Meet the women writers behind Star Trek: The Original Series

When Star Trek premiered 50 years ago, television audiences suddenly found themselves exploring places no one had gone before. Created by Gene Roddenberry, the show followed the crew of the starship Enterprise as they encountered new worlds and new civilizations in stories that showed a unique vision of the future. A talented group of storytellers and writers brought these episodes to life. Some were veterans of the industry, while others were brand new ... and more than you might realize were women.

When it comes to Star Trek, women wrote some of the best episodes of the original series. On 18 episodes, a woman is credited as either writing the teleplay, contributing the story or creating everything from idea to script. With Star Trek celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and Women’s History Month taking place in March, I wanted to look back at the contributions women writers made to the iconic science fiction show. Here’s a closer look at their episodes, including thoughts from the writers on their work and the series.

“Charlie X” (Season 1) - Dorothy Fontana

“Charlie X” was the first episode written by Dorothy Fontana, who was an influential part of Star Trek from the very beginning and who, during Season 1, would become story editor for the show. Credited as D.C. Fontana on the majority of her episodes, she was no stranger to television when the series began, having worked on a number of shows and already garnered experience writing episodes for series like The Tall Man. Fontana told Blastr the opportunity to write her first Star Trek episode came when she was working as Roddenberry’s production secretary. She had been there when he wrote the pilot and came up with some story ideas, including “Charlie X” which was one she liked.

“So when he said ‘you’ve been on the show since the very beginning, since I started it. What would you like to do?’ I said ‘I want to write ‘Charlie X,’” Fontana said

As a result, Roddenberry is credited with the story, and Fontana is credited for writing the teleplay. The story follows a young boy named Charles Evans, who the Enterprise is taking to a colony where his closest relatives live. However, the young boy, who survived on his own on a planet as a child after a transport crash killed everyone else, is not what he seems.

“Charlie X” was an attractive story to Fontana, who liked the idea of a human child alone on a planet with only aliens around to give him powers to help him live.

“But they gave him no instruction or interaction to try and train him to interact with human beings, other beings of his own kind. The fact that he really didn’t know how to do that was interesting, because it was kind of like parents raising a child with absolutely no communication, just rules,” Fontana said. “You do this, you do that, you do this, and then left him on his own. I thought that was an interesting kind of problem for a human being to have because he had no control over his powers. He needed them to live on that planet, but now he’s not on that planet anymore. He has no way to interact with human beings because he never has.”

In the end, the aliens who gave Charlie his powers, the Thasians, return to take him away since he’s too dangerous, ignoring the boy’s pleas and even Kirk insistence he belongs with humans.

“I love the way Robert Walker Jr. did the role [of Charlie],” Fontana said. “He did a beautiful job on it.”

“Tomorrow is Yesterday” (Season 1) - Dorothy Fontana

From story idea to script, this was completely Fontana’s episode. In “Tomorrow is Yesterday,” escaping the pull of a black star results in the Enterprise ending up in orbit around Earth in the late 1960s. According to Fontana, she bounced the idea off of how the Enterprise went back in time 71 hours due to a time warp in John D.F. Black’s episode “A Naked Time.”

A fighter pilot, John Christopher, is sent to investigate the ship’s appearance. In response the Enterprise grabs him in a tractor beam, but it destroys his fighter, forcing them to beam the pilot to safety onto the starship.

“It was a nice, complex story about a man, a talented fighter pilot, an intelligent man, having to say ‘OK, this ship is not from my world. This is from another world, actually another century. What do I do here?’” Fontana said. “’How do I absorb that? How do I work with that?’ And it was the fighter pilot's problem in his own mind. ‘What do I do? How do I react? How do I deal with this?’ That was the interesting part of the story for me.”

Christopher’s reaction to the Enterprise is fascinating and an essential element in making this a great episode as we watch how the crew deals with their unexpected guest while trying their best not to alter the past.

“This Side of Paradise” (Season 1) - Dorothy Fontana

“This Side of Paradise” is tied with “Journey to Babel” for Fontana’s favorite episode she wrote for Star Trek. These episodes heavily feature Spock, who was a character Fontana loved on the show. While she liked Kirk, McCoy and other characters, Spock was her favorite.

“Spock kind of spoke to me because his problematic interior. How do I be a Vulcan? How do I be a human? Oh, well, I’m going to suppress the human side. I’m going to be all Vulcan, but then that human side in ‘This Side of Paradise’ and in ‘Journey to Babel’ both come out,” she said.

Here, Fontana is credited with the teleplay, since this was a major rewrite and the story originated from someone else. However, she conceived of Spock being in the love story.

“I came up with the idea that this was not a Sulu love story with Leila Kalomi. This is a Spock love story and Gene Roddenberry, when I came in to him and said, ‘sorry its not George [Takei], it’s got to be Leonard,’ he said, ‘go write it,’” Fontana said.

