Star Trek fans owe a wealth of appreciation to Gene Roddenberry.
While Gene Roddenberry was alive, there was no question as to who was the creator of the mega-successful franchise. Roddenberry’s name was front and center on Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as the movies based on The Original Series without question. He was larger than life, and no one could deny that he was the reason Star Trek existed. But after Roddenberry passed away in 1991, that’s when the trouble started. Creative control of the franchise died with him, according to the producer’s son, Rod Roddenberry, in an interview he gave to Geek Girl Authority.
Though the family retained certain rights to the franchise, at times, the studios would attempt to negate Roddenberry’s impact on Star Trek. And that’s where Roddenberry’s widow, Majel Barret Roddenberry stepped in. According to her son, Majel was always ready to make sure no one got away with anything, especially anything that lessened her husband’s importance when it came to Star Trek.
Majel Roddenberry defended Gene Roddenberry long after his death.
At times, the studios would propose that Roddenberry’s name in a film or series be in a smaller print and maybe even at the back of the film. But Majel wasn’t having any of that. Rod said that his mother would say “Not only is it going to be at the front, but it’s going to get a separate title card. It’s going to say created by Gene Roddenberry.”
It’s difficult to imagine anyone wanting to remove Roddenberry’s importance from the franchise. From the inception of Star Trek until his death in 1991, Roddenberry was Star Trek. HIs input and involvement with Star Trek: The Next Generation diminished after the first season of the series (The producer’s last writing credit for the series was the first season episode, “Datalore.”) But there was no denying Roddenberry’s legacy, and Majel made sure of that. To her credit, she kept her husband’s name and legacy alive and never let anyone forget who had started the franchise that has been ongoing for over fifty-five years.