A few weeks back we reported that the Star Trek Phase II fan series was going to film Norman Spinrad’s “lost” Star Trek script titled "He Walked Among Us." However, it looks like CBS has put the kibosh on the production. TrekMovie has talked with Phase II’s James Cawley to get the details on what happened and where they go next.
CBS Asks Phase II Not To Film Spinrad’s’ "He Walked Among Us"
As reported in our previous article, after sci-fi writer Norman Spinrad finished work on the Star Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine" he was commissioned (and paid $5000) to write another episode for the series. Spinrad turned around a script dealing with the prime directive called "He Walked Among Us," but after it was re-written by producer Gene Coon into something which Spinrad felt was an "unfunny comedy" he asked Gene Roddenberry to pull the episode from the schedule. Fast forward to 2012 and Spinrad rediscovers the script and publishes it online as an e-book which gets the notice of the fan production Star Trek: Phase II.
However the New York Times is reporting that following the announcement that Phase II was going to shoot Spinrad’s script in October, CBS contacted the fan production asking them not to move foreword with "He Walked Among Us." The report has been confirmed with Phase II producer/star James Cawley, who tells TrekMovie that he was "happy to comply" with the request and that there was "no animosity." Cawley notes that "Star Trek is their sandbox and we have always worked with CBS so this was not a problem."
CBS also asked Mr. Spinrad to stop selling the script online, and he has complied. The writer offered the following explanation on Facebook "I and CBS have agreed to resolve our disputes concerning the ownership of the Work; as part of the settlement between the Parties, the Parties have agree that there will be no further comment; and CBS is considering opportunities to offer licensed copies of the Work."
This wouldn’t have been the first time that Phase II has worked with a script that began life at Paramount (now CBS). On April 5th Phase II will release "The Child" which was originally written by Jon Povill and Jaron Summers for Paramount’s never-produced Star Trek: Phase II project in the 70s. The script was later re-written by Maurice Hurley for the second season Star Trek: The Next Generation. And in 2008 Phase II released the two-part episode "Blood and Fire" based on a script originally written by David Gerrold (writer of "Trouble With Tribbles") for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Cawley confirms that he had no pushback from CBS on those previous episodes and he does not know why they are treating Spinrad’s "He Walked Among Us" differently. In a statement regarding this issue CBS says "We fully appreciate and respect the passion and creativity of the ‘Star Trek’ fan and creative communities. This is simply a case of protecting our copyrighted material and the situation has been amicably resolved.”
Cawley says that Phase II continues to move forward. In June he plans to go into production on "Bread and Savagery" a new script by Rick Chambers which will be a sequel to the original Star Trek series episode "Bread and Circuses." And in October, instead of producing Spinrad’s script, Cawley is now planning on filming an episode based on a new script from David Gerrold. No details yet on that script except Cawley’s hint "it involves something fuzzy."