Spock’s humanity and love are revealed as a result of spores on a planet where the Enterprise expects to find an empty colony, only to discover the inhabitants are, in fact, alive. As the spores make everyone want to remain on the planet, it’s up to Kirk to reverse the effects on his crew and the colonists. It all ends with a Spock returned to normal, telling Kirk that, “for the first time in my life, I was happy” for a bittersweet and memorable ending.

“Journey to Babel” (Season 2) - Dorothy Fontana

“Journey to Babel” not only offers more insight into Spock and ties with “This Side of Paradise” as Fontana’s favorite; it also provides a fascinating look at the Federation. The episode saw the first appearance of two species that helped found the Federation, the Tellarites and the Andorians, as the Enterprise picks up ambassadors and delegates to take to the Babel Conferences. Included in that group are two people very familiar to Spock.

“In ‘Journey to Babel,’ he has to deal with his parents and we see them for the first time, Jane Wyatt and Mark Lenard, and they were wonderful together,” Fontana said. “They really worked well together and you could see the human side of his mom in Spock and then that Vulcan side, that very Vulcan side, as expressed by Mark Lenard, and then Leonard Nimoy had to carry that. It was just a really fun show to write.”

While intrigue on the Enterprise ensues after a delegate is murdered, we learn more about Spock’s childhood, his parents, and the relationships between the different species on the Enterprise for an action-packed and character-building episode.

“Friday’s Child” (Season 2) - Dorothy Fontana

“’Friday’s Child’ was just a fun one that I liked doing, I enjoyed. Julie Newmar was terrific. She was so wonderful,” Fontana said of this Season 2 episode.

As the Enterprise tries to get a tribe to sign a mining treaty, things become complicated when they discover the Klingons are present. Newmar plays Eleen, the pregnant wife of the tribe’s leader, who is sentenced to death when a rival who appears to favor the Klingons kills her husband. When Kirk interferes, he, Spock, and McCoy are held captive with Eleen. As they escape, they learn more about why Eleen doesn’t seem to want her child.   

“It was, again, intruding on an alien civilization, and Dr. McCoy saying, ‘you can’t throw that child away. You’ve got to have this child. You have to let it live’ and Julie Newmar saying, ‘that’s going to be bad for me and my clan,’” Fontana said. “It was dealing with the problem of bringing forth a child into a world that in fact the child may not be welcome [in] or the child may not be suited for living in that clan.”

In the end, the problem is solved when the Klingon is killed along with the new leader, leaving Eleen free to act as her child’s regent until he grows old enough to rule himself.

“The Gamesters of Triskelion” (Season 2) - Margaret Armen

This episode sees Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov captured as they’re about to beam down to perform a routine check of an automatic communications and astrogation station. Instead of ending up at their destination, the three are forced to become thralls and fight other captured beings for the enjoyment of the Providers, aliens who watch the fights for pleasure and gambling. The Providers are discovered to be essentially just brains and eventually, Kirk earns his crew’s freedom and that of the thralls by winning a fight on his own against three other thralls. As a result, the Providers must teach the thralls to live in a free society.

According to a 1987 interview in Starlog, this was an idea writer Margaret Armen had for a long time. By the time Armen wrote for Star Trek she already had a lot of experience writing for television on shows like the Lawman.

“Margaret Armen was wonderful. Maggie was one of the people I really looked up to because, in television at that time, there weren’t that many women action writers,” Fontana said. “She was one of them and I really liked her work. She did Rifleman and so many other series, all action adventure. She did a couple of great Star Trek and then we had her come back for [The Animated Series].”

This was one of three episodes Armen wrote for the original series.

“By Any Other Name” (Season 2) - Dorothy Fontana

A fake distress call draws Kirk and an away team to the surface of a planet where a group from another galaxy, called the Kelvans, captures them. The Kelvans, who have assumed human form, take control of the Enterprise in an effort to return to their home galaxy, Andromeda. However, the crew devises a plan to take back the starship by confusing the Kelvans by stimulating the human senses the aliens are not used to, leading to some hilarious situations. Finally, the Kelvans realize they will be too different by the time they return home and decide to settle on the planet on which Enterprise originally found them.

Fontana told Blastr she was not invested in “By Any Other Name” from the beginning. She is credited with writing the teleplay along with Jerome Bixby, who came up with the story.

“That was just a rewrite. I didn’t have a personal love for it in the sense, but I did my job as the story editor. I think it was an interesting show,” she said. “It wound up being a pretty good show.”

“The Ultimate Computer” (Season 2) - Dorothy Fontana

In this episode, the Enterprise is chosen to test a new computer that has the potential to run a starship on its own. This makes Kirk uneasy, as it means he’ll only need 20 crew members on the ship as the computer handles everything else during the tests, and he starts to struggle with how even he might not be needed one day if the computer is successful. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and the computer starts to take control beyond its tests.

