CBS Asks Phase II Not To Film Spinrad’s Lost Star Trek Script – Will Film New Gerrold Script Instead |
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CBS Asks Phase II Not To Film Spinrad’s Lost Star Trek Script – Will Film New Gerrold Script Instead March 28, 2012

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: CBS/Paramount,Fan Productions,New Voyages/Phase II,TOS , trackback

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."




1. rm10019 - March 28, 2012

Maybe CBS wants to do an animated special with it?

2. Red Dead Ryan - March 28, 2012

This is weird. Clash of egos perhaps?

3. Ensign BlueShirt - March 28, 2012

If the studio doesn’t plan on doing anything with it outside of reprinting the script they should leave Spinrad and Cawley alone. I respect the legality of this but it’s not like Phase II was planning on selling the episode to the masses. And I’m also confused (along with everybody except CBS) how this differs from “Blood and Fire” or “The Child”, both of which are based on unused or very old drafts of scripts that Paramount/CBS has owned for decades.

4. SoonerDew - March 28, 2012

Bet the issue was more due to legal entanglements between CBS and Spinrad than this specific script….or perhaps some one-off legal trigger on some other contract that kicks in if something of Spinrad’s gets produced, even if its only by the Phase II folks. Spinrad may well have known this, and that’s why he made the script somewhat notorious, and CBS offered him a small pile of money just to pull it out of the public eye.

5. Andy Patterson - March 28, 2012

Hmmm. Why would CBS even care about an ages old project they’re not involved with. Unless,…. they are. And what does that mean! They still care about the original series? The original concept! Weird.

6. Dr. Cheis - March 28, 2012

Curious. I’m guessing CBS intends to profit from the script in some manner within the next few years. Perhaps a novel, or perhaps ITS THE NEW STAR TREK MOVIE OMG

7. secondary back ups - March 28, 2012


8. Barb - March 28, 2012

I think Secondary Back ups may have part of a point… The Doomsday Machine is one of the top rated TOS episodes. They could have plans to combine the two scripts for JJA Trek 3 (Aka Star Trek 13). Let’s hope whatever they do for Star Trek 13, it works better than Apollo 13.

9. Anthony Pascale - March 28, 2012

Guys, CBS has no idea what JJ is going to do for the third Star Trek movie. It’s likely that JJ doesn’t know. This has nothing to do with Abrams/Bad Robot. It was something that CBS did on their own.

10. M - March 28, 2012

I bet that they’re doing it because it’s the original and they wanted to use the unfunny comedy. But they won’t do that.

11. Give me TOS, or Give me Death! - March 28, 2012

I’m guessing CBS randomly decided to publish the script as a novel?

12. MJ - March 28, 2012

How much you wanna bet that Spinrad has been given the go-ahead to turn this into a Trek novel now?

13. Captain Karl - March 28, 2012

Just curious if there is at least a synopsis out there so we can at least read about the highlights.

As to CBS pulling it because it will be the new movie, heh, riiiight….Paramount makes the movies, CBS owns the rights to the television movies.

14. TrekMadeMeWonder - March 28, 2012

I’m quiting all my jobs and moving to New York to follow Cawley & company!

“Bread and Savagery” sounds great!


15. Harry Ballz - March 28, 2012


16. - March 28, 2012

It would be interesting to see an Abramsverse version of this screenplay.

17. secondary back ups - March 28, 2012

i was just saying that to be an inflammatory troll, i do not really think that is the movie.

rare interest of full disclosure

18. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - March 28, 2012

Maybe C.B.S is waiting for the right time to do a new Trek series and would like to have that script as one of the Eps.

19. Peter Loader - March 28, 2012

I bought the script when it was on sale. I didn’t think it was that great, just a run of the mill episode.

20. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - March 28, 2012

Hey Peter. save it. Might be worth something one day.

21. TrekMadeMeWonder - March 28, 2012

Just a run of the mill TOS episode?!

Can’t believe I read that.

22. Justin"TheJman"Burton - March 28, 2012

or it has elements from that story in it could explain a great many things

23. RobertZ - March 28, 2012

Thanks Trekmovie for the updates on Star Trek Phase II!!!
So looking forward to next Friday’s release and all future episodes!

24. Kor the Klingon - March 28, 2012

Most unfortunate. It would have been glorious.

25. Jack - March 28, 2012

17. If you hadn’t said it, someone else would have, and meant it. Sigh.

I’m speculating/guessing/bullshitting that because they (or two theys before them) bought the script originally (and/or commissioned him to write it), it’s still their property, regardless of whether they even still knew about it or whether they really want to do something with it. Was Blood and Fire sold to TNG or did they just decide they didn’t want it?

26. CmdrR - March 28, 2012

What he said:
9. Anthony Pascale – March 28, 2012
Guys, CBS has no idea what JJ is going to do for the third Star Trek movie. It’s likely that JJ doesn’t know. This has nothing to do with Abrams/Bad Robot. It was something that CBS did on their own.

What we heard:
Star Trek 13 will be about this lost script and will be all about Shatner as Kirk fighting Khan…

27. Pensive's Wetness - March 28, 2012

How many Spocks does Phase II have/had?

28. Sebastian S. - March 28, 2012

Too bad about the Spinrad “He Walks Among Us”, but “Blood and Savagery” sounds wicked cool. I always felt that the Christian parallel revolt seen (in an embryonic stage) in “Blood and Circuses” deserves further exploration and this is the perfect medium for that exploration…

Keep up the GREAT work, James Cawley (and the STPII team)! ;-)

29. what?! - March 28, 2012

^ Does it matter? None of them could act.

