Rod Roddenberry Looking To Fans To Help Finish “Trek Nation” Documentary

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod Roddenberry has been working on his "Trek Nation" documentary about his father and Trek fans for the last few years. Now Rod is taking one more pass to put the finishing touches on the project and he is looking to Star Trek fans to help him out. Find out how you can help below.


Help Rod finish "Trek Nation"

Rod Roddenberry has been on a journey of discovery for the last couple of years, talking to regular fans and famous personalities about the impact of father and his Star Trek creation. The result is "Trek Nation," a new documentary being produced by Roddenberry.

Now Rod says he is close to finishing it (again), but needs help. According to Rod he is in " desperate need of some archival footage." Co-producer Trevor Roth tells TrekMovie "there are few final holes we are trying to fill with the intent of bringing a more vivid picture to Star Trek’s history."

Specifically they are looking for the following materials for potential inclusion in the film.

  • Video/Film Footage from 1970’s Conventions; guest speakers, the convention floor, etc.
  • Behind the Scenes of TOS & TNG
  • Letters, photos, news articles, TV film clips of the late 1960’s Letter Writing Campaign to Save Star Trek.

If you have any of the above, then send an email to If you have media to send they are asking if you can provide a lo-res version of the image or footage in your first email.

For more on "Trek Nation," visit the official site. Here also is more from Rod, talking about the genesis of "Trek Nation."

Hopefully once these final touches are put on this long-anticipated project Roddenberry can get a distribution deal and the fans can finally check out “Trek Nation.”


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Well, he shouldn’t have to look any further than this site!

Good luck on getting this produced in time prior to or by the 50th Anniversary in 2014!

I’m looking forward to this. Hopefully, it will also showcase the contributions of Gene Coon, Matt Jeffries, and all the other folks behind the scenes who helped bring Trek to life.

Any word on what channel will show it, or will it be DVD only?

Now this is two documentaries I want to make sure to watch. This one and Shatner’s captains documentary.

TOS behind-the-scenes materials?! Go through daddy’s attic … if you haven’t sold it already.

I would think one call to Bjo should do nicely??

Looks very well produced.

Is it Rod or Eugene Roddenberry who is doing this project or are they both doing it?

I hate to say it, but this guy always just gives me a phony, “riding daddy’s coattails” vibe.

Looks like it could be an interesting father-son take on the many hours of filmed exploration about Trek that are out there. I’ve just finished re-reading ‘Inside Star Trek’ by Herb Solow and Robert Justman, which paints a very flawed – some would argue very human – picture of Gene Roddenberry.

I have always wanted to see or read the definitive documentary on Star Trek, but I don’t think this is going to be it. The problem with trying to get a handle on this Legend is that for every incident you wish to examine, there will be as many opinions about what really happened, as there are people who were involved. Reading all of the memoirs of the principles involved with Star Trek is like watching “Rashamon.” There is no one single truth. That’s the nature of history.

One of the aspects of Star Trek that I remember endlessly discussing in the 1970’s is why was there a letter writing campaign to save Star Trek in the first place. The explanations ranged from cognitive dissonance to analogies about the Crucifiction of Christ.

TV at the time was disposable. Why would ORDINARY fans get it into their heads that they could save a TV show? You will not find the answer by asking whomever is still living today to remember what happened 45 years ago. The answers require a lot of research and reading. Original sources, bills, letters, expense accounts, interviews done at the time, etc. This kind of research should be done by a professional. A dispassionate professional. Not Rod Roddenberry. Do you really think that people are going to give Gene Roddenberry’s son an honest answer. Is Gene Roddenberry’s son going to be objective about what he finds? Really?

The sources that I hope Rod Roddenberry is consulting are:
1. “Inside Star Trek” by Herb Solow and Bob Justman,
2. The exhaustive introduction to the teleplay “The City on the Edge of Forever” by Harlan Ellison and
3. An interview with Bjo Trimble in David Gerrold’s “The World of Star Trek.”

