Star Trek is one of those rare success stories that survived, essentially, two cancelations. It filmed its original pilot and was rejected-handedly, making key changes that involved the addition of budding science fiction actor William Shatner. The franchise looked like it wouldn't get into first gear after that initial pilot, but the changes worked. Then it was formally canceled after its third season, leaving many to wonder what could've been.
It would be over a decade later before we got more Star Trek on our screens, this time coming in the form of 1979's Star Trek The Motion Picture. A film that was met with middling success but relaunched the franchise as a movie series, and later a new show hitting television screens in the late 1980s.
But it wasn't always so obvious that Star Trek would return. MeTV.com found an old interview with original series star DeForest Kelley, who played Leonard "Bones" McCoy on the show and in the follow-up feature films. Bones was a major part of the show and fans loved him, so it made natural sense that when fans started doing Star Trek conventions in the 1970s, he'd be an invitee to the event.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, via MeTV, Kelley recounts how he found out that Star Trek had legs after its cancellation;
"The first time I went to a Trekkies convention was in New York in 1973 or so.
It was the second [convention] they had. I walked out onto the stage and was confronted by 10,000 screaming fans... It was like being a rock and roll star. ...I went home to California and told my wife that something had to happen, that either a film or a new television series would be made. The feeling for the series was running very high."
And Kelley would be right. Due to the show entering syndication, plans for a sequel series were put together, and eventually, production would be done. Ultimately though, the show revival fell apart, but a lot of the things that would be introduced for the sequel series would find their way into the film series.