Star Trek audiences first meet Montgomery Scott’s engineering partner Keenser when Spock and James Kirk arrive at the remote Federation outpost on Delta Vega. Keenser provides emotional and technical support to Scotty during the subsequent battles with Nero, Khan and Krall. It is a combination of the character’s unique design elements, personality traits of loyalty and friendship, and the humorous and excellent performance by veteran actor Deep Roy that endeared the character to many fans.Roy, who has been featured in Doctor Who and the Star Wars films (as an Ewok, Droopy McCool, and Yoda during some of the character’s walking sequences), has appeared as Keenser in all three of the Kelvin Timeline films. Like most of Star Trek’s most-memorable characters, Keenser has been represented in merchandise and in expanded-universe adventures. Here is a list of some of our favorite Keenser items that we – to borrow Scotty’s admonition – “Get down!” from our shelves and share.
Keenser WaffleKellogg’s was one of the most-extensive promotional partners for Star Trek (2009), offering themed versions of many of their products, helping to inform grocery shoppers of the film’s impending premiere. The most-unique of these offerings may be the Eggo line featuring more than 25 edible character, logo and phrases printed on waffles. Interestingly, for a while, the Eggo Keenser waffle was the only “collectible” (or as we like to call them, “collect-edibles”) featuring the character – although one that didn’t last much past breakfast.
Keenser’s Origin StoryIn 2012, IDW revealed the origins of Keenser’s relationship with Scotty and also his formative experiences that brought him to Starfleet service. In issue #14 of the ongoing Star Trek comic book, writer Mike Johnson, creative consultant Roberto Orci and artist Stephen Molnar presented an excellent tale of Keenser’s early years on his home planet of Royla (named in honor of actor Deep Roy), his interactions with the crew of the USS Kelvin and his eventual attendance at Starfleet Academy.
Hasbro Brings Keenser to LifeDuring the time of Star Trek Into Darkness, toy company powerhouse Hasbro Inc. produced two different Keenser items. For the Kre-o construction line, Keenser was one of the Kreon figures available in an extensive group from the Kelvin Universe.
For the Fighter Pods line, Hasbro introduced an approximately 1-inch version of Keenser among the 36 character designs offered as Toys R Us exclusives.
The Keenser That Never Was
There is no toy company that has released as many unique Star Trek items as Playmates Toys, which held the license for action figures, playsets, roleplaying toys and other items from 1992 until 1999, and again for Star Trek (2009). More than 400 action figures alone were offered by Playmates Toys. After an initial wave of 3.75” Galaxy Collection, 6” Warp Collection, and 12” Command Series action figures for the Kelvin Universe, a second wave was planned and announced during the summer of 2009. Unfortunately, the line was never produced, and unique and fascinating action figure versions of Sarek, Ayel, and the Delta Vega creatures did not materialize. Along with this line was an excellent 3.75” version of Keenser in his Delta Vega costume. Only prototypes and images of the promised line exist of this “lost” Keenser collectible.
Keenser represents the best about Starfleet – loyalty, diversity, exploration and contribution based on talents and abilities. He also brings a sense of fun to the Star Trek universe, both on the screen and on collectors’ shelves.
Maria Jose and John Tenuto are both sociology professors at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, specializing in popular culture and subculture studies. The Tenutos have conducted extensive research on the history of Star Trek, and have presented at venues such as Creation Conventions and the St. Louis Science Center. They have written for the official Star Trek Magazine and their extensive collection of Star Trek items has been featured in SFX Magazine. Their theory about the “20-Year Nostalgia Cycle” and research on Star Trek fans has been featured on WGN News, BBC Radio, and in the documentary The Force Among Us. They recently researched all known paperwork from the making of the classic episode “Space Seed” and are excited to be sharing some previously unreported information about Khan’s first adventure with fellow fans. Contact the Tenutos at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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