TOS Writer David Gerrold Approves of Trek XI Prequel and Trek Remastered

If the name David Gerrold rings a bell, it should, he was responsible for The Trouble with Tribbles, and various Animated Trek stores too. He recently was intereviewd in Australia’s Courier Mail newspaper. He has written a new book about the original series called ‘Boarding the Enterprise‘. In the interview Gerrold speaks in favor of a "reboot" much like Batman and Superman have recently been given.

Wipe the blackboard clean and you go back to Kirk, Spock and McCoy and the Enterprise, with new actors to find different interpretations of the characters. And I think there’s a possibility, just as we’ve see different interpretations of Superman and Batman, maybe that’s how Star Trek is gonna survive.

He even gets in a little kudos for TOS Remastered:

They’re not embarrassingly bad any more; there’s the same starship, the same shot, but they’re smoother, they’re more realistic

Gerrold also tells the paper why he thinks TOS worked so well, why the spin off’s weren’t so sucesfull at being compelling:

(With the spin-offs) you’ve got all these great special effects – great, because the original Star Trek had zero special effects, we had plastic rocket ships, for God’s sake! – and you’ve got all these great costumes, but all we had was some velours with emblems on them.

So it’s not the costumes, and it’s not the props, and it’s not the special effects, and it’s not these million-dollar sound stage sets, it’s not any of that stuff – it’s in the storytelling. Storytelling has to be about the human adventure.


There is much more in the full interview at The Australia Courier Mail.

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Is it only me who doth question this arrogance? Is he for not, certainly, Microsoft in the pants?

Bilar®, report to the Bridge……..



I think he is right on the money about this being the way Star Trek will survive (ala Batman Begins and Bond Begins). It’s TOS that people recognize most as True Trek, and it has the most heroic and likable characters of any series. In 20 years, we may see TNG with a new cast on TV ior on the big screen. As for the other series… I highly doubt it.

Have to say, I don’t think he’s ‘arrogant’ in the bits we’ve read in that article. David Gerrold has been in favour of returning to Kirk and Spock for years.

Gerrold, in a lot of ways, was the creator of TNG, being responsible for the writers’ bible and many of the show’s concepts. Sadly he left the project early on. If you read his novelisation of Encounter at Farpoint, you’ll see a much more ‘human,’ less ‘evolved’ crew, more in tune with TOS.

I agree, the time has come for a total re-boot. I loved TOS but it has become dated. The future has passed it by, no Ugenics War etc. Some fans will scream and carry on about the idea of a total reboot, hech they are already complaining about the idea of recasting KIrk, Spock and co.
No matter what they do some fans will complain so go for broke.

I’d rather leave TOS as it is and do something new (never been a fan of it). Or, simply let Star Trek die if people don’t think they can produce something that can be financially successful.

Wow.David Gerrold.I remember buying his book”The making of Star Trek” when I was a kid,and I think the other one was “The making of the trouble with Tribbles”.Nice to see he’s still around.Funny too.I recall the shot of him on the cover as a long haired hippie looking kind of guy!How time have changed.But anyway,My point.I’m with him and poster#2Demode.Trek needs to be re-interpreted like Batman etc.It’s the only way.It’s good to hear one of the original pre-motion picture people endorsing keeping up with the times.

No, I don’t think Gerrold is arrogant,,, well informed is more likely! And Yes,,, it’s about the story telling, TOS is still the most popular in my opinion,,,, it’s all i watch, and I don’t even get to see the remastered stuff in Eastern Canada

Mr Gerrold is being realistic.In my opionion,Star Trek is dying a slow death because of fan’s undue insistance that it’s principle actors be portrayed by senior citizens.I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way.I’m just being realistic(.Any actor should know that he can’t invest his own personal identity and sense of worth in a fictional character )

Ugh.I knew I shouldn’t have had that second cup.Sorry,I spazed.

Amen to the need for storytelling. Please, in STXI, let’s not find God on a $100M budget. Let’s spend a reasonable amount to learn more about the characters’ early days (or whatever) as they battle moderately priced Klingons.

