Rod Roddenberry talks about joining the Star Trek franchise

Growing up, Rod Roddenberry wasn’t a huge Star Trek fan.

Although the series was created by his father, Gene Roddenberry, and his mother, Majel Barrett, played Nurse Christine Chapel, Roddenberry was born after the original show was canceled and spent his childhood watching shows like Kamen Rider and Dukes of Hazzard. to see.

Roddenberry opened up about his relationship with the Star Trek franchise diversity Virtual Summit of Changemakers. In a keynote conversation, Roddenberry spoke to City National Bank senior vice president Steve Shapiro about his work as CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and its Roddenberry Foundation.

The episode of the series that really showed Roddenberry the power of the series was the TOS Season 1 episode “The Devil in the Dark,” in which the crew of the USS Enterprise confronts a bizarre, seemingly violent creature in a mining colony. In the episode’s pivotal twist, the crew discovers that the alien is actually an intelligent being who protects its children’s eggs – a twist that blew Roddenberry’s mind as a child.

“It was the first time a story where there’s a twist and it makes you think and makes you think and says, ‘My God, we could be that stupid, we’ve been that stupid many times. We are often that stupid. And hopefully we’ll be less blind in the future,” Roddenberry said. “So that was my first click at what fans meant when they said ‘Star Trek’ was intelligent, thought-provoking and, in some cases, maybe life-changing.”

During the panel, Roddenberry, who serves as Executive Producer for the recent Star Trek shows on Paramount+, discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the Star Trek franchise. The cast of the original series was notoriously diverse for its time, with characters like Uhura and Sulu being groundbreaking. Referring to the show’s ongoing history of diverse casting, Roddenberry said inclusivity is burned into the show’s DNA, which followed a crew that traveled the galaxy in search of new and different life forms.

“If we all do the same thing every day, we don’t grow, we don’t develop, we don’t learn. And so it’s the variety in everything, be it something outside, different trees, different looking people. But more importantly, it’s the difference in idea,” Roddenberry said. “The Enterprise and crew weren’t out exploring the galaxy just looking for weird looking aliens. They were intended for species that viewed the universe differently than we do. Because by that time, humanity had finally come together and realized that it is our diversity that makes us special. We realized that we can achieve so much more by working together. And so now we were trying to find people who looked at the universe in a different way because we knew we could grow and evolve by hearing something we had never heard before. And whether we agreed with that or not, it was hearing about it, analyzing it and taking out bits and pieces that we agreed with and incorporating into our own that allowed us to grow.”

Watch the full keynote conversation above. Rod Roddenberry talks about joining the Star Trek franchise

Charles Jones

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