In these he will find that Star Trek fandom grows out of the existing framework of organized science fiction fandom. Mr. Roddenberry was stumping for Star Trek long before the show ever aired by showing the pilot at Sci-fi conventions. He also brought along some costumes from Star Trek to display at a sci-fi fashion show and had a little run-in with the woman organizing it, Bjo Trimble.

She was no ordinary fan. She eventually came to WORK FOR DESILU. Who was her boss? Gene Roddenberry. He job was to answer fan mail, as she relates in David Gerrold’s book. And she was well connected, and able to mount a letter writing campaign. The questions are: Whose idea was the Save Star Trek campaign? How much did Gene Roddenberry have to do with it? Did he just supply lunch money, as she says, or was he more intimately involved?

Mr. Solow and Mr. Justman say yes he was, and they show expense accounts to back this up. Those supposedly spontaneous student protests against NBC studios in Burbank were at least in part funded by Desilu (although at the time, the finance department may have had no idea why Mr. Roddenberry was submitting expense accounts for bumper stickers, signs, and plane tickets for a couple of guerrilla street fighters from New York.)

Mr. Ellison also writes about how he had his arm twisted into starting the Writer’s Committee. And he shows the letters and memos of the time. That man didn’t throw out anything, and boy was he orgainized!

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much material to be mined, but the answers to Rod Roddenberry’s query are not to be found in old footage from conventions, unless that footage is from behind to curtain, where ordinary fans could not venture.

The unmistakable conclusion from all of this is that Gene Roddenberry saved Star Trek. He was a genius at grass-root political organization, regardless of what folks thought of him as a man. And he was driven by his dream to work tirelessly to bring this show into creation and to keep it alive.
That’s the story. As he himself has said, Thank God I worked in TV and not politics!

I am desperately worried that it’ll be yet another attempt to paint Trek as a purely Roddenberry invention – riding roughshod over the hard work of Justman, Coon, Fontana, and anyone else you care to mention.

Try Youtube! You can find there all kinds of videos about old things. I wonder through, why he needs help for the the “Behind the Scenes” stuff. I mean his father worked there and he should have more of them than fans.

#12,Mel,your right,there is some great stuff on Youtube! I check it out every now and then when I’ve nothing else to do.

Rod is Eugene and Eugene is Rod

It’s pretty easy to understand once you know that

I hope you will accept an unpopular comment – I don’t like this aspect of fan culture.

There is a creepy Scientology vibe about it.

There are some wonderful messages about hope and the future, but it comes across as turning Gene Roddenberry into the new L Ron Hubbard. Gene would have hated that.

@ 15

I know what you mean. The importance of Star Trek is often vastly exaggerated in those documentaries. I mean they call it a “worldwide phenomenon” in the above video. But it simply isn’t. Star Trek isn’t popular in tons of countries of the world. And even in the USA a lot of people are not interested in it.

Star Trek may have influenced a lot of individuals in a big way, but I am sure, that if Star Trek would have never been made, the world wouldn’t look much different than now.

15, 16

Totally agreed! Even without Trek, man would still have landed on the moon, we would still have cell phones, “Star Wars” would have still been made, etc.

Trek is a cult phenomenon, just like the “X-Files” was in the nineties. On the other hand, “Star Wars” IS a worldwide phenomenon. George Lucas really knew how to market his creation. It’s way more popular among kids, who in spite of the success of J.J Abrams’ “Star Trek”, consider Trek to be “gay”. A lot of other people (rightly or wrongly) consider Trek to a an “all-boys” club that discriminates against women and minorities.

“Star Wars” is seen as all-inclusive. It’s seen as being more mainstream-friendly, with more focus on character and story and less on technology and “science”.

It is why this documentary will flop. Nobody apart from Trekkies knows about Gene Roddenberry, nor do they care. On the other hand, George Lucas is considered to be one of the greatest creative minds since William Shakespeare.

It is why “Star Wars” is THE prememinent sci-fi franchise phenomenon against which all others, Trek included, are judged.

Also, the decision by the supreme court to add more “Star Wars” to “Star Trek” was a wise decision. It needed to have the fast-paced, visual extravaganza that “Star Wars” created.


