DC Fontana Talks Spock, Genes, TOS Season 3 + more

Dorothy Fontana (aka D.C. Fontana) has been penning Star Trek for over forty years. Starting as a writer and script editor on The Original Series, she went on to write for The Animate Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine many books, video games, and this year has a new IDW Trek Comic Book Series. In a new interview with IGN, Fontana looks back at the beginning with her time on TOS.

Excerpts from IGN:

Fontana on the Genes
Fontana contrasts working with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Executive Producer Gene Coon.

[Coon] was really the creative line producer. He was there everyday, involved in everything. Now Gene Roddenberry was involved in everything too, but he was a little more removed. He wasn’t in every story conference, in every casting session, in every rough cut. He put in his time doing it but Gene Coon was more the man on the line.

On Spock
Fontana’s favorite character was Spock and she was responsible for much of his back story (including “Journey to Babel”). Fontana spoke about working to keep him with the right balance:

Remember, he’s half human, plus Vulcans are not totally emotionless. They’re logical, they keep their emotions reigned in, but it is not that they do not have emotions. So you have to skirt that issue very carefully. And I always liked Spock because he was the alien outside observing us humans. He had the capacity to comment on our foibles from an alien point of view, which was always useful.

On TOS Season 3
Fontana still wrote in the third season, but as a freelancer and no longer the scripteditor. She discusses the disillusionment with the direction the show took in its last year:

There was sort of like the creature of the week, monster of the week [mentality], which they’d been doing over on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and I never thought that was a terribly successful thing for Star Trek to do. But also there were some complaints from the crew saying, ‘Well, the story editor came down to the transporter room set and said, ‘What does this thing do again?” And when I was told that Doctor McCoy could not have a 22-year-old daughter because he was Kirk’s contemporary, I said, ‘O.K., they don’t get the show.’ I’m sorry, but they didn’t. I honestly don’t know. I can’t answer for anybody else. I just know what they said to me, what the crew said to me, and I thought, ‘I’m better off writing Westerns now.’

Fontana’s latest Trek effort is the IDW comic series “The Enterprise Experiment” which is a ‘Year 4’ sequel to her third season episode “The Enterprise Incident.” The first issues of Enterprise Experiment are in comic stores now.


Cover for Star Trek – Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment #1

 

More: IGN: Star Trek 101 DC Talks

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Mammalian Verisimilitude

Fascinating. Especially comparing the comment about 60s Roddenberry with RDM’s comments about the box he stuffed TNG into in his interview down the front page…

captain_neill

DC Fontana a fgreat writer, met her at Vegas last year.

The new Year 4 comic is excellent

captain_neill

I liked her comments, I like how frank she was aboutthe third season

This will probably sound a bit superficial but my honest first reaction to this story is that her appearance is a bit off-putting to me. Not quite sure why that is. Perhaps it’s just a terrible picture. Maybe its the short hair, maybe its her age, she might be a little overweight… might even be a combination of all these things in a terrible photograph. Who knows I might look at it again tomorrow and feel differently about it.

But there’s just something very aggravating about it right now. Anyone else got some decent pics of her? something feminine? long hair and or a dress? bikini?

BEST!!

=h=

Orb of the Emissary

She’s the best!

#4… it’s called “age.”

Spockanella

#4: It seems more than a bit superficial…what difference does it make how she looks if she can write like she does? IMO, she’s the best writer they ever had.

re: 6. diabolk:

dont get me wrong, I would still hit it in times of crisis and or inebriation.

BEST!!

=h=

Anthony Thompson

hitch1969

Are you joking, my man? Because, if not, we’d better get you tested – PRONTO! harhar.

Cox of Seagulls

Ms. Fontana really is an excellent writer. I don’t think anybody likes the 3rd season.

9. Tony Tommy™:

No, man. I was serious. That picture looked to me like they took a dude with Down’s Syndrome and threw a wig and business dress on him. Was she hotter back in the day? I hope this is just a bad picture.

BEST!!

=h=

DC Fontana rocks :)

KJTrek

hitch1969 – she looks about like a guidance counselor at school, and she isn’t quite a downer. like everyone else is saying, she’s OLD, and as far as I can tell she’s trying to look younger… and why are you making a big deal out of this? she’s a great writer, and the interview was interesting, you don’t have to look at her if you don’t like!

Grammar Slammer

4.:

Was Gene Roddenberry hotter back in his day too? Man oh man, why aren’t there any pictures from ’65 of Gene in a Speedo on this site?

Respectfully, I would hope that somebody here might understand the connection between how hard it was for a woman to be taken seriously in television production forty years ago (hence going by “D.C.” rather than “Dorothy”), and wondering if there are any “hot” pictures of her that could be posted.

