Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a contemporary behind-the-scenes reference book on the creation of the first Star Trek movie. The timespan covered by its author, Susan Sackett, ran from May 1975 to October 1979, before the movie was released. It also includes detailed annotations on its direct predecessor, the television series Star Trek: Phase II, the project that was abandoned in favor of the movie.


The Motion Picture That Was Made Because Millions of People Demanded It! This is the full, exhilarating story of a journey as exciting – and as grueling – as any the Starship Enterprise has ever taken – from the birth of Gene Roddenberry's great idea to the completion of a great movie… a journey that carried cast, crew and hundreds of behind-the-scenes people as far as imagination, skill and the latest special optical effects technology could take them. This is how it happened – the unexpected problems, the setbacks, the daily struggles and victories – from the reunion of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, and the rest of the crew to the final moments of triumph in…The Making of Star Trek The Motion Picture.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.


  • Acknowledgments, pp, vii-x
  • Preface by Susan Sackett, pp. xi-xiv
  • Introduction by Gene Roddenberry, pp. xv-xvii
  1. Bon Voyage, pp. 1-7
  2. The Resurrection, pp. 8-22
  3. Sub-Warp Speed, pp. 23-33
  4. The Almost (Again) Television Show, pp. 34-49
  5. Déjà Vu, pp. 50-56
  6. The Script's The Thing, pp. 57-71
  7. Robert Wise [note: featured in the white shirt on the cover, with Leonard Nimoy on his left and effects camera man Scott Farrar on his right], pp. 72-82
  8. Arts Gratia Artis, pp. 83-95
  9. Camelot Revisited, pp. 96-110
  10. The Rest of the Knights, pp. 111-121
  11. Spray-and-Wear Clothing, pp. 122-133
  12. Put On an Alien Face, pp. 134-142
  13. Property of Star Trek, pp. 143-148
  14. Take My Advice…, pp. 149-158
  15. It's Not All Done With Mirrors, pp. 159-171
  16. Welcome to Vulcan; Pleae Don't Feed the Bears, pp. 172-177
  17. All Hands in Deck, pp. 178-190
  18. It's a Wrap, pp, 191-195
  19. After the Trek Is Over, pp. 196-201
  20. Optical Optimism, pp. 202-212
  21. Keep On Trekkin', pp. 213-216
  • Credits, pp. 217-221

Background information[]

  • Aside from black and white, primarily behind-the-scenes, photographs, featured throughout, the book also includes a sixteen-page, unnumbered, color photo inset
  • Author Susan Sackett was singularly well suited to write the book as she was the close personal assistant to Gene Roddenberry during the 1970s, in which he repeatedly tried to bring back Star Trek to the screen as a live-action production, and she has been privy to the decision making processes on the producer's level. Prior to the book Sackett had already submitted articles and interviews with Roddenberry on the subject of revitalizing Star Trek, as well as a series of "Star Trek Reports" to Starlog magazine, keeping readership appraised about the progress of the production of The Motion Picture, starting in issue 6, 1977, all of which serving as the basis for her book.
  • In the 2014 reference book Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (pp. 416-418), Sackett, who at that time had not any book writing experience whatsoever (her previous writings having been more of an editorial nature), related how she was encouraged by her employer Roddenberry to embark on the project, seeing the "ability" in her. And it was Roddenberry who persuaded the studio to appoint her as the author of the title, instead of the highly successful The Making of Star Trek author Stephen Edward Poe who was the studio's first choice but unavailable at the time, and for which Sackett was grateful as it set her on her career as book author – and the main reason for Roddenberry's co-author credit. However, she also conceded that visual effects production was at that time beyond her level of comprehension and was very reliant on what effects staffers, like Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra or Matthew Yuricich, cared to share with her. In order to err on the safe side she had Trumbull proof read the "Optical Optimism" chapter dealing with the subject matter. Working around the clock the book took Sackett a year to write and was finished before the movie premiered, though it was only released afterwards.
  • Sulu is the only major recurring character not mentioned by name on the back cover of this book.
  • Although the front cover of this book is emblazoned with the names of both Sackett and Roddenberry, the book was actually written by Sackett and only contains and introduction and comments from Roddenberry, as is explained in the book.
  • This book contains the notes of Robert Fletcher and Fred Phillips regarding the back stories for some of the aliens they created and used in background scenes.
  • Sackett finished her primary notes in August 1979 and finished her copy writing in mid-October, while Visual Effects Producer Douglas Trumbull was still shooting the effects, with the addition of Roddenberry's introduction, two months before the movie premiered. (pp. xv, 206)
  • Sackett has added a provisional end credit roll for the movie in her book, pp. 217-221, which differed from that as ultimately featured. While cast and primary production staff were featured as projected, there were some noticeable differences; several title descriptions were changed and especially among production staffers there were inclusions that were previously not considered whereas others that were initially, were now excluded. A very noticeable example of the latter was future Berman-era Star Trek alumnus Rick Sternbach, who now missed out on an official credit for the Motion Picture as a consequence.
  • The Making of title was not the only book Sackett embarked upon, as she was concurrently commissioned a short time later to co-write Star Trek Speaks as well, a companion piece intended to beef out the huge promotion campaign surrounding the release of The Motion Picture. Started later, this was actually more of an editorial effort of the kind she was familiar with, and therefore finished and released earlier, if only for the fact that her two other co-writers actually were co-writers. (Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 417)
  • Sackett had actually planned to do follow-up to her book, titled The Making of the Special Effects of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, incorporating – as the title already implied – everything she had learned from the visual effects staffers. However, due to the disappointing performance of the movie and the equally disappointing merchandise sales because of the former, the title was cancelled in early 1980. (Enterprise Incidents: special edition on the technical side, p. 50) Forty years later, a book as envisioned by Sackett became released by others as Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Art and Visual Effects.