The name Star Trek wasn’t liked by everyone
In 1964, when Gene Roddenberry was getting ready for Star Trek: The Original Series’ first pilot, “The Cage,” he chose Robert Butler as the director as he had directed episodes of “The Lieutenant,” which was Roddenberry’s previous series. Butler wasn’t a big fan of science fiction, but he did agree to direct the first ever episode of the new series. There was, however, one thing he suggested Roddenberry change—the name of the series.
In a quote sourced by The Fifty-Year Mission The First 25 Years by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, Butler described the title as “too heavy” and suggested that Roddenberry change it to “Star Track,” which he thought was lighter and freer. Even though he knew the title wasn’t his business, he kept trying to change Roddenberry’s mind which couldn’t be done.
Robert Butler didn’t direct future episodes of Star Trek
Once “The Cage” had wrapped production, Butler decided not to direct anymore episodes of the series as he didn’t like Roddenberry’s decisions about the production. According to Star Trek Monthly, issue 6, Butler wanted wanted to make the sets dirtier because everything was too clean. But that was the way Roddenberry liked it.
But that wasn’t all Butler didn’t like. He didn’t particularly care for the series, calling it “too square-jawed” and “heroic.” On top of that, he didn’t think Jeffrey Hunter was the best choice for captain.
"“When one is trying to bring reality into an unreal situation, that usually isn’t a wise thing to do, to hire a somewhat perfect-looking actor. You should find someone who seems to be more natural and more “real.””"
Though ultimately, Hunter didn’t remain the captain of the Enterprise, Robert Butler’s opinion wasn’t taken into consideration when the second captain was hired—William Shatner, yet another “perfect-looking actor.”
Fortunately, Gene Roddenberry didn’t back down from what he knew was right for Star Trek: The Original Series. Otherwise, we would have had Star Track with dirtier sets and a captain who wasn’t quite as handsome as Shatner. In other words, we wouldn’t have the Star Trek we know.