Rod Roddenberry is trying to obtain the missing Enterprise model

On the set of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, directed by William Shatner. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
On the set of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, directed by William Shatner. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images) /

Can Rod Roddenberry recover the recently recovered Enterprise model?

Recently, an eBay sale for an Enterprise model caught fans by surprise as it appeared to be the original Enterprise model made prior to the original pilot that had been with Gene Roddenberry until it was loaned out during the production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  It was never returned even after Gene Roddenberry sent out various messages about it.  Unseen in person since 1977, the Enterprise model has only existed in photos until the eBay sale.  The seller removed the item, but no one knows the current status of the item.  Did the seller decide to keep it?  Is the Roddenberry Foundation successfully negotiating its return [via Trekmovie}?  Also – where has it been for nearly forty years?

No one had any idea what happened to it after one of Roddenberry’s staff delivered it to one of the production crewmembers.  The staff member who delivered the Enterprise model has since died, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry never saw it again, and it disappeared when Rod Roddenberry was a toddler. With no clear indication of who received the Enterprise model in 1977, it has become an almost mythical object – photos exist of it, including various promotion shots of it with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner among others plus behind-the-scenes shots at Nerdbot of the model with Gene Roddenberry and Jeffrey Hunter.   Yet after it was loaned out, the Enterprise model seemed to have vanished entirely.  No one ever named the person who it was delivered to and most of the cast or crew who worked with it are no longer alive, so there was no trail to follow.

After decades of being assumed lost, the appearance of the Enterprise model on eBay stunned many.  It looked like the model from the behind the scenes and promotional photos, but was it the real one?  The daughter of the man who made the Enterprise model examined the photos uploaded by the seller and noted the stand matched the one her father used plus it was his business card taped to the bottom of the stand.  Rod Roddenberry was able to find photos of the Enterprise model from his father’s private collection and the Roddenberry Archive to compare them to the seller’s photos.  The seller had posted no information about how it came into their possession, and no records exist about who it was delivered to.

What happened to the Gene Roddenberry’s Enterprise model since it vanished?

In one of the various memos, some of which can be seen at, Gene Roddenberry wrote requesting the return of the Enterprise model, he admits he doesn’t know who it was sent to.  He does write that it was delivered by Jon Povill, and that was the last he knew about it.  The identity of the seller is still unknown as well as how they came to own it.  Has the Enterprise model been passed down by relatives of the unknown person who it was delivered to?  What made the seller list it now?

Between photographic analysis comparing the photos of the known Enterprise model and the seller’s eBay page, there are several indications that the item that was listed on eBay was the same one that disappeared in 1977.  Since the listing was removed by the seller with no indications it was bought, Rod Roddenberry and the Roddenberry Foundation may be working with the seller to reclaim the item, but no news confirming how these negotiations are going has been announced.  Rod did make a statement after fans kept asking about the Enterprise model, and he assured fans his plans are to recover the Enterprise model then, after it is scanned into the Roddenberry archives project, donate the model to Smithsonian.

As fans wait for an official announcement from Rod Roddenberry or the Roddenberry Foundation, fans may now be wondering about all the years the Enterprise model was believed lost.  With the seller’s identity unknown and the exact provenance of the Enterprise model from 1977 until now hidden, fans may not know about what happened to it until it is donated to the Smithsonian.

Next. Has Gene Roddenberry's missing Enterprise been found?. dark