30. Dennis Bailey - March 28, 2012

“Spock” at Phase II does seem very much like Spinal Tap’s drummer. LOL

31. BB43MAN - March 28, 2012

Maybe “We Walked Among Us” is the basis for the new movie?

32. Basement Blogger - March 28, 2012

If CBS is so concerned with its copyright, how about doing something with it. How about a new TV series? One can dream. One can dream.

33. danielcraigsmywookiebitchnow - March 28, 2012

My theory as to why the Child and Blood and fire, is that trek fan films have a much wider audience now than when those two were produced by Cawley and crew, especially after all the national news coverage over the somewhat controversial Blood and Fire. The fact that Cawley’s announcement also made national news, could have played a part in CBS saying, hey its ok to create your own original stories, but dont produce stories that we commisioned even if they were never filmed.

was there any actual money that exchanged hands in Phase II aquiring permission from the writer to shoot the episode?

34. danielcraigsmywookiebitchnow - March 28, 2012

oops i meant to say since the child was announced, not produced since the teaser for the child was only recently released. sorry bout that.

35. TDrake1701 - March 28, 2012

Just legal? Ownership issue?
OR- plans for the script….? Hmmmmm….

36. Magic_Al - March 28, 2012

CBS’s logic is becoming clearer now. I think, uninformed opinion here, if Spinrad had not tried to sell the script online then the New Voyages/Phase II production would still be happening. When CBS saw an attempt to monetize intellectual property it believes it owns, they saw a line had been crossed. Stopping sale of the script was their goal. Phase II being asked to cancel production is collateral damage. It’s logical to be consistent, with this script, that until there is an resolution between CBS and Spinrad then no one else should be allowed to use the script. It could further be argued that Spinrad directing the script for Phase II while continuing to offer the script for sale is an activity that foreseeably would increase sales of the script, thereby connecting Phase II, albeit accidentally, to unauthorized monetization of the property. Pushing Phase II away from this script protects Phase II. CBS did not tell Phase II to shut down. They said not to produce this script right now. It’s thus unspoken that Phase II can continue doing what they were otherwise doing. Again, just speculating from this armchair.

37. Caesar - March 28, 2012

“Bread and savagery”? Do they not get that “Bread and Circuses” is the translation of the Latin proverb about giving the masses their panem et circenses?

38. Sebastian S. - March 28, 2012

# 37

I think what the title may refer to is that the ‘bread and circuses’ of the TOS episode are no longer enough to pacify that planet’s burgeoning Christian/slave revolt, hence the ‘savagery’ in the sequel title.

39. Anthony - March 28, 2012

I think I know what that “fuzzy” word is: TRIBBLES!!!!! :D

40. rocketdave - March 28, 2012

#36 Makes sense to me.

It must be a disappointment to Cawley and company, but at least his reaction has been a suitably diplomatic one. Too bad I can’t say the same for Spinrad, who’s taken some vitriolic shots at JJ Abrams as a result. I can understand him being upset, but he just kind of comes off as petty and bitter from my perspective.

41. Anthony Thompson - March 28, 2012

Bummer. I was looking forward to that. Incidentally, the story of that episode proves that Gene Coon was not without faults!

42. Michael Hall - March 28, 2012

@ 36 Magic Al:

It’s all just speculation. . . but my sense is that your take on the situation is correct, or at least in the ballpark. (Though, in that case, why was Harlan Ellison allowed to profit off of his original version of the “City on the Edge of Forever” script, another piece of intellectual property that Paramount had paid for and presumably owned outright?) Too bad, in any case. Spinrad is a literary icon in the SF genre, and while he was initially not all that enamoured with “The Doomsday Machine” as produced, he’s since made peace with the liberties taken with his original concept to the degree that he comes off as rather proud of this small contribution to American pop culture. It would have been a real kick to see him take up where he left off forty years ago; certainly, more edifying in terms of Trek history than anything David Gerrod is likely to come up with.

43. DeShonn Steinblatt - March 28, 2012


Correct. It had everything to do with Spinrad’s behavior, and nothing to do with an obscure fan film.

44. Chasco - March 28, 2012

That’s a shame. ‘The Doomsday Machine’ was one of the best ever Trek eps so it would have been interesting to see another Spinrad script on the screen.

BTW – “CBS contacted the fan production asking them not to move foreword …”
Nitpicky, i know, but a foreword is what goes at the front of a book. “Forward” chaps. “Forward”.

45. Michael Hall - March 28, 2012

If anyone was curious as to what #40 was alluding to when he referred to Mr. Spinrad’s “vitriolic shots” at J.J. Abrams, here they are:

“But I am not legally bound not to say that I found J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek film quite inferior to the Phase II videos and his cavalier attitude towards the decades-long legacy of what Star Trek has come to mean to the general culture quite reprehensible, and indeed artistically counterproductive.”

Heh. For what it’s worth, I think Spinrad’s comments are just frakking awesome.

46. Harry Ballz - March 28, 2012


Sheesh, look the word “pissy” up in the dictionary and there’s Spinrad’s photo!

47. nx01 - March 28, 2012

I got nervous when I read that. I thought it said phase 2 was being canceled. Thank the “Great Bird of the Galaxy” that is not the case.

