TrekDocs Twitter Account Shares Insights Into Star Trek’s History

When it comes to sharing gems from Star Trek’s behind-the-scenes history, its hard to find examples of items not seen many times before by much of the Trek fanbase. A relatively new Twitter account, @TrekDocs, has managed to do just that, and is bringing these historic Trek documents to the masses.

The “docs” themselves cover a wide range: from internal memos to behind-the-scenes photos to story pitches to letters sent in by fans.

We were curious as to how this Twitter account came to be. Where were these documents coming from, and who behind TrekDocs was able to procure them? TrekMovie spoke with one of the members of the TrekDocs team who introduced himself only as “Tom Paris” and explained that the team have decided to remain anonymous. “Tom” tells us that the TrekDocs team all used to work on Star Trek in one way or another and so were in the perfect position to save some of these historical documents when Star Trek halted its television production after the end of Enterprise.

“When Enterprise ended, Paramount ordered the production offices cleared out,” explains Tom. “There were numerous boxes of older material that would have been taken away and destroyed. As longtime Trek fans, we recognized that these boxes contained some pretty amazing franchise history. So instead of ending up in an incinerator, they ended up in our garages, closets, and storage units. They stayed there for a while and then we figured we should get them out there.”

The team decided that Twitter would be the best place to share their docs with the world. “It’s more anonymous, it’s less maintenance than a website, and we just thought it would be a fun way for people to see them,” says Tom. Their goal is to attract new followers to the @TrekDocs account in order to share their corner of Trek history with as many fans as possible.

“We take the time to do this because we love Trek; it’s been a huge source of inspiration to us. Reading this stuff was a joy, and we want to share that joy of discovery with people who love the franchise as much as we do.”

TrekMovie: How much material would you say you guys have, and what form does it take (slides, photos, video, props, etc?)

TrekDocs: We have a few thousand pages of documents, though not all of it is interesting enough to warrant a post. It’s mostly paper, but we have some slides and photos as well. No video, unfortunately. There are a couple props, but they don’t fit into the scanner.

TM: Do you have any particular “gems” in the collection that you are holding onto to reveal at a later date? Or do you just go through the boxes and post whatever item you find next?

TD: There are obviously documents that are cooler than others, and we want to make sure that if you come to the feed a year from now you’re not just getting memos about office furniture and catering. So we hold onto the really good stuff and try to parcel those out with a bit more forethought. Anything actually written by Gene, for example. Or really early TNG stuff that helped to define the series. There’s definitely a method to what we post and when.

TM: Tell me about the cooler documents. Do you have any favorite items that have been posted to the twitter account? Which item that you’ve posted do you feel has the most “significance” for Trek’s history?

TD: For the 50th anniversary we posted a memo where Gene reacts to a writer putting “will you marry me?” in a script. He uses it as an example of TNG writers having to let go of their “soon-to-be-outmoded values and political ideas” and goes on to talk a little about the difficulties the staff will face writing this new Star Trek. It’s a great look at his thought process not just for the series, but for his vision of the future that birthed Star Trek in the first place.

There’s also a great speech given by Bob Justman at a convention in 1987 that we posted back when the teaser for Discovery was released. As for the most significant, we’ve posted a few Bob Justman memos from 1986 where he casually suggests things like families on the ship or a Klingon member for the crew; it’s fun to read those and imagine everything we know about TNG coming together.

TM: Are the documents all from within a particular era of Trek?

TD: Everything is TNG or later, so sadly we’ve got no TOS material. The bulk of it is from development of TNG through the end of that series. We also have some Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise materials, including fun stuff from the development of all three. There’s also scattered bits from all of the TNG movies.

TM: How long have you been running the account, and how much longer can it be sustained (assuming that it can go so long as you have new documents to show)?

TD: We’ve been going since April of 2016. Based on what we currently have, we’re probably good for another two years or so. It’s our hope that, as the feed gets more readers, other people will come forward who have fun documents like this and help to fill out the collection.

