MacFarlane Doesn’t Expect Paramount To Allow Family Guy Trek Parody – Includes Trek Refs In “Something, Something, Dark Side”

We have previously reported that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane would like to follow up his Star Wars parodies with taking on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. However in a new interview it seems he isn’t holding out hope of Paramount cooperating, but that didn’t stop him from dropping in a few Trek refs into the new “Something Something, Something, Dark Side" parody of The Empire Strikes Back


Come on Paramount!

Last week "Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" was released on home video. And in the Sunday LA Times, creator Seth MacFarlane talked about his second Star Wars parody, explaining why he is taking on Star Wars, and why he isn’t expecting to do a Star Trek parody:

Everybody knows "Star Wars" — at least, everybody in our audience. And Lucasfilm is probably the only company out there right now that is progressive enough to allow this. Certainly we would have a laugh doing this with "Indiana Jones" or "Wrath of Khan." But I can’t imagine in a billion years that Paramount would give us permission.

MacFarlane goes on to explain how the first of his Star Wars parodies ("Blue Harvest", the Family Guy take on Episode IV: A New Hope) came about:

The first episode came about because we were doing so many "Star Wars" gags that finally Fox’s legal department said, "Hey, we got to start clearing this with Lucas or we’re gonna get sued." We got very depressed and thought, "Well, this is it." But to our surprise, Lucasfilm said something we never, ever hear: "OK, you can do it, just make sure the characters look exactly like they do in the movies."

Watching the two Star Wars parodies, you can see that the Family Guy approach goes far beyond the normal protected form of parody, even including the original music. So, to do Wrath of Khan, MacFarlane would need to work with with Paramount and not against them. So Paramount, the ball is in your court. The Family Guy team have repeatedly expressed their interest, but seem to believe any offer will fall in deaf ears. Show them what a cool, hip, progressive studio you are and give Seth a call.

Star Trek in "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side"
Even though it was all about Star Wars, MacFarlane and his team can’t help but show their Trek nerdiness by dropping more Star Trek references into it as well. There were three distinct Trek call outs.

1. When ‘Petar as Han’ tells ‘Lois as Leia’ that he thinks she wants to kiss him, she says that she would "rather kiss George Takei", which brought in Takei with his usual "helllooooooo".


2. When introduced to the Imperial Fleet we get a glimpse of a "Nimoy" mailbox, which ‘Stewie as Darth Vader’ quickly smashes with a baseball bat.


3. While ‘Stewie as Darth Vader’ is inspecting the bounty hunters he refers to one as "Lizard guy, who I think I saw get into a fight with Captain Kirk".


Empire Strikes Quohog
"Family Guy Presents Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" is easily as funny, if not funnier than their first Star Wars send up "Blue Harvest". It is a must have for any fan of Star Wars and Family Guy. The show will air in the Spring, but the home video versions are uncensored, which gives you the few extra bits of adult language, plus special features including an commentary track, pop up video and a featurette. 

You can pick up "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" on Blu-ray and DVD now.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Um, but they put R2D2 in the new movie…. They are probably concerned about the writers making fun of trekdom now that it’s “cool.” They are trying to protect the positive aura of the franchise, especially for the sequel, and maybe even for the upcoming Academy Awards. Why allow writers to make fun of the show?

Paramount please let family guy make a trek parody!

I probably blew my chance to be “First” by reading the article again.

Saw SSSDS, and enjoyed it.

1st? *shrug on Paramount* Their loss if they don’t… but why would they NOT approve?

Er… If they ever get permission for TWOK I hope they’ll do better with it than with SSSDS.

Bought and watched SSSDS for Christmas and thought it was a sloppy job and a rip-off. Twice as long as their usual episode but with twice less gags. I expected more from them.

Oh come on, Paramount. You need all the help you can get.

Jeez Paramount light it up let MacFarlane do a star trek family guy

I wouldn’t let MacFarlane anywhere near Star Trek, let alone TWOK.

Produce a season of *high quality* Family Guy that doesn’t mine the same crappy cliches over and over again, and then we’ll talk.

I’m a Trekkie not a Trekker. I never understood fans wanting to be so serious about it that they were offended by Trekkie and had to make a more “sophisticated” designation for themselves. With that said, I think Paramount shouldnt take the “new coolness” of Star Trek to seriously. It’s fun and that’s what it’s always been about. Family Guy is a funny show and did a great job with the Star Wars parodies. Loosen up Paramount and give the green light. Who knows, FG fans that don’t normally watch Trek may give it a try because of it.

Doesn’t Paramount see dollar signs here??

As funny and talented as I think MacFalane is, and as much fun I think it’d be to see a Trek parody, maybe Paramount is waiting for him to get a soul before doing business with him. Ironic that a guy who was booked on, but spared the fate of one of the flights on 9-11, should be such a dark guy. That would be a wake up call to some people Seth.

