Gene Roddenberry's son boards new 'Star Trek' show as exec producer

When Star Trek takes off on television next year, it’ll once again have a Roddenberry at the helm.

CBS announced on Thursday that Gene Rodenberry’s son, Rod, will join the production of the new Star Trek TV series as executive producer. Roddenberry currently serves as CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment. Company COO Trevor Roth will also join as executive producer.

The long-running franchise got its start on TV in 1966 and celebrates its 50th anniversary later this year. But though Star Trek was rebooted for the big screen in 2009, Trek has been absent from television since 2005, when UPN canceled the Scott Bakula-starring Enterprise.

Getting Roddenberry on board may especially cheer long-time Star Trek fans who worry that the current film franchise, while entertaining, is moving further and further away from Gene Roddenberry’s original idea for the Enterprise crew. When Mashable spoke to Rod Roddenberry about the film reboot in 2013, he told us he hadn’t seen it (though he still supported what JJ Abrams was doing).

“Moral dilemmas, human issues, complex characters and a genuine sense of optimism: These are the cornerstones of Star Trek, and are what have made it such an influential and beloved franchise for the last 50 years,” said Roddenberry in a release about his new role.

Earlier this year, CBS also announced that the newest Trek would be helped by Bryan Fuller — which would seem like an odd choice if you only knew about his most recent work, like the quirky Pushing Daisies and the intense, gory Hannibal.

But Fuller spent his early career in the Star Trek trenches, writing more than a dozen scripts for Voyager and a couple of Deep Space Nine episodes. Fuller and CBS have promised that though the newest iteration of the series will have new characters and focus on more contemporary dramatic themes, it'll also adhere to the ethos of the original series.

He and Roddenberry certainly seem to be on the same page.

“Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy, left a finely feathered nest for all who love Star Trek to enjoy,” said Fuller in the release, “And it is only fitting that Rod Roddenberry and Roddenberry Entertainment join our new Trek adventure to ensure that his father’s legacy of hope for the future and infinite diversity in infinite combinations runs through our tales as Gene Roddenberry intended.”

With the approach of the franchise's 50th anniversary, interest in Star Trek activity and nostalgia has been surging.

Over the last few years, Roddenberry Entertainment has helped launch an official Star Trek Wikia and the Warp 5.0 Initative. CBS recently launched Trek Talks, and the Smithsonian continues working to fully restore theStar Trek Enterprise model in time for the anniversary of the original series.

Aside from Fuller and Roddenberry’s promises that this new show will be true to the original, little is known about the upcoming show. Will it feature another “Enterprise,” or a new ship? Will it be set in the 23rd Century (the original series), or after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Will any of the suviving cast members from the original series or The Next Generation make cameos? All we really know is when it will air.

CBS plans to launch the new Star Trek in early 2017 on its broadcast network, after which the show will become the first scripted series on its all-digital, subscription-based CBS All Access platform (CBS Studios International will also distribute the series, likely for TV networks outside the U.S.).

In other words: Those who want to see the new Fuller/Roddenberry-led series will have to pay extra to see it, which may mean it will struggle for visibility. As usual, The Enterprise is boldly going where no one has gone before.