Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s associate producer Jon Povill shares his experiences of making Star Trek‘s first movie.
Povill’s involvement with Star Trek dates back to 1972, when fresh out of UCLA film school, he wrote a feature adaptation of a short story and presented it to Gene Roddenberry.
Roddenberry was impressed by Povill’s work and invited him to submit a story idea for Roddenberry’s Questor series. Although Questor did not make it beyond the pilot, Povill continued to work with Roddenberry, doing research for a novel which, while never finished, became the basis for The God Thing.
“I was there for all the failed attempts to make a Star Trek movie,” said Povill. “I wasn’t in a place where I was in any way considered key personnel; I was just sort of a fly on the wall for all of it. I talked to Gene about it. [Prospective screenwriters] Chris Bryant and Allan Scott were very receptive to me, and I hung out with them quite a bit when they were working on it. They were extremely frustrated because, for the life of them, they couldn’t figure out what anybody was trying to achieve with this thing.”
During these years, Povill also ‘spent endless hours talking to Gene about Star Trek, about its philosophy and my own take on how we get to the 23rd Century versus where he was at on it.’ Povill’s outlook, which was vastly more optimistic than Roddenberry’s, would eventually become incorporated into both the planned Star Trek revival TV series Phase II and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Povill’s personal experiences with Roddenberry and knowledge of Star Trek also made him a valuable asset for the Phase II series when it went into development in 1977 and eventually, at the behest of writer-producer Harold Livingston, Povill became the show’s story editor. When Paramount decided not to proceed with Phase II, replacing it with what became Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Povill stayed on as associate producer.”
The official Star Trek magazine is on sale now at newsstands and comic book stores. A different exclusive cover (seen below on the right) will only be sold at comic book stores.