Rumor Control: Harlan Ellison NOT Suing Over New Star Trek Movie

A couple of days ago it was announced that "City on the Edge of Forever" writer Harlan Ellison was suing Paramount over alleged payments due to him for merchandising. This lawsuit was big news, being reported all across the web from entertainment sites, to Variety to the New York Times. And now it is sparked a new rumor, which is actually an old rumor.


The rebirth of a rumor
It started with Wired when they posted an article earlier today titled "Ellison Threatening Abrams’ Trek with Lawsuit.’ The article claims that Ellison is "oiling up the two-cycle chainsaw to take on Paramount and J.J. Abrams over the new Star Trek movie." This would be news as there was absolutely no mention of Abrams or the new film in the original press release issued by Ellison and his attorney on Sunday. Wired’s proof of this is actually linking to an article from 2007 on RottenTomatoes about a report from AICN and CHUD about Harlan being upset about reports that the Guardian of Forever was in the new movie. The actual source of that that was actually a rumor started by IESB on November 11th, 2007, which sparked a tirade by Ellison on his site (see TrekMovie article on that).

The problem with all of that is that TrekMovie actually talked to Mr. Ellison about this a month later in December of 2007, and he dispelled it. We got Ellison on video saying that he looked into it and there was no Guardian of Forever in the Star Trek movie, and he went on to say the Internet ‘bombed out of existence’ and refered to people who spread rumors on it as ‘idiots’  along with many other colorful metaphors. Ellison went on to say he thought JJ Abrams was “a brilliant writer” and that Abrams is “does not need to steal” from him.
(see the video below, discussion of the GoF and new Trek movie is at around 1:30).

But a good rumor is hard to kill, and so Wired decided to bring it back from the dead. This then spurned other sites to pick up the rumor, including Cinemablend and SciFiWire.  So just to be sure TrekMovie again re-confirmed that the Guardian of Forever does not play a factor in the new movie, and if you haven’t heard already [SPOILERS] all the time traveling in the film is done via ships…two of them to be specific [END SPOILERS].

And to be super duper sure, we checked with John H. Carmichael, Mr. Ellison’s attorney. Mr. Carmichael tells TrekMovie that he saw the reports about a link between the lawsuit and the new movie and he had "no idea what that is about." Ellison’s lawyer made it clear that the new film is "not the focus" of the suit. As we reported on Sunday, the suit is related mostly to merchandising and the thing that sparked it all off was the 2006 publication of the "Crucible" trilogy of books by Simon and Schuster, which featured the Guardian of Forever. Even the timing of the case close to the film is coincidental. Carmichael tells TrekMovie they have been trying to work with the WGA for the past few years to resolve Ellison’s issues until they just gave up, and are in fact naming the WGA in the suit as well for not "doing its stated purpose" of advocating writer’s rights.

The Crucible trilogy is what really set Ellison off

While on the phone Mr. Carmichael also noted that Paramount should actually not be part of suit at all, and they will be filing an update to their original suit to change the target to CBS Corporation, who they have deemed to be the current legal successor to Desilu. It was Desilu in the 60s who had the contract with Ellison and the other writers. Desilu was purchased by Paramount, but after the Viacom split, apparently it is now CBS Corporation which is the appropriate legal entity for contracts associated with Desilu.

TrekMovie will have more on the Ellison lawsuit as it moves through the legal system.

Spock, are you sure you know how to work this thing?

Gerrold supports Ellison
In addition to sparking reports and rumors, the Ellison lawsuit has also sparked a lot of debate. Our first article already has hundreds of comments, some of them quite ‘colorful’. One notable commentator is one of Ellison’s fellow Star Trek scribes David Gerrold, writer of “Trouble with Tribbles.” Gerrold made several comments in support of Ellison, including this note to Ellison’s critics, (in part):

I know Harlan, I’ve known him for over forty years. He’s a passionate man. He gave me one of the character references I needed when I adopted my son. He’s also set a standard for writers throughout the field to aspire to. And in all the time I’ve known him, I’ve watched him continually educate himself and grow, not only as a storyteller, but also as a human being. He does not deserve one-tenth of the BS that people spread about him.

That he never hesitates to rage against stupidity and injustice should make him a superhero in this arena, not an object of disdain to the uninformed. This man has done more to elevate the science fiction field than almost anybody I can think of. He has continually demanded that writers function at their highest level, that producers use the medium to educate and challenge and inspire. He has continually demanded that all of us be the very best we can be. That he is impatient is not because he is a crank, it is because the job is so big and most of us are moving too slowly.