@John Kirk: Paramount didn’t stick R2 in the new Star Trek; Industrial Light & Magic did, and it was missed by the editing team. (And understandably so — it wasn’t noticed by fans until the Blu-Ray edition was released.) Expect nothing less from Lucas’s toy shop.

Good luck. Paramount are so selfish with their rights. If I remember correctly they wouldn’t even let the indie flick Free Enterprise use images of Star Trek for something as daft as movie posters in the background of their scenes.

Paramount are mostly inhuman number crunchers!

Perhaps Paramount is holding off for a parodist who is actually, you know, funny.

McFarlane certainly doesn’t quality in that regard.

@12 Johnny Z: Yeah, R2D2 was put in by ILM, but I’m pretty sure it was no accident that it stayed in the movie. FX shots are controlled and tweaked a lot more than “normal” shots in a movie which means that it is very unlikely the R2 was noticed by no-one. With JJ Abrams being a big Star Wars fan I find it much more likely that R2 was left in intentionally.

In the ep. where Stewie fights to stop Peter from having a baby, Majel played the voice of the computer. It was funny.

Star Trek and Family Guy has always been a pleasent combination. Best sci-fi meets best animated comedy. Unfortunately there aren’t any Seth MacFarlanes at Paramount. So unless he’s willing to empty his pocket for it or settle for a watered-down, half-baked version compared to his Star Wars parodies, we’ll fall victim once again to profit obsession. What a bunch of Ferengi!

ST being in Family Guy can only help the franchise. Watchers unconsciously associate ST with fun & popular.

stupid question…why does anyone care if they are “first” or not???? I don’t get it

@ 11. Andy Patterson – December 28, 2009

Whoa. Wait a second…

So people who have a close call with death are not allowed to have a dark sense of humor? Is that what you are saying? They are less of a human being to you? They require a “wake up call?” My sister was also one of those who went out from that airport on an earlier flight that morning. She can’t have a varied sense of humor… everything from slapstick to dark… the kind MacFarlane has? Tell me, in your view, what specific types of humor is she allowed to express?

And what’s with the “waiting for him to get a soul” nonsense? Do you know Seth MacFarlane personally? Do you have access to his hopes and dreams and inner thoughts? Why are you so quick to pass judgment on the man’s character? Did he harm you in some way?

Here’s your wake-up call: I am frankly baffled by your very narrow, un-Trek, indeed anti-IDIC point of view.


What qualifies Seth McFarland as “dark”? His show isn’t dark…a little twisted and random maybe…but not dark. (The show is a little too uneven for my tastes so I’m not regular viewer. Can’t help but like the Trek references that have been posted here. :)) In interviews he seems like a charming, happy-go-lucky guy with a self-effacing sense of humor. (I happened to catch him on Bill Mauer once.)

Is that dark?

Why aren’t they making Family Guy in widescreen?

This reminds me of the time I made several forced pop culture references instead of writing a plot.

I effing hate the Family Guy, and its inane popularity baffles me.

hahaha.. Paramount is run by a bunch of tightwad fossils and can’t understand the amazing free publicity in doing a Family Guy parody. But what do I know, I’m just part of their target audience and everything…

What’s the difference between a full-blown Star Trek parody feature length parody vs. a two minute scene re-enacting a scene from Star Trek? Wouldn’t McFarlane need permission from Paramount for either one? He’s done plenty of Star Trek references and parodies to be combined into an hour or so clip fest. What’s wrong with doubling it all at once?

It’s all about the money as it were, is it not?


#12: “Paramount didn’t stick R2 in the new Star Trek; Industrial Light & Magic did, and it was missed by the editing team. (And understandably so — it wasn’t noticed by fans until the Blu-Ray edition was released.)”

Sorry. Not true.

It was a well known fact that R2D2’s appearance in the film was one of the many “Easter Eggs” in the film. In fact, it was one of the selling points used for a film contest for the viewer who could locate R2D2 in the film.

I think for Trek and Family guy its always been funny cause half the Trek jokes are things only us Trekkies get. Last night I was watching Stewie Kills Lois and the end of the first part is a huge Trek joke, the music and everything is right out of Best of Both Worlds Part 1, even the “to be continued” is in the TNG lettering. A normal person wouldnt get it, but most of would. With Star Wars its different, everyone knows it so I think they get lazy with it. Some of its funny, some of its not. I haven’t seen the new one yet, but the first one wasn’t bad. They need less of the dumb musical bits and more short but funny jokes. If done right a family guy TWOK could be great, or if they were lazy it would blow. Either way I think Paramount would be pretty dumb to not let them cause it would sell.

