Eugene Wesley "Rod" Roddenberry Jr. is an American television producer, and the chief executive officer of Roddenberry Entertainment.
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Hi reddit! UPDATED: Thanks so much friends... this was a ton of fun. Great Questions! I'm really glad to have hopped on here. I'm out for now - but will continue to read questions and update responses over the next few days. Thanks so much. LLAP friends. - Rod
This is Rod Roddenberry here to answer your questions. I’m the son of legendary Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. (Did you know next year is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek?) You can find me on twitter @RodRoddenberry.
I just released a brand new 360 degree film experience called White Room: 02B3 that you can download and watch on your mobile device! You can find it here (http://www.whiteroom02b3.com/) or you can download it from the app store!
I'll start answering questions today at 1p PT/4pm ET - Ask Away!
Updated with PROOF: https://twitter.com/RodRoddenberry/status/638441866615099393
Honestly, I think that your father's legacy among many fans is that his incredible vision was an unshakable foundation, but that his steadfast principles also placed a lot of restrictions on his writers.
Those restrictions at times stood to limit some of the drama.
DS9 is often presented as an example of what the franchise became when those restrictions were loosened--some darker themes, and a more familiar dualistic view of humanity.
Frankly, I feel that modern sci-fi desperately needs more optimism like that which your father built Trek upon.
Morally steadfast characters such as Jean Luc Picard are few and far between in sci-fi because of modern cynicism, which is strange, because genuinely good and moral people exist everywhere.
Well said. I'm in agreement.
What is your favorite Star Trek series?
TNG all the way. You?
Is there anything you think your father got wrong with Star Trek?
Great question! Shit. I don't know... I think the short answer is no. Certainly not everything was perfect about it. I know that he fought his hardest to get his vision out in TOS. But the obsticals were tremendous - in TNG there was more creative freedom and he was more able to express is vision of humanity and what it could be and would be - frankly that's a future I'd like to live in. Curious - what are your thoughts? Very interested.
Would you be for seeing another Star Trek series come to television?
Absolutely. And it will happen. Not because I know something you don't, I just know it's money for a studio. The only concern is will it carry the messaging that has kept ST around for 50 years - or will it simply be Star Trek/Wars... the messaging is the key component.
Do you have any qualms about being named Rod Roddenberry?
How much Star Trek swag do you have in your house?
Are you drowning in Trekkie women?
That's awesome! My name is actually Eugene Wesley Roddenberry - nickname's Rod - but call me whatever you want. Of course I'm drowning in Trek Woman... just kidding Heidi! We don't have too much ST stuff on display in the house - i keep most of the stuff I have at the office. But we do have one very cool custom made glass and metal Enterprise - it's awesome! Photo to come....
This is the best answer!
What do you think about the recent Star Trek movies ( the ones with Chris Pine)?
I actually like the movie. I think JJ Abrams did a great job. The first 10 minutes of the 2009 Star Trek brought me to tears - and still does every time. I know the fandom is split - but I'm less critical and realize that no one but me will every replace or duplicate the work of GR. As long as there are still messages and they are still talking about a better future for humanity - it's still Star Trek.
What was Gene like as a father?
How do you feel about having a father who founded one of the longest running TV and film series of all time?
Do you have any shares in the star trek franchise?
To me Gene Roddenberry the great bird of the galaxy was just Dad. He went to work in the morning and came home in the evening for dinner. Didn't really get the Star Trek thing until much later. I actually produced a documentary about this - our relationship and my discovery of him as a person in relation to the ST universe. Check it out on Netflix or elsewhere. I'm proud of it.
Would you ever continue your father's work then? You must have more insight than anyone into the vision he was trying to create.
I am trying to carry on the vision in my own way w/ our entertainment projects, our philanthropy projects and through roddenberry adventure. Honestly, we work in all those areas but my personal passions probably lean more towards the philanthropic side - maybe that's the voice of my father's visions playing out in me...
What's your favorite video game?
Star Trek: First base
These are all good!
What is the documentary called? I'm intrigued!
It's called Trek Nation. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.
Hi Rod! Just a couple of silly questions.
No silly question - Have not seen Renegades... but love ST Continues. As far as Michael - there was an article I read about Marvel-izing Star Trek - I would LOVE them to do that for Star Trek. It would be fascinating to learn more about all the characters. Worf would fit right into that scenario.
Do you think your father would have hated DS9 and been a fan of VOY? Would he have liked how Andromeda turned out?
He definitely would NOT have liked how Andromeda turned out. He knew of DS9 before he passed away. Don't think he "hated it" - I think he got his vision out in TNG and didn't really focus on what was coming after.
