It was 20 years ago that story development and preproduction began on what would eventually become Star Trek: Insurrection. In early 1997, a few months after Star Trek: First Contact became a box office hit, producer Rick Berman approached Michael Piller, whose contributions to Star Trek cannot be exaggerated, to write the film. Piller had been the producer/show-runner for The Next Generation and his leadership helped humanize and deepen the show and its characters during the third season and after. Additionally, Piller’s innovative policy of allowing script submissions from anyone with talent, even if not represented by an agent, opened the doors for many great TNG episodes and also helped begin the careers of many of today’s best TV writers. Piller was the co-creator of Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Insurrection would be his first movie script.
We recently acquired many of the production memos and notes from the film while conducting research on the making of Insurrection. The materials reveal how and why stories change from their original conceptualizations, including having to find solutions to limitations of time, budget, and special effects technology. These are some of the fun, interesting “what ifs” and “could have beens” from these production materials.
Maria Jose and John Tenuto are both sociology professors at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, specializing in popular culture and subculture studies. The Tenutos have conducted extensive research on the history of Star Trek, and have presented at venues such as Creation Conventions and the St. Louis Science Center. They have written for the official Star Trek Magazine and their extensive collection of Star Trek items has been featured in SFX Magazine. Their theory about the “20-Year Nostalgia Cycle” and research on Star Trek fans has been featured on WGN News, BBC Radio, and in the documentary The Force Among Us. They recently researched all known paperwork from the making of the classic episode “Space Seed” and are excited to be sharing some previously unreported information about Khan’s first adventure with fellow fans. Contact the Tenutos at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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