Well, I guess if the writers of Star Trek XI wanted to earn the hatred of a huge majority of Trek fans and have their film reduced to mere fan fiction, they will go the easy route, ignore what has come before, and go the way of a total reboot. Fortunately, I think Abrams and his crew have more respect and sense than that. No offense to Mr. Gerrold, but Star Trek is not Superman or Batman. Both of those franchises were comprised of only four films; Star Trek is comprised of 10 feature films and 704 hours of live-action television. Star Trek is more than a franchise; it’s a universe, and one that must be kept together. The writers want to bring in the fans, not push them away. Push away the fans, that’s less money in the bank. Trust me, you do not want to piss off the fans.

And so what if things like the Eugenics Wars didn’t come to pass? Remember, Star Trek is science fiction. That means it’s not supposed to be real, folks. And why is everyone always complaining that something as destructive as the Eugenics Wars never took place? I would think people would be glad that it never happened… The fact remains, it didn’t happen here, but it did happen in the Star Trek universe. Live with it.

So to any writers who are thinking about a “reboot”: if you want to destroy a an entire universe and distance devoted fans, then, by all means, reboot the franchise and watch your work and credibility go down in flames. All you will have done is create a separate universe that will be largely ignored by the masses. So, if you want to write for Star Trek, do yourself and the fans a favor: stick to what has already been established.

#10 CmdrR

Yes, I would certainly have to agree with that. Although I don’t believe there was any lack of storytelling in recent Trek, it has been significantly reduced in favor of special effects and techobabble. The new film should definitely be a return to form. But like I said above, a reboot is out of the question, and fortunately, Abrams and his team plan on being faithful to canon.

ChuckAmuck.your post brings to light the argument that there is applicable canon to Superman,Batman,etc.As both have adhered ,loosely at times,to canon established by previos storytelling.They have managed to survive longer than Star Trek by being creative and changing with the times.Could it be perhaps because they re not held accountable to the overzealousness of fans?

OK can someone please tell me where all the bashing of the post TOS series is coming from?

I would think it would make more sense to do a TOS era movie about a different starship with different characters than to try to recast Spock and Kirk and Mccoy, etc. Those actors did the same role for so long that I think it is a mistake to have others playing them. This is not like Batman, etc. I don’t really want to see William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in any more Star Trek movies either, especially if they are flashing back to their younger days where they are played by different actors. I understand using Kirk and Spock, etc. for name recognition, but I have a hard time believing that your average non Star Trek person is going to care that much either way. This reboot concept is also a horrible idea. MIght as well just create an entirely new space movie or series and keep the Star Trek name out of it. Who cares if it is outdated? It is what it is. Also, #14 the bashing is understandable since this topic is related to TOS-naturally there are going to be those who engage in that, much as if this were a TNG topic then the bashing would be in reverse.

#11 and 12 – ChuckAmuck

It think that it’s at best an “un-informed” and at worst “biased” opinion to suggest that Superman has a less detailed canon that Trek, and is therefore unsuitable for comparison with how the characters have been revised or even re-invented over the years.

Superman has been around for 75 years, compared to Treks humble 40.

In addition to comic books, Superman has made the transition to radio, television, movies, and Broadway.

Among the actors who have played the role are:

– Clayton “Bud” Collyer (1940 to 1950 radio serial – 439 hours, 17 Fleischer Superman Cartoons – 2 hours)
– Kirk Alyn (1948 and 1950, 2 15-episode movie serials – 8 hours),
– Bob Holiday (It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman, a Broadway musical),
– George Reeves (1952 to 1958, Adventures of Superman TV series – 50 hours),
– Christopher Reeve (the 1970s–1980s films – 8 hours),
– John Haymes Newton and Gerard Christopher (1988-1992 Superboy TV series – 50 hours),
– Dean Cain (1993-1997, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman – 88 hours),
– Tom Welling (2001 to present, Smallville TV series – 123 hours and counting),
– Brandon Routh (Superman Returns – 2.5 hours)

When you include the recent animated TV series:

– Tim Daly (1996-2000, Superman: The Animated Series, Superman: Brainiac Attacks – 28 hours),
– George Newbern (2001 to present, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited – 29 hours and counting),
– Yuri Lowenthal (2006 to present, Legion of Super Heroes – 6 hours and counting).

