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“The fights that went on… were big”: William Shatner Claims Star Trek: TNG Writers Openly Dissed Gene Roddenberry, Called His Work ‘Claustrophobic’

William Shatner was the face of Star Trek: The Orginal Series when it first aired in the ‘60s. The series created by Gene Roddenberry depicted the lives of the crew of the spaceship USS Enterprise as they embarked on intergalactic adventures. Shatner played the role of the enigmatic Captain James T. Kirk.

While the original series had a cult following, the franchise gained much of its fame when it was revived with films and a sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, creator Roddenberry reportedly clashed with the producers and writers of the new material, with the latter describing the experience as ‘claustrophobic’.

William Shatner Spills The Beans On Conflict Between Gene Roddenberry And Star Trek: TNG Writers

William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek
William Shatner | Credits: Paramount Television

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was reportedly particular about the way he wanted the storyline of the sci-fi series to go. The military veteran reportedly had strict rules on his intention with the show and the themes were to be adhered to by the writers. However, many rules were flaunted by writers of subsequent revivals much to his dismay.

Actor William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the original series mentioned that Roddenberry’s military career had made him strict about certain rules in the show, such as discouraging romances between crew members of the Enterprise. Writers were instructed to craft storylines around these rules.

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation
A still from Star Trek: The Next Generation | Credits: Paramount Domestic Television

However, when it came to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Roddenberry reportedly clashed with the producers and writers who wanted to explore more themes. Shatner spoke about the showdowns between the two in an interview with THR and mentioned how the writers felt,

The fights that went on, to my understanding, were big because the writers had their difficulties. ‘We need some more material.’ ‘We need to get out of here. It’s claustrophobic.’…I haven’t watched the other Star Treks very much, but what I’ve seen with glimpses of the Next Generation is yes, the difficulty in the beginning, between management, was all about Gene’s rules and obeying or not obeying those rules.

Shatner also mentioned that he sometimes laughed at certain plotlines that subsequent shows explored that would have made Roddenberry ‘twirl in his grave’.

Gene Roddenberry Wrote The Bible For Star Trek: The Next Generation Himself

Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard in Star Trek: TNG
A still from Star Trek: The Next Generation | Credits: Paramount Domestic Television

Gene Roddenberry has been regarded as the father of Star Trek as he created the epic franchise and had particular rules about the treatment of the series’ storyline. While he clashed with the studio on multiple occasions, especially during the film revival of the original series, he was reportedly invited back to work on a new sequel series.

Though the screenwriter merely acted as a consultant in subsequent seasons until his death in 1991, Roddenberry had specific instructions to the writers when he worked on the show bible of Star Trek: TNG. According to ScreenRant, he wanted certain storylines and concepts to be avoided.

These concepts included avoiding overly militaristic depictions of the Enterprise-D crew so that it would be different from the original series as well as straying away from portraying the characters as ‘Luddites’, people who villainize technology. One of the instructions that was ignored by subsequent seasons was to avoid stories on Klingons, Vulcans, and Romulans (via ScreenRant).

Star Trek: The Orginal Series and TNG are available to stream on Paramount+.

This post belongs to FandomWire and first appeared on FandomWire

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