Harlan Ellison Has a Bone to Pick with Star Trek XI's Rumored Plot

Summary

According to a recent report at Ain't It Cool News, Star Trek XI's plot hinges on elements from "City at the Edge of Forever," the Harlan Ellison-penned episode of the original series. Problem is, no one bothered to tell (or pay) Ellison. Back to Article

Comments

Crenshaw

Bryan Winter

Ooooops... Still, bit of a bitchy post, eh?

Nov 13 - 06:58 AM

CapoFerro

R. Isaacson

Aye, but that's our Harlan. Never be moderate when you can go to an extreme!

Nov 13 - 07:50 AM

CapoFerro

R. Isaacson

Aye, but that's our Harlan. Never be moderate when you can go to an extreme!

Nov 13 - 07:50 AM

Bardego

Robert Hamer

Wow, the writers are striking back with a vengeance this year!

Nov 13 - 08:09 AM

Arrowsun

John Ehlert

Good for him, he needs to stand up to these jerks. I find it ironic that studios are the first to cry foul, but they are the last to pay dues.

Nov 13 - 08:13 AM

Mazula

Jeff Schulder

Arrowsun, the plot to Star Trek XI was written by WRITERS. Like studio executives really know some obscure episode that aired in the 60s. The writers would have to know though in order to use it. So dont blame the studio.

Nov 13 - 12:56 PM

BrianInSD

Brian Gaul

If Star Trek XI is indeed taking Ellison's plot then, by all means, he should receive credit and be paid. That being said, however, Harlan Ellison often rants as though he invented science-fiction and every potential plotline therein. On the original Terminator, he sued because the story involved time travel and cyborgs--two elements that had appeared in Ellison's work and, apparently, had never been used in science fiction before no matter what H.G. Wells says. Even though it was, at best, a frivolous lawsuit, the studio didn't want to fight it and threatened to sue James Cameron if the case went to trial and the studio lost. In the end, Cameron gave in and granted Ellison an "Acknowledgement to the works of" credit.

Nov 13 - 08:53 AM

thereign

lance berry

BrianInSD:

Ellison's lawsuit against Hemdale and Cameron had to do with specific elements taken from the Outer Limits episode "Soldier" that he wrote. If you look at that story in regards to The Terminator, you can clearly see elements that are definitely similar enough that a court of law would have ruled in Ellison's favor. Hemdale didn't threaten to sue Cameron--they simply told him he'd be on his own if this proved true.

While Cameron does make visually arresting films with intriguing storylines...most of them tend to be ripped off(I'm sorry, "borrowed") from existing material. If you look at Aliens and compare it to the 1950 movie "Them!" you can see that ALL of Newt's characterization and a large chunk of the underlying plot is taken from there.

Ellison has lost a few of his lawsuits, yes...but very few. This newest may or may not be trivial, depending on what the facts turn out to be. Remember that Paramount is famous for ripping off writers("Coming to America", among others). I remember talking to author Peter David("Star Trek: Vendetta") the same year "First Contact" was about to come out, and asked him what he thought of some of the potential similarities between that film and his book. He said(with a wry smile) "I'll be watching very closely."

The fact is, writers aren't really ripped off in Hollywood as much as they'd like to think...but those few times it does happen tends to raise eyebrows and make them more wary. Think what you will of Ellison, but the truth is that if he's always at the ready to tell a film company "You can't get away with that!" it might give courage to a lesser known scribe whose work gets stolen, and who wouldn't usually have the nerve to go to court. Frivolous or not, the man serves a purpose.

Nov 13 - 07:24 PM

BrianInSD

Brian Gaul

thereign:

I stand corrected, thanks for the info. The only account of the story I read was from an interview with James Cameron where he was pissing and moaning about the incident and my summary of it was more or less the way he told it. The general arrogant attitude Ellison has portrayed whenever I've seen him interviewed made Cameron's description of the events seem very plausible. My bad for taking it all at face value without looking into the allegations more. Thanks for setting me straight.

Peace.

Nov 13 - 08:36 PM

rt_hire_me

Teague Bates

Come on, thereign, who are you? That's just, like, too informed to be just another joe post.

Nov 13 - 09:19 PM

bigfrog

John A

There are two Outer Limits stories that Harlan Ellison wrote that I would say were a huge influence on the original Terminator...

Nov 14 - 10:47 PM

JUDGE DREDD

idle one kenobi

Good point Arrowsun!

Greedy Excecutives taking all the rewards!

Nov 13 - 09:03 AM

Gladius

First Last

When did Ellison get a computer? I remember in several of his books he claims not to own one.

Nov 13 - 10:15 AM

PeeledLabelZ

Samuel Damewood

Maybe his secretary cyborg has a computer, and Ellison dictates.

Nov 13 - 10:38 AM

romsy

Ryan Romswinckel

Why is this guy even on strike, they don't make outer limits or twilight zone anymore. What has he written in the last 30 years?

