The Trouble with Tribbles gave David Gerrold even more troubles for Star Trek: The Animated Series.
The Trouble with Tribbles is one of the most beloved episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. Written by David Gerrold, it’s comedy is pure gold, and the episode is on top-rated and must-watch lists for new fans of Star Trek. Though Gerrold didn’t write a sequel for The Original Series, even though he originally pitched it for a third season episode of TOS, he did write one for Star Trek: The Animated Series which aired seven years later in 1973.
According to The Animated Series DVD audio commentary, prior to the episode’s airing, executive producer D.C. Fontana had arranged a meeting between Gerrold and a group of high school students who were visiting Filmation, the animation studio that produced TAS. The students were Star Trek fans, and one in particular was particularly interested in a sequel to The Trouble with Tribbles. In fact, he suggested to Gerrold that a sequel be done on The Animated Series and started to explain his own idea for such a sequel. Gerrold interrupted the fan to say that the sequel was already written and was in production. That didn’t stop the student from continuing to share his own idea, ignoring Gerrold who said three times that the sequel had been written and was in production. When the fan simply would not listen, Gerrold excused himself and left.
When Gerrold wrote More Tribbles, More Troubles, he wasn’t expecting more troubles.
Not long after the initial airing of More Tribbles, More Troubles, Gene Roddenberry informed Gerrold that the student had sent a letter to NBC which accused Gerrold of plagiarizing his idea for the sequel.
Gerrold replied to the fan with a lengthy letter that he explained he hadn’t stolen the concept. From that point forward, Gerrold asked that he not meet with fans at Filmation. Because one fan wanted credit for something he didn’t write, no other fans got the chance to interact with Gerrold and find out more about the behind-the-scenes process with The Animated Series.