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Let us all hope for the best of all possible worlds for all involved.

Thats interesting, I hope this gets sorted fast.

Ive high hopes for ST:TFB


It’s more sensational and salacious to link Ellison’s suit to the new movie, but it’s good to know that this site will actual do the journalistic legwork and check the facts by asking a source — in this case, Ellison’s lawyer. Bravo!

Trekmovie does indeed do fantastic research to get to the heart of these stories. Excellent work, Anthony.

That guy is funny.

Thank you Trekmovie for rising above the other sites mentioned and actually doing research and fact-checking before starting rumors.

Great picture of the Guardian with the new and classic Kirk & Spock.

I’ve got to say, that video goes a long way toward softening my opinion of the guy. :P

This is most interesting. Mostly because I’ve wanted to see that episode for a while now. =D

Its been my impression over the decades that Ellison is an honorable man. Outspoken, maddening, short-fused and cantankerous, yes, but an honorable man.

This site is better than some mainstream news organizations when it comes to fact-checking and rumor control. The TrekMovie staff should be commended on their excellent work.

“…he went on to refer to people who spread rumors on the internet as ‘idiots’ who should be ‘bombed out of existence’ along with many other colorful metaphors.”

Mr. Ellison may or may not have a legal case, I’m not a lawyer so I can’t say one way or the other, but he does have an attitude problem.

HAHA anthony beware what you allow to be posted here in regards to a certain time portal or a certain Harlan Ellison-written episode of TOS or else the Great Vulture of the Galaxy (Ellison) might name as part of the lawsuit…LOL we must’n’t anger the writer/fuhrer or he’ll rage LOL

addendum: Harlan Ellison=FERENGI (Mwahahahahahahahaha!!!)

Harlan Ellison is one of the greats!

If he hadn’t kicked up a fuss down the years, writers would probably get worse than the substandard deals and less than fair recognition they currently get!

Well, glad we got that sorted, then.

Senator Vreenak dispels another FAAAAAAAAKE before going off to dine with Edith Keeler at an undisclosed Hollywood restaurant.

Harlan might be a great in terms of writing…but he himself says its all about the money…not writers rights, but money… Harlan=motivated by greed, not honor, therefore Harlan=Ferengi…

Very good work on separating the hype and rumor from the facts. Groovy stuff.

btw..,maybe Harlan would be happier if from now on Star Trek novelists substituted a giant Homer Simpson-voiced-chocolate-covered donut for The Guardian and that girl Alicia Travers from Enterprise’s ‘Storm Front’, Parts 1 & 2′ for Edith… LOL

You published a picture of “the Guardian of Forever”; Harlan and his lawyer buddies are gonna sue your @$$!!!

#7 Agree that picture is hilarious

I’m with #7 & #22, I think that pic should be recycled for use out of this thread… it seems quite a fitting encapsulation of the whole premise of STXI.

Another caption that can go with it is Nero’s line: “James T. Kirk was a great man, but that was another life.”

“he went on to refer to people who spread rumors on the internet as ‘idiots’”

I don’t care about most of what Mr. Ellison says, but he is right on with this part of his comment.

Here’s a another cool fan vid,


That’s a cool pic using the new guys and the old guys

I wondered about that. On how someone is suing someone else, is it real or legitimate?

Concerning #18:

Wanting what is owed to you is not greed, regardless of the amount.

New Line Cinema called Peter Jackson greedy for wanting what had been contractually agreed upon. Since they’re the ones who were keeping millions of dollars that they owed to someone else, I think that *they* were the greedy ones.

The same applies here.

Breaking News:

Harlan Ellison has amended his lawsuit to include as a co-defendant for posting images from the classic TOS episode “A City on the Edge of Forever.”

Even More Breaking News:

Harlan Ellison is now suing me for typing the name of the episode he wrote.

Jeez, Harlan and Phantom media-created Harlan. Make up your mind and fictional mind. Either you two are suing JJ or there’s only one of you and he’s not. You two who may be one can’t have it both ways.

The story the other day actually was a factor in me pulling that episode for a re-watch the other night. What a classic. Still love it. They just don’t make em’ like that anymore.

alternate caption for the GoF pic:

Shat: “And if we’re successful… in throwing Quinto and Pine out an airlock?”

Guardian: “Then you will be returned.
It will be as though none of you had gone.”