At number 36 good analysis seems logical.

For what ever it is worth I am grateful that CBS allows fans so much freedom to make episodes in the first place.

This post really made me laugh, good stuff
15. Harry Ballz – March 28, 2012


48. Dalek - March 29, 2012

41, Anthony Thompson:
“Bummer. I was looking forward to that. Incidentally, the story of that episode proves that Gene Coon was not without faults!”

Not really. He could have written the funniest comedy rewrite in Trek history. All we know is Spinrad didn’t approve because they turned a serious script into a comedy.

Coon knows quality. He himself, was so embarrassed by season 3 and the Fred Freiberger rein as Exec, that he used a pen name, Lee Cronin, from memory.

49. voice of reason - March 29, 2012

This is very strange, how can spinrads script be considered intellectual copyright when it wasnt even produced, it was rewritten by Gene Coon surely that script is the copyrighted material not this, but ho hum who really knows

50. Loran Alan Davis - March 29, 2012

CBS lurks here? *combs hair and puts on nice shirt*

51. Greenberg - March 29, 2012

This has to be an absolute joke. Behind all of the polite statements, if I were the P2 guys I’d be fuming at the stupidity of this. CBS aren’t going to do a damn thing with the script. Ridiculous.

If I were you guys I’d still just film it and not tell anyone.

52. VulcanFilmCritic - March 29, 2012

The ket word in the story is PAID. Norman Spinrad was “commissioned” and PAID $5000.00″ for the script.
Even though the script was Spinrad’s intellectual property, the copyright is now in the possession of CBS. And their lawyers are only doing their job.
If Spinrad had written the script on spec, and had never sold it, then the copyright would reside with him, even though the characters are the property of CBS/Paramount.
CBS has been very flexible in allowing the fans to use their characters all these years. They could stomp out every fan effort that involved the Star Trek crew, but they know that this kind of thing is better than free publicity.
However, they have to draw the line at properties that they actually own.

53. TrekMadeMeWonder - March 29, 2012

Just make a new series already. I’d write it for $5K a pop.

54. Trek Or Treat - March 29, 2012

# 36 and # 51

In my uninformed opinion, you guys hit the nail on the head.

55. Holger - March 29, 2012

Spinrad’s “He Walked Among Us” would make a nice IDW comicbook, though. Then it’s officially licensed, too.

56. PSB2009 - March 29, 2012

I bought it for my kindle- does this mean when I get home tonight it will be gone? I hope not, haven’t read it yet.

57. NoSeth - March 29, 2012

If this is what’s going on, I just hope CBS DOES something with the script. If that’s the case, and CBS wants to use it, great.

But if it’s just going to sit on the shelf and collect dust, it’s senseless, especially since Spinrad gave blessing.

They may agree to LICENSE the script to Cawley, but I don’t know what Cawley’s incentive would be then. A license would require some sort of compensation, and why would Cawley pay for it when he can’t make any money?

And if there was an exception made and Cawley would be allowed to sell it, would enough people want to buy the thing to make it worth it? I love Phase 2, but I wouldn’t pay to watch it.

Commercials inserted hulu style? Maybe, but that could be tricky too.

Glad Cawley has no animosity. I can see why there wouldn’t be. CBS has been pretty cool with what Cawley has been doing. They could shut him down at any time, even without Cawley making money.

I guess my reaction is similar to other people’s. If CBS does something with the script, fine. If not, it’s a waste.

58. Daoud - March 29, 2012

JC is smart… he has plenty of other scripts available…
“Bread and Savagery” could be interesting. Since the staged Gladitorial Games, the circenses, no longer satisfied the populace with the quiet revolt underway… would the imperial government first react with creating even larger spectacle to placate the masses?
Since the original Bread and Circuses was “Star Trek Does Spartacus”, a sequel could be the gets-darker-before-it-gets-better “Star Trek Does Idiocracy.”
I just hope they’ll take the TOS novel continuity into consideration, that 892-IV is called “Magna Roma”, and it was the last “great” project of the Preserver race transplanting humans from Earth in order to graft various civilizations for study. They way they did with Miramanee’s world….
IF the script could get into some of that detail along the way of a great story, it could be a landmark fanfilm. Literally “Strange New Worlds”, but only in that an alien race over time “stole” people who disappeared, people who had just died (beaming them up and resuscitating), people off ships that were sinking, airplanes going down…. much like that series Millennium had. In story then, you can explain the parallels without having to use Hodgkins Law of Parallel Planet Development… which was just always a bit too wacky. Go with the Preservers…

59. Star Trek: Voyeur - March 29, 2012

Reminds me of a girlfriend I once had.
She didn’t want me anymore, and she didn’t want another girl to be with me either.

“so – human” – Saavik

60. nx-2000 - March 29, 2012

36: Makes sense. The main reason the studios have been nice enough to allow all these great fan film productions to be made so far is because they understand that the parties making the fan films or anyone connected with the productions will be profiting from what’s legally somebody else’s intellectual property. Even if Cawley and his team weren’t profiting, Spinrad would still have been making money from continuing to sell the script online.

Personally, I’m dismayed that something like this would prevent a great script from being filmed, but I can see the point the company was trying to make. Make one exception and it’ll be seen as precedent to make more and somewhere along the line the whole system that gives the companies the security they feel leaves them the leeway to allow fan films will (in the companies’ opinion anyway) be compromised.

