Majel Roddenberry On New Movie + Gene Roddenberry On Future Treks

There is a great new interview with Majel Barrett Roddenberry in the latest issue of Star Trek Magazine, just arriving in the US. The interview is mostly about her time with TNG (for the anniversary), but the magazine also asked what she thought of the new J.J. Abrams film and if she would be open to doing a part. Barrett seemed enthusiastic, saying "They’re going back to the beginning.  And I would love to do the computer voice." But she also noted that she is happy in retirement, saying "I’m ready to step back. I have no feelings of, ‘Oh, I must have another part.’  Nothing like that ever goes through my head."

Blast from the past: Gene foresees Trek future
I also happen to have just come across an interesting Star Trek Communicator interview with Gene Roddenberry from 1989 where he talks to Dan Madsen about the TNG’s 3rd season and the future of the TV and film franchise following the disappointment of Star Trek V.  Roddenberry was concerned STV would be the last for the TOS crew, but hoped they would get one more (and it turns out they did with Star Trek VI two years later). He also said he could ‘definitely foresee’ that the Next Gen crew would also head off to the big screen, but also later stated that the TOS and TNG crews should ‘absolutely not ever’ be mixed (which is exactly what happened with the first TNG film Star Trek Generations). The quote I found most interesting was regarding the general future of the franchise. Here is what Gene said 18 years ago:

I feel that we’ve got such good people in Hollywood, and will in future as well, that I would be happy to have a Star Trek come on in 15 or 20 years where people say, "Now that is good!  That makes Roddenberry look like nothing!" And that would please me!

 

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StillKirok
August 25, 2007 3:19 pm

Hasn’t happened yet.

Penhall
August 25, 2007 3:20 pm

Some good quotes from Roddenberry. And to comment on Trek V, I just think its crappy that the TOS crew had 4 hugely successful films in a row, and then V comes along and does decent business (30 million budget vs a 55 million domestic gross) and then Paramount and everyone is ready to end it. Just kinda annoying….Shows the cruel nature of the business, I guess.

I’m glad the TOS crew got their send-off with Part VI, but I would have loved a couple more films with the entire TOS crew before TNG took over the film franchise. Sorry to get kinda off topic….

Tsan
August 25, 2007 3:21 pm

majel’s computer voice would be great…The Roddenberry quote is also very interesting…’that 15-20 years later’ is now.

Sleeper Agent X
August 25, 2007 3:26 pm

Re 1:

But it just might! Roddenberry didn’t discount the possibility, so why should we?

August 25, 2007 3:28 pm

#3 Tsan – “majel’s computer voice would be great”

Agreed that would be a really nice touch. It would make a connection with us “Old School” fans and shouldn’t upset the “Non-fan” which Paramount is craving on this feature.

Jon
August 25, 2007 3:28 pm

Good quote from Madge(highlighted).The new Trek definitely needs to leave the old rendition in the dust.(and blow our socks off).

August 25, 2007 3:37 pm

GR had a natural instinct, a knowing, about the future…

Craig
August 25, 2007 3:45 pm

If Majel did the computer voice I wonder if her voice would sound like the way it was done in TOS or in TNG? I liked the TNG voice better.

Utterlee
August 25, 2007 3:53 pm

8. “If Majel did the computer voice I wonder if her voice would sound like the way it was done in TOS or in TNG?”

I’d be completely gobsmacked if they did it in that old fashioned 60’s robotised way – what would the modern audience make of it? If they asked her to do the voice I imagine it’d be like the TNG version.

Oceanhopper
August 25, 2007 4:30 pm

Well, the TNG one would be an anachronism whereas the TOS/ more robotic voice would be consistent with canon.

I seem to recall they made that slip on “Thru a Mirror Darkly” on ENT. It made this fanboy twinge.

Although it might be easier, and funnier, to simply give the computer a new voice: BIll Gates’

jonboc
August 25, 2007 4:35 pm

This movie needs to stay as far away from TNG as possible. If she does the voice of the computer (which I doubt) in Abrahms movie, assuming there even is any scenes that would require it, I doubt it will be in the manner of the voice of Enterprise D. They’re smarter than that.

Etha Williams
August 25, 2007 4:37 pm

It’s always amazed me that Majel Barett was Number One, Christine Chapel, Lwaxana Troi, the TOS computer voice, and the TNG-era computer voice — and yet all the characters/voices seemed so different/distinct from each other. I wouldn’t mind seeing her play a sixth, new role in this next movie.

