Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry has been commemorated today on what would have been his 100th birthday. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Roddenberry’s death, but with five new Star Trek series current in production to bolster Paramount+’s streaming service and more to come, his legacy has never been more alive than it is right now. That however wasn’t always the case, as when Star Trek Enterprise ended in 2005, there were no plans for any future Star Trek projects in place. However, speaking to ComicBook.com to mark his father’s centennial, son Rod Roddenberry explained that as far as he was concerned, there was never a doubt that the franchise would make a comeback at some point.
“I 100% had no doubt it would come back, but that’s not because I’m some great thinker or knew something people didn’t,” Roddenberry said. “The only thing I knew, which is what I think most fans knew, which is Star Trek has way too important of a message for it to ever go away. It had a lot to say in the ’60s when it came out, and sadly, it has a lot to say today still.”
Even though the rights of the show sit with ViacomCBS, Roddenberry, via Roddenberry Entertainment, acts as producer on all of the new Star Trek shows in development and he feels that it is his duty to keep his father’s core purpose of the show to remain intact in all new iterations of the franchise.
“I attach the name Roddenberry to all of our entities because I’m very proud of my father and the name and what the name represents,” he went on. “The name represents the ideas instilled in Star Trek. The backbone philosophy of all Star Trek is the IDIC philosophy, infinite diversity from infinite combinations. And the idea is to truly appreciate everything that is different, both in form and in thought and idea.
“The crew of the Enterprise and the ships of the Federation, they’re not out there seeking weird looking aliens,” he explained. “They’re seeking creatures that live in our galaxy that look at the universe in a unique way and a unique perspective because we’re at a point, humanity is at a point in its development, where we’ve learned that it is new ideas, those are the things that we grow and intellectually evolve from. So to find things that look at things differently than us, that is the gold mine. That is the quest. That is how we can grow. Even if we don’t agree with them, we are putting a notch in our intellectual evolution as to how we can better ourselves. And so that is what I, the son of Gene Roddenberry, am trying to ensure is in Star Trek.”
Roddenberry also talked about how in his younger years, he never quite grasped the scope of Star Trek until he accompanied his father to a convention in 1991, just prior to Gene Roddenberry’s death.
He said, “”I remember they brought my father out on stage. He was in a wheelchair and I’m the one who actually wheeled him out. And I just looked like a punk kid. And wheeling him out to this room, filled with people who just stood up instantly and gave him a standing ovation, was just a very shocking moment to me. I’d been to conventions. I knew people liked Star Trek. I had seen some Star Trek, but I might’ve been more of a Star Wars guy. I didn’t get it. But I do look back on that moment as a holy crap moment, just sort of like, ‘What am I missing?’ That that was an incredibly powerful one.”
Following the death of his father, Roddenberry used Star Trek to make a connection with his father, a journey that was seen in the Trek Nation documentary in 2010. “I remember realizing that Kirk was sort of the young version of my father, a little bit more of a swashbuckler and a ladies’ man, maybe might throw a punch. And then 25 years later, as my father had aged 25 years, we had the diplomat Picard who was much more interested in coming to a peaceful resolution and talking things through.”
The full interview with Rod Roddenberry can be seen at ComicBook.com, while on Twitter, NASA were one of the many to commemorate the anniversary of the creator of one of the most influential properties in science fiction history. You can read some of them below.