Endings? (Star Trek essay)

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Title: Endings?
Creator: Sandra D. Gray
Date(s): 1981
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
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Endings? is a 1981 essay by Sandra D. Gray.

It was printed in Neutral Zine #1.

Some Topics Discussed

From the Essay

It has now been well over a year since the release of STAR TREK--THE MOTION PICTURE. Years of concentrated fan efforts at revival finally bore fruit. But what was the result? We, the fans, got what we desired, or maybe deserved. For all the hoopla, the special effects, the big money, all we really got was another episode. And not even a new episode, since the movie bore a strong resemblance to "The Changeling."

I, for one, was disappointed. How many fans, like me, did not enjoy seeing two new characters --Decker and Ilia -- "phased out" of STTMP like so many "expendable extras" in the series? How much more interesting might the movie have been with Decker in command of the Enterprise, as he should have been? Kirk must have once "proved himself" in the field, and STTMP could have been Decker's opportunity to do the same.

Was there too much clinging to the past?

STAR TREK is, or should be, a show of the future. And right now that future looks pretty dim. Paramount is dragging its heels, despite the rumors of a sequel theatrical movie and/or a mini series for television being bandied about. They do not even want Gene Roddenberry to be executive producer of any new efforts. The question is -- are they right in thinking this?

Despite the vast numbers of fans of STAR TREK, the success of any new movie or series depends on garnering sufficient viewers to make the project worthwhile to the studio. Perhaps many fans enjoyed STTMP because they read the novelization first or later, or because of prior knowledge of the characters. But the non-TREK familiar viewer must have been mystified by some of the movie (i.e. "My oath of celibacy is on record, Captain."). Unless they were really impressed with the movie, the non-fans wouldn't have rushed out to buy the novel to fill in the gaps in the plot. I purposely didn't read STTMP until after seeing the film and maybe that's why I look at it so differently.

I believe it is time for fans to really think about the future of STAR TREK. We must ask ourselves -- will the new viewers of STAR TREK's future incarnations (if any) be able to relate to the old cast of characters? Will Mr. Roddenberry supervise so much for the fans that the new audience will be confused? And under such conditions, will the "spark" still be there? Are we so afraid of destroying the "magic" that we will blind our eyes to other possibilities -- other characters? STAR TREK has been Gene Roddenberry's dream. We just responded to it. Now we must face whether that dream as it originally was stated has served its purpose.

I'm sure many fans might consider what I am about to say sacrilege but to you I can only say I love STAR TREK very much and am trying to see what I feel is in its best interest. STAR TREK has had a deep personal effect on my life for which I'll always be grateful. But I feel it is time for new blood. The original cast should be involved in any new efforts in a supporting capacity.

Gene Roddenberry should be involved, but only if he can live in the future instead of the past. With STTMP, the human adventure was just beginning. Let's not let living too deeply in the past be the ending of the dream.

That would be the death of STAR TREK -- for good.