Gene Roddenberry, the innovative mind behind the creation of Star Trek, is getting the biopic treatment. According to Deadline, Gene Roddenberry Entertainment has been quietly working on the project for a while and, roughly 30 years after the iconic science fiction TV icon’s death, finally has a script. The writer involved is Adam Mazer, whose past credits include the Emmy-winning 2021 HBO movie You Don’t Know Jack, in which Al Pacino starred as controversial real-life figure Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
There is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to telling the story of Gene Roddenberry’s life. Before he was the man to envision Captain James T. Kirk, he was a U.S. fighter pilot in World War II. After the war, he flew commercial planes for a while before following in his father’s footsteps by joining the Los Angeles Police Department. It was during this time in his life that he got into writing and eventually penned the pilot of Star Trek, (Okay, the pilot process wasn’t that simple, but let’s save some storytelling for the biopic).
One of the benchmarks of Gene Roddenberry’s career in television is something that will likely resonate deeply with modern audiences — his commitment to a future that was diverse. He fought to portray a world in which people of color were present and men and women were on equal footing. His insistence on this vision often forced him to buck up against TV executives working on his show. Still, Roddenberry was undeterred and the series was subsequently praised in later years for its diversity. Even those who aren’t Star Trek fans will likely remember the infamous interracial kiss on TV between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols in the episode titled Plato’s Stepchildren. The risky move shocked the world at a time when the show had not yet morphed into the cultural phenomenon we know Star Trek as today.
Variety notes that the biopic is expected to cover Gene Roddenberry’s life before the creation of Star Trek as well as his involvement with the franchise afterward. Although the show only lasted three seasons in the 1960s, its legacy endured and the creator was able to work for three seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which went on for four more along with countless spinoffs that are still being created to this day. In fact, Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod Roddenberry is producing the project with Trevor Roth. Together, they continue to helm Star Trek’s enduring legacy at paramount with shows like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.
News of the upcoming biopic couldn’t come at a better time for the legacy of Gene Roddenberry. The same day the outlets began reporting about it just so happens to be the same day that would have marked the acclaimed science fiction writer’s 100th birthday. The man is so revered that NASA plans to celebrate the big day with a panel discussion about him on NASA Television.
To coincide with the panel, NASA will broadcast into space a 1976 recording of Gene Roddenberry’s remarks on diversity and inclusion through the agency’s Deep Space Network of radio antennas.
Who knows, maybe some alien race like the Vulcans will be passing by Earth at just the right time to make first contact with humanity by way of the visionary Gene Roddenberry’s words on how diversity and inclusion are our strongest resource.