((Off topic, she *really* looks like Lwaxana Troi in that photo…the hair, the make-up, the clothes…were they on set at the time?))

Dom
August 25, 2007 4:45 pm

They should get Katie McGrath (JJ Abram’s wife) to do the computer voice, creating a tradition of the guvnor’s wife giving the tech info. And, by golly! I agree with something Roddenberry said in his later days: that the TOS and TNG crews should ‘absolutely not ever’ be mixed!

I see this new, recast Trek as part of a cycle. Sooner or later, we were bound to have a TNG, as the original cast got older. The recasting of the original would inevitably happen at some point after that!

While Roddenberry foresaw TNG moving to the big screen, I still think TNG leaving the TV was a big mistake. TNG was a very good TV series that was designed to work to that medium, building itself on its strengths. I think it could have run for quite a few more years with a few new castmembers!

Y’know what? I’ll say it here and now. Abrams should oversee the TOS movie with Kirk and, should that do well, also exec produce a relaunch of TNG on TV with Riker and a new crew assuming captaincy of the Enterprise-E (gotta keep the Big E!) I’d be up for a season 8/new season 1 of TNG, big time! Get Riker and co out there exploring strange new worlds and we could have great fun! Thoughts, people?

monger
August 25, 2007 5:07 pm

One thing’s certain- that Majel was some piece of ass back in the day! No wonder the Great Bird left his wife for that! I would.

THEETrekmaster
August 25, 2007 5:09 pm

The is ugly. I’d rather see a new ship — the Titan.

Andy Patterson
August 25, 2007 5:14 pm

11. jonboc – August 25, 2007

This movie needs to stay as far away from TNG as possible. If she does the voice of the computer (which I doubt) in Abrahms movie, assuming there even is any scenes that would require it, I doubt it will be in the manner of the voice of Enterprise D. They’re smarter than that.

Amen.

Kevin
August 25, 2007 5:17 pm

See? I’ve been sayin’ for awhile that she could do the computer voice. Keep the shuffling sound card sound out though.

trektacular
August 25, 2007 5:59 pm

I agree with you Dom!

navamske
August 25, 2007 6:02 pm

#13: I’d be up for a season 8/new season 1 of TNG, big time!

“Star Trek: The Generation After That”

Thadd
August 25, 2007 6:42 pm

I’d like to say that I hope they include those memorable lines spoen by Kirk/Shatner at the beginning of each episode. I also want to take a moment and say that if a new series soes come to fruition that I hope they add such a signature line at the beginning like they did for TNG. I really think it helps pay homage to the origins and guiding principles of the series. I always wished they had included some kind of intro like that to DS9, Voyager, of even Enterprise. But I did love the DS9 and Voyager intro music.

Dom
August 25, 2007 6:43 pm
THEETrekmaster, the two strongest brands related to the Trek franchise are Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Star Trek is perfect for the cinema. Kirk, Spock and McCoy are a superb combination. TNG, on the other hand is an ensemble piece, where you can have more characters drift in and out a la ER and similar shows. But, in terms of mainstream public recognition for a TNG relaunch, you’d need a Starship Enterprise. The name being a common factor between the two main versions of Trek is a vital part of the branding of the franchise. The name ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ needs to be used again rather than ‘Star Trek: Titan’ or some such! Besides, Titan’s hardly a new ship, now. Remember, Nemesis came out five years ago. If a TNG relaunch happened in 2009, it’d be seven years since we last saw Riker: effectively time for another entire series of Trek (Titan, for example) to have gone by. Hell, I’m not the biggest fan of the Enterprise-E design, but, given the trashing she took in Nemesis and the effects of maybe another multi-year mission under Picard or his successor, she could have had a major refit! I’m sure a new team relaunching the series would want to stamp their own mark on the design and style of FX as much as the stories! I’d like to see Riker return, but wouldn’t be bothered with any of the other old characters returning on a regular basis,… Read more »
Thadd
August 25, 2007 6:45 pm

Plus, I hadn’t even thought about Majel making a cameo, which is ridiculous on my part. I was so engrossed in the Shatner vignettes. It would be really nice if all of the actors in TOS could make a cameo, even if not as their original characters. That would certainly be paying tribute to TOS, giving it more credence, and giving all of us fans subtle gifts while at the same time not leaving new viewers wondering who these people are. Just a thought I thought I’d share.

VulcanBabe
August 25, 2007 6:51 pm

I’m terribly sorry, Roddenberry…but you’re still the best!!