61. tman - March 29, 2012

If he’s selling it as an ebook it clearly crosses a line. They should destroy him with litigation. It’s like giving a guy a pass on selling star trek T-shirts without a license. If you don’t enforce your copyrights, you may not keep them…

62. Anthony Thompson - March 29, 2012

60. tman

“destroy him with litigation”? You sound like a sweetheart. A budding lawyer, maybe? ; )

63. Robman007 - March 29, 2012

I do seem to remember a time when Cowley used to post on this page and was ripped apart by some of the more militant trek fans regarding Trek 11. Not sure I’ve seen him on here since.

64. SoonerDave - March 29, 2012

Looks like CBS owns the script.

65. SoonerDave - March 29, 2012

Strong hints, suggestions, implications (whatever) that Abrams has indirectly brought pressure to bear on CBS through Paramount to put the kibosh on the Spinrad production…but apparently has no problem with the Gerrold replacement script.

Things that make you scratch your chin and go, “Hmmm…..”,71628/

66. Phil - March 29, 2012

@65. No, it doesn’t. When you read the comments it’s clear you have yet another critic who is of the opinion a room full of monkeys could have done a better job on ST2009 the Abrams and crew did. Abrams doesn’t give a rats ass about what Crawly does, this is about copyright protection and questions about ownership of the script, and nothing more.

67. Phil - March 29, 2012

@52. Well said.

68. Michael Hall - March 29, 2012

@66 Phil,

Um, no. Unlike myself or any of the dozens of self-appointed internet scribblers out there, Norman Spinrad is far from “yet another critic:” he not only wrote one of the most cherished episodes of the original series, but is also an acclaimed novelist, essayist, and short story writer, as well as being a past president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. None of which, of course, obliges anyone to agree with his assessment of what Abrams and his “Supreme Court” passed off as Star Trek in 2009–but while it’s somewhat questionable that a roomful of monkeys could have written a better script, my guess is that Spinrad certainly could have.

69. Jack - March 29, 2012

Spinrad himself was suggesting it, from what I understand just from reading his posts. Personally, I’d be surprised if Abrams cares one way or the other. What does this have to do with his movie?

But his criticism raises a good point. For everyone lamenting that Abrams’ 2009 movie isn’t Star Trek, well, there is indeed Phase II (new tales told with TOS sets and costumes and modernish visual effects, with involvement from TOS writers and actors).

Sometimes I wonder how telling it is that some of these giants of Sci Fi (and I mean that respectfully) who worked on Trek (Spinrad, Ellison) and have criticized a lot of what’s come since… didn’t, generally (and correct me if I’m wrong) sell many (filmable) SF scripts again. Yeah, I never watched Babylon 5 (couldn’t get into it).

But others — Richard Matheson, and maybe Robert Bloch — made more of an impact on film/TV, outside of Trek.

70. Anthony Pascale - March 29, 2012

AV Club is just making stuff up to stir up trouble. I checked. Bad Robot had nothing to do with this. In fact, they didnt know about it until i asked.

71. SoonerDave - March 29, 2012

@70 Fair enough.

72. My Best Fiend - March 29, 2012

On a related subject, did Harlan Ellison seek permission from Paramount to publish his original script for “City on the Edge of Forever” in the 1976 in anthology paperback SIX SCIENCE FICTION PLAYS? Surely he was compensated for it. I’m pretty sure the 1996 White Wolf book version was authorized, but Paramount may not have cared back in ’76…

73. jamesingeneva - March 29, 2012

Gotta say, It’s great to see ya in here again Anthony! You alone make or break this site! Don’t get me wrong, there are great contributors but man, there’s something about your skillset that puts the other sites to bed.

74. Dom - March 29, 2012

72. My Best Fiend ‘On a related subject, did Harlan Ellison seek permission from Paramount to publish his original script for “City on the Edge of Forever” in the 1976 in anthology paperback SIX SCIENCE FICTION PLAYS? Surely he was compensated for it.’

Mr Ellison is one of the more famous members of the WGA. If anyone could sort himself a watertight contract to exploit his own script, it’d be him! ;)

75. cd - March 29, 2012

47, 50 – CBS is EVERYWHERE.

76. Lord Bayne - March 29, 2012

Spinrad’s script is a typical play on the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of organized religion. Perhaps CBS didn’t like the story and feared it would offend the wrong people at the time it was made. After having read the script I’m curious to see what Phase II would have done with it. I wouldn’t call the script “run of the mill” but the idea of a primitive people worshiping a simple man as a God is certainly nothing new for television either.

77. Orb of the Emissary - March 29, 2012

Oh my Prophets! The script to the next Star Trek movie almost got leaked!! That’s why CBS put a stop to it!!

78. Phil - March 29, 2012

@68. Credentialed or not, his comments do nothing other then drop him into the same catagory as Harve Bennet – bitter old men groaning “they coulda done better” when in fact, they have been reduced to nothing more then sideline commentary. Credibility says “hey, how he currently sees the Trek franchise doesn’t suit my tastes”, instead we get that a B rated, poorly acted fan film is better then the garbage ST2009 was just begs the question, if ST PII is all that masterful, where is it’s audience?

79. Pony Horton - March 29, 2012

@78… “Where is it’s audience?”

Considering that PHASE II has had over 100,000,000 (yes, one-hundred-million) downloads or views; considering that PHASE II has garnered several media awards, including one from TV Guide, and adding the fact that PHASE II just got a substantial write-up in The New York Times, I’d say that PHASE II’s audience is….. EVERYWHERE.