In total, over 830 (and counting) hours of multimedia performances of Superman, in addition to all of the printed literature.

And before any jumps on me, it’s not off-topic… it’s establishing the credibility of comparing two franchises so that informed discussion can take place. There are lessons to be learned from the treatment of other famous characters as the actors had to be inevitably replaced as time goes on… if you can keep an open mind.


I think no matter what is done, there will be people who will be upset with it and will say the franchise has been ruined. My attitude is gradually changing. I never thought I could see anyone else playing the roles of Kirk, Spock, Bones, and company…but…now I’m warming to the idea. The reason why it worked best with Batman is that “mask”. As silly as it sounds, it just makes it easier to accept. It was harder to accept with Superman (though not impossible-see #16’s post for the reasons). This won’t be easy, but if it is done right, I truly think it could work and might bring in a new legion of fans PLUS keep SOME of the older fans.

I still think there should be a way to get “the Shat” and Nimoy involved in it as the aged versions of Kirk and Spock. How is Abrams’ task. I think it is believable to have them rememebr the good old days via story telling/flashbacks. Quite normal to remember yourself as a little different than others do. Maybe more heroic, better looking (or worse), skinnier or heavier, more buff, whatever. I think in that way, new people could be introduced into the roles of the characters and accepted via the blessing of older Kirk & Spock (through their remembrances/story-telling.

By the end of the movie, perhaps three things could be accomplished:
1. A PROPER send off for Shatner and Nimoy
2. Bringing Kirk back to life POST-Generations
3. The complete establishment of these new actors in the familiar character’s roles, paving the way for future movies and/or TV shows.

Who knows, it just might work, and I do think that Shatner and Nimoy having decent roles in the film WILL bring out people to the box office, at least this one last time.

The great thing about the TOS period of Trek is that, as a result of the number of years it was made across, the stories take place across a greater period of time.

When we first see Kirk in TOS, he’s in his 30s and the youngest captain in Starfleet, IIRC, and has been in Starfleet a number of years already and there’s a neat flashback to 13 years earlier, showing us there’s a mostly unexplored history involving Spock on the Enterprise

TMP was made ten years after TOS and pretended to be a couple of years after the five-year mission. Then the TWOK trilogy and TFF addressed the age of its crew by shifting forward practically another decade. Then we get another gap of several years before STVI and another gap again before Generations. And if Shatner appears in STXI, then he’s going to be about 76. That’s forty-plus years to explore.

That means we have a huge number of big, big gaps in the lives of the lead characters about which we know very little. Thus we have vast amounts of space to explore the lives of the characters where a great deal can happen to them without wrecking ‘canon!’

TNG and its counterparts aren’t like that. TNG starts at the beginning of the Enterprise-D’s 20-year mission with the crew mostly meeting for the first time and follows it, linear, through seven years.

Then it was decided that the TNG films had to adhere to what was going on in the TV shows, so they were immediately limited with where they could take the crew in the movies. Generations was set immediately after TNG so there’s no gap there – the designers even went so far as to say that the Enterprise D in Generations wasn’t refit, it was always supposed to have looked like that.

Worf went to DS9, so there had to be an excuse drummed up for his sudden reappearance on the Enterprise in a couple of subsequent TNG films. (Quite how Worf returned again to Starfleet after leaving in DS9 is yet another anomaly of Nemesis!) The adherence policy ran through DS9 and Voyager, which, bizarrely, the producers decided to set across just seven years, although they could have set the show across the 70 years of its voyage home.

As a result, there isn’t a lot of TNG Trek that can be explored unless you squeeze an adventure between episodes, or deal with another crew during a crisis that effects another series, strictly meaning designs can’t change much and nothing particularly big can happen. You couldn’t very easily do something ‘movie-massive’ like wipe out half the Federation and blow up Vulcan between seasons of a TV show without cheating the viewer!