August 25, 2007 6:57 pm

Majel does reprise the computer voice in Star Trek New Voyages “World Enough and time” she recorded brand new lines from her home.

Thomas
August 25, 2007 7:03 pm

Very prescient of Roddenberry in his quotes. I wonder what he would think of Trek today, though; would he be glad that it continued on, or would he have wanted it to end before it ran out of stream.
That said, I think it would be nice for Majel to do the computer voice in the movie, as a gift to the fans.

sean
August 25, 2007 7:13 pm

#10

That’s a piece of canon I’d happily throw out the window. If they do the whole ‘WORKING’ computer voice it would turn into a joke. The TNG computer voice was still her, I hardly think it would hurt to use that. And of all the nitpicks to make about that Mirror Darkly episode, the computer voice is a minor one (most ridiculous Gorn ever?).

Jon
August 25, 2007 7:15 pm

#24… That’s reason enough to get a new computer voice for StarTrek 2008

August 25, 2007 7:35 pm

First!

oh, wait… i’m not.

John Trumbull
August 25, 2007 7:47 pm

I find it pretty hilarious that MR actually says, “I’m ready to step back. I have no feelings of, ‘Oh, I must have another part.’ Nothing like that ever goes through my head.”

OK, then… So it’s just a coincidence that she was cast in the first Trek pilot, came back as Nurse Chapel in TOS and TMP, came back again as Laxwanna Troi in TNG and DS9 and did the computer voice for every Trek out there? I really don’t remember Roddenberry ever bending over backwards to reuse another actor so many times.

TechTrekker
August 25, 2007 8:05 pm

Loved the ideas #21 had.

The stories could be endless, allowing us to see flashback episodes of the Titan and guest appearances of Picard. It would be a new crew (except for Riker) and really branch into new characters.

I’d watch it too!

Speaking of watching, I hope we get to see Captain Pike and Number One in this movie!

PEACE!

TechTrekker
August 25, 2007 8:10 pm

OK, here’s a thought.

What if Mrs. G gave a computer sampling of her voice so that a computer could actually talk with her voice? So she would be the voice of the Enterprise’s computer forever.

I’m not a computer expert so is that even possible?

Son of Sarek
August 25, 2007 9:08 pm

Majel has most recently voiced the Enterprise computer in the “World Enough and Time” fanfilm. The lines were delivered in the TNG/VOY subdued tone rather than the shrill TOS style.

August 25, 2007 9:10 pm

I think Gene would be more distressed over world events and the plight of humanity than how many more Trek movies or series there were.

Kirk, James T.
August 26, 2007 4:33 am

I think Gene Roddenberry as far as Star Trek is concerned would be up there now going mad that the fans have not wanted any departure from Roddenberrys Star Trek – i hope this movie charts its own course and doesn’t rely on established cannon too much.

Rhett Coates
August 26, 2007 5:35 am

Majel also did (in addition to a role on Babylon 5) that brief spot as the computer voice on the Enterprise-D in “These Are The Voyages” on Star Trek: Enterprise’s season four finale. Additionally, Union Pacific Railroad (–in our time–) currently has her voice as their “Defect Detector” machine(s) voice across much of their rail system in the west. Those devices, located trackside about 10 or 20 miles apart, scan passing trains and relay pertinent information—via a recorded voice, in this cast MAJEL BARRETT RODDENBERRY—to the head end crew of the train in question. I have to wonder: how many of the U.P. crews recognize the voice from STAR TREK? Someone “up there in the ranks” at Union Pacific HAD to have known how cool it would be to have the computer voice of the starship(s) ENTERPRISE to also be the voice of their Defect Detector devices throuought the west……..

REALLY COOL! As for sampling her voice for future ‘Treks, perhaps that’s how such a feat could be achieved. U.P. now has her voice on their rail system; maybe she could perform the same for such a “sampling” for CBS/Paramount.

VOODOO
August 26, 2007 6:21 am

Roddenberry was correct when he said the series should never have been mixed.

Magic_Al
August 26, 2007 6:53 am

^31. I think that actually is possible, by sampling all the phonemes of English then post-processing the samples to fit together smoothly, or creating sound-alike synthetic phonemes based on them, but the deal should be that she still gets paid whenever the computer says anything! I think we’d also find out that her computer voice was more expressive than an actual computer would be. A truly emotionless digital voice would be too cold for Star Trek. The product would find a bigger audience as the coolest PC text-to-speech voice ever.