In fact, as obscure as my name is to the world, when I attended the Hollywood Xpo in 2009, there were several STAR TREK and other media people there whom I knew by name or reputation, who told me they knew who I was thanks to my VFX work on PHASE II.

80. Pony Horton - March 29, 2012

Correction, Hollywood Xpo 2010.

Sorry about that.

81. Michael Hall - March 29, 2012

@ 78–

Well geez, Phil–believe it or not, we’re all sidelined eventually, whatever our accomplishments. Since Bennett and Spinrad were instrumental in producing Trek far superior to the crass commercial exercise Abrams and Co. bequeathed us that we’re all supposed to be so grateful for, why shouldn’t their experience in doing so lend their opinions a certain credibility? Nevertheless, you need to practice reading for comprehension, as I clearly stated that nothing in Norman Spinrad’s resume would necessitate that you agree with his opinions with respect to Trek ’09. Nor did he (or Bennett, to the best of my recollection) state that, at present, he could have done a better job. That was my assertion, and given the relative quality of the Trek ’09 screenplay and some of Spinrad’s more recent works, I happily stand by it.

82. Aashlee - March 29, 2012

52. VulcanFilmCritic, you are absolutely correct.

Even if CBS has no intentions of doing anything with the script, CBS must take action to protect its rights. Why? Because if it does not, the next time someone infringes on a property that CBS DOES care about, CBS will be less able to protect it. The court will will say, “Hey, CBS, why do you care about this property, and not that?” Inconsistency would sink CBS’s case. Intellectual properties must all be protected equally or else CBS’s right to protect any of them is compromised.

83. Harry Ballz - March 29, 2012

47. nx01 “This post really made me laugh
, good stuff”

Thanks, nx01! I like to hear when I make people laugh!

84. George Zip - March 29, 2012

When lawyers get bored, they do things like this. Beyond what’s already been sold, it will never see the light of day.

85. Phil - March 29, 2012

@81. Easily stated, when their opinions happen to line up with yours. I trust, then, that the numerous people associated with Trek who have been supportive of Abrams efforts are just as credible.

86. Michael Hall - March 29, 2012

‘I trust, then, that the numerous people associated with Trek who have been supportive of Abrams efforts are just as credible.”

Indeed they are.

87. Danny - March 29, 2012


88. Rico - March 29, 2012

Very interesting story. It’s hard to know all the reasons, but the shame of it all is the fact we probably will never see Spinrad’s Trek story filmed.

89. dmduncan - March 29, 2012

79. Pony Horton – March 29, 2012

You do outstanding work.

90. Bucky - March 29, 2012

I also agree that this script is truly what is being used for the Star Trek sequel. JJ just did a find-replace for any words containing “fuzzy closeup” with “lens flare” and the antagonist’s name was find/replaced with “Benedict Cumberbatch”

91. dmduncan - March 29, 2012

Probably right that some CBS jackoff saw the potential to pry a few thousand dollars out of Trek fans with this, and ordered a crackdown on the Spinrad story because some unimaginative, terrified-of-the-possibilities lawyer saw the potential doomsday of losing $0.90 somehow by letting the Phase II production go ahead.

They let Phase II exist because it’s great publicity for their property and they aren’t losing money on it. The fans are keeping the franchise warm FOR them.

92. Michael Hall - March 29, 2012

“They let Phase II exist because it’s great publicity for their property and they aren’t losing money on it. The fans are keeping the franchise warm FOR them.”

You got that right, bucko. It’s politic for Mr. Cawley to be properly appreciative with his talk about sandboxes and who gets to play in them, but in truth what this incident conclusively demonstrates is that CBS’ hands-off approach to the fan films is purely out of self-interest, and their torpedoing of Norman Spinrad’s chance to direct is very possibly out of spite. The interests of a aging writer–from what I’ve read on his blog, the last decade hasn’t been an easy one for Spinrad–or the remaining old-school Trek fans who would very much like to see this script put on film, just don’t figure into their bottom line at all.

93. Ctrl-Opt-Del - March 29, 2012

They’d better *do* something with that story now…

I fraking hate it when big companies make copyright claims over stuff people aren’t even making money from just on principal of “its ours, so you can’t have it”…

94. Jack - March 29, 2012

92. We can all speculate.

I worked for awhile on an online archives for a major broadcaster, and we had to triple clear everything for copyrights/ etc., including images, stuff we’d previously broadcast on news shows… we were incredibly restricted legally over what we could put up. There are legal departments that do this sort of thing all the time, and they do it constantly, without directives from the CEO — there may be politics involved, but not necessarily so (and I think it’s pretty unlikely here, but not impossible). The bottom line is: these are businesses and intellectual property is a huge deal. It woudl be interesting to actually learn what’s going on here — I doubt it’s just a personal attack on Spinrad.

95. Michael Hall - March 29, 2012

@94 Jack–

All true, but that begs the question, as others here have pointed out, of why CBS didn’t enjoin Phase 2 from producing David Gerrold’s “Blood and Fire” or Jon Povill’s forthcoming “The Child” when its intellectual property rights in both cases were just as compelling. No, I don’t think it’s a personal attack on Norman Spinrad, whom I frankly doubt the CBS lawyers know from Horst Wessel, or Gene Roddenberry for that matter. It seems likely, though, that #56 was on to something that when he speculated that shutting down the Phase 2 version of “He Walked Among Us” was de facto punishment for Spinrad’s having sold the script online in the first place. Most probably, we’ll never know.