The coolness that I speak of has replaced a “view” of Trek that any of us that have been involved with Trek since we were 13 are aware of. The speeches from Shatner on Saturday Night Live, the jokes about living in your mother’s basement, the nerd comments and goofy skits that make fun of all of us. I personally am glad to see the cool aspect resurgence, and can understand why Paramount might not want to see other shows/studios deliberately mock or make fun of something they just invested a ton of money on. They want to keep it cool. I venture to say that the Family Guy project would not be a “respectful” event… rather, it would recreate the mockery that we would all prefer to disappear. We deserve that respect.


Hey Justin,’s okay. Settle down. I like him. As I said he’s just a very talented guy. Those gifts come from somewhere. I just don’t get his “there is no God” stance. I happen to disagree with him on that.

and as I said…..I think he’s funny.

That sucks !

I bet i would die of laughter by watching a family guy wrath of khan parody !

#19… same here, I think it’s kind of lame.

I haven’t seen the new Star Wars parody yet but I loved the first and watch quite a bit on my iPod when on my lunch break at work. I would love for them to do Wrath of Kahn and hope it happens. Maybe we should start a campaign to get it done… then again, we couldn’t save Enterprise that way so what chance does a parody have?

IMHO this parody was nowhere near as good as the first. There, I said it.

I’d actually be worried at this point about the spark leaving and a TWOK parody seeming lame.

Anyway, I’m glad others enjoyed.

“Stewie Kills Lois’s” cliffhanger music, written by the same Ron Jones, is effing hilarious, and bodes well for a TWOK parody that would make us proud.

And McFarlane started early, with his “Ensign Ricky” reference in season 1. He and his guys have that ingrained knowledge of the show and its fandom, and should definitely get greenlit for a Trek parody,

your going about this all wrong.

as much as i dont like JJ’s take on Star Trek. Seth should make a 2 min tos trek parody pilot. show it to JJ. get him (and his supreme court) behind it. then take THAT to paramount.

Ok, so, who do we know at Paramount? I think a tweet flood is a good idea. Maybe we can ask @wilw to lead the charge…. :)

I’m sure it helps that Family Guy is on Fox and Star Wars is also Fox

#25 well the major difference might be the music…these full on parodies are using the real music, which is a major plus

Here are the links to two awesome Star Trek spoofs! The first, a spoof of ‘Spock’s Brain,’ is from ABC-TV’s great comedy series ‘The Wonder Years.

The second, is a Carol Burnett spoof, which is absolutely hysterical. Problem is, I have no clue from where it came as this was not from the original Carol Burnett show of the 70s and 80s. Can anyone elaborate from where it came?

#39: Oh, and to quote another comedy film classic… in regard to the Carol Burnett spoof…

“what knockers!”

I used to enjoy FG but IMHO it has gone down steadily as of late. Seth is like a little kid that got away with swearing once on the playground, chuckled to himself, and decided to keep pushing limits…not to be ‘funny’…but just to see what he could get away with. Its purile, bathroom humor that convinces its ‘savy’ audience that its ok to be racist as long as you attack everyone…atheist as long as you attack every religion…and thinks that having a regular character that is a child molester is ‘amusing’. When did it become ‘funny’ having a child molesting old man telling a teenage ‘Luke’ to pull his pants down? In SSDS it seemd like Seth decided to drop the F Bomb as much as he could BECAUSE he could. This isnt elevated humor…its not even BASE humor…its a self important hack taking a beloved story, inserting HIS characters in to it, and crapping all over it. Whats worse is that he is laughing all the way to the bank because people are buying in to his f’d up world view.
Watching what passes as ‘good’ entertainment is like watching ‘Idiocracy’…what makes money these days is CGI without stories and comedies without humor.
Im glad Seth doesnt get to mangle TWOK…the ugliness and intolerance that he spews as humor is hardly in keeping with Trek ideology.

Unfortuneately, as I stated in an earlier thread on this topic, the reason that Paramount will NEVER allow a rival studio like Fox to do a parody of “Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan” is because of severe legal and financial issues. A scene-for-scene parody ala “Blue Harvest” and “Something, Something, Something Darkside” would be classified as copyright infringement by lawyers hired by Paramount. Paramount owns the characters, story and music rights. If Fox were to do a parody, then Nick Meyer and many others who worked on the film would presumably need to be compensated. The amount of money would be in the millions, a price too high for even a big studio like Fox would be willing to pay. And that doesn’t include royalties from dvd/Blu Ray sales. Paramount wouldn’t want one of it’s biggest competitors to make a profit off one of its biggest franchises and cashcows. And Fox would not want to have to give up at least half the revenues to Paramount.

