Arnold Defends Roddenberry’s Universe, Says Trek Needs ‘New Blood’

Longtime Gene Roddenberry assistant Richard Arnold has some views on the LA Times editorial discussed here recently. The editorial called for a total ‘reboot’ of the Trek franchise, which Arnold wasn’t buying….his letter to the editor:

Although I share Dan Neil’s concern about any plans Paramount Pictures may have for the next "Star Trek" feature film, I do not agree that the"franchise" should be abandoned. Certainly the series’ creator, Gene Roddenberry, wouldn’t feel that way, nor do millions of "Star Trek" fans worldwide.

What "Star Trek" does desperately need is some new blood. Hopefully with J.J. Abrams at the helm, the next film will get the ship and her crew back on course!

A purist…not open to TOS Remastered but open to recasting TOS?
For a long time Arnold was the Star Trek archivist and general keeper of the canon for Trek. He was known for his strict and some might say purist views on what is and is not ‘Trek’. He would regularly veto book and comic book story lines that he felt distracted from what he considered the ‘core of Trek’ (see recent Trek BBS discussion here). His purist view seems to extend to the new CGI-enhanced version of Star Trek The Original Series. Friend of TrekMovie John Tenuto reports that Arnold made some very negative comments about Trek Remastered at the recent 40th  Anniversary convention in Chicago. Arnold called the original show ‘sacred’ and didn’t buy into CBS line that they aren’t changing the show, saying any changes were wrong. For example, on the idea of adding additional Enterprise flyby shots that weren’t possible to do with 60s technology, he said: "I don’t want to see the ship at new angles." Criticizing CBS Paramount is nothing new for Arnold as his call for ‘new blood’ indicates. This repudiation of the Berman era is consistent with previous comments saying he didn’t believe Roddenberry would be happy with the post TNG Trek series (DS9, VOY & ENT). But yet he seems open to JJ Abrams and Trek XI getting the franchise ‘back on course’. John Tenuto reports that he spoke optimistically about the notion of Trek XI bringing back the TOS era. So to sum up: rebooting is bad, remasterinng is bad, recasting OK.


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hitch1969©, you are banned!!!


Dropping canon is a poor writers excuse for not doing some form of research or feeling that they have to be some how “limited” before attempting a script. Something like writing for Star Trek at the feature film level, especially with the recasting of TOS, should be dealt with in the same manner any writer would with doing a script for WWII, the Civil War, real individuals or any script that may have a backing to some form of history to it. Now, yes of course Star Trek is obviously the fictional circumstance in comparison, but how a script is written for it really should not be.

Now, that does not mean you have to focus on nailing everything either though. Take examples from such films as Saving Private Ryan, where there is some account to the history behind it mixed with the elements of story telling. Star Trek can be done the same way by simply addressing important elements of the canon (Kirk at the academy, Kobay oshi Maru, Carol Marcus) and then extrapolate from there.

If they were doing the balanced story telling then whatever additions they make would not actually contradict most of the canon. It’s only when they make drastic additions (ie: many of the early episodes of Enterprise, not to mention even having a ship of the same name when there is clearly no reference of it in previous canon) that the story loses any legitimacy. But those additions tend to be specific choices being made by the creators, thus equating it to an avoidable issue if they choose to pay attention to it.

Star Trek TOS has a sufficiently elastic continuity that a new Kirk and Spock adventure should ‘slot in’ without making any vast waves! There have been lots of novels that fit in just as safely.

I see this film as being the equivalent of a Trek novel: less a ‘prequel’ than a merely a new story featuring Kirk and Spock.

Prequel. def:What you call a sequel to a sequel to a …

Ohhh, Richard Arnold doesn’t like remastered. Who cares? Didn’t he get kicked off the lot when Mr. Roddenberry died? This guy was a just a fan who wormed his way in way back. Mr. Cannon. I wonder if he ever had a job that wasn’t associated with Trek? Good thing he doesn’t have anything to do with either project. A real bundle of ‘creative’ energy this guy.

This guy sounds like he needs another hoby, but if it’s truly his job to watch over the history of Trek, so be it.
I guess like all of us… he had an opinion on the subject. No more… No less… he just got more press coverage.

btw… what did hitch do?

oops… bad speeling… HOBBY…LOL

……….and spelling in the last one as well

irony, ACB… irony… it’s not fun if you have to explain the punchline… yes?


Darth Blitz,

Arnold is a hard-on. That anectode of yours says it all.

