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(written from a Production point of view)

For the in-universe article on the Incredible Tales author, please see D.C. Fontana (author).

D.C. Fontana (25 March 19392 December 2019; age 80) was a writer and script editor who had the distinction of being one of the few people to have worked on Star Trek: The Original Series, as well as Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Deep Space Nine was her favorite Star Trek spinoff. She especially liked the show's strong characters. When writing, Fontana often used pseudonyms, including Michael Richards and J. Michael Bingham.

Fontana worked as a writer for a few television series before Star Trek, then briefly worked as Gene Roddenberry's secretary, before she became a writer on the show. The first episode she penned was "Charlie X", based on a premise by Roddenberry entitled "The Day Charlie Became God". Fontana wrote several notable Original Series episodes, including "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "Journey to Babel". Also, after the departure of Steven W. Carabatsos, she was promoted to story editor (after successfully re-writing "This Side of Paradise"). At the age of 27, Fontana became the youngest story editor in Hollywood at the time, and also one of the few female staff writers. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, introduction) She remained in this capacity until the end of the second season.

She left the story editor position before the third season went into production: "I had told Gene Roddenberry that I did not wish to continue on Star Trek as story editor because I wanted to freelance and write for other series. I did, however, want to continue to do scripts for Star Trek. Gene was agreeable to this, and I was given a contract in February of 1968 which called for a guarantee of three scripts, with an option for three more. Whenever anyone has asked why I chose to leave Star Trek's story editorship, I have always given this reply." [1]

However, Fontana was very unhappy with the rewrites done on her third season scripts, including "The Enterprise Incident" and "The Way to Eden" (originally submitted as "Joanna" by Fontana, featuring Doctor McCoy's daughter). [2]

Fontana's other noticeable contribution to The Original Series was her discovery and introduction to Gene Roddenberry of costume designer William Ware Theiss. [3] During her years on the Original Series she was an active contributor to the officially endorsed fanzine Inside Star Trek, for which she conducted interviews with several key production staffers, most notably the one with Theiss, the only published one on record.

Four years after the end of the Original Series, she became the associate producer and story editor of Star Trek: The Animated Series, for which she also wrote the episode "Yesteryear".

In early October 1986, nearly two decades after leaving the original Star Trek, Fontana, together with her Original Series co-workers David Gerrold, Edward K. Milkis, and Robert H. Justman, were brought back by Roddenberry to form the original production nucleus to help out with the pre-production of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 9-11) Serving as Associate Producer on the first thirteen episodes of the first season, Fontana was – along with Gerrold – mainly responsible for being a story editor and story consultant. She co-wrote the pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint" with Roddenberry, earning a Hugo Award nomination, co-invented the "LCARS" concept, and wrote four other episodes of the season, before departing (along with all the Original Series production staff veterans) due to the meddlings of Roddenberry's lawyer, Leonard Maizlish. Unlike her fellow writer Gerrold, Fontana had chosen not to elaborate on the conditions under which she had left the production; that was until 2014, when she unequivocally identified Maizlish as the malefactor for her decision to do so, in William Shatner's documentary, William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge. Then Research Consultant, Richard Arnold confirmed in the documentary, "I think he [Maizlish] thought he was speaking with Gene's voice, but I think Gene never heard the way he spoke to other people. Gene had these wonderful relationships with people who worked with him on the Original Series, like Dorothy Fontana, and Leonard was horrible to Dorothy."

Returning to the live-action franchise for a short time later on, she also penned DS9: "Dax", her last involvement with Star Trek, in which a great deal of Jadzia Dax' backstory was fleshed out. In the DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars", the character Kay Eaton, who had to pose as a male to get her science fiction stories published, was an homage to Fontana. The Enterprise episode "First Flight" also honored her work on the episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" by including her name (along with that of the episode's director, Michael O'Herlihy, on a mission patch for the Earth-Saturn probe (a copy of which was sent to Fontana by Michael Okuda).

In 2006, she gave an interview in Star Trek Magazine issue 128, pp. 42-48 in which she talked about writing for three Star Trek series. She notes how unhappy she was with the way Roddenberry re-wrote the episodes they wrote together. She used the pseudonym "J. Michael Bingham" for "The Naked Now", as she was especially unhappy with the episode. She liked writing "Dax" much more.

Outside of Trek, Fontana wrote scripts for dozens of shows, including Babylon 5 and Earth: Final Conflict. In a 1974 episode scripted for The Six Million Dollar Man, "The Rescue of Athena One", Fontana pays homage to Star Trek by having Lee Majors' character of Colonel Steve Austin speak the line "Space… it really is the final frontier, isn't it?" In 1974, she wrote the novelization of Roddenberry's TV pilot The Questor Tapes In 1977, she served as story editor for Logan's Run, which featured scripts written by a number of Original Series alumni including Harlan Ellison and John Meredyth Lucas (Fontana also co-wrote several episodes herself). The series featured a character named Rem, a sentient, very Human-like android. The character was not in the original film or novel but it bore a strong resemblance to Roddenberry's earlier Questor character, and elements of Rem were later incorporated into the character of Data in TNG.

Fontana wrote the stories of the video games Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Trek: Legacy and Star Trek: Tactical Assault all with Derek Chester, and an episode of the fan production Star Trek: New Voyages, the episode "To Serve All My Days" in 2006, on which she worked alongside Jack Treviño and Ethan H. Calk. She also contributed the basic concept for the unpublished video game Star Trek: Secret of Vulcan Fury. When the game was cancelled, she still wanted to tell the story as a novel. [4]

Star Trek credits[]

Hugo Award nomination[]


Outside Star Trek[]

  • The ABC Afternoon Playbreak: Season 2, Episode 2: A Special Act of Love (starring Diana Muldaur) (1973)
  • The Questor Tapes (1974)
  • Logan's Run (story editor) (1977-78)

Star Trek interviews[]

External links[]