Fontana Talks About 'New Voyages', Failings of Newer TrekBy Michelle
May 31, 2005 - 8:20 PM
D.C. Fontana spoke about her enthusiasm for Star Trek's neglected female characters, why she decided to write for the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages and the fact that she does not believe Gene Roddenberry chose Rick Berman to succeed him in a new interview with a Brazilian Star Trek site.
"To me, Star Trek always looked to the humanity of its characters and looked FOR the humanity in the cultures and societies the characters met," she told Trek Brasilis (via TrekWeb). "Looking back over the years, I have always felt that [the original series] dealt with universal themes and questions that were and continue to be relevant." Fontana said that the day Star Trek was cancelled in 1969 was the worst moment in her work on the series.
Asked about whether she believed the supporting characters were neglected in favor of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, Fontana replied that Star Trek had three main stars who carried the bulk of the stories. But the writers had time in the episodes to develop subplots involving other characters, and "tried to do this as much as possible, not only to keep those characters alive but to enhance the richness of the stories," she added. "Personally, I always enjoyed writing for these characters, especially the women." She noted that despite complaints from some of the other actors, William Shatner had never asked for stories that highlighted Kirk at the expense of other characters or demanded any rewrites to allow him more coverage.
Saying that she knew Star Trek was special from the very beginning, Fontana admitted that she felt the spinoffs "lacked the warmth of spirit and the depth of humanity we tried to reach for" in the original. "I do think the franchise needs a rest and a rethink. By other people," she declared. "To the best of my knowledge, Rick Berman's assignment to The Next Generation was a studio assignment. He had been a studio executive, not a production man. Gene Roddenberry did not choose Mr. Berman to succeed him in any way, shape or form."
Fontana agreed to write for New Voyages because she liked both the idea of picking up where the original series was cancelled and the opportunity to write for Walter Koenig as Chekov again. Of her own episodes, she named "Journey to Babel" her favourite; interestingly, of the episodes that she did not write, she named Harlan Ellison's draft of "City on the Edge of Forever" as one of the finest, though that script has been controversial because writer Ellison had criticised Roddenberry for refusing to film it as he wrote it because he felt it was too dark for Star Trek.