Stepping back from canon isn’t necessarily a lazy move. I daresay Ronald D. Moore is very familiar with the original Battlestar Galactica and made deliberate decisions about what to keep (encountering Pegasus) and what to drop (casino planet). Someone has to step in and say, “I am the storyteller, now shut up and listen” and then tell a good story. If enough of an audience likes it, the storyteller gets to continue.

BEHOLD THE KEEPER OF CANON–jeeesh he gets paid to do what hordes of us do for free. I dunno it sounds anal to be against TOS-R as they are being as gentle with it as they are, perhaps he hasnt seen it? But now all the anti TOS-R: nudnicks will say “see, see GR would not have approved!!”. Well Richard Arnold is not GR, i’d rather trust someone involved with GR during the original run, not after GR started believing his own hype, so that being said—I wonder what Robert Justman thinks?

Attitude of the average, run-of-the-mill Trekker or average Joe in the street: ‘Who the hell is Richard Arnold?’

Personally I’ve never heard of him before. Don’t care to hear of him again either, by the sound of things!

Richard who?

Don’t “purest” views of any kind fly in the face of what Star Trek is all about? New ideas, fresh thinking, open mindedness? Didn’t Picard once say “There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute?” Same idea applies. A rigid position like Arnold’s (and even Roddenberry’s during the Next Gen era) is exactly what can sap the life and creativity out of a concept.

Nobody destroys the original version of classic trek! star trek remastered is in addition absolutely ok, although the “in a mirror darkly”-ENT-effects would have been much better to build in…

I saw that guy Richard “Dick” Arnold at a convention. He claims to be a fan and may know a lot about star trek stuff, but when he’s on stage he talks down to people. He has that attitude of “I was connected and you weren’t, but gather round while I impress you.” He used to write the question and answer stuff for the star trek communicator (RIP) magazine. I always wondered how he was the “expert” on shows like DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise when he got canned during Next Generation days.

As for Trek Remastered, when Gene’s widow says she thinks he’d be all for it because he was always about the future and if he could have done better effects he would have, THAT’S who I’ll believe.

“Fans” like Richard Arnold who can only complain and hold to rigid ideas about how things should be aren’t fans at all. People need to realise that while they may not see things the way they picture them in their head, that doesn’t always mean the way they’re being done is bad. F that guy.

LOVE the blue phasers in Arena, wicked cool! I wish there was another eye-blink at teh end of it when the gorn is bleeding, but PHASERS ROCKED!! Bring on that new ship baby!

I bet he’s making nice with the new movie guys so he can get work again. Double F that guy.

Richard Arnold was Roddenberry’s assistant, and he thought of himself as Roddenberry’s surrogate. His unimaginatively dogmatic insistence on his limited version of Roddenberry’s vision was a disservice to Star Trek. After Arnold was fired, he never wrapped his brain around the notion that others might be better suited to care for Roddenbery’s vision than a fan with no production or writing experience.

““Fans” like Richard Arnold who can only complain and hold to rigid ideas about how things should be aren’t fans at all. People need to realise that while they may not see things the way they picture them in their head, that doesn’t always mean the way they’re being done is bad. F that guy.”

A bureaucrat’s only form of power is the ability to say “no”. NEver give him that chance!

Hearing that Richard “You Internet Types Just Aren’t That Important” Arnold doesn’t like TOS-Remastered is just one more sign that it’s the absolute right thing to do.

I first read about Arnold on the old USENET group back in 1990. Tim Lynch actually interviewed him. The middle name I used for Arnold above is a paraphrase of something he said in that interview.

Just in case I’m not being clear, I found Arnold to be an arrogant git back then. Sadly, he’s apparently still an arrogant git today.

Most people would settle for a good story, literate writing, and a director
who knows what their doing. Why all these years Paramount had this
gawd awful taboo about using any of the Star Trek books as a basis for
a movie is beyond me. So many stories and the studio didn’t avail
themselves of any of them. Why when more of the original series
actors were still alive didn’t they record voice over scripts for animated
films or television series. Film several movies at a time for theatrical
or television release. They wasted a great deal of time and talent.
One would hope this time around they get it right.

A nonentity — who cares?

Before I turn this over to Paramount’s lawyers, maybe you should apologize for posting something like #10 here (from Darth Ballz). I have been diabetic for more than eight years and do not drink, I have never told anyone that I was Gene Roddenberry, and my hours at Star Trek The Experience could easier be verified with the facility (I only set up there during the holidays, and am rarely there later than 8pm). These are just outrageous lies and slander. I expect to hear from you.