Star Trek celebrates its 55th anniversary in 2021 and, if you're like me, you have no idea what gift to give on such an occasion. The social media account of Tom Petty seemed to figure it out, though, as fans of the series and the musician were amused and amazed by an awesome photo of the singer aboard the USS Enterprise.
The late singer's Twitter account has posted some cool snapshots in the past, and this is certainly one of the best. Take a look at the photo, as well as Tom Petty's unwillingness to "engage" with the photographer and look directly into the camera:
The design of the ship is from the movie era of Star Trek (that of the original series), though there has been some debate online as to where this photo was taken. Right now, the prevailing theory is that it wasn't taken on a set but rather the Star Trek Adventure attraction featured in Universal Studios. We can go back and forth all day on the specifics but, at the end of the day, Tom Petty hung out on some set of the Enterprise, and that's pretty cool.
Also, beyond the location, I have so many more questions I'd love to know in regard to this picture. For example, why was he sitting next to a drink in a glass with an ashtray and two snuffed-out cigarettes? All that (and the stool it rests on) aren't part of the Enterprise, so was Tom Petty just hanging out in the captain's chair ripping cigs?
The mystery of this picture only deepens when one looks around and fails to find a huge connection between Tom Petty and not just Star Trek, but sci-fi in general. The singer had a role in the post-apocalyptic movie The Postman and made a semi-sci-fi music video for his song "You Got Lucky." Beyond that, there's not really a huge link between the singer and the genre, or Star Trek.
Given all that's happening in the photo, this makes the idea that he'd just chill in an Enterprise -- that may or may not be part of a Universal Studios attraction -- all the more hilarious. If the year on this photo is accurate, this is around the same time he released Full Moon Fever, which had some of his classics like "I Won't Back Down," "Runnin' Down A Dream," and "Free Fallin." A couple of years later, he would release "Learning To Fly," and I have to wonder if the inspiration for the song didn't happen in this exact photographed moment.
We can only speculate on all these things, but one thing I can say is the mystery behind this picture has created the best 55th anniversary Star Trek gift I could ask for. I can't imagine that the actual story behind the picture would be nearly as entertaining as all the scenarios I've imagined so far but, if it is, I hope someone with details comes forward to shed some light on things.