96. James - March 29, 2012

A quick internet search reveals that if Phase 2 had over 100 million downloads, they’d have more “users” than Windows Media Player, ICQ, iTunes, Firefox and Google Chrome combined.

There’s no way this is true. That’s about the most insane claim I’ve ever heard from P2. You would be internet legends on the level of Jobs and Gates if it were.

I’m shocked P2 is allowed to continue to get away with such outrageous claims, including they have any sort of good relationship with CBS.

Someone call Bad Robot and ask if Cawley and Co. are allowed near the new film this time around. Find out why.

I hear nothing but self serving dreck from this sad band of fans.

97. Dennis Bailey - March 29, 2012

#96: “A quick internet search reveals that if Phase 2 had over 100 million downloads, they’d have more “users” than Windows Media Player, ICQ, iTunes, Firefox and Google Chrome combined.

There’s no way this is true. That’s about the most insane claim I’ve ever heard from P2. You would be internet legends on the level of Jobs and Gates if it were.”

Well, now, Pony said “downloads or views.” There’s quite a difference between the two.

Phase II is enormously successful, the best-known and doubtless the most widely watched of the fan films.

That said, counting page views or hits to judge popularity is like stealing a boxcar of Cambodian currency.

98. Jack - March 29, 2012

95. Having no facts and not being a lawyer, I’d say that sounds pretty credible to me (the fact that he was selling it).


99. captain spock - March 29, 2012

some else to read guys

war of fueding actors on trek 2

100. Anthony Thompson - March 29, 2012


No names. Not very useful.

101. BringBackKirkPrime - March 29, 2012

I think the episode “The Doomsday Machine” ranks among the best written in Star Trek history. I bought a copy of “He Walked Among Us” from Amazon before it was pulled, and lets say, I didn’t love it. It was an interesting piece of Star Trek History, but in my opinion wouldn’t rank up there with Star Trek’s best.

102. Fueled by Armus - March 30, 2012

People still use ICQ?!

103. MC1 Doug - March 30, 2012

#101: In a brief paragraph, can you at least give a synopsis of what the story was about? I’m curious about its plot. Thanks.

104. Daniel - March 30, 2012

101 & 103.

I bought it and read it. I liked it, but thought it was way too critical of religion to be filmed in 1967. Today it might be tough.

As I recall, the crew found a human of ill-repute (think Harry Mudd) on a planet. He crashed there in his one man ship and found a civilization on the verge of a brutal civil war. He stopped it by convincing them he was “special” and like a God.

On one side of the civil war were militants. On the other side were religious men.

He let both keep their power bases and kept the peace.

He was known as a nutcase on Earth and McCoy especially hated him. Kirk wanted to take him off the planet (Prime Directive violation) but couldn’t since a civil war would result.

Beleive it or not, I forget the ending. Chekov and Uhura were taken captive by the militant faction, and Kirk and Spock snuck in to release them and were also caught.

Somehow they all beamed out safely and took the nutcase human with them.

A civil war was diverted but I forget how.

The story remined me of A Private Little War mixed with The Paradise Syndrome mixed with I, Mudd. A bit of The Omega Glory is there as well.

If filmed in 1967 with all of the religious criticism, I think it would be a very memorable episode today, if well cast and well filmed.

105. Daoud - March 30, 2012

Pretty close to the episode with Worf’s Brother though, wasn’t it?

106. patty wright - March 30, 2012

James, we are fortunate the number of people viewing our stuff is boosted by the thousands of people reposting it for us – and the number is low to be on the safe side. Not just our servers, our mirrors and our youtube channels and Zicree’s site….but hundreds of people posting them on their youtube, which is then reposted by friends of the original fans, which is then…

We have people that work their butts off to keep an accurate tally (we hit 30 million during release of BAF 1…and that was when we wouldn’t let others re-post the stuff).

You are definitely not required to believe us though….the people hosting the live WEAT event didn’t either, and their server crashed instantly and for good when 40,000 people logged on SIMULTANEOUSLY the instant it went live.

107. James, no not that one, yeah, no wait, the other one - March 30, 2012

95. – All true, but that begs the question, as others here have pointed out, of why CBS didn’t enjoin Phase 2 from producing David Gerrold’s “Blood and Fire” or Jon Povill’s forthcoming “The Child” when its intellectual property rights in both cases were just as compelling.

This may be as simple a case as two different lawyers looking at the same situation and viewing it differently. I suspect the initial level of review for this sort of thing is done at the associate level, perhaps even by first year associates and the like, at whatever law firm CBS retains as IP counsel. The associate who did the review of the information during BaF and “The Child” may have seen it as in the spirit of the agreement which exists between CBS and P2 and not flagged it for further review whereas the associate reviewing the current situation felt differently. I imagine the fact that Spinrad was selling the script on-line added to the concerns, and may have been what put it on the associate’s radar to begin with considering the amount of play the “discoveery” of the lost script has seen in the media, but I doubt this was done with any intent to punish Mr. Spinrad, as you suggest.

Additionally given the passage of time between when Spinrad sold his script and the sales of “The Child” and BaF, it is conceivable that the WGA contract has changed with regards to the seperation of rights between the author of the script and the corporate owner of the script.

