Three Amigos IN SPACE!
  • Red Shirt: Guy spends most of the film terrified that he will die since it was his only role on show. Inverted, in that when Sarris goes on a killing spree, Guy is the only character not killed or mortally wounded.
    • He gets upgraded to a supporting character when the show relaunches, even getting name-dropped on the new show's title screen.
  • Reset Button: The Omega 13 is a very limited Reset Button as it could turn time back only thirteen seconds. Just barely enough time to fix a major mistake. Fortunately, it wasn't a plot Reset Button. The movie was way too good to try that.
    • Notable, too, in that the show was canceled before this was discovered, so nobody knows what it does for certain. Rather than rely on the device, the fight's all but over before they use it out of sheer desperation.
  • Right Behind Me: The Captain insults Sarris after mistakenly thinking the viewscreen connection was turned off.
  • Rubber Forehead Aliens: Doctor Lazarus is a literal rubber forehead alien. In fact, Alexander Dane is never seen without the prosthetic during the entire film, including at home, and even when it's half torn.
  • Rule of Cool: Since the original show was cancelled before they showed the Omega 13 in action, Brandon and his fellow hardcore fans have a few different theories as to what the Omega 13 actually does -- some of which are of mere academic interest, and one of which is scarily awesome. Guess which one actually turns out to be right?
  • Selling the Show: Part of the movie was about how the actors had to continue to sell the show despite how they actually felt about it.

 Jason Nesmith: You WILL go out there.

Sir Alexander Dane: I won't and nothing you say will make me.

Jason Nesmith: The Show Must Go On.

Sir Alexander Dane: ...Damn you.

 Guy: "Red thingy moving toward the green thingy... I think we're the green thingy."

 Gwen: "And there goes the shirt..."

Alexander (later): "I see you managed to get your shirt off."

 Gwen: (exasperated) Does the rolling help?

Jason: Yeah, it helps.

Gwen: Where's your gun?

Jason: ...shoot!

Alex: It helps.

    • Though it works perfectly at the very end, when Jason deals the death blow to Sarris.
  • Unpredictable Results: Nobody knows what the Omega 13 does (the show got canceled on a Cliff Hanger), though the die-hard fans have some theories. One of them turned out to be right.
  • Villainous Breakdown - *butterfly wings of doom snap open* "FIIIIIIIIIIIIND THEEEEEEEEEMMMM!"
  • Wasn't That Fun?: The friendly aliens' method of transporting the protagonists to their ship can be described roughly as "fly them into orbit at insane speed with nothing but a huge blob of jello to shield them". Everyone looks thoroughly traumatised and nauseated by this experience, except for the engineer... who just remarks "That was a hell of a thing."
  • We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: Parodied, of course.
  • Woody's Finest Hour: In-Universe example. The final episode of Galaxy Quest set up for the upcoming episode (Shepherd stating when ambushed that they have to activate the Omega 13.), but it ended up cancelled.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Guy, as mentioned above.
    • And in his attempts to survive, Guy ends up being indecisive since he sees his eventual death in whatever direction he takes. Would he stay on the Protector as the team goes planet-bound and gets killed by something lurking inside the ship? Or would he go with the team and be the one to be killed by a monster five minutes after they land on the planet?
    • For the guys sans Fred, when Jason gets left behind on the planet with a rock monster coming after him, and the crew, on board the orbiting ship, tries to help him by giving him advice via communicator. Hmmm, Could have sworn those suggestions worked in the shows....

 Tommy: Go for the mouth or the throat, its vulnerable spots!

Jason: It’s a rock. It doesn’t have any vulnerable spots!

Guy: I know! You construct a weapon. Look around you. Can you form some sort of rudimentary lathe?

Jason: A lathe? Get off the line, Guy! Alexander, you’re my advisor. Advise me!

Alexander: Well, you’re just gonna have to figure out what it wants. What is its motivation?

Jason: It’s a rock monster! It doesn’t have motivation!

  • Who Writes This Crap?: Gwen laments about her character having a dumb job, and she then freaks out over the obstacle course.

 Gwen: What is this thing? I mean, it serves no useful purpose for there to be a bunch of chompy, crushy things in the middle of a hallway. We shouldn't have to do this! It makes no logical sense, why is it here?

Jason: Because it was on the TV show.

Gwen: Well forget it! I'm not doing it! This episode was badly written!

  • Wild Mass Guessing: Done in-universe by fans of the show, particularly regarding the Omega-13.
  • You Are Number Six: Guy's original character is Crewman Number Six.
  • You Leave Him Alone: Jason says this to Sarris when the latter is torturing Mathesar.
  • Your Favorite: Played for laughs. The Thermians provide the favorite food of the characters, which is why Sir Alexander Dane gets stuck with blood ticks.
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