Fontana wrote the teleplay for “The Ultimate Computer.” It was another major rewrite, since they were having problems with it.

“The final script, Roddenberry was not pleased with, but he said rewrite it, and I did. I was basically trying to bring it more into the crew. How does this affect the crew? What is this man doing that’s affecting my crew? Always, we had to go to the story of these Star Trek characters that we love and saw every week. What is the impact on them of this episode, this device, this creation, this character?” Fontana said. “What is the impact on them and how do they deal with it? That’s always how we had to deal with stories on the show.”

The episode is an interesting look at the ever-present quandary of new technology. It addresses the fear of technology replacing people and growing beyond our control while also exploring how people can understand certain things computers cannot, and how people react when presented with such technology, as illustrated by Kirk and his crew.

“The Enterprise Incident” (Season 3) - Dorothy Fontana

By Season 3, Fontana was no longer story editor of Star Trek but working as a freelance writer.

“I proposed [“The Enterprise Indicent”] as kind of a parallel to the Pueblo incident, which was major news at the time [and] was one of our ships, our navy ships, intruding into, in essence, someone else’s space and being nailed for it. So, I tried to bounce that idea off the Enterprise. What is the Enterprise doing? What is it after?” Fontana said.

Captain Kirk, acting rather strangely as observed by the crew, takes the Enterprise across the Romulan neutral zone, where they are surprisingly surrounded by three ships that Spock determines were not detected due to the Romulans developing a cloaking device. Kirk and Spock beam aboard one of the ships on invitation to speak with their commander. The meeting leads to Spock admitting that Kirk led the Enterprise into this mess as a result of insanity, not Starfleet orders, and as Kirk grows rapidly more unstable and violent, Spock apparently kills him. However, as Spock continues to distract the Romulan commander, it turns out Kirk is actually alive and continuing their mission to steal the new cloaking device.

As a freelancer, Fontana didn’t have control over the script.

“The thing they were supposedly after in my script was this tiny blue object that wound up being the size of a lamp they were running around with, so I was not that thrilled,” she said. “But I do think that the captain of the Romulan ship was very interesting and well done.”

It’s a fun episode that offers a closer look at the Romulans and puts the characters in an interesting, new type of situation.

“The Paradise Syndrome” (Season 3) - Margaret Armen

Armen’s second script for Star Trek saw the Enterprise on a mission to divert an asteroid away from a planet. While visiting the surface however, Kirk loses his memory and starts living a new life among the native people. While they mistake Kirk for a god, he falls in love with a woman named Miramanee, who he marries. As one would expect, Kirk eventually regains his memory and is able to save the planet, but a pregnant Miramanee dies.

In an interview in 1988, Armen described this episode as a “warm love story” and said Shatner “was just wonderful in the role.”

“The other amusing thing about that was Gene Roddenberry had, by then, been kicked upstairs as executive producer, and he had script control and so forth, and Fred Freiberger had come in as the line producer and Fred hated ‘The Paradise Syndrome.’ He just didn’t like it at all, didn’t think it was Star Trek,” Armen said. “He thought Star Trek was just an adventure series, his interpretation. Anyway, Gene loved it and pushed it through and when they showed it to the sponsors in New York with several others, the wives of the sponsors just loved it. It was the only one that they loved and so, therefore, with that sort of a recommendation, Fred started to love it, too.”

In the interview, Armen also called this her favorite Star Trek episode out of the three she wrote, and one of her favorite and best scripts out of all her work.

“Is There in Truth No Beauty?” (Season 3) - Jean Lisette Aroeste

In this Season 3 episode, the Enterprise must escort Medusan ambassador Kollos back to his home planet. While no humans can look at a Medusan without going insane, Vulcans can look at them with eye protection. A failed murder attempt ends up putting the whole Enterprise in danger, as well as Spock, who ends up glimpsing Kollos without protection.

This was writer Jean Lisette Aroeste’s first script for the show, which she watched and was a fan of when she had the idea for an episode.

“I met someone at a party whose brother I had known and who was in the screenwriting business, and he said, ‘Oh, you should get in touch with my agent,’ gave me her name. So, I did that,” Aroeste told Blastr. “She said, ‘well, why don’t you send me a short description of the episode you have in mind, and we’ll see if I can do anything with it.’ She liked it and sent that to the producers, and they liked it.”

The agent arranged for Aroeste to meet with the producers and told Aroeste she’d see if they’d let her write the script, which they did.

“That episode, after considerable discussion with the producers and so forth, was produced, and they liked it well enough that they invited me to submit another one,” she said.

Aroeste was on set for one day when they were filming a scene between Kirk and Miranda, which she said, was “really fascinating.”

