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Chicago’s Amazon bid video released, William Shatner narrates

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The city trailer played up Jeff Bezos love of Star Trek

An image from Chicago’s Amazon bid video
City of Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel unexpectedly tweeted out a Star Trek-esque video that was included in the city’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters on Friday afternoon.

“Really the press release writes itself,” William Shatner narrates over text that reads, “Amazon makes its second city, the second city.” Does this mean officials touring the city this week were pleased with what they saw?

Amazon representatives were in town to visit at least three sites on the ten sites pitched to the giant online retailer. That included the rapidly changing Fulton Market District, Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards development, and Related Midwest’s sprawling South Loop parcel known as The 78.

The decision to cast Shatner, known for his role as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, and the video’s use of star-like points of light in its animations were squarely aimed at Amazon CEO and super Trekkie Jeff Bezos. The businessman is known to be rabid follower of the franchise and even donned alien makeup for a cameo appearance as an unnamed Starfleet official in Paramount Picture’s 2016 Star Trek Beyond.

In addition to its outer-spacey visualizations, the clip draws narrative parallels between Chicago’s humble beginnings and post-Great Fire resilience with Amazon’s own modest origin story starting as tiny online book-selling business in Bezos’ garage.

Until today’s tweet, Chicago officials have kept a tight lid on the video, claiming its release could compromise the competitiveness of its bid. With Amazon’s fact-finding visit drawing to a close, City Hall has clearly reversed its stance.