Gerrold Rewrites 'Next Generation' Script for 'New Voyages'

By Michelle
March 15, 2007 - 9:19 PM

Decades after David Gerrold wrote a Star Trek script dealing with homosexuality that was shelved by the producers, a revamped version of the episode will be filmed by the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages.

"This script was written as a promise," Gerrold explained to, explaining that Gene Roddenberry had told fans at a Star Trek convention that it was time for gay characters to appear by the era of The Next Generation. But Roddenberry's health was failing, and the producers overseeing the series rejected Gerrold's story, an AIDS allegory with a male couple.

"I knew about the script and the story, and I approached David with an idea of using it in our series," said New Voyages executive producer James Cawley. "A few of the original elements were kept intact but changed to make it relevant to 2001 as opposed to 1987." The gay characters in the revised script will be Captain Kirk's nephew Peter, seen as a child in "Operation: Annihilate", and his lover, Lieutenant Alex Freeman.

"Producers did not want to address homosexuality in Star Trek even though the original series talked about race and war and drugs and hippie culture," noted Cawley. "We have dared to [do] something that the franchise holders would never do. We are including an openly gay couple in the Enterprise, showing the world that...the prejudice and the bias will be gone [in the future]."

The actor playing Peter, Bobby Rice, has already been involved in another fan production, Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, which is set in the Next Generation era and has also included gay characters. Cawley saw his performance and sought him out to appear in New Frontier. "It's pretty wild. I never thought I'd be a Kirk," said Rice. "I feel like what we are doing is fantastic and groundbreaking...homosexuality should be generally accepted in the future. Star Trek has always been about tackling these kinds of issues."

Gerrold said that he was delighted with the longer screen time than a 44-minute television episode and the fact that he can portray events he could not have scripted in 1987. "At one point they are talking about getting married, and at one point they actually kiss on-screen. But we are not going any place that's thematically out of place in Star Trek," he said. "I'm enormously proud of how far we have come in such a short time and that I get to live long enough to see this episode be shot."

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