Exclusive: Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, recently explained why his mother is the Star Trek’s universe’s unsung hero.
Producer Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek writer and creator Gene Roddenberry, explains why his mother is the Star Trek‘s universe’s unsung hero. Created in 1966, the multi-generational franchise has captivated audiences for nearly six decades through eleven television series and thirteen films. Each new entry into the franchise brought its own unique take on the long-running science-fiction series while adding to its ever-expanding lore.
Gene’s wife, and Rod’s mother, Majel Barrett, first appeared on Star Trek for its pilot episode “The Cage” as the USS Enterprise‘s Number One. At the time, the two were romantically involved, however, Gene was still married to his wife Eileen. It wasn’t until 1969 when they finally decided to get married and whisked themselves away to Tokyo, Japan for the ceremony and honeymoon. The two remained married until Gene’s death in 1991. During their relationship, Barrett had a tremendous impact on Star Trek that went beyond her on-camera appearances.
Screen Rant recently sat down with Rod who explained why his mother is the unsung hero of the Star Trek franchise. The producer explained that although Barrett had multiple roles in the series, her work behind that camera was what made her one of the most important parts of the franchise. He admits that Gene struggled to form the show and have it produced, dealing with rejection on a constant basis, but his wife was always there to support him. Read what Rod said about his mother below.
“My mother is sort of an unsung hero, because my father went through hell, to be honest – like anyone in Hollywood really does these days – getting a new show out there. And the amount of times that he was turned down, or his idea was twisted, or taken or whatever the case is. All business is rough, but it certainly can be a rough business to content creators.
“And my mother was there every step of the way. I know many times my father was ready to walk out or leave or just throw his hands up. She stood by, him and I’m so proud of her. I’m proud that these characters are coming back, even in some small way, to represent her and her character.”
Rod described that his mother was essential for Star Trek: The Original Series eventually making it to air. As Rod stated, Hollywood can be brutal when it comes to getting a television series made. The amount of rejections a writer would be subjected to is immense and demoralizing. However, Barrett’s support encouraged Gene to not give up on his work and helped Star Trek find its place on television where it became the cultural phenomenon that changed science-fiction television forever.
In addition to her work behind the camera, Barrett had substantial roles in front of the camera on Star Trek for decades. She first appeared as Nurse Chapel in the second Original Series pilot, and reprised the character in two movies and Star Trek: The Animated Series. She also had roles in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, but supporting Gene through his struggles to see the original show to fruition may be her greatest contribution of all. It’s hard to imagine the pop culture zeitgeist without Star Trek in it, and if Gene had abandoned the project after some rough patches, decades of entertaining and important storytelling might not have happened. As the creator of Star Trek, Gene understandable gets a lot of credit for the franchise, but it’s nice to see Rod pay tribute to Barrett and acknowledge her accomplishments as well. If it wasn’t for her, audiences may never have known Star Trek, and that would have been a tremendous loss.
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