It's the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and with five TV series, 13 films and countless fan-produced works, the series has indeed, lived long and prospered.
And to borrow another Star Trek phrase– it has also embraced fan fiction boldly, in a way no popular series has before. Unlike other fandoms, Star Trek embraces and encourages fan fiction and fan-created works. These productions become so popular in fact, they often gain praise or a special appearance from the series original cast.
In celebration of the show's golden anniversary, we check in with a super Trekkie fan, Vic Mignona. He is the writer, director, producer and star of Star Trek Continues, a critically acclaimed and popular fan-produced series.
The Trekkie fandom is very special in that, there’s lots of encouragement to create stories within the universe, can you explain that phenomenon.
"Star Trek is just its own, special phenomenon. It appealed to people in a unique way. It inspired people in a unique way, that no show had ever done quite the same before it. The fans actually saved Star Trek, not only saved it but they perpetuated it over the years and kept it alive to the point where motion pictures were made, new series were released and lots and lots of fan productions with fans of all varying levels of skill and background, paid homage and tribute to their series...which is exactly what I've done."
Fan fiction isn't new most series have some form of it, but a lot of the times for the hardcore people in each series, sometimes there's an eye roll reaction...so what do you think makes it different with Trekkies, they seem to embrace fan fiction?
"They embrace fan productions because they understand that...for the most part are made by people out of a passion and love for the original material. They don't do it to make any money, they don't do it to achieve any level of celebrity, they do it purely for love of Star Trek, and for me personally, I started Star Trek Continues because when I was nine or 10 years old and I discovered the original series of Star Trek it inspired me in ways that no TV show had before. Tt encouraged me to try my hand at creative endeavors and now fast forward 40 years later and Star Trek Continues is not only my love letter to Star Trek, but I'm able to bring all of these skills that I've developed and use them to pay tribute to the thing that inspired them in the first place."
The show marks its 50th anniversary this year, how do you see the legacy of it moving forward?
"There has to be a reason why we're still talking about it 50 years later, you know? It's not about spaceships. It's not about fighting Klingons. It's not about beaming down. It's about the human condition. Telling stories like I mentioned earlier, of ethical questions and moral issues and the best Star Trek always did that, whether it was the original series, or Next Generation, or Voyager, or Deep Space Nine or Enterprise, or the motion pictures. Any of those took on those kind of questions and they told stories that people could relate to...what we hope for Star Trek is that it continues to advance those ideals that made it so timeless in the first place. Taking on difficult issues and solving the problems together."
Answers have been edited for clarity.
To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.