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Stan Lee Media Developing 'Gene Roddenberry's Starship'

By Christian
September 18, 2000 - 9:24 PM

Stan Lee Media, the internet company launched by Spiderman and X-Men co-creator Stan Lee, announced today that it has partnered with the estate of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to develop the "newly discovered" Roddenberry project 'Starship' into a new internet entertainment franchise.

The project will be developed by a creative team headed by Japanese director and writer Leiji Matsumoto, and also consisting of Stan Lee himself, television writer and producer John Semper Jr. and Majel Barrett Roddenberry. The project is based on a lost collection of Roddenberry's original notes and drawings recently discovered by his widow, and follows "the adventures of a young human scientist and a brash alien commander who must work together on the Starship ECO-1, despite their personal differences, to combat intergalactic ecological disasters."

The parties involved apparently have quite far-reaching plans with 'Starship'. In the first place, it will be developed as an internet project, similar to Stan Lee's '7th Portal' franchise. According to the press release, this will take the form of "a rich media community with innovative interactive storytelling, themed games, creativity and community tools and e-commerce and participation by a global fan base in the development of the franchise."

Concurrently with the internet project, an animated 'Starship' feature film will be developed, after which the property should be able to expand into broadband, television, merchandising and other licensing activities within the next 18 months.

Commenting on the announcement, Majel Barrett Roddenberry said, "Stan Lee Media is the ideal company to develop Gene's material. [...] The strong image of diversity among Gene's `Starship' crew will be further enhanced by Mr. Lee's talents for creating unique characters that global audiences respond to, and the presence of Leiji Matsumoto's creative vision will ensure that this project is realized in the spirit of Gene's vision."

More on Stan Lee's plans with 'Starship', as well as bios of all persons currently involved in the creative process, can be found in the full press release.

Interestingly, this is already the second announcement of a project based on 'Gene Roddenberry's Starship'. In early May 1999, when Tribune Entertainment first announced they were developing 'Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda', they were in fact planning to bring two Roddenberry projects to the screen, the other one being Starship. A few months later it was rumoured that Starship would be a CGI-only series with strong environmental themes, but eventually Tribune apparently decided not to pursue the project. Here is how the series was originally described in Tribune's May 1999 press release:

A futuristic action hour in which a peaceful Earth is run by an organization of artists, scientists and teachers working to bring harmony throughout the universe, "Gene Roddenberry's Starship" chronicles the exploration space vessel Starship that serves as home to a team of Galactic trouble-shooters led by Captain Dylan Hunt. After leaving Earth to study the far reaches of the universe, where a long and brutal territorial war between aliens takes place, Hunt and his crew discover worlds that are vastly different from the humanistic and civilized society they left behind.

Of course, the name of Dylan Hunt has since been used for Andromeda, and presumably the premise will still undergo some big changes before the launch, but the basis of Roddenberry's premise is presumably still the same.

It will be interesting to see how this project will progress over the coming months. We'll keep you updated if any further announcements are made on this new Gene Roddenberry series.

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