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SYFY WIRE Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest doc reveals how Kevin Kline nearly scored Tim Allen's Commander role

By Jeff Spry

The classic sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest has earned a solid cult following over the past few decades after debuting in theaters 20 years ago this December.

To mark the occasion and dip into its infinite appeal, a new fall offering titled Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary explores how this unlikely film became a fan favorite and helped propel genre-driven entertainment into the stratosphere — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive clip from it.

One of the juicy details revealed in this sneak peek is how actor Kevin Kline was the frontrunner for the role of Jason Nesmith, aka Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, before Tim Allen ultimately landed the part.

Fathom Events and Fandom are presenting this fresh documentary in over 600 theaters on Nov. 26 for one night only. The screening will also include special behind-the-scenes footage and a 10-minute introduction featuring the cast members of ScreenJunkies.

Never Surrender

Never Surrender showcases Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Justin Long, Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, Missi Pyle, Rainn Wilson, and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, along with director Dean Parisot, screenwriter Robert Gordon, and a wealth of celebrity fans sharing memories and admiration for this cult hit. It also includes comments from other notable filmmakers, industry craftspeople, and entertainment-biz luminaries who offer insights into the myriad ways Galaxy Quest developed an enthusiastic fan base that extends around the globe.

"As a Galaxy Quest fan, one of the most interesting things that we discovered while making the documentary is how easily one small change would have forever altered the nature of the film," Never Surrender producer Jennings Roth Cornet tells SYFY WIRE. "There's always an alchemy to filmmaking. In many ways, a great film is the result of some mix of talent, intention, luck, and a series of fortunate accidents. As Damon Lindelof points out in our film, 'Tim Allen and Alan Rickman should not exist in the same universe,' much less as the 'Kirk and Spock avatars.' On paper, that simply should not work, and yet it does, and it's magic."

Galaxy Clip

Kline was just one of several A-list celebrities considered for the role of a washed-up TV actor propelled to another galaxy to save an alien race. Studio execs were set on Kline before he eventually declined for other projects, leaving the door open for names like Bruce Willis, Tim Robbins, and even Mel Gibson!

"This clip sets up the various actors that the studio and the initial director were courting for Allen's role, as die-hard fans react to what might have been," Roth Cornet adds. "Throughout Never Surrender, we explore the way that Galaxy Quest became what it was meant to be by sheer force of will and grit, with a lot of humor and heart on the part of the creators, and ultimately almost in spite of itself."

Tickets to Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary are available at Fathom Events or at participating movie theater box offices.