Nov 13 - 10:55 AM

SpikesInMySkull

G. Keith Cable

Ok... so, the fact that noone contacted Harlan Ellison about a script that "..hinges on elements from "City at the Edge of Forever" means that a rumor posted on AICN is probably false (gasp!) and Ellison is a moron for getting worked up about it. Then again, since the rumor is probably false and therefore doomed to be short lived this was probably his best chance to remind the world that he matters, so can't really fault him there... I guess...

Nov 13 - 11:08 AM

Trevor

Scott Trevor

Wait a minute. Did Ellison just accuse someone else of arrogance? A man who will have "He wrote the greatest episode of any Star Trek ever" engraved on his tombstone (and would probably carve it into the surface of the moon if he could)? It's actually kind of fun to root against him and watch him get all bitter...

Nov 13 - 12:55 PM

Mazula

Jeff Schulder

Arrowsun, the plot to Star Trek XI was written by WRITERS. Like studio executives really know some obscure episode that aired in the 60s. The writers would have to know though in order to use it. So dont blame the studio.

Nov 13 - 12:56 PM

fuj_ball

Jim James

He's still alive?

Nov 13 - 01:43 PM

damvbat

damv bat

oh poor baby

Nov 13 - 04:36 PM

thereign

lance berry

BrianInSD:

Ellison's lawsuit against Hemdale and Cameron had to do with specific elements taken from the Outer Limits episode "Soldier" that he wrote. If you look at that story in regards to The Terminator, you can clearly see elements that are definitely similar enough that a court of law would have ruled in Ellison's favor. Hemdale didn't threaten to sue Cameron--they simply told him he'd be on his own if this proved true.

While Cameron does make visually arresting films with intriguing storylines...most of them tend to be ripped off(I'm sorry, "borrowed") from existing material. If you look at Aliens and compare it to the 1950 movie "Them!" you can see that ALL of Newt's characterization and a large chunk of the underlying plot is taken from there.

Ellison has lost a few of his lawsuits, yes...but very few. This newest may or may not be trivial, depending on what the facts turn out to be. Remember that Paramount is famous for ripping off writers("Coming to America", among others). I remember talking to author Peter David("Star Trek: Vendetta") the same year "First Contact" was about to come out, and asked him what he thought of some of the potential similarities between that film and his book. He said(with a wry smile) "I'll be watching very closely."

The fact is, writers aren't really ripped off in Hollywood as much as they'd like to think...but those few times it does happen tends to raise eyebrows and make them more wary. Think what you will of Ellison, but the truth is that if he's always at the ready to tell a film company "You can't get away with that!" it might give courage to a lesser known scribe whose work gets stolen, and who wouldn't usually have the nerve to go to court. Frivolous or not, the man serves a purpose.

Nov 13 - 07:24 PM

BrianInSD

Brian Gaul

thereign:

I stand corrected, thanks for the info. The only account of the story I read was from an interview with James Cameron where he was pissing and moaning about the incident and my summary of it was more or less the way he told it. The general arrogant attitude Ellison has portrayed whenever I've seen him interviewed made Cameron's description of the events seem very plausible. My bad for taking it all at face value without looking into the allegations more. Thanks for setting me straight.

Peace.

Nov 13 - 08:36 PM

rt_hire_me

Teague Bates

Come on, thereign, who are you? That's just, like, too informed to be just another joe post.

Nov 13 - 09:19 PM

reavus4983

Mike Saxton

It would be a neat tie-in nonetheless. And maybe even.... logical.

Nov 13 - 08:22 PM

BrianInSD

Brian Gaul

thereign:

I stand corrected, thanks for the info. The only account of the story I read was from an interview with James Cameron where he was pissing and moaning about the incident and my summary of it was more or less the way he told it. The general arrogant attitude Ellison has portrayed whenever I've seen him interviewed made Cameron's description of the events seem very plausible. My bad for taking it all at face value without looking into the allegations more. Thanks for setting me straight.

Peace.

Nov 13 - 08:36 PM

rt_hire_me

Teague Bates

Come on, thereign, who are you? That's just, like, too informed to be just another joe post.

Nov 13 - 09:19 PM

tHe LiviNg dEaD akaOMG

Jamie Alan-Anthony Butler

Standing ovation for thereign, ladies and gents. No sarcasm, either. I loved the post. This is why I enjoy RT...it may not have an abundance of intelligent posts, but nonetheless it at least has a few.

The big thing to remember here is that it is still a rumor. But, if it is true, the man deserves to be paid. I've posted some of my writing on the internet, only to see a week later that someone is using it as their own. Not a great feeling. If it's his, pay him...

Peace. Love. Empathy.
XXX

Nov 14 - 02:11 AM

Ccook

Christopher Cook

Imitation is surely the most sincere form of Hollywood.

Nov 14 - 10:55 AM

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