Star Trek Fans: The Most Loyal in All the Galaxy
Trekkers, Trekkies, Whatever You Call Yourself, Unite to Support Our Sci-Fi Love!
Incoming Subspace Message: Star Trek lovers unite, across the galaxy! Fire up your delirious dilithium crystals to warp-power that fleet of Starfleet starships, as you boldly explore our limitless galactic landscape, chock full of attractive aliens, awesome adventure, and things which simply defy easy comprehension or a simple explanation.
Yes, defying easy explanations, that’s the pure energy, the unique essence of my interpretation of Star Trek.
Gene Roddenberry’s fabled “starship of the imagination” means many things to many people; however, the “Let’s see what’s out there” philosophy remains a keenly compelling one. It’s a mode of meditative thought and dynamic action which fired up imagination as a child. So much so, as I entered my first college year, I wrote a script for a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode which was purchased by Paramount Pictures and became the basis for the seventh season episode “Homeward”, with guest star Paul Sorvino coming aboard as Worf’s human foster brother, Nikolai Rozhenko.
It’s still a thrill recalling that magical time of my accomplishment for a host of reasons. Perhaps most notable of all, I had no agent nor any connection to the show to help me sell my work. Above all, what did I have in spades? I call it the “Fan Equation”.
Take any fan-fueled endeavor – sports, music, cooking, etc. You’ll encounter a phenomenon like no other. These are the uber-fans who not only support the professionals, but come up with original ideas, artistic endeavors and creative elements which simply change the way it’s all done. Even one of the most profitable corporations on the planet, Apple, was started by two computer fans, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They’re men who can be called lots of things, and characterized in many socio-political ways, but they were passionate computer fans over anything else.
Fan participation may be chalked off as obsessive behavior or even a comical existence. Indeed, look at the famous – or infamous – Saturday Night Live sketch where Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, was hosting. He cheekily admonished excited fans who’d shown up to cheer him on during a mock Trek convention to… “Get a life!” Later, Shatner proceeded to pen a book under the title, proving Mr. Shatner always knows a great line when he sees and utters it.
So, what’s the fiery, phaser-stunning takeaway from realizing fans like me get so immersed into Star Trek, they end up professionally connected to their beloved interest? It’s probably much like when a kid watches Mike Tyson knockout his opponent like few other boxers, then grows up to put on the boxing gloves himself. It’s a young Justin Timberlake listening to his idol Michael Jackson as a youngster, then years later getting to record a duet (“Love Never Felt So Good”) with the mega pop superstar. Lately, I’ve been enjoying a fantastic music documentary series on Hulu, McCartney 3,2,1. Perhaps if I had just a wee bit more talent on keyboards, I’d have grown up to emulate Paul McCartney – or at least tried my darndest to do so.
During my formative time, I admired Rod Serling of The Twilight Zone, Leslie Stevens of The Outer Limits and Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek. I was amazed by how they dazzled us as storytellers and creators of several of the most influential science fiction television programs in Hollywood history.
After writing for The Next Generation, I wrote a script for Deep Space Nine, the second spinoff from Trek’s original series. In what turned out to be another wonderful experience, my story became the basis of “Prophet Motive”, a Ferengi-centric episode which aired in the syndicated show’s third season. Later, I would be invited to pitch to Legend, a fantasy adventure series created by Trek writer/producer Michael PIller, The Dead Zone – also helmed by Piller – and for Star Trek: Voyager. However, nothing quite beats the thrill of my sale to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
When my TNG episode aired, I felt absolute joy and honor of being filmed live as it happened, by a TV news crew. WPIX in NYC sent a news van with anchor Jason Carroll to celebrate the airing of my episode. Initially, I’d no idea it would happen. My college publicity office had notified them. Needless to say, it felt surreal to see my first script produced on such a revered series, with my local area watching me and my family’s reactions that evening.
The cynics may call it a bit cliche or corny to say dreams do come true, but I guarantee you’ll never hear such criticism ever coming from me. Stick to your game, whatever it is. Try to go ever further and you’ll always travel farther than you may ever think is possible. You may even end up in space… right, Jeff Bezos?
An Emmy-Award-nominated screenwriter, book author and content producer, Will has written for magazines, newspapers, the web and for several highly respected TV shows, most notably for the Star Trek franchise. Will contributed story material which formed the basis for episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and he was one of the few freelancers to work on episodes for both of those landmark Hollywood shows. As well as having pitched to Star Trek: Voyager, he has also written multiple books, including Star Trek Essays, Star Trek Essays Volume Two & Volume Three, and Star Trek Sex. Find other articles written by Will at his Substack.