That was just my initial reaction to the story, from the heart, honest. This is the comments column is it not? Yeah, she said some cool things and sure she was a great Star Trek writer. I think that we can all agree on that. And no, her looks don’t take away from that. In fact, I would think that most super hot chicks are probably kind of bimbos. SO I wouldnt EGGspect her to be super hot or anything like that because she’s a thinker, not a looker. But thinking chicks can be cute, too, can they not? Again, it’s probably just a bad picture and an even worse reaction to it from me. Carry on.

BEST!!

=h=

hitch

you have been warned and warned…so this is the final warning. Stop trying to derail threads into your juvenile puerile games. this is just inappropriate.

comments to https://trekmovie.com/about/feedback

and lets try and stay on topic and not let individuals turn themselves into the topic

steve623

Dorothy Fontana is one of the main reasons Star Trek (no subtitle) endures. She brought a deft touch with the characters and a unique sensitivity to the series and I have enormous admiration for her. Its a shame that so many of the talents that infused the show with the special something it has were in the shadow of the Great Bird for so long: Fontana, Coon, Justman, and others were not exactly unsung, as we certainly know about their contributions, but they were perhaps “not sung enough”. So I’m singin’. Dorothy, you’re aces in my book.

The Underpants Monster

It’s “reined in.” “REINED in!!!”

Sorry, it’s just one of my pet peeves.

Commodore Redshirt

Fontana may very well be the most important intellect involved in the Trek Universe and is I think the single person most responsible for Trek as we know it.

To the casual viewer, Roddenberry is often given all the credit, but Trek would not be Trek without the energy and vision of people like Gene Coon, Herb Solow, Bob Justman, Matt Jefferies, William Theiss, Joe Pevney, Marc Daniels, Joe D’Agosta, D.C. Fontana, and many many others who worked so hard.

If you have not done so, I urge you to read “Inside Star Trek”. by Solow and Justman. It is packed full of insights, and has become the first and best source on the history of TOS.

What #17 said, pretty much word-for-word.

CmdrR

I on the other hand, look fabulous in a bikini…

No, seriously — I love Dorothy’s contributions to Trek. She’s another reminder that Gene started something, but others gave it a full measure of life.

Can’t say I’m a fan of To Serve All of My Days, but that’s because I felt there were particular story problems. At no point did I feel as though I was watching TOS season four; I was watching a fan film.

Anyway — Journey to Babel is brick and mortar Trek. So again, thanks.

(also, good to see Arex back again!)

Jeffrey S. Nelson

Only thing by D.C. Fontana that I didn’t like was her novel about Captain Pike… can’t think of the name of the novel off the tip of my ears.

Scott

Dorothy Fontana is clearly one of Star Trek’s giant talents. The episodes she wrote gave Star Trek much of its heart — This Side of Paradise, Journey to Babel, Charlie X — all episodes that would go in my Top Ten list.

I wish she would write a behind-the-scenes memoir of her Trek experience and career in television.

And hitch. Hitch, hitch, hitch…you’re totally inappropriate, but you never fail to make me laff, man.

Scott B. out.

shat hands

# 17

well said

most of the best episodes in ST TOS were written by DC, she also wrote under other names, just because she was a woman. Even DC is an example of the times 60’s D=Dorothy

Met her last summer at the ST convention,very nice lady and even autographed my program. (NC)

Dorarhy is as much of the good ST TOS episodes as anyone else. Journey to Babel, trouble with tribbles

I think she volunteered her time writing for the Crawley and gang over at ST new Voyages, and also appeared in one of their episodes.

Bubba Hotep

Wasn’t DC Fontana the person who tried to explain away the ending of, “To Serve All My Days,” as that Chekov really did die at the end of the story and that the Chekov we saw was actually his cousin?

Perhaps advanced age has begun to affect her sensibilities?

My mistake, DC didn’t write TTWT, David Gerald did.

Gene L. Coon was a U. S. Marine

Coon! I used to sign off with”Coon was the better Gene”, but changed it because it sounded juvenile. Nice to see he was the “more involved” Gene. I still say Kirk is one of the best Marine Officer portrayals ever put on film.

…Damn, this would have been the perfect opportunity to explain to her that *nobody* buys her explanation that the “New Voyages” Chekov is now Pavel’s cousin.

The Grande Dame of Trek. Love her contributions to the franchise – especially Yesteryear.

Quatlo

Just finished re-reading Joel Engel’s book, “Gene Roddenberry: The Man And The Myth Behind Star Trek”. Ms. Fontana did the forward and speaks bluntly in the book. I admire her for telling it like it is as well as being a gifted talent with words and ideas.

Jim Smith

10 # I like the Third Season of ‘Star Trek’. It’s the weakest of the three series of the original show, but it’s still better than almost every season of every spin off show.

Take something like ‘Spectre of the Gun’ or ‘All Our Yesterdays’, Janeway and co would have to travel for 70 years at warp 10 to get close to something that good! : )

Iowagirl

#10

Well, I do like the 3rd season – not all of it, but there are still some very good episodes imo. And yes I agree, Ms Fontana is a wonderful writer and she gave us some of the finest TOS episodes.