” …but he himself says its all about the money…not writers rights, but money”

That isn’t greed. That’s a rare quality call sincerity – something most people are incapable of it seems.

#30 LMFAO!!!

story amended: Harlan Ellison amends lawsuits to sue everyone who ever heard of the episode of Star Trek he wrote, and did more than ignore it LOL

#28==im not saying hes greedy for wanting wats his im saying hes greedy for pursuing it to a degree that any psychiatrist would diagnose as a sign of an obsession or worse… hes pursuing it to such an insane extent so that he cares nothing about anything but his goal…

normal writer behavior: in a case like this a normal writer would sue but do so calmly and intelligently, respecting other writers and viewers/readers as well

Harlan behavior: hes suing not caring if other writers suffer, if the craft suffers or for anything but his payout…people like that in other industries are called the head honchos at AIG…



harlans dishonoring writers everywhere by making all writers look like parasitic moneyleeches

“We got Ellison on video saying that he looked into it and there was no Guardian of Forever in the Star Trek movie, and he went on to refer to people who spread rumors on the internet as ‘idiots’ who should be ‘bombed out of existence’ along with many other colorful metaphors.”


Some random blogger: “I went to see The Guardian with Kevin Costner, and while some moments kept me on the edge of my seat, it seemed like the movie went on forever.”

Harlan: “Blam! You owe me $1,000,000! I googled my precious, and your article came up! Yippee…gooolllddd!” (fires pistol repeatedly and dances).


Anthony, you and your staff do such a good job presenting us with the facts. Thank you for all the work you do for us here at Trekmovie.

Kudos, Anthony. You’ve proven that there is tremendous value in actually “doing the work” of a journalist – whether your medium be a blog or a magazine. You out-hustled Wired because you cared to get the story right.

I wish more bloggers (and offline media) were as rigorous.


I just hope this suit is settled in Harlan’s lifetime.

C’mon, he had “Becky” Beckwith dealing drugs on the Enterprise, and killing a fellow crew member to cover it up.

And he had Kirk in such a major moment of indecision that Spock had to takeover.

That wasn’t Star Trek. That was more like the almost K/S Pocket Trek novel “Killing Time” ;)

But, back to the melodrama. :)

Agreed that Anthony Pascale has more journalistic integrity than any other Trek reporter currently bringing news.

Half the quadrant knows it, that’s why they’re speaking “trekmovieese”. Those other sites like Wired should be hauled away AS garbage. :)

hey wont this new time line effect COTEOF? i mean maybe it never happens – the ship dosnt go to the guardian planet and Bones dosnt accidently inject himself and goes back and Kirk never falls in love with Edith…therefore it dosnt exist…it never happened

maybe they will hold up in court?

No one would believe it if Ellison didn’t already have an earned reputation for litigious nastiness.

Looking at those “Crucible” covers makes me smile, because it’s nice to see some Star Trek properties remembering the trinity.

So can he get back to producing the fine, fine SF literature he’s known for?

You go Gerrold.

This has nothing to do with the thread, but I had to post it somewhere — a link to today’s huge, funny story in The New York Times about Trekkies building their own captain’s chairs. I almost spat out my coffee when I saw it.

Fess up, people: How many of you have built your own? ? ? . . . (Not me! )

A line has to be drawn at some point. Should the creators of the Klingon and Romulans be entitled to royalties from all the movies, episodes and and books that had those races in them?

I think Mo Hurley created the Borg for The Next Generation. Should he be getting a cut from the First Contact movie, and half of the Voyager episodes?

As someone who has gotten paid for my writing and other artistic work, pretty much my customer can do with my work what they wish. Unless, of course, we had a contract upfront that said otherwise.

Wow Anthony,…I hop eHarlan doesn’t sue you for that picture of the new Spock and Kirk in the Guardian!

I just loved that Pic with the Guardiean with both Kirks and Spocks. I think harlan should get whats coming to him. He had a contract and should get paid for it. Who among us would not want to get paid for the work we did. Who among us would not want to get what was promised us in a signed Contract. If any of you signed a contract to do a job and you do it well would you not want to get paid for it as the contract you signed specifys. I know I would.

ON an editorial note, although Harlan Ellison is not suing OVER the new Star Trek movie, he’s suing CONTEMPORANEOUSLY at the time of its near-release. That quacks like a duck.

BTW, interesting that the combination of cheap barcode scanners, the captain’s chair, and the overlit iBridge creates the image of what appears to be a DALEK between Kirk and Spock….

Better get a check cut to Terry Nation’s estate, just in case!