DAMN TYPOS!! guys know i can be very opinionated and logical when i post on this site and i was going to ask forgiveness and acceptance to what i wanted to say bout RR (or ER). Yet after reading some of your post above, it seems like some of you agree with what i want to say here.

I dont get this guy. Through the years while his dad was alive, did we ever see him round much? And after ‘the Great Bird’s’ passing, RR gave the impression like he didnt care anything bout his dad’s legacy or for that matter we fans.

Now, with his websites, mechandise, etc. it is almost like he is going to try and milk what he probably feels is his inheritance? And, this documentary? It sounds like a rehash of Denise Crosby’s ‘Trekkies’.

Why is he just now interested in his father and why would he want to write this in the perspective that his father ‘was just a flawed human, not a god’. No, GR wasnt a god, but why take to time to ‘point out his flaws’?

You know, if this kid had really been wanting to show the fans he had somesort of genuine interest in what his father (and his mother) had been doing, he wouldve taken interest years ago or even stepped up to Rick Berman and the studio after GR’s passing and said something to the effect, ‘I’d like to keep the Roddenberry name alive on any new productions and the current TNG and be as helpful as I can as producer or otherwise. What can i do to help?”

IDK, am i wrong bout how i feel bout this?

Two words: space opera.
Shakespeare? Seriously?

And yes, I am an original trilogy SW fan, but any delusions of Shakespeare can be quashed by three words: Jar Jar Binks.

Hey, I remember someone shoving a petition in my zit-covered 13-year-old junior high school face and saying, “Sign this!” I read it, and was dismayed to find out that Star Trek was apparently in danger of cancellation. You bet your ass I signed it! What happened to it after that, I don’t know. All I know is that I got to keep watching my fake boyfriend Captain Kirk on the tiny black & white television in my parents’ bedroom (because the other seven kids in the house hated it and wouldn’t let me watch it on the 25-inch color Zenith in the living room).

Yeah, I’m old. But I still look good. And I saved Star Trek. At least, that’s how I remember it…;)


George Lucas is not on the same level as William Shakespeare. Not by a long shot…

@Red Dead…brother, please don’t stir that pot again and start the ‘SW vs ST’ debate. And, on a Trek based site for that matter.

The character of Captain Kirk and/or Mr Spock has been and will continue to be one and two of the most recongnized TV and cultural icons ACROSS the world. People may recognize a pic of Darth Vader but dont know what his name is…’oh that’s that bad guy from Star Wars’

And, you’ll have to pry it out of him, but he has let it slip out before in interviews, but wont come right out and say it, GL owes part of his success to Trek. Heck, look at ‘2001, A Space Odyssey’ a homage to GL and Trek, the producers had the characters wear bright colored red, etc space suits.

One other question…if GL is/was considered ‘one of the most creative minds since WS’ then y couldnt he re-invent his legacy and chapters 1-3 have been more successful AND excepted by the fans? Instead of writing chapters 7-9 as he keeps saying he wants to do, he decides to redo the originals with new FX and now in 3D? And he’s even going to back off of that by ‘just doing one at a time just incase it’s disappointing’….? He peaked early with 4-6 and hasnt achieved that level again. I mean, why did he really pull the proposed new live-action TV series?

Sorry, maybe i started the debate. my apologies…Live Long and Prosper!

meant to say homage to GR and Trek..sorry…typos too. i type fast when im passionate for what i have to say…

@ 18

Star Wars is like Star Trek a popular scifi franchise. I don’t know which one is more popular worldwide. Star Wars has only six movies and some anime series. There are more Star Trek movies and series, so it is much more present on TV. Star Trek is more a TV franchise. That is where it began and where most of it originally aired. Star Wars is more at home in the cinemas. So it is kind of hard to compare them. Personally I don’t think there is a big difference in popularity between those franchises.

And Star Wars fans have the same “reputation” like Star Trek or Stargate fans. A lot of non scifi fans think that scifi fans are usually geeky, nerdy boys and that those fans, which go to conventions, are completely nuts. I guess that will never change.

A documentary about Star Wars would by the way also only interest Star Wars fans. Luckily for the makers of documentaries, they are relative cheap to make. So if there are enough fans (Star Trek and Star Wars have enough), they will probably make a profit.

