As fans start to line up to see the latest theatrical outing of Star Trek, others have begun to wonder: What would Gene Roddenberry think of "Star Trek: Into Darkness"?
Sadly, the Great Bird of the Galaxy left us more than 20 years ago, but probably one of his proudest creations is still here. And Eugene W. Roddenberry Jr.? He liked it.
"I can't say that I was blown away, but I'm really connecting with the fact that it had humanistic themes," Roddenberry told 1701News. "If the last movie was lacking anything, it was lacking that. But in this one, they did a really good job of bringing in what makes Star Trek what it is."
Roddenberry joined the stars for the premiere of the film in Los Angeles Tuesday night, ahead of its IMAX opening May 15. The film, which has been shrouded in secrecy (but still had major plot points leaked out ahead of its release) brings a new adventure to Capt. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. And this time, they face a villain that today could only be played by "Sherlock's" Benedict Cumberbatch.
The movie, Roddenberry said, "questioned what it is to be human, and questioned what it is to be Starfleet. The ethics of not letting us go down that dark road."
Director J.J. Abrams has never made it a secret that he's a fan of a competing science-fiction franchise, Star Wars, and Roddenberry also grew up paying more attention to the exploits of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo than of Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock. But "Into Darkness," at least in the action and special effects department, really gives "Star Wars a run for its money in terms of a sci-fi movie," he said.
And Roddenberry shared those thoughts Tuesday evening in a private email to one of the film's writers, Roberto Orci.
"Into Darkness," Roddenberry said, was "more in-tune and more in-line and more worthy of having the 'Star Trek' name. And I would be proud to have the Roddenberry name associated with it."
Also soon to be carrying the Roddenberry name is a son due in August between Roddenberry and his wife Heidi. It's the first child for the couple, who were married in 2011, and while they've been planning life as parents, they haven't really gotten as far as a name.
"I don't know, maybe we can call him Khan Roddenberry," he joked. "Heidi has been very proactive looking at names, and I haven't been active at all."
It is possible that "Eugene" will work its way in there somewhere. It is a name that is shared by his father and grandfather, but it's also the name of Heidi's father as well.
One name Roddenberry said he did like was "Ryker," but not because of its Star Trek associations. In fact, it could be Star Trek that keeps their young boy from having the name.
"I don't know if I could go through life having to explain that it's not for Cmdr. Riker," Roddenberry said of the popular character from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Instead, Roddenberry joked that he might go with Luke, a Star Wars name that could make his son the "chosen one to bring the franchises together."
This newest Roddenberry will be born with a lot of eyes on him, something Roddenberry himself had to endure growing up with his father adored by millions. So how will this time around be different, to help prevent his son from having to explore creating a "Trek Nation" documentary of his own?
"I know a lot of things that I would do differently," Roddenberry said. "It's not that my father was a bad father at all. But hopefully I can improve upon his weaknesses and still retain his strength as a father."
And even if his son grows up with no interest in the family business, Roddenberry said he would be perfectly OK with that.
"We will let our kid do whatever he's interested in doing as long as he continues the philosophy and what the name represents," Roddenberry said. "That doesn't mean work in Hollywood. But instead, continue the message to inspire others because he is inspired himself. "
Rod and Heidi are expecting their new son in August.
Roddenberry's company, Roddenberry Entertainment, is a partner in 1701News with Nexus Media Group.