The thing that
I'm most grateful for with fandom is that you created these opportunities for us to get
together at conventions. And even more than that, Star Trek fans have been the
people who have created this phenomenon of Star Trek. You determine the legacy and
Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek, true.
But the phenomenon of Star Trek was created by the fans. The NBC executives
cancelled the show back in 1969. But it was fan demand, the fact that you wrote
letters, that you campaigned, that you began this convention movement, which was an
opportunity again for those of you who were activists and organizers, to get together and
say let's plan this kind of movement, this kind of campaign to get Star Trek
It was because you did that, that Star Trek
came back as a series of feature films.
How many among you know the history of Star Trek VI, which is my
favorite Star Trek movie?
At one time there was a producer who had a
different idea of the Star Trek VI movie. He wanted to do a flash back film that
would take us back to our academy days when, of course, we were much younger.
It was his plan to cast younger actors which
resembled us in our roles. A young actor that looks like William Shatner to play
Kirk. A young actor that looks like Leonard Nimoy to play Spock, and I know a lot of
candidates that would be more than eager to do that.
But we thought it was a horrible idea.
For one thing it was because we felt so proprietorial about our character and for another,
this was a movie that was going to come out in 1991 which is the twenty-fifth anniversary
of Star Trek, the silver anniversary which is a real achievement.
This producer was proposing to celebrate that
with people who were never there to begin with...
Brand-new people to celebrate twenty-five
years of Star Trek. We thought that was a dumb idea. So I took it on as a
mission to go to every convention for three months straight, twelve conventions in a row.
And I told all the fans that I considered them my bosses. You are my bosses.
I may work at the studio. I may work on
a series, but I don't consider the Paramount producers or executives to be my bosses.
I work for the fans. And the fans are my bosses.
Considering what this producer was coming up
with, I thought the bosses should know what the hired men back at the studio were doing.
And so for twelve weeks, every weekend, I went out to a convention and told my
bosses what was happening. And if they didn't agree, to tell Paramount what the
right thing to do is.
Star Trek fans are famous for writing
letters. And so the letter writing campaign began. Immediately it was a tidal
wave. It was just a groundswell that grew and grew and it became a tidal wave of
letters flooding in on Paramount studios every day.
And Paramount immediately wanted to put a
stop to that and they kept saying: 'All right. We're thinking about it.'
But that wasn't enough. The waves of
letters kept coming. And so finally that producer was let go. He was no longer
on the Paramount lot. We then knew that we had accomplished our business.
Shortly thereafter Paramount announced the plan to do 'Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered
Country'. The script that you all know and love.
And I love that script. It is in my
estimation the best of all the Star Trek films.
It begins with Captain Sulu! I call
that a Captain Sulu movie. It fits the classic description of drama: beginning,
middle and end.
- How does it begin?
It begins with Captain Sulu. On board and in the center power seat of the
starship Excelsior. A bigger ship, a more powerful ship a more impressive ship than
any of the ships in all Starfleet. And there is Captain Sulu and commanding that.
- And then at the climax,
who should come to the rescue of Captain Kirk? None other than: Captain Sulu!
- How does it end?
The classic ending of all Star Trek movies: on the bridge of the Enterprise.
And there is Captain Kirk who looks at the giant image of Captain Sulu on the
screen. And says in essence: 'Thank you for saving my butt!'
But that's not quite the ending yet. Captain Sulu says: 'Good to see you one
more time'. And he roars off...
And you see that great ship roaring off into the
And there is an absolutely
awestruck McCoy who says: 'By God! That's a BIG ship!' But Scotty with a
twinkle in his eye chimes in 'Aye! But not as big as her Captain I think!'
Now that is a Captain Sulu movie!
Beginning, middle and end.
And that movie came about thanks to the fans.
It would not have happened if it hadn't been for the fans letter writing. I
think that movie is a great introduction to the further adventures of Captain Sulu.
And I'm asking you: What do you think of that idea?
You got those hired guns back at Paramount:
you tell them! You tell them what's the right thing to do!
The news is that there is enormous fan demand
for a Captain Sulu series. I'm very convinced of that. Every convention I go
to, every fan that I meet, the question that comes up is: what's happening with the
Captain Sulu idea? There is great fan demand.
And here again, you know, as the history of
Star Trek has had it, the fans are the ones that guide the force of Star Trek. And I
really think it's ultimately in the hands of the fans.