'Inner Light' Writer Discusses Episode's Development

By Michelle
July 25, 2006 - 9:30 PM

Writer Morgan Gendel responded to an article about the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Inner Light", revealing that he pitched seven versions of the story before it was put into development and describing plans for a never-filmed sequel.

Gendel, who wrote the story and co-wrote the teleplay he called "Inner Light" with Peter Allan Fields, posted a comment at Soul of Star Trek in response to columnist Captain Future's analysis of the episode and its relevance for viewers. "The journey form pitch to script was arduous," he said. "What each incarnaton had in common was a 'mental probe' of some sort that beamed experiences directly in to the recipient's head. Originally, it was a riff on the Fuji blimp -- a 30th century adverstising tool, which Picard and crew didn't realize at first."

The "blimp", added Gendel, evolved into a probe designed to recreate a dead society by putting memories into the mind of a recipient. "As a huge Beatles fan, I thought it would be fun to name this episode after an obscure B-side track," he noted. "'Inner Light' (I dropped the 'the' for the screen title) captured the theme of the show: that Picard experienced a lifetime of memories all in his head."

Gendel later conceived of a sequel in which the Kataan civilization had launched a space vehicle before the supernova arrived and Picard discovered the ship, only to find the woman who had been his wife, Aline, in suspended animation. "Here he is with his long-gone wife - and she doesn't know him [from] a hole in the wall!" But the producers were not interested. Gendel said that initially they ridiculed his plan for Picard to play the alien flute at the end as well, though Picard played it again in "Lessons."

Soul of Star Trek's analysis of "The Inner Light" is here and Gendel's comments are here.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.