Thomas Jensen
August 26, 2007 9:21 am

Since Roddenberry mentioned the two series shouldn’t be mixed, does that mean that everything that put the two together isn’t cannon? …Yeah, I like that, so let us just acknowledge the original 79 episodes and six movies.

And since they are concerned with the original concept and characters in this new production; It makes it allot easier to remain consistent, doesn’t it?

sean
August 26, 2007 9:54 am

#38

Of course, it’s all out the window since Roddenberry himself decided to mix the crews right from episode #1 of TNG.

Dom
August 26, 2007 10:45 am

sean, the point of the Admiral McCoy scene was to have a TOS main team member hand over to the new crew.

McCoy said goodbye and God bless, and, effectively, the new team left the old behind. Once that was done, there should have been no going back!

Thorny
August 26, 2007 11:33 am

Silly suggestion…

How about William Shatner and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry as James T. Kirk’s parents?

Thorny
August 26, 2007 11:44 am

“OK, then… So it’s just a coincidence that she was cast in the first Trek pilot, came back as Nurse Chapel in TOS and TMP, came back again as Laxwanna Troi in TNG and DS9 and did the computer voice for every Trek out there?”

John… I think Majel is talking present day, not 1979. Enterprise didn’t have a computer voice and DS9 itself had someone else do the Cardassian computer voice, so Barrett’s voice was generally only heard on the Defiant and Runabouts. Her last serious involvement in Trek was Voyager which ended six years ago. I think she’s saying her involvement in Trek XI hasn’t crossed her mind, not that “she never campaigned for a cameo appearance.”

Diacanu
August 26, 2007 12:05 pm

Re: The computer voice. Remember the time in “tomorrow is yesterday”, when the female dominated planet gave the computer a personality, and it was Majel talking sexy? So, see, the computer only had a roboty voice because they CHOSE to make it talk roboty. They could have Majel talk like the TNG computer, and you can just imagine they have a variety of voices to switch to.
The reasons they should go with the TNG voice IMO is that 1.) a roboty voice in the 23rd century with the tech we have now (even Stephen Hawking’s synthesizer speaks clearer), would be a bit implausible, and 2.) Majel said once the old computer voice hurt her throat.

Dom
August 26, 2007 12:57 pm

If the team were all that concerned about a poxy computer voice they wouldn’t have any time to worry about the things that are actually important, like the main actors and the film at hand!

The computer voice is utterly unimportant, borderline irrelevant. If Majel does it, then fine. If not, really, who cares?!

Queefer Bukkake
August 26, 2007 7:22 pm

Sorry, Roddenberry doing the computer voice wouldn’t work. It’s obviously a voice from TNG and trying to come up with some lame way to explain how it could also be in the past is foolish. Don’t f**k with Trek just because you think it would be neat to have Majel in the movie. It’s the same thinking that made Enterprise so awful sometimes. I have no problem with her playing a different role, but not the computer voice.

sean
August 26, 2007 7:28 pm

#45

She was the voice in the first place, how is that f**king with Trek?

JC
August 27, 2007 6:34 am

they should have one of the kids from South Park do the voice.

CmdrR.
August 27, 2007 8:14 am

10-Well, the TNG one would be an anachronism whereas the TOS/ more robotic voice would be consistent with canon.

I seem to recall they made that slip on “Thru a Mirror Darkly” on ENT. It made this fanboy twinge.

You mean you want the processing teletype sfx thrown in, too? Even computers in 2007 aren’t that loud!

It would be great stunt casting to have Majel’s voice somewhere in there. But, as with everything else, I’d like to see them take a fresh approach. This will NOT be TOS cloned, folks.

FREAKAZOID
August 27, 2007 8:25 am

10. Oceanhopper – August 25, 2007

Well, the TNG one would be an anachronism whereas the TOS/ more robotic voice would be consistent with canon

26. sean – August 25, 2007

That’s a piece of canon I’d happily throw out the window. If they do the whole ‘WORKING’ computer voice it would turn into a joke.
================================================
Sean is ABSOLUTLY right! To do the computer voice EXACTLY as it sounded in the 60s would be a joke. A very bad one.

You all need to stop worrying what is “consistant with canon” and deal with what WORKS RIGHT TODAY!

Dom
August 27, 2007 9:04 am

If TOS was a person and you were to make a clone of them in the present day, don’t you think they would ultimately wear modern clothes, speak like modern people and use modern things?

The new film will reflect today’s changes in technology and society. If that makes its technology seem more advanced than even TNG, in places, then so be it: Star Trek (2008) is a film made forty-plus years after the original. Just enjoy it for what it is!

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