Compare that with TOS where you could have, say, Sulu get kidnapped and held hostage for five years and be returned and recover from his ordeal all in the gap between ST:TMP and ST:TWOK!

Oh and I’m not TNG-bashing – merely stating that it’s a lot easier, because of its long production history, for TOS films to be fitted in gaps suiting actors’ ages. Ironically, if there was a TNG film now, it would be the freest TNG has ever been to do what it wants, but sadly Nemesis put paid to that!


They have made all of these other Star Trek series apart from the original, so why not just go that way rather than recasting? I don’t care that much for TNG, but I would no more want to see Picard or Data or whoever played by someone else than I do Captain Kirk.
Superman is very different because it is SUPERMAN and if you take Superman out of it, it is not Superman any more. The only way to continue Superman over the years is by recasting eventually. Star Trek CAN exist with a different crew and starship, so it is unecessary to recast. If I were Bill Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, I would not participate. They’ve had their day in the sun and let someone else ruin it without dragging their names through the mud.

#19 – Dr. Chiemelewski

I don’t disagree with your point that Trek could continue with other characters besides Kirk and Spock.

However, since all signs point to a new movie which focuses on these characters, that argument is moot at this point, and the discussion must inevitably come back to the argument of recasting or using Shatner and Nimoy again.

Since DeForest Kelley and James Doohan are no longer with us, I would prefer not to bring back the original cast. My own personal opinion is that without DeForest Kelley, the magic is already lost, so why not be daring and boldy go with new actors.

I also agree with others who have stated that having Shatner in the film as Kirk is setting up the actor playing young Kirk for failure. Same with Nimoy. Unless this is a biopic about Shatner, let the new actor have their interpretation of the character. Don’t make him imitate Shatner and speak as if Every. Work. Was. It’s. Own. Sentence! :)

Different interpretations? Isn’t that exactly what TNG was? A new interpretation of Star Trek?

Damn… I hate it when I ruin jokes with typos…

There have been two series which I feel were the best in the Star Trek franchise and those are TOS and DS9. Both were about the characters. The other three (I haven’t seen much of TAS, so I don’t include it here) are less so, especially VOY and ENT. By the time of those shows, Star Trek was about the technology being the character and the characters being ancillary to the tech.

My hopes are that the next film is a return to a character-based plot, not a technology-based one, and that the story is somehow innovative and enhances the franchise.

Star Trek has become a refferendum on aging and evidenced by the threads on this website.Star Trek should be about the characters as they were originally written,in their prime,not aging actors.The movies,with their themes of aging, were a great way to satisfy the fan base and bring in the pop culture for a nostalgia trip.But aged Kirk/Spock are as much a departure from the original concept as “Lois and Clark” or “Smallville” were to the original “Superman”.Star Trek has gone from a fan-centric subculture to mainstream appeal.The mainstream,or popular culture now has an understanding or appreciation for the original characters and I feel would respond in kind to to a re-cast.Just as they did 1977’s Superman.

If I were in charge of Trek, first thing I would do is put it back on TV as a new series and hire Dorothy Fontana, David Gerrold, Michael Sussman, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Ira Behr, J Michael Straczinski (sp?), Jon Povill and Alan Dean Foster as writers.

Oh, I forgot Tracy Torme and Maurice Hurley as well. Add them to the list! Automatic writing staff that would kick ass and take names.

David Gerrold very intersting guy, great writer

“No matter what they do some fans will complain so go for broke.”

They should go for broke by trying to make a good story in a well-established universe, not shake their heads and say “We can’t work with this, so we’ll completely rewrite the universe, but still call it the same thing”. That’s just a copout.