What was it like working on Earth Final Conflict?
a tremendous education not in flim making but in hollywood politics. Cast and crew were some of the best people I've ever worked with. Each person wanted it to be the next Star Trek in the sense that they wanted the stories to mean something and send out a positive message. Unfortunately, the distributor Tribune Ent was one of the worst companies I've worked with and I learned a great deal about the nonsense that can happen in the industry - and unfortunately it really soured me from working in the industry. All in all it was a great experience though. Miss those people - the good people that is!
Outside of the Star Trek universe, what other projects or aspects of your father's career do you think deserve more attention or are worth mentioning?
Oh wow - great question! There's a great book called Creator, which is a biography of my father, and it's amazing to learn of how much he accomplished before ST. WWII pilot, Pan American airways pilot, LAPD sergeant and that's the tip of the iceberg. Truly an amazing human being.
I'm glad to hear it, and I can't wait to see more of what you yourself can do.
Thanks man. Very appreciated. And incidentally, me too!
Hi Rod. I would consider myself a lifelong Star Trek fan. I'm sure countless people have told you the impact your father's work had on their lives and how he inspired and brought hope to so many through Star Trek, so I'll cut right to the chase.
My questions are to you:
What is something about your father and mother (a pillar of Star Trek in her own right) that you think we should know that is often not mentioned or overlooked in interviews?
Similarly, what are some fond memories of them that you haven't shared before?
Hey Deceptitron - thanks for the questions! Both my parents were incredibly humble people. I always admired that when speaking on stage and finished, my father wouldn't disappear behind the curtain, but would hop off the stage and talk and interact w/ the crowd. My mother would never go into the signing rooms when she was signing autographs. She would stay at her table and sign for hours and interact w/ each person that woudl come up to her. Both of them understood what ST fans did for the show and both respected and loved each and every one of them. Something a lot of people don't know was that in teh 70's my father purchased and owned a sail boat and that he named Star Trek. I'll post a photo of the boat if I can find one!
As many others will no doubt say, Star Trek and subsequently your father have both had a large effect on my life.
What is your favourite story you've been told by a fan?
Got it! I was once told by a fan that people who lived in East Berlin in the 70's and 80's would have Star Trek tapes smuggled to them - and I always felt that was pretty crazy and impressive. It was a serious crime and I don't know what would have happened if they got caught!
Your father bought a boat and didn't name it Yorktown or Enterprise?
Do I dare question the great bird of the galaxy?!
It was after - and Star Trek was pretty much deemed a failure at that point - the show had been canceled. This was his way of honoring the ST name. No one knew it would continue.
That's a great podcast, you definitely got the right guys hosting it. Look forward to it weekly.
Thanks man. John and Ken are phenomenal. Glad you enjoy it.
Hey Rod! Thanks for doing this.
Question: What do you think is the next great thing for Sci-fi on television?
Great question - First of all, don't think it's going to be on traditional TV networks... I think the next great thing could come out of a fan's mind. Self-developed by a talented, passionate young man or women. Now-a-days almost anyone can get content out there and with computer tech people can do amazing things. Love the fan created series Star Trek Continues w/ Vic. He does a great job with that.
Did you ever have a chance to visit the sets from films 1-6? And if so are there any interesting stories?
Funny story - at camp in '82 I fell in love with a girl named Lisa who was at least 4 to 5 years older than me. I told my dad, and my dad contacted her father and the two of them put us on a date, and part of that date was visiting the set of Star Trek 3 - 3 or 4 ... I can't remember. Clearly that never worked out!
EFC remains one of my favourite shows of the early 2000's. Living in Toronto meant I got to see a lot of my city in the periphery of most scenes, too. Thank you for all your work on it.
Of course. The Canadian team are the ones that really made it a phenomenal series and experience.
What's your favorite project that you've worked on to date?
Is there any 'family wisdom' or a proverb or something that gets passed down that the Roddenberry family has?
Fav project to date: Two stand out. White Room is something I'm very excited about - Trevor Roth, Tory Mell and the entire team did a phenomenal job on that one... it's a 360º film viewing experience and was total chaos but totally rewarding to make. Honestly, it's pretty amazing. We'd like to use the same technology to make a feature. Actually, we partnered with the guys who do Google Maps for the tech - Immersive Ent.
Family wisdom - well other than the legacy of ST - there's not a specific thing that stands out - but definitely something I'll pass to my son? IDIC. That's as simple as I can put it.
Hope that answers your question!
What has it been like to see technology advance as far as it has in the years since Star Trek began airing?
It's awesome - but I still think the Star Trek communicator gets better service then my iPhone.