If going into any toy shop or department store is anything to go by, Star Wars is way more popular than Star Trek. There are just so many action figures of the various Star Wars characters, ships etc than for any other show, even the newer Transformers. Presumably they sell or else there wouldn’t be so many of them. Anything for Star Trek, like a model of the Enterprise, are few and far between. I mean, what kid has not had his/her own light sabre? Mine have.

Sad but true.

According to some sources, the TOS Star Trek series has been screened in about 150 countries worldwide, including the Middle East. It was actually quite popular in Iran (William Shatner was immediately recognised as Captain Kirk) before Islamic fundamentalists took over and banned just about anything western.

This is just one small part of a much bigger problem – this introverted inward looking community of Star Trek fans. I don’t need to belong to a community of fans to like these shows.

I resent these obsessive people. They are big part of what almost killed the franchise – Paramount allowed this franchise to be influenced by the needs of this very community, when it should have always been something for the mainstream audience. It became a stodgy dull continuity laden joke.

This near religious obsession with an entertainment franchise means we all get ridiculed – no one out there is prepared to recognise that you can simply like Star Trek but not also be obsessed and all-consumed by it. If someone turned James Bond into a religious cult and promoted Ian Fleming to demi-God status, no one would be able to see a Bond film without feeling embarrassment and shame.

I also resent the blatant lie that underpins this – that Star Trek is about hope and optimism about humanity’s future. Total BS. It is a series of action adventure TV shows and movies about modern day American gunboat diplomacy transplanted to the future with a little pop philosophy thrown in.

That’s why the Bad Robot team are doing it right.

#20 snoopytrek- lol cute name btw…

I think Rod may have been like a lot of teens/young adults when his father was alive, in that while growing up often teens see what their parents are doing as “uncool” or “lame”. (or whatever popular term is used in their generations era to describe something they don’t like) I have seen in my own children as they have aged their attempts to find their own path, their own style as they mature. Maybe he was just going through this “phase” while growing up.

Many young adults wish to make their own way into the world and don’t appreciate the influences of their parents until much later, after experiencing the world on their own. While I don’t think you are wrong to think your own thoughts and beliefs, I would hope that people realize that others have their own thoughts and beliefs that develop with age and life experiences unique to them.

I would rather think that he has matured and learned how hard his father worked to bring Trek and it’s overall meaning to it’s viewers and is now fully appreciative of it. I could be wrong, but I am also probably known on this site to look at things more positively. That may be a character flaw on my part, but I can’t help but try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

In time for Father’s Day here is something written by Ann Landers about how kids look at their fathers while growing up. I can relate to this because this is what I thought too.

by Ann Landers

4 years old: My daddy can do anything.
5 years old: My daddy knows a whole lot.
6 years old: My dad is smarter than your dad.
8 years old: My dad doesn’t know exactly everything.
10 years old:
In the olden days when my dad grew up, things were sure different.
12 years old: Oh, well, naturally, Father doesn’t know anything about that. He is too old to remember his childhood.
14 years old: Don’t pay any attention to my Father. He is so old-fashioned!
21 years old: Him? My Lord, he’s hopelessly out-of-date.
25 years old: Dad knows a little bit about it, but then he should because he has been around so long.
30 years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks.
35 years old: I’m not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.
40 years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it. He was so wise and had a world of experience.
50 years old: I’d give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this over with him. Too bad I didn’t appreciate how smart he was. I could have learned a lot from him.

I’ve never really understood the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate. One is a series of morality tales under the guise of science fiction like The Outer Limits, while the other is a space opera fantasy in the style of Flash Gordon. Apples and oranges, really.

And as for the smaller degree of merchandise with Trek as opposed to Wars, I’ve always thought Trek was (until recently) oriented more towards adults than kids. This is why we see the characters of Trek dealing with all those icky, thought-provoking issues, ranging from racial bigotry to sexism to environmentalism to the dreaded mid-life crisis… and not problems that can be solved with the simple wave of a lightsaber.