I don’t think appearances by Shatner and Nimoy would ruin other actors performances of their characters. Frankly, I don’t think either actor would sit there and criticize another actors interpretation of the character they played for so many years. What they would do, however, is squak if the script writers make Kirk, Spock, or any other characters do something that is just plain wrong for the character’s personality/Star Trek universe. Making Spock a drug addict or Kirk a by the book hardass would never fly, because these guys would call the writers on the carpet (as they should). New acting interpretations of familiar characters, YES……rewriting the characters so they aren’t who we have always thought they were…..NO WAY!!!

this and many other topics around are descending into the silly false dichotomy of dogmatic canon v total BSG style reboot. this is the type of silly argument on many sites that I think is not an argument at all. Not only will Trek XI not be in either of those extremes, I truly believe few people (even those arguing them) are.

A ‘total rebooter’ has limits…would they really support Spock being turned into a female evil Tribble/Borg hybrid? And the canonistas are more flexilble usually they they scream

and it doesnt really matter….Trek XI will not change history, but it will be different.

OK Hitch, you got me laughing at that one! Being a Mac guy that was a good.

David Gerrold’s comments did seem a little contridicting, ‘the special effects look better …but… its not about the special effects’

He has had his heart broken about Star Trek a number of times over the last 40 years so I guess he’s got the right to be talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Reboots are stupid. ANd besides, Superman wasn’t rebooted. It was a sequel to Superman 2.
He said it himself: it’s not the VFX and costumes trhat make Trek, it’s the story.

You want to save Trek? Don’t reboot it… because bad writing can sink a reboot just as quickly- if not quicker. Just give us better Trek, and not the wishy-washy writing found in Voyager and Enterprise.


#32 CW

Not to pick a fight, but Superman II already had a sequel… Superman III.

If Superman Returns is to be considered as a direct sequel to Superman II instead of Superman III, then that in my mind is a reboot. At the very least it is an alternate timeline that completely invalidates what happens in Superman III and IV… if not, where is Superman’s son in III and IV?

If you prefer not to use the word ‘reboot’ (as some people seem to think that ‘reboot’ can only be interpretted in the BSG sense), then pick another word. Regardless, it wiped the slate clean and blew open a lot of previously closed doors.

Fair enough.
These days, with BSG (which just happens to be good) and Transformers, the word ‘reboot’ can take a rather ominous tone.

Heck, we can start with the already established Trek timeline/canon, and start fresh with not killing Kirk in the Nexus.

Until we see more details, we just don’t know what they have in mind.


Bilar™ = M.I.T.P©

oh yeah, baybeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!



Mac in the pants? Is that the regular Kraft kind or the Velveeta style?


Re 36 – Ew!

#34 – CW

Agreed. :)

And between you and me, I hope that the Transformers ‘reboot’ is half as good as the BSG ‘reboot’… :)

A lot of people say that completely re-inventing (rebooting) BSG is one reason why it’s so good. I beg to differ- it’s a good show in spite of all the changes. That’s where good writing comes in. Hopefully, the Transformers will still be good in spite of all that’s been done to it.

While I consider Batman to be a reboot, I still don’t consider Superman to be, even tho I can see what you are saying.

What about Ghost Rider? Has there been a lot of fan complaining about that?

Lastly, at what point will Hollywood pick up on the fandoms and take into consideration the bitterness they bring? I wonder if JJ can take a cue from some of the other franchise’s.



BTW- I know the original BSG won’t come back, but I think an animated feature of BSG TOS would do well

I’m not asking for this, so don’t flame me… but…

With today’s technology, it’s too bad that nobody will consider using scans of the original actors’ footage and re-animate / choreograph them into something completely new.


“Different interpretations? Isn’t that exactly what TNG was? A new interpretation of Star Trek? ”

Um, no. TNG was a continuation, set a hundred years later.

Chris’s been discussed here…. with the usual consensus of opinion…lol.

As a fan of TOS and TNG and not the other series at all, I would be disappointed if this new movie wee a “prequel”. Star Wars 1-3, the Silmarilian, Enterprise. They suck. Reboot the show, start over. Ignore the canon. The canon is so blotted and complicated. Anyone who thinks differently probably believes Trek is a religion. Don’t touch this, its sacred! Well folks, Roddenberry was an atheist. He didn’t want you to worship anything, let alone his little wagon-train program.

