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Harlan Ellison Settles ‘Star Trek’ Suit With CBS Paramount

Author, best known for penning ‘City on the Edge of Forever,’ found common ground with the studio

Author, best known for penning ‘City on the Edge of Forever,’ found common ground with the studio

So maybe after more than 40 years, it’s all over? Could Harlan Ellison finally end his grudge against “Star Trek” that has long outlived even his mortal enemy, Gene Roddenberry by some 18 years?

Probably not. But at least this round is over.

Ellison, who wrote the story for the famous “Star Trek” episode “City of the Edge of Forever” and never forgave Roddenberry for acting as a story editor and editing the script, has settled a lawsuit he filed against CBS Paramount Television last March that claimed CBS Paramount used aspects of his “City on the Edge of Forever” story without compensating him.

“I am pleased with the outcome,” Ellison said on his official Web site. He did not disclose the terms of the agreement, nor did CBS Paramount.

Ellison had originally sued the studio, which has the movie rights to the Star Trek franchise and some merchandising rights, along with the Writers Guild of America for what he said was a breach of the collective bargaining agreement. He also claimed the WGA didn’t defend him properly to protect his rights to the content, but had only sued the WGA for a symbolic $1.

The crux of Ellison’s suit was over the “Crucible” trilogy of books that was based on his play, as well as a Christmas ornament that featured a representation of his “Star Trek” episode.

Ellison’s episode was the 28th episode to be aired by “Star Trek,” and premiered in April 1967. Producers had felt the original script penned by Ellison would be too expensive to produce, and that some elements did not mesh well with the overall Star Trek mythos, including Kirk’s desire to sacrifice his crew to be with Edith Keeler, who was played by Joan Collins.

According to Wikipedia, Ellison’s main avenue of contention originally centered around the fact that the story implied having an anti-war stance — since the episode was filmed during the Vietnam War — was actually bad for the future of humanity, the polar opposite of what Ellison said he had originally intended.

The script was rewritten by a number of people on staff, including Roddenberry himself. Ellison would later win a Hugo award for the original screenplay that differed from what was later produced and aired.

Ellison detailed his side of the controversy, which Roddenberry freely shared at conventions leading up to his death, in a 1995 book that included the original Hugo-winning draft.

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