Hey, well at least he’s not asking for money! I really don’t care what his motives are, money, family, fame, who cares? You shouldn’t care either, get past it already.

Charla, #29, you hit the nail on the head about Rod being young while his dad was alive and he’s now matured and is now on a journey to discover him.

I don’t sense “coat-tail riding,” as someone suggested, at all. I met Rod many years ago and found him to be a very genuine human being.

I’m looking forward to Trek Nation.

Hmmm well Star Wars is more popular….even the prequels made TONS of money more than any trek movie….but GEORGE LUCAS himself said without Star Trek there would not have been a Star Wars so all you wars fans can thank Roddenberry and Trek…hahah…

YOU GO APRIL GIRL!!! I hear ya…I was also a similar age but we didnt get to sign any petitions at our high school but I was also a Trek fan since 10 years old….and I also attended at least two of Roddenberrys Speeches at the Seattle Center Arena in the 70s….Saw the Bloopers etc and Roddenberry made you feel like you were part of the movement bringing trek back….And now April returned the favor by portraying Vulcan and Andorian Trek aliens at the late great Star Trek The Experience in Vegas baby….Thanks for helping to keep the dreams alive April we will always luv ya….

I also agree Lucas being Shakespeare a bit too heavy praise there….I wanna say Lucas is kinda like Disney but even that is too high praise…maybe Disney for a modern action oriented age…
A well organized letter writing campaign is hardly cult like activity….just a smart way for Roddenberry to keep his job….Since Ive been outta work for two years now I envy him his intelligence…

And Trek is an action oriented franchise and it is also deeper and more meaningful than Star Wars…..or almost any other franchise and yes it does project an optimistic future and makes ya feel good about the possibilities….it has also inspired many scientists,..astronauts…inventors etc….very few shows have done that…has anyone made the tape recorder that self destructs in mission impossible? I dont think so…Trek communicator…CELL PHONE….anyone made a real light saber to fight and kill people with? No….The phaser…well laser….hahah…
Trek vs Wars is apples and oranges….and thats ok with me….I prefer trek but I like wars too….

22. April Hebert – June 18, 2011

Ha! I like your post!

Wow I think your great April for signing the petition for us to see Star Trek in the years to come! I think you should get special status for that. At least like a delta shield by your name or something.

If it weren’t for folks like you we may not have been able to enjoy Trek or kirk imitations, McCoy quotes and Spock’s logic… and of course there wouldn’t have been… it would have been like the episode “Mirror, Mirror” only worse~

Thanks for doing your part in keeping it going!

#32 Shatoupee- cool you were able to meet Rod! He seems genuine in the clips and I also look forward to TrekNation.

I wrote a letter to the NZBC (NZ Broadcasting Corporation?) in about 1970, as a small girl, asking when the next (4th) Star Trek series would be screened in NZ and suggesting that maybe they could repeat episodes from the previously seen series. I actually received a reply, telling me that the Star Trek series had been cancelled in the US, therefore no more programmes would be made and they would not be repeating any of Star Trek. I have no idea if mine was the only letter they received on this matter. We were totally gobsmacked and I was, to say the least, rather upset.

Don’t know if my meagre contribution counts for anything…

Oh yes it does Keachick!! Seems like we also owe you a thank you as well! How cool is it as well that you received a response too, even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear.

I make a motion to upgrade your and April’s status here. Both of you, as preservationists of our beloved franchise, we will be forever remembered for what you and your generation has done for future generations. By writing letters of protest and support to Paramount during that pivotal time, you helped ensure Star Trek’s success 40 years later. You both and others like you, have our gratitude.

I suggest a delta shield to next to you name for future posts to distinguish you both!

Now, let’s party!! haha :-D

I am sorry but i only agree on Lucas genius of the original versions of the star wars trilogy 1977-1983 which are suppressed or erased from history. Episodes 1-3 and the 1997 and 2004 special editions are complete and utter garbage and a disgrace.

He has also refused to release the original version of American Graffiti original color timing and title card and no cgi in the opening scene, as well as THX 1138 all we have is the one with the cartoon cgi and not the real movie.