“Family Guy” was able to to prodies of “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” because a) Fox and George Lucas already have a working relationship, and b) Since George Lucas owns the the majority rights to his films, he is the only one that needs to give permission. The “Star Trek” franchise is controlled in a totally different manner. It is presumably controlled by a board made up of dozens of people, each with their own “stakes” in the franchise. In other words, it is easier to make a deal with one big guy than it is to make several smaller deals with several smaller guys.

I could be wrong on some of these points of course, since I know little of business legalities, but I do know that there are many (probably too many) legal hurdles to overcome.

C’mon Paramount let them do it!!!!!

The question remains… if some TV programs (such as the two I posted earlier, for example) can do spoofs of TREK, what is the hang up with doing a ‘Family Guy’ spoof?

One of the very early Family Guy episodes had the scenes with William Shatner doing crazy poses (that description really doesn’t do it justice). Easily the funniest Trek gag I’ve ever seen on TV.

I’d be all for them doing a Trek-themed Family Guy episode, as long as Funny Seth was in charge, and not Conway Twitty Seth.

Oh, and “Commander Worf’s head looks like a fanny!” ;)

I think seths parody of trek would not be damaging as seth obviously loves trek-remember he was a crew member in enterprise–trek also has lots of humor in it-maybe they could start by spoofing jjs movie first-that wouls sell more copies of trek09 i bet–fgs joke about a gorn bountyhunter is hilarious–i remember one of the bounty hunters looked like a gorn, didnt talk n i remember seeing his green lizard feet in the shot from empire heheh

When does “protected” parody cross the line into “we’re gonna get sued” territory?

Weird Al Yankovic does note-for-note parodies of popular songs, yet only asks permission of the writer out of courtesy, as his US constitutional rights allow him the freedom to make fun of an existing work of art for profit.

How would a “TWOK” parody differ in this case? FG has already done near word-for-word takes on Spock’s funeral and the Genesis Cave. The other “Trek” references are too numerous to count.

#1 asks “They are probably concerned about the writers making fun of trekdom now that it’s “cool.” They are trying to protect the positive aura of the franchise, especially for the sequel … Why allow writers to make fun of the show?”

One of the things about “cool” is: it isn’t insecure.

I think MacFarlane’s concern is legitimate. Fan interest isn’t going to sway Paramount either way. And they are very protective of Star Trek. Anyone trying to muscle in, even for the purposes of satire, might get slapped with a lawsuit.

Star Wars is largely fan driven. The novels, comics, and even video games are canonical and, therefore, everyone involved in the creative process has a stake in the franchise. Lucas likes it this way because it means he has to do less work. And he still gets all the money from royalties and so forth.

Star Trek, on the other hand, is a corporate operation. It is controlled by a committee appointed by the studio executives. Sometimes members of this committee have different – even competing – interests. The conflict between Rick Berman and Ron D. Moore over the direction of DS9 being the most obvious example of management feuding. All the top heavy action means the fans are, rightly or wrongly, at the periphery of the creative process rather than the center of it.

As much as devoted ST fans love to pretend that they wield great influence, the reality is they have very little say in how the franchise turns out. They get to vote with their dollars. But that’s about it as far as their limited powers go.

Off Topic- There are still more references to Trek not on-screen in the SSSDS DVD. During the audio commentary, the panel are talking about the merits of model photography vs.cgi, and Seth McFarlane ( doing a very creditable impression of Kurtwood Smith ) says “Just because we can do a thing, it does not neccessarily follow that we must do that thing.”
He then credits the quote as being from Star Trek VI.

I also get a kick that ‘Space:1999’ gets a third ‘Family Guy’ namecheck during the commentary when they discuss the fact that Brian Johnson, of 1999 fame was the effects producer on ‘Empire’.

I would like to see FG do TWOK, and think Paramount should do it. I enjoy FG for it’s non-sequitor cut-away gags, so I’ve thoroughly gotten a kick out of their dead-on recreations of Trek scenes ( especially the genesis cave bit and Spock’s funeral. The attention to detail and recreation of the original musical cues is amazing ). I don’t think it would be damaging to the newly acquired “coolness” of Trek, since – for one thing- it wouldn’t be parodying the new film. In fact, it might stimulate interest in the back catalog, as some FG fans, who are unfamiliar with TWOK, would want to go back to see the original movie, just to get the jokes.

I ddon’t agree that SSSDS …”Took a crap…” on “empire”. In fact most of the SW fans I’ve talked to that have seen it love it, as they realize it’s done out of love. Yes, it does have it’s lame jokes, and there’s less of the “oh my god, look how close it is to the original” newness of ‘Blue Harvest’,( even McFarlane says it’s less fun to do the follow-ups than the first one ) but I still thought it was a fun romp.

BTW: It’s revealed in the “fun facts version of the episode that the name on the mailbox was originally ‘Shatner’ but it was changed for some undisclosed reason….