I’ve been a Star Trek fan since the early 70’s, when fans were lobbying Paramount to “Bring Back Star Trek!” It was impossible for me then to imagine Star Trek as anything other than the Original Series (and the original actors) – but it has evolved much beyond that. Now it’s hard to imagine a time when there was no new Star Trek, since we have been given so much for so many years.
Star Trek (2009) was a handsome and worthy addition to the pantheon of Star Trek films and has reinvigorated the franchise while attracting (very important) a new, younger audience to the world of Star Trek. Over the last four decades, I have seen Star Trek go through highs and lows, quiet times and busy times, times when it was in the limelight everywhere and times when you rarely heard about it. I am really looking forward to the next couple of years of Star Trek’s life. As a franchise, it is still extremely important to both Paramount and CBS. It is in very rare company as one of the longest-lasting and most financially successful properties of all time – film or television.
We don’t know yet what the next Star Trek films hold in store for us. Early rumors are that one of the Original Series villains might make an appearance (everyone from Gary Mitchell to Harry Mudd to even the Horta has been mentioned), female Vulcans and further in-depth explorations of the characters and their relationships have all been hinted at, too. In any case, I have great faith that Abrams and crew will give us original fans and those new to the Star Trek universe another rousing adventure that we’ll want to see over and over. I hope the next film will continue to keep the Star Trek franchise growing, evolving and continuing its journey of exploration and discovery. In these troubled times, the message of Star Trek’s positive and peaceful future is needed more than ever. The faces aboard the ships may change, but the philosophy and message are consistent (and timeless).
In an interview I did with him back in 1989, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry told me that, “I would be happy to have a Star Trek come on in 15 or 20 years where people say, ‘Now that is good! That makes Roddenberry look like nothing!’ And that would please me!” I’m quite sure that Gene would be happy to see Star Trek thriving in 2010 and continuing his original vision, and it was fitting that Majel Barrett Roddenberry lived long enough to literally add her voice to Abrams’ Star Trek.
I can’t wait to see the next Star Trek film. I thoroughly enjoyed the last one and was, frankly, surprised that they pulled it off as well as they did. This original fan was skeptical that anyone could step into the shoes of my beloved original crew other than the original actors. But I found myself believing and enjoying that these were my Star Trek friends in their early days.
As Spock once said, “Change is the essential process of all existence.” We have watched Star Trek evolve and change over the last 44 years and it will continue to do so. With such a vast universe to choose from, and talented and caring filmmakers in charge, Star Trek’s possibilities are limitless now.
The world, and entertainment, has changed and today the great challenge to those who produce Star Trek is remaining true to its roots while updating it for a new generation. So far, so good. With a rich history behind it and a wide-open future ahead, I am optimistic that we will continue to have Star Trek in our lives for many, many years to come.
Dan Madsen is the former founder, president and publisher of the Official Star Trek Fan Club and Star Trek Communicator magazine. He now is involved with Ashley Eckstein’s new company, Her Universe, which produces fashionable, female-focused apparel for Sci-Fi fans.