April could get another award-she already has the starfleet flag that hung in the experience museum almost 11 years she deserves all the awards she xan git–

I don’t know if Rod/Eugene Roddenberry reads this site. I have no video footage or anything like that, only anecdotal evidence about TOS –

My husband has also been something of a longtime trekkie. His father loved Star Trek when it first screened on our TVs here from 1967. He was married with two boys, one of them my better half. He worked fulltime and also did a part-time university course. There was not much time, however, come Thursday night, 8.00pm, he stopped his studies etc and the whole family sat down to watch Star Trek. It was the only television programme he watched, apart from a half-hour news broadcast.

BTW Chris and I did not meet via Star Trek… I have a place for two Chris’s in my heart – one, the real person I am married to, who obviously has the biggest place, and the other because he now plays, of greatest importance, my (lifelong) fictional love, “my captain Kirk”. OK, said enough already.

Even if Roddenberry was a shadow figure initiating the letter writing campaign it would not have gotten off the ground if there had not been legions of dedicated Trekkies willing to join in.

I could start a letter writing campaign for an A. Hitler Commemoration Day.
I probably would not get very far (one hopes, anyway).

I think Rod’s got it rough. First, he is the inheritor of this legacy from his parents. He was raised with Trek all around him but i’m not sure if he, like many of the actors of the series, really gets it. Maybe he does. His father died when he was still pretty young. He’s probably just trying to figure out his father like any child would.

Doesn’t Trek’s copyright revert to the Roddenberry family at some date in the future? If thats true, doesn’t that make Rod sort of a caretaker of the franchise – even if he is one thats in waiting?

I have behind the scenes of TNG, it´s on the DVD Box of the TNG, season 5. =)

@18. Way overselling of Star Wars, my friend. Agreed that Star Wars is bigger than Star Trek though. Harry Potter (unfortunately) has outdone both, and I suspect that with the two Hobbit movies coming up, that Tolkein will be the franchise to rule them all.

What is wrong with Harry Potter, apart from the fact that it was written for kids and teenagers? It sure beats the Twilight book/film series. Anyway, Harry Potter is more current than Star Wars and, for a long time, Star Trek.

My kids have all the Harry Potter books and movies. They have read the books several times. The language in the books get progressively harder as Harry Potter and his friends get older. The book series has also helped encourage children to read more. Hardly a bad thing.


You forgot about merchandising. “Star Wars” beats “Harry Potter” and “Lord Of The Rings” by a looooooooooonnnnngggggg shot. “Star Wars” sells WAY more merchandise. “Star Wars” video games have also done a lot better. “Lord Of The Rings” and “Harry Potter don’t have comic books, and outside of the novels used as a source for the movies, neither have non-movie based novels. Also, “Star Wars” has a cartoon show going on right now, unlike the J.K Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien properties.
There are only a few “Harry Potter” and “Lord Of The Rings” toys and models, while “Star Wars” toys and collectibles are found everywhere.

So I’d have to say that “Star Wars” is the master of the sci-fi franchise world by a mile. It would take something truly amazing to knock off George Lucas. I doubt it will ever happen.

Hey Red Dead Ryan, re: “So I’d have to say that “Star Wars” is the master of the sci-fi franchise world by a mile. It would take something truly amazing to knock off George Lucas. I doubt it will ever happen.”

I love Star Wars as much as anyone else, but as they say, “The fat lady hasn’t sung yet!” Star Trek just may turn that around someday….. “Buckle up”~ ;)

@45. But you aren’t include the Potter novels, which are closing in on HALF A BILLION print copies sold to date, and which could reach the unheard of 1 BILLION number now that the ebook versions are finally out. To put this in perspective, the bible is the number 1 bestseller of all time at 2.5 Billion copies.

@46. Harry Potter is great for kids and reading — I have no issues with that and my older son has read the entire series. And the latter movies aren’t half bad. For my part though, I just can’t get over how much Rowlings stole from Tolkien.

But I will agree that it is much better than that Twilight crap. I will be seeing the final Harry Potter movie, but I will not be paying to see Breaking Wind….whoops, I mean Breaking Dawn.