Ultimately I think you are correct in your assertion that we will never know and I, for one, am fine with that. Whether we like it or not Star Trek belongs to CBS & Paramount and it is theirs to do with as they please. I think we, as fans, are quite lucky to have them as IP owners. They allow us to continue to play with these toys we have loved for close to 50 years when it would be just as easy, and arguably more prudent, to take them and go home. I have seen FAR worse behavior from other IP holders.

108. Captain Crawford - March 30, 2012

I’ve started a petition in hopes that CBS might change its mind. It’s a longshot, but it can’t hurt to try.

109. Pony Horton - March 30, 2012

@89 Dmduncan, thank you so much!!! It means a lot to me when I can please viewers with my work.

@108… Capt. Crawford, as well-intentioned as that is, I’m afraid it could cause a boat-rocking effect and compel CBS to look at this whole issue and say, “No more fan films. Not worth the trouble. They’re trying the Trimble Letter-Writing Campaign again, just stirring-up trouble. We’ve been generous with them, and look what it’s gotten us! No more.”

110. Michael Hall - March 30, 2012

@ 107 James–

Interesting analysis, if no less conjectural than my own. It would seem to me that if two different sets of lawyers working for the same organization are coming to different conclusions about how their IP rights should be enforced, that wouldn’t tend to look very good in court, should the defendants in such a dispute ever decide to present their case. In that regard I’d also be interested in knowing why Harlan Ellison was allowed to publish, for profit, the original teleplay for “City on the Edge of Forever” not just once, but twice, though Paramount had apparently paid him in full for his first draft script and all subsequent rewrites. (In fact, he was recently able to obtain a settlement from the studio for use of the “Guardian of Forever” and Edith Keeler character in novels, collectibles and other Trek paraphanelia over the years as a breach of his IP rights.) As Ellison has demonstrated that he will not hesitate to go to court repeatedly, whatever the expense, to enforce what he sees as his authorial rights, perhaps is really is just a matter of who is willing to push the hardest on these issues.

I just feel badly for Norman Spinrad, who was obviously looking forward to this opportunity, after (like so many of us) falling on pretty hard times during the last few years. He’s given enormously to the SF community during a prolific writing career–his script for “The Doomsday Machine” is the least of it–and the chance to direct a fan film based on an unproduced script for little or no compensation seems a small thing to ask in return.

As for our “luck” in having Paramount and CBS as the IP owners on all things Trek–well, maybe. I can’t help but think, though, of the example of George Lucas. Whatever else you think of the man and his work, Lucas early on actively encouraged the fans to play in his universe as filmmakers, rightfully seeing it as a way promote talent, broaden the base of the STAR WARS fan community, and incidentally get some great free publicity. It’s a good deal for all concerned, and I doubt it’s a coincidence that only recently have the Trek fans films (mostly exemplified by Phase 2) exhibited the same level of creativity and professionalism as the best of those based on the SW franchise. The only place Lucas draws the line (aside from profiting off the films, of course) is fans tampering with the actual movies he produces (he was not at all amused with a Jar Jar-less fan-edited version of THE PHANTOM MENACE), which seems entirely reasonable to me–certainly more reasonable than the behavior of CBS with respect to Mr. Spinrad and his long-lost teleplay.

111. Smike - March 30, 2012

This doesn’t make sense at all. Why do they care about a 45 year old script? Yeah, it may be copyrighted material but that applies to EVERYTHING on Phase II, including but not limited to the the names of the characters, uniforms, bridge designs etc. The series itself is an ongoing violation of copyrights – though tolerated by CBS to some degree – so why do they care about that particular script?

Could it be parts of it have been used for the cinematic Star Trek sequel???

112. Azrael - March 30, 2012

@99. If the story was being carried by TMZ I might have some inclination to believe it has a small grain of truth to it, but since it is the Enquirer (who commonly make up articles) then I have no faith in it.

113. Patty Wright - March 30, 2012

110 – the fact is, the own the script. If they let us use it than it is no longer a new, viable property for them. (even if everyone has read it by now! LOL)

Not everything is copyrighted. The characters, the art design…. but there are things like … the insignias are, but you can’t legally copyright a pattern/design for a costume or piece of clothing . (costume has it’s own set of laws!)

The original scripts we use, the original characters, the footage itself… that’s the copyright of others than CBS/Viacom.

None the less, you don’t spit in the face of someone letting you live in their house because they don’t want you to use the tools they left gathering dust in the basement. They are their tools – you get your own if they say so.

And we have so many scripts waiting to be filmed….

114. Daddy Todd - March 30, 2012

@#87 — “Bandi” was adapted in one of the Star Trek Manga a few years back. It was absolutely awful, so that’s probably what Phase II will be doing…

115. Fez - March 30, 2012

110- Not to mention, episodes that are awaiting to be finished

116. JB - March 30, 2012

So where can we find Spinrad’s script now that Amazon has pulled it? Surely some enterprising (pun intended) fan has a work around for this.

117. Michael Hall - March 30, 2012

@ 113 Patty Wright–

“None the less, you don’t spit in the face of someone letting you live in their house because they don’t want you to use the tools they left gathering dust in the basement. They are their tools – you get your own if they say so. And we have so many scripts waiting to be filmed….”