We can’t wait to see what other special items TrekDocs has in store. Follow @TrekDocs on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest behind-the-scenes treasures.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

So it *is* true Gene got progressively more insane as he grew older.
In 1966, Star Trek had an actual wedding on the show; in 1987, even proposing is considered outmoded. Where did he think kids come from in 24th century – cloning vats?

This is exactly why we shouldn’t follow the TNG timeline any further. The farther in future, the more out-of-context it is for us. Eventually, if you go far enough, those people will no longer be human by our measures.

I actually agree that we shouldn’t take Star Trek too far into the future, because if it goes too far, it loses relevancy in the stories and characters. And not just relevancy, but also satisfying story structure. There’s also the problem which Trek already faces all the time, and that’s bringing too much of our time into it. If you look at the VOY ep ‘Relativity’ and look at what a 29th century ship is supposed to look like, the exterior was perhaps sufficiently different, but the interior design was hardly any different than a 24th century ship. That 500-year difference is a greater time-span than the entire history of human spaceflight up through the end of Voyager. There would be massive changes. But I get it… There are budget constraints as well as time constraints in sufficiently imagining a plausibly advanced future that far ahead, which ends up making the ‘future’ look rather antiquated. What makes it all worse is when the characters start bringing ’20th century trivia’ or musical tastes or whatever into the mix, as if the 20th century was the peak of human cultural relevancy. I’m not going to say it’s a lack of imagination, so I’ll stick with time and budget excuses. They simply don’t have the resources to really flesh out a truly different and advanced future, just shades of it from extrapolations of our present. But I do appreciate what Roddenberry was trying to convey there, whether it was practical or not, or even desirable.

Try telling that to the people that think “going forward” is like the golden rule of star Trek and that it can only
Mean advancing time. *rolls eyes*

Anyway, thanks for pointing out this twitter account!

Then by that logic they might as well decide to stop making Star Trek shows forever.

If they “can’t” go further into the future, they certainly can’t keep all subsequent Trek shows/movies in rebooted TOS eras, either.

I hate to say it but, maybe they shouldn’t keep making Star Trek shows forever. Blasphemy, I know.. But like any long-running franchise, especially one that’s just getting exploited for cash more than anything, the writing and concepts are going to degrade, and then all you’re left with is the name attached to a pile of crap. I’m sure some would argue that’s already happened. I don’t necessarily think we’re at that point yet, but it’ll happen one day. And the big problem is, Star Trek has written itself into a corner, and I think Voyager is largely to blame, but it started with TNG. I don’t want to blame all the writers, but it certainly seems like some just couldn’t meet their deadlines without writing a cheap way out, like using The Reset Button. Or lobbing some tachyons around. Rigging the Swiss army knife deflector dish… This kind of thing has been established so much that it’s reduced the franchise to using magic disguised in pseudo-science. You go farther into the future and you either have to remake the setting by tearing everything apart or simply reboot things, which is probably what Star Trek should be doing to keep things relevant. But even if the writing got better, and they stopped with the treknological terms, you’re still getting so far ahead of where we are that it’s going to lose relatability. You’ll have completely alien crews zipping through time and space in things that aren’t even recognizable as ships. And most problems will be solved with the ‘push of a button’. Honestly, nobody wants that, and that kind of thing isn’t going to sell. Star Trek, at it’s core, is about humanity. Where we’re going, what we’ve come from, and stories that are metaphorical takes on modern issues (and possible solutions to them). Force that kind of narrative into a far-future setting where it realistically wouldn’t be plausible, and it falls apart. Stop that narrative altogether and it stops being Star Trek. It’s a tricky problem to deal with if the franchise is to survive, but going too far forward isn’t going to do it any good.

Guys I remember watching STID where a guy used a personal transporter to get him from Earth to Kronos without the use of a starship. I THEN remembered another character was brought back to life using the villain’s super blood. Neither happened in the 25th or 26th century, they happened in the 23rd. ;)

Did anyone catch that super advanced space colony in Beyond? Don’t know about you but I never seen a space colony in the 24th century that built artificial air and gravity as a complete outdoor environment in space.