Do you even enjoy watching Star Trek ?
Over the last 3 years I've been watching ST in it's chronological order for a podcast I produce called Mission Log. We examine each episode and pull out the morals, myths and meaning and determine weather it stands the test of time.
Hey Rod! What's the best non science fiction film you've seen recently? Thanks for doing this!
Of course friend! Oh damn - has an answer but it's sci-fi (Intersteller)... um... that would be MI Rogue Nation which is amazing. Also been on a Myth Busters binge... so there's that.
Oh - also Black Sails! Blown away when the two guys kissed each other. That show pushed the envelope - and if you're a GoT fan you've got to give it a chance. Seriously.
Love the concept behind White Room: 02B3! Is it possible to do anything with tablet/phone positioning in space? I imagine being able to move my whole body around to change the view (or strap the phone in front of my head for a vr experience). I have a windows phone so sadly I cannot play with this, but will try this out on my wife's android!
Thanks man. As for tech, this is definitely the direction we're head in... and also, you can already essentially do that w/ your smart phone and the current state of the technology - test it out w/ White Room and let us know.. love to see a pic with the phone strapped to your head (or elsewhere)!
Rod- I showed my wife Trek Nation, and that helped her understand my passion for Star Trek. What was your biggest take away from doing Trek Nation?
Great, great question. Thanks for introducing your wife to the film. It was truly a growing experience. So sad that only 90 minutes could be shown - there was so much more. For me personal what I took away was how I fit into this whole Star Trek Roddenberry universe - and becoming comfortable with myself.
What are you planning on doing for Star Trek's 50th Anniversary?
Oh man - we've got some very cool stuff in the works! We really hope to blow it out of the water! For me it's not just celebrating the past 50 years, but trying to figure out how we're going to make the next 50 years even more spectacular! Of course this all starts after I see the next Star Wars movie in December. Now I should ask you - what are YOU planning for the 50th?
Hi Rod! What's your favorite California dive site, and also your favorite site outside of Cali to dive? And thanks for making that shoutout video a while back with Kelli S. for me.
Great question. In California love the Channel Islands, and Catalina is phenomenal as well. No one particular site sticks out as "the best" - oh - also love the oil rig dives. Each site has it's own amazing aspect to it. Also has to do with the people you go and dive with, right? Do you dive?
Do you know where the boat is today? Does she still sail, perhaps under a different name?
No idea but it would be very cool to find it.
What is your favorite pizza topping?
Ha! I'm generally a boring plain guy - but sometimes I go crazy and put on pepperoni!
Do you keep up with any of your classmates from Hampshire?
I am actually married to one of my classmates, Heidi. ;)
follow up question, how come the main actor got changed after the first season?
unfortunately there was friction between him and some of the producers. Kevin is a great guy and while I love Robert Leeshock as well Kevin was more of a Roddenberry character.
What other 360 projects are in the works? Is White Room more of a proof of concept, or a movie in its own right?
Sorry if this is too personal, but do you have a favorite story involving your dad you could share? What was he like?
Exactly - White Room was in fact a proof of concept. We made a lot of mistakes and we learned a lot and whatever we do next will be executed differently. The end result of WR is fantastic - and we're currently refining the process in a few ways. Live and learn, right?
Do you enjoy cream soda? I find it quite refreshing.
Gotta be honest - not a big fan of cream soda. I'm more of a lemonade kinda guy. Or tea. Or iced tea.
What do you do when life gives you lemons?
Hmmmm. I sell them to someone else and buy an apple. How's that?
Where did your father get the inspiration to create the Vulcan species, was it something to do with current events at the time of TOS being created?
You know, I'm not totally sure but I know my father always was fascinated w/ emotions vs. logic, and I'm sure part of that character came from a fantasy idea of what would it be like to just look at life w/ pure logic. Is that a better thing? Personally I think it's the combo of the two that make life interesting... but it is "fascinating"...
What is your most prized possession from your father?
Oh that's interesting... I don't know... the legacy of ST of course - but that's not a possession. Hmmm... don't know if I've got one...
Rod, I loved the film Trek Nation. It is my favorite Star Trek Documentary. What were some of you favorite moments during the process of making that movie? How did your view of your father change through that process?
Gotta say - George Lucas was pretty damn cool to meet! Other than that - finding the fandom had such diversity - yet the people passionate about Star Trek all came together to celebrate the philosophies of Star Trek. The belief in a better future.
Were any of your father's characters inspired by real people? If so, who?
Yes - but I don't remember the stories! Bits and pieces were defiantly taken from people in his life. Check out that bio I mentioned - it's talked about there.