Fair enough, Ms. Wright. That’s an interesting, not to say poetic, way of looking at the situation. Of course, anyone allowing you to live in their house is providing shelter at a minimum, whereas CBS is graciously “allowing” the Phase 2 participants to spend their own time, energy and money promoting their product. So I’m not sure your analogy holds, completely. Still, I get your point. My regrets are not for the Phase 2 cast and crew–as you say, there are plenty of other scripts and stories in the pipeline wating to go in front of the cameras. Nor do I weep for the fans, though it rankles that we’ll likely never get to see this minor piece of Trek history brought to life. I’m just sorry that Norman Spinrad, a literary icon of mine for decades, won’t get to have the experience of directing his own script on those uber-cool sets, and for no better reason than corporate greed and indifference. I’m sure he would have enjoyed it, and hopefully the cast and crew would have done likewise.

118. Jack - March 30, 2012

Since we’re throwing baseless conspiracy theories around — maybe Spinrad had an inkling (or maybe a previous warning) this would happen. It’s pretty fantastic publicity.

119. Pony Horton - March 30, 2012

Personally, I think Norman Spinrad and his Doomsday Machine are the REAL cause of Global Warming!!!

How’s THAT for a conspiracy theory?

120. Tony F - March 30, 2012


121. Shilliam Watner - March 30, 2012

There can never be art when corporate lawyers are involved.

122. Harry Ballz - March 31, 2012


Well, except the fact that they’re heARTless.

123. Daoud - March 31, 2012

@99, 111: It’s that rumor of Quinto storming off moment combined with whomever led him to storm off. I won’t be surprised when it turns out to be a non-informed person misinterpreting an argument between the *characters* of Spock and McCoy, as an argument between Quinto and Urban. They’re both very much “into the role” type of actors. Someone who doesn’t understand the Spock/McCoy dynamic is probably the source of that Enquirer crap.
@119,120 : ….or when death is on the line. :) There’s a reason why Wallace Shawn is perfect for so many roles. Imagine a lawyer on board a starship? “Airlock fodder”? “Jetsam potential”? “Future Delta Vega Visitor”? :)

@Phase II, Pony or anyone: When in June is production going to be underway?? The website wasn’t loading when I looked a bit ago.

124. James T Kirk - March 31, 2012

The June shoot is from Jun 16th- June 30th

125. patty wright - March 31, 2012

The website and forum are down for maintenance in preparation for our April 5 release of “The Child”. The incredible amount of traffic they get when we release always crashes them and we are trying to prevent that this time.

126. Rastaman - March 31, 2012

Someone needs to wrestle the Trek TV license from CBS. They are completely squandering it.

127. Michaela - March 31, 2012

You’ve said saint words Rastaman :D

128. bravo - March 31, 2012

CBS should look at turning this into an animated episode. Get Shatner and gang to voice the characters. Chris Doohan could voice Scotty, and Karl Urban could voice McCoy. Would make a great Direct to DVD cartoon movie.

129. dmduncan - March 31, 2012

Bob has a show on CBS. Maybe he’s creeping his way into favor to get a shot at the title. With another hit Star Trek movie, who would be better positioned for it, really?

130. Azrael - March 31, 2012

@121. That is probably all there is to it yeah. I was just pointing out that the only place carrying the story was the “National Enquirer” website, which lowers the credibility to virtually non-existent. Seriously I spent 2 hours searching the web for any other hints and all I found were copies of the non-story from the Enquirer so I really believe there is nothing to this rumor.

131. Keachick - rose pinenut (F) - March 31, 2012

#99 – Link has gone – not available to me in my region, apparently.

If indeed there has been a scrap between actors on the set or, as an alternative, part of a scene being rehearsed/film being misinterpreted by someone – either way, I seriously suspect that a certain director has stepped to stop info/rumours from leaving the set and if there was a feud between the two actors, that they would have been told to get it thoroughly sorted last month.

One thing I do not want to read in the future is the type of stuff that has come from people like George Takei, lamenting on how rude/bad/whatever William Shatner was some 30 years ago and other such shit. I don’t need to read some memoir where Karl or Zachary or whoever is bemoaning some quarrel they had with some other Trek actor 20 years or so later. Enough already.

132. Harry Ballz - March 31, 2012


So, Keachick, your basic complaint is that you don’t want to hear any complaints?


133. denny cranium - April 1, 2012

Spinrad was paid for the script back in 1967 by desilu.
When desliu became paramount and trek TV went to CBS the rights to produce that script in anyway are the rights of CBS only.
It would have been great to see the show produced but I understand why CBS pulled the plug on it.
Kudos to Cawley and crew agreeing to it.

134. Jack - April 1, 2012

I wonder how much (of their own, I’m assuming) these guys spend on all this — I’m guessing they don’t make enough from donations etc. Pretty amazing. I’d pay to go on a tour of those sets, if they’re standing…

135. Khan was Framed! - April 1, 2012

Everyone should agree to let IDW do the episode as a graphic novel, using the TOS environments & character drawings.

CBS & Spinrad can split the money with IDW & everyone wins.

Fans would be all over a lost episode released this way, if they hype it up as such, they could get a nice profit our of this.

136. Dom - April 3, 2012

128. bravo said: ‘CBS should look at turning this into an animated episode. Get Shatner and gang to voice the characters. Chris Doohan could voice Scotty, and Karl Urban could voice McCoy. Would make a great Direct to DVD cartoon movie.’

Agreed, but I’d rather something new be written for a cartoon film that takes full advantage of the cartoon medium.

137. Patty Wright - April 3, 2012

Jack, the show is paid for about 99% out of the producers and core crew’s pockets. And it’s a lot.

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