Hitch… we have to get a universal translator hooked up on you.

All very iPod in the trousers, yes?


mark…. you are going to be disappointed then.

Matt Wright,

I have to say that the headline to this article does not reflect what Gerrold said in his quote. He’s in favor of a re-boot. A prequel connotates a precursor to existing material that is within a set continuity. Gerrold is calling for a new continuity, a new interpretation of the core characters. Trek XI, according to stories done here by Anthony and others, will in fact be a prequel (within the established continuity). And if Shatner and Nimoy are to be included, then absolutely that is the case.

I have been saying for months now that Trek XI would benefit greatly from being a complete re-boot. You would free up all aspects of the show for original interpretation- the Enterprise could be different, the characters wouldn’t have to mimic previous actors, and the tone and style of the production could be done from scratch. Now, given the fac that Trek XI IS a prequel, I welcome Shatner and Nimoy because they are a class duo and they’ll raise a lot of the material through their genuinely affectionate rapport with one another. I miss those guys!

But a reboot would be easier for the production and for the fans. And that’s what Gerrold is favoring, not a “prequel.”

…Arrogant? Arrogant? Where the frack do you come up with his being arrogant in that interview? I’ve had a few e-mail exchanges with David over the years, the last one being about the Buck Rogers series he was working on before Glen Larson turned it into a bimbo show, and he’s *never* come across as ever being arrogant.

But what the frack? Trolls do as trolls does…

Stories, if they’re good stories, should be re-told over and over again. With each succeeding generation embellishing elements and suppressing others to address the audience in its time. That’s why Christ’s parables hold up so well in their ceaseless re-telling. It’s why Superman can survive being re-interpreted at least a dozen times. It’s why Shakespeare’s plays have survived literally thousands of bad performances and several hundred brilliant performances.

Star Trek is, as Gerrold correctly points out, best when it concentrates on the stories it tells and leaves obsession with consistency, technology, and special effects in the background. Kirk, Spock and McCoy should be re-born for the 21st century… given new life with new actors. Laurence Olivier may have been the definitive Hamlet, but Kenneth Branagh was pretty dang wonderful 50 years later too.

If there’s a re-boot of the TOS universe, great. Retain the elements that really matter — Kirk’s action-oriented personality, Spock’s struggle with his humanity and the Vulcan discipline of logic, and McCoy’s passionate humanism, a ship that regularly bounces into new civilizations rife with dilemmas that reflect the human condition, and a crew that never waivers in its boldness to go forward and faith in its leader — then make it relevant and amusing for the people who are here now to encounter it.

If “The Abrams Gang” is successful at re-launching the TOS universe, I even hope they can re-visit classic stories from the original series with a fresh spin. A fresh interpretation of “The Ultimate Computer” or “The Doomsday Machine” or “City On The Edge of Forever” would be fine with me somewhere down the line. But right now, I’ll settle for a rousing, thoughtful and hopefully surprising story that makes me care about classic characters all over again.

And, Hell, we’ll always have the old TOS episodes around to watch over and over again. They’re not going any place.

I’m sorry dude… ARROGANT was my drunken take on what he said. I may have misread that, though. No, then again.. I dont think I did.

Alcoholism ROCKS!!

its very ipod nano gigabyte in the pantalones!!


#16 John N.

As a comic book collector and film and television buff, I am well aware of the long and storied history of Superman and the various actors who played or voiced the character. However, each of the mediums which featured the character – including books, TV shows, movies – are in their own continuity, separate from each other, although all are based on the original comic book character. You can do one thing in a TV show, and it won’t affect the character’s world in, say, another TV show or a comic book. And, in my “un-informed”, “biased” comments above, I was relating the canon Star Trek universe and franchise — as a whole — to the four original Christopher Reeve Superman films, which themselves were a whole until Superman Returns came along and wiped the last two movies from existence. The same goes for the original Batman film franchise, which itself was “erased” after Batman Begins.

So, no, comparing the Superman film franchise to the universe is established in Star Trek films and television shows is not a reasonable comparison. I hope that clarifies things. ;)