Robert Justman is well-known in the Star Trek community as the producer of Star Trek: The Original Series.
The name of Robert Justman is synonymous with Star Trek. He came on board Star Trek: The Original Series, serving as the assistant director for “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and ultimately became the man creator Gene Roddenberry counted on the most. Though he was promoted to co-producer of The Original Series at the beginning of the third season, he left soon after. But that didn’t stop him from remaining a part of the Trek universe. He even went on to write Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, which Publisher’s Weekly called “the definitive history of the show.”
Though Justman passed in 2008, at the beginning of 2023, he’ll return to Star Trek, taking part in the Enterprise Memorial Space Flight where he’ll join Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Doohan, and others on a mission to space. I had the opportunity to talk to Justman’s son, Jonathan, about the flight, his father’s legacy, and what this would mean to Justman.
Star Trek would not be the same without Robert Justman.
This Enterprise Memorial Space Flight will be taking many Trek icons into space. Is this something you always wanted for you father? And how did that come about?
"This is not something I ever knew anything about, or that it was even a possibility. I read a story about Nichelle Nichols’ passing which mentioned Celestis and what they are doing. That gave me the idea to send them an email asking if Bob could go along with everyone else. They wrote me right back and said yes!"
Bob was known as Gene Roddenberry’s right hand man. How do you think he would feel about traveling to space with Gene on this memorial journey?
"Dad would be honored to go along with Gene. I’m sure they both have a to reminisce and catch up on."
Your father was a force behind The Original Series. What does his legacy mean to you today?
"Bob Justman was about honesty, integrity and doing the right thing. That, and being prepared, were the ideals he drilled into me, I mean passed along to me, as a child. I try to embody those principles today, as best as I can, of course."
If your father could say one thing to Trekkies today, what do you think that would be?
"Always go after your dreams and goals. If you put the work and preparation in, anything is possible. And if you don’t try, you’ll never know what you could have achieved if you did."
He didn’t work on any of the other Star Trek properties after The Original Series, but, to you knowledge, did he keep up with Star Trek and/or Gene Roddenberry? Was he proud of what he’d achieved working with Star Trek?
"Bob was always proud of what he did on Star Trek, and gladly stayed on as a consultant for the Next Generation. He continued his involvement when mentoring Rick Berman, and also when co-writing his book “Inside Star Trek with Herb Solow."
And finally, though he didn’t have the opportunity to see the successful re-emergence of Star Trek after Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled, how do you think he would feel about the expansion of the universe into this unstoppable force that seems never-ending?
"Again, he would be proud of the legacy and the fact that Star Trek and its fans live on and continue advancing the principles he embodied. Thank you for your interest in my father; I know he’d appreciate it."
Every Trekkie owes a debt of gratitude to Robert Justman. In just a few months, he’ll be reunited with friends and co-workers, traveling into space where his legacy will remain a part of the stars.