Jim Smith

28 # Don’t forget that for the first half of the first season Gene R was the only producer the show had. It was when he stepped over to being Executive Producer (due to exhaustion) that Gene C took over the producer’s job and covered some of the work that Gene R had been doing prior.

(There was no additional Executive Producer on the first 13, so for the rest of Season One and the first half of Season Two the two Genes are really splitting the job that Gene R was doing on his own for the first six months).

Which is not to diss Gene C at all, whom I admire enormously, just to say that you’d expect the ‘producer’ to be more involved in every detail than the ‘exec producer’, at least in the way TV was organised back in those days.

Tchessi

I agree with Iowagirl about the 3rd season. Some of my favorite eps are there, “The Tholian Web,” “The Empath,” “Is There In Truth…”

And +1 for Ms Fontana being a wonderful writer!!!

The Underpants Monster

#19 and 21 – Very, very true. When I speak of Roddenberry in terms of his contributions to Star Trek, I always assume that Coon, Fonatana, Justman, et al are automatically included in the reference, but it doesn’t get said enough that it was a group effort, as so many of the best things in life are.

star trackie

#29 “…Damn, this would have been the perfect opportunity to explain to her that *nobody* buys her explanation that the “New Voyages” Chekov is now Pavel’s cousin.”

Or more importantly, how “nobody” has a sense of humor.

c0MmODoRe g0oFbAlL

I love D.C.’s work. She IS the one who developed that which we call Canon today. Write On D.C.

Zip

I enjoy coming to this site, but, some people need to be banned for a complete lack of respect for others.
Hitch, I have not read any of your work, Have you had any success, and if so, was it bacause of your age, your good looks,or your good will to others?
Have you learned nothing from Star Trek? Hitch, do the right thing.
D. C. Fontana is a great writer, and deserves all the respect we can give her. Her work was not confined to Star Trek:
The Six Million Dollar Man in 1974
Logan’s Run in 1978
Babylon 5 in 1995
Earth: Final Conflict in 1997.
Land of the Lost in the 70’s
He-Man and The Masters of the Universe in 1983
Beast Wars in 1996
co-wrote “Where No Sprite Has Gone Before”, in 1997
and the list goes on and on.
In addition, Fontana wrote under the name J. Michael Bingham
She is the Best, and if your reading this Dorothy, I just love your work!

marbpl

I believe story editor John D.F. Black made a lot of contributions during the early part of the first season.

Closettrekker

My absolute favorite Star Trek writer of all time. She is absolutely most responsible for the episodes I love best during the all too abrupt run of TOS, not to mention the wonderful animated series classic, “Yesteryear”.

Much of what we take for granted about Spock is owed to the imagination of Dorothy Fontana.

#41, You have said it right!

Biodredd

This is a vague general statement, but its hold some seed of truth…

Executive Producers – Come up with and fight with the studio over production costs.

Producers – Fight with cast and crew over production.

In other words, both men are like Kissinger but without the same level or recognition.

veronica

Fontana added so much of the charm to ST. Without her it would be just another space adventure. She added the depth to the characters, the sensitivity, the fun, and the consistency. Of all the TOS episodes, hers seem to have shaped the direction Trek took. She added a feminine touch to ST, and probably, through her thoughtful portrayal of Spock, gathered so many fans to the show. I would love to see some of her episodes redone in a two hour format. Powerful writer.

Dom

Zip (39) I know some people can be a bit bizarre here, but it’s for Anthony to decide whether or not people should be banned, not us! With all due respect, who the heck are you to start demanding people get kicked off this forum?

Jeffrey S. Nelson (22) the book you mention is Vulcan’s Glory, which was reissued a few months ago. I actually really like it! It’s interesting that Majel Barrett complained some time back about the levels of sex and violence in the Trek novels (the creepy Church of Roddenberry influence!) yet there’s lots of both in Vulcan’s Glory.

With regards to To Serve All My Days, was Chekov ever referred to as ‘Pavel’ in TOS or was the name first used in the films? If that’s the case, theoretically with a little retconning, the Chekov of TOS might not be Pavel!!! ;)

Magic_Al

^45. IIRC Chekov was called Pavel by his crazy ex-girlfriend in “The Way To Eden”

Thomas Jensen

#45 I think he was called Pavel in “The Apple” as well.

if I remember in to serve my days on NewVoyages, chekov was having a dream, woke up and thus he was not really dead.

Jim Smith

45 – Chekov is also “Pavel” in ‘Day of the Dove’. He’s one of the more extensively bibled secondary characters in TOS.

jeannie Spock

Yeah, bring it on DC! Please write your own book about what really went on backstage in those TOS days. We really can’t get enough of those memories.