The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 38.0°F | A Few Clouds

Roddenberry delivers LSC lecture in Kresge


Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, said Monday that scientists and engineers should strive to overcome the limits of science and technology. These limits are "not what they seem to be," he said.

In a sold-out lecture, sponsored by the Lecture Series Committee, Roddenberry mentioned his previous visits to MIT, including a forum he presented five years ago. He recalled that he had first seen a Star Trek computer game here.

Roddenberry also described his method of creating new characters: He first develops questions for the character to answer and then answers them himself. This method gives writers a great deal of objectivity, he said.

Over 100 pages of questions and answers were used to create Mr. Spock, according to Roddenberry. Characters in Star Trek, such as Spock, were able to view humans without prejudices, he continued.

Gaan, one of his newer characters, allows Roddenberry a view of humans from another vantage point. Gaan comes to earth accidentally and begins to study its inhabitants. He evaluates life on earth without human biases, Roddenberry said.

Roddenberry showed the complete Star Trek blooper reel, followed by the original Star Trek pilot, "The Cage." Star Trek was not intended to depict a true picture of life in the future, Roddenberry explained. "Ships and people will evolve greatly by the time space travel occurs."

Humanity should deal with issues such as genetics and the creation of life before exploring the solar system, he said. Two of the most important traits a species should have are imagination and a sense of humor, he added.

The Star Trek movies

Filming of Star Trek IV will begin at the end of the year. The movie will probably be released next summer, Roddenberry said. He will serve as a consultant for the production, although the writers and directors of past Star Trek movies have had significant creative license.

Roddenberry, for example, opposed the death of Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the destruction of the Enterprise in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. But he acquiesced to allow other creative forces to help shape the serial.

Although Star Trek is very popular, the chances of creating a monthly television movie are slim because the project would cost too much, Roddenberry said. NBC canceled the proposal because the pilot program did not have enough action, he added.

Roddenberry also addressed some current issues:

O+ He claimed that the aim of the Strategic Defense Initiative is to destroy the Soviet Union economically. "Someday it will make great sense," he said, but it scares him now.

O+ Roddenberry was very disappointed by the reception that the movie Rambo received in the United States. He opposed the film's violence. "I thought we were over that," he said.

O+ He predicted that a moon colony and a manned station on Mars would be in place 50 years from now.