‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ announced

March 15, 1984: Gene Roddenberry, the creator of “Star Trek,” is seen with an image of the Starship Enterprise.

This Ken Lubas photo appeared two years later in the Oct. 11, 1986, Los Angeles Times. The accompanying story announced the sequel “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series. Staff writer Morgan Gendel reported:

An all-new “Star Trek” series set a century ahead of the original NBC show will make its way to the home screen next September, when “Star Trek: The Next Generation” begins syndicated broadcast.

“Star Trek” series creator Gene Roddenberry will serve as executive producer of the show, which will feature an all-new cast.

Paramount Television Group officially announced the new “Star Trek” series Friday morning after months of speculation. The series, which begins production next year, will launch with a two-hour TV movie to be followed by 24 hourlong episodes during the 1987-88 season.

But Trekkies beware: Most of the elements of the 1966-69 television series or the four movies it inspired will be gone. There may not even be a spaceship of any kind, let alone the Enterprise, which was destroyed in the last film, “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.”

“I’m now blue-sky on everything,” said Roddenberry, whose return to hands-on involvement was central to Paramount’s plans. Roddenberry noted that 100 years beyond the original series’ setting “people might travel by some means other than spaceship.” He conceded, however, adding that “I probably will end up using something like the Enterprise.”

The same wide-open future also could hold the possibility for guest visits by some of the original crew, which included William Shatner as Capt. James Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as the Vulcan Mr. Spock and DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy. “I’m not planning that, but I’m pleased that the door’s not closed,” Roddenberry said. “In science fiction, you can never really close the door on anything.” …

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” premiered the week of Sept. 28, 1987. British actor Patrick Steward, as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, led the new cast for seven seasons and four motion pictures.

Gendel’s full 1986 story is online: New ‘Trek’ Is On The Launch Pad.

1991: From left, William Shatner, Gene Roddenberry and Patrick Stewart laugh at a party celebrating the 25th anniversary of the original “Star Trek” television series. This photo was published in the Sept. 12, 1991 Los Angeles Times. Credit: Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles Times.