Whats my point? It doesnt MATTER what freaking century this show takes place in, only the writers who decide how technical they want to make it regardless. The KT films were suppose to go back to a ‘simpler’ time and guess what they had more advanced things in that century than other shows ever did like building a MASSIVE starship, the Vengeance, that can catch up to other ships in warp and was so automated only one person can pilot it.

Why? Writers had 40+ years to come up with cooler stuff, thats why. 23rd centruy or not.

End of the day it just comes down to the writers direction. If you have a writer that is going to find some alien deux ex machina save the day thats going to happen in any century. This idea that because its during TOS time or sooner that they won’t used silly advanced technology is a misnomer. It doesn’t matter, Star Trek has always done that. Yes it probably got out of hand on Voyager but thats the WRITERS who went that direction. Other writers might do it differently.

Its this strange idea that everyone who writes Star Trek will do it like the last guys did it. Didn’t the KT films prove this wasn’t the case (for good or bad).

I think people need to get out of this bizarre thinking in a universe filled with time travel, warp drive, advance aliens and new tech its going to matter how advanced something is. Its ALL advance people. And believe me if on Discovery someone decides they can build personal shields around people on away missions they will figure out a way to include it. My guess by someone from the 27th century who gave it to them as a gift. ;)

@SPectre – well…firstly, why not? and Secondly, are you extrapolating all future Trek series/movies for like the next million years?

The 20th Century was probably hugely historic when you think about it. The changes globabally between 1900 and 2000 are huge.

So “Will you marry me?” was (or will be) obsolete in the 24th century, but “Will you respect me in the morning?” (from Riker in Angel One — an early first season episode well within Gene’s period of influence) is A-OK. =/

Yep Gene had well and truly lost his marbles by this point. A question for “Tom Paris”: Any documents in the collection from or to (including Cc & Bcc) “LM” aka Leonard Maizlish, Gene’s infamous attorney / manager? Now those I’d like to see!

…And that’s why I’ve felt that STAR TREK should be viewed as an alternate timeline. In fact, a reboot of the franchise would draw its aesthetics the AVATAR and ALIENS franchise.

LOL Roddenberry definitely got crazier and too full of himself. Hence TMP and early TNG. Yeah its probably a good thing he left when he did.

As far as not following the TNG timeline it was followed for 15 years lol. DS9 proved the opposite, you can write great characters in this timeline and tons of conflict once Roddenberry was no longer at the helm. And to be fair to him he described an ideal human in an ideal universe. That can change at any time once those ideals are tested….which once again DS9 did in droves. It really come down to the premise although yes I imagine a show set on Earth in the 24th century would be less entertaining….unless it was about Section 31. ;)

Lets just be honest most of wackier things Roddenberry wanted was tossed out the airlock with DS9 and Voyager basically.This is not a scene I could’ve envisioned happening on even TOS:

And I seem to recall quite a few weddings on TNG, Voyager and DS9. ;)

It looks to me that what Gene was objecting to most in that particular instance was the man blurting out a wedding proposal to a woman he was attracted to but didn’t know very well–not the concept of marriages or proposals as such. Not saying that Gene didn’t make plenty of bizarre and counterproductive choices during the early years of TNG, but the intent of the memo is pretty sound, IMO. It is a dated gag that wouldn’t play well on Trek.

(Of course, the bulk of the first season ended up with terrible, terrible dialogue anyway, but I think this particular memo shows good intentions more than anything else.)

That jumped out at me too. As someone happily married and raising two kids, with the absolute conviction that the vows I made at my wedding were actually for a lifetime, and ’till death do us part, it seems a little insulting or patronizing to suggest that these are outmoded ideas that we will outgrow the future.

Outgrow monogamy? Outgrow commitment? Outgrow actually dedicating our lives to be loving and serving and being there for one another? That’s not how I’d define ‘enlightenment’.

(Plus, Jack and Beverly were already explicitly married; so was Jenice Manheim, the O’briens, and later Wirf and Dax. So there really isn’t any period in Star Trek history that allows for this viewpoint to be slotted in. There have always been married couples somewhere or other.

Shades of “Tapestry” but also a bit of “Violations,” at least in the idea of a race of aliens that uses telepathy to examine memory.