On this day in 1966, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek: The Original Series launched on NBC.
Some 57 years later, the stars and crew of the latest iterations of Roddenberry’s universe came out to remind the studios and fans why they’re striking.
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There were pickets in both LA and New York. On the west coast, stars including Michelle Hurd,
LeVar Burton and George Takei turned up outside Paramount, which controls the franchise, while in New York the likes of Melissa Navia, who stars in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, was one of many in Manhattan.
The writers and actors said that they were to pay homage to Roddenberry’s vision of a future, a future where everyone is treated with respect and corporate greed is a thing of the past. “Sadly, though, the studios and the AMPTP are failing to live up to Gene’s vision,” the WGA said.
Navia, who plays Lt. Erica Ortegas in the Paramount+ series that recently ended its second season. Told Deadline that the strike was “exhausting” but “necessary”.
“We’re fighting for the future of our jobs. To see so many fans and the people who are the reason that we do what we do, the reason we tell stories, here with us, telling us how much our work matters and what it means to them is just a reminder of why we do what we do and why this fight is so necessary,” she said.
WHY I'M STRIKING: "It's necessary… I don't know what the studios are thinking. All we want to do is tell stories… In order to do that we need to be paid fair, reasonable within wages…" – Melissa Navia of 'Strange New Worlds' at WGAE 'Star Trek' picket #WritersStrike pic.twitter.com/iuJAWC5Ibk
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) September 8, 2023
Michelle Hurd, who plays Raffi Musiker in Star Trek: Picard, which ran for three seasons on Paramount+ and is also Vice President of SAG Los Angeles, had a similar view to Navia.
“We’re asking for the [AMPTP] to come back to the table and negotiate fairly and be compensated for the work that we love to do,” she told Deadline.
"We're asking for them to come back to the table… to negotiate fairly… So we can continue telling the stories…" – 'Star Trek: Picard's Michelle Hurd, SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee, at the 'Star Trek' Day at Paramount in LA today #WritersStrike #ActorsStrike pic.twitter.com/NjAbribgHU
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) September 8, 2023
Star Trek: The Original Series ran for three seasons on NBC between 1966 and 1969. There have been 11 spinoff series and a film franchise as well as multiple extensions in many other mediums.
In addition to the original series, Strange New Worlds, Picard and Star Trek: Discovery has been renewed for a fifth and final season, and recently there have been Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Short Treks.
The franchise is also branching out with new collaborations with the likes of pop star Kid Cudi, otherwise known as Scott Mescudi. To launch Star Trek’s ‘Boldly Be’ campaign, Cudi has a new original song inspired by Star Trek, an interactive gaming component and a fashion collaboration that will launch in October.
“I grew up watching Star Trek with my dad who is single handedly responsible for turning me into a fan,” said Mescudi. “The most important thing to me is to be as authentic as possible. Star Trek’s mission has always been about having a hopeful future and when I was first approached about this project it was the perfect marriage of all the things I believe in – being brave and a hero by doing what’s right and fighting for freedom. I can’t wait to share my love of this incredible franchise with the world.”
Elsewhere, Roddenberry Entertainment is launching a new podcast. Gene-ology will the story and stories of Gene Roddenberry, how an up-and-coming television writer created this universe.
It will be hosted by Norman C. Lao and Earl Green, who host the Mission Log podcast, which is currently on hiatus
The pair have uncovered some interesting things about Roddenberry. It was widely believed that The Lieutenant, which aired between 1963 and 1964 was the first series he created.
However, they found that his first show was actually Wrangler, a western drama that only lasted for six weeks on NBC.
“On day one of combing through Gene’s scripts and production paperwork in the Roddenberry archives, literally day one, we found out… that’s wrong. Every book, every web site that says that – and hey, in the interests of fairness, that includes a Sci-Fi 5 podcast that we ourselves put out there a year or two ago – every one of them is wrong,” the pair said.
“It was the first western series to be shot on videotape, which was a recording medium that was all of five years old at the time, and still very expensive and tricky to work with,” they added. “But… back in those days, when videotape was too expensive to hang on to everything that existed on tape, those tapes were almost certainly wiped so they could be reused for something else. Wrangler doesn’t exist anymore. You can’t watch it anymore. It’s not sitting in anyone’s archives anywhere. It was never repeated, never syndicated, and its “created by Gene Roddenberry” credit vanished from history… until we found the series format document in the archives, written by Gene in 1959, and most definitely carrying the description “a television series created by Gene Roddenberry”.
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