Even the Vulcans are smiling: Say hello to 'Star Trek's' first female director.

For months, the biggest news surrounding "Star Trek" was whether Quentin Tarantino would write and direct the next installment. Instead, "Star Trek" is getting its first female director. And it's about time.

Though details are still emerging, it appears that Clarkson, a veteran director of episodes of acclaimed shows like "Jessica Jones" and "Orange Is the New Black," will direct the fourth installment in the J.J. Abrams-led film reboot of the long-standing science fiction series.

Abrams is also reportedly co-producing the film with a woman, bringing back Hollywood veteran Lindsey Weber, who co-produced the last Trek film in 2016.


GIF from "Star Trek."

"Star Trek" has a long history of inclusion.

50 years ago, the original "Star Trek" made history with the first interracial kiss on TV. Gene Roddenberry's future was one where humanity had moved beyond divisions of race and gender. It's easy to forget now, but one of the show's main heroes was of Russian origin, during the height of the Cold War. And George Takei's "Sulu" is considered one of the first positive on-screen portrayals of an Asian-American.

GIF from "Star Trek."

That theme has been continued throughout Trek's various iterations. When "Star Trek: The Next Generation" premiered, the series' famous prologue "Where no man has gone before" was replaced with the gender neutral "Where no one has gone before."

GIF from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

The newest show in the series canon "Star Trek: Discovery," has pushed inclusion even further, featuring a black woman as the series lead, a more racially and culturally diverse cast, prominent LGBTQ characters, and more diverse talent behind the scenes as well.

"Star Trek has always been pictorial of diversity and inclusion and universality," star Sonequa Martin-Green said before Discovery's premiere.

GIF from "Star Trek: Discovery."

Greater inclusion in Hollywood is the right thing to do and it leads to better entertainment for all of us.

The question foremost on most fans' minds is whether the movie or TV show they're watching is going to be any good. All the inclusion and diversity in the world won't amount to much if no one pays attention.

That's why it's all the more encouraging to see films like "Black Panther," "Wonder Woman," and "Get Out" find groundbreaking success both commercially and critically.

GIF from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

People want to see more diverse stories told from a broader range of people and places. It also just happens to be the right thing to do. And that should give Star Trek fans, and people who care about greater inclusion in Hollywood, a lot to be excited about.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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