Would Gene Roddenberry really have an issue with today's Star Trek?

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry wasn't a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so how would he view today's Star Trek?
25th Anniversay Star Trek-Induction of the Roddenberry Bldg
25th Anniversay Star Trek-Induction of the Roddenberry Bldg / Albert L. Ortega/GettyImages

In March of 2024, William Shatner claimed that Gene Roddenberry would be rolling over in his grave due to the state of the Star Trek franchise. The franchise that Roddenberry created in the 1960s and that we still enjoy nearly 60 years later. To say that it's changed dramatically from the franchise fans first saw on NBC in the mid-to-late 1960s would be an understatement.

The series has radically changed itself from what Roddenberry once believed it to be. Some of the core tenants are still there, yet the focus is broader, and the focus on telling key stories that everyone can relate to is no longer as prevalent as it once was. Now, we have cartoon sitcoms and grim-dark series with pretty detailed amounts of gore.

This isn't Roddenberry's Star Trek. It prompted William Shatner to tell the Hollywood Reporter in March that Star Trek was far from what Roddenberry envisioned, saying;

"Well, as Star Trek progressed, that ethos has been forgotten [in more recent shows]. I sometimes laugh and talk about the fact that I think Gene is twirling in his grave. “No, no, you can’t make out with the lady soldier!” "

This isn't the first time that Shatner has said this, either. Shatner, who first brought James T. Kirk to life in the original series, followed by the film franchise, was one of the faces of the series for decades. He worked hand in hand with Roddenberry for a lot of years. He would arguably know what Roddenberry would feel in some instances, due to how close they were while working together.

Would Roddenberry be upset with the current state of Star Trek? It's fair to say. He had issues with the creative forces behind The Next Generation, to the point where arguments would ring out across the halls for what seemed like days on end. What Roddenberry liked, wasn't always what fans liked.

Keep in mind, that Roddenberry hated The Wrath of Khan and actively tried to sabotage it every chance he got. So it's not far-fetched to believe he'd hate the idea of a musical episode.

Though, Roddenberry's not here to tell us any of this, however. So yes, we can surmise that maybe Roddenberry would hate modern Star Trek, but seeing as how he's been dead for 33 years, it's impossible to truly know. So all people like Shatner and some others are doing is guessing, because no one knows. He's not here to answer for himself.

Due to that fact, it's irresponsible to say for sure one way or another about what Roddenberry would or wouldn't like. All we know is that he hated the direction Star Trek went after the 1977 Motion Picture. Beyond that, it's just speculation.