“I loved the set that they had set up. I didn’t know how small the set was. I was really quite surprised that they were not working with much larger space,” she said.

“The Tholian Web” (Season 3) - Judy Burns

Here, the Enterprise travels to uncharted territory to try and find out what happened to the starship Defiant. They can see the Defiant, though it doesn’t appear on sensors, and beam aboard to find the crew dead and the ship dissolving. When a transporter problem requires Kirk to be transported to the Enterprise last, he disappears with the ship and the Enterprise must wait until it reappears again to save him. However, the crew begins to grow violent and the Tholians show up, demanding they leave their territory, making it a race against time as more of the crew is impacted and they must bring back a trapped Kirk, thought dead, before the Tholians close their web!

Judy Burns told Blastr she was such a fan of the show before writing this episode that she convinced a gas station across from NBC to let her hang a Spock poster on their wall reading “Save Star Trek” when it looked like the show might be canceled.

“At that time, I was also thinking, I will write an episode, and so I had ulterior motives, no doubt about it,” she said.

Ultimately, Burns decided to write the episode because she needed money to go to Africa to work with anthropologist Louis Leakey. According to Burns, Leakey would take care of things when she was in Nairobi, but she had to get there on her own, and it would cost $2,500.

“I was poor, poor as a church mouse. I spent most of my time in college tutoring just to get through college,” Burns said. “The idea struck me that I could write one of those, so I picked up the phone and called Paramount and talked to a secretary called Penny Unger and asked how much you got for writing a Star Trek. She said for newbies, you get $2,500 and that was like God speaking. Hence, I went, OK, I’ll write one.”

A few months later, she drove over to Paramount and asked Unger for some scripts to review.

“She gave me a [show] bible and two scripts, and I went home and I tore them apart to find out how they were written. I had not been an English major, but I’d read my whole life, and I basically worked out how to write a Star Trek,” Burns said.

The first script Burns submitted, she didn’t hear back about, but she continued writing. She realized she needed help from a friend who knew about science, since she had an idea for a ghost story. In the story, Spock was lost, and floating around the ship like a ghost.

“I had some science background, myself. I’d been going to be a physicist before I switched to anthropology, but I wasn’t as good as Chet,” Burns said. “So, I asked Chet Richards if he had an idea for how we could make a ghost, and he said, 'Well, let’s split dimensions,' and I went, 'That’s good, let’s do that.' He’ll be in two dimensions, on our side and one dimension somewhere else, which is how we ended up with the story we ended up with.”

The story, on which Richards is credited as a co-writer, was bought but, in the end, it wasn’t Spock who needed saving. Since they already had “Spock’s Brain” focusing on the half Vulcan half human, producer Bob Justman suggested making Kirk the “ghost,” instead.

To Burns, what has contributed to this story becoming a favorite among fans and leaving an impact on the franchise is not just the story, but also the special effects, which were nominated for an Emmy. Burns believes the episode’s following developed over the years and was helped by being chosen as one of the episodes to rerun during the summer. It would be a story revisited years later when Star Trek: Enterprise created a sequel to the episode in 2005’s “In a Mirror, Darkly.”

“The Empath” (Season 3) - Joyce Muskat

When Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to a planet that will soon be destroyed to evacuate a research station, they find the station empty. The away team is suddenly transported below the planet’s surface where they discover a mute woman they call Gem who is also being held by the Vians. Gem is an empath who can feel the others’ pain and take it away from them by absorbing it. When McCoy is near death, they discover this has all been a test run by the Vians to see if Gem is willing to sacrifice herself. If she is, the Vians will see her people worthy of saving from their sun going nova. Kirk finally convinces them that Gem has done enough to show she’s worthy, and the Vians agree to save her people.

Joyce Muskat wrote this episode, which appears to be her only television script. It is a powerful, emotional episode that does an excellent job of showing the bond that exists between the three characters, and in which Gem is brilliantly able to convey everything the audience needs to know about what she’s going through without saying a word. “The Empath,” which was reportedly actor DeForest Kelley’s favorite Star Trek episode, was one of the episodes banned by the BBC.

“That Which Survives” and “The Way to Eden” (Season 3) - Dorothy Fontana

In “That Which Survives,” an away team is about to beam down to a fascinating planet when a woman appears to warn them against it...but too late. As a result, the Enterprise is moved away from the planet and the away team left to fend for themselves. When the same mysterious woman begins to kill members of the crew on the Enterprise and the planet, they must figure out why before they are all doomed.

This was a story from Fontana, credited as Michael Richards on the episode, with the teleplay credited to John Meredyth Lucas. This episode, along with “The Way to Eden,” was contributed by Fontana during her time as a freelance writer. While these shows didn’t air right after each other, they are both worth a look at together as Fontana's final work on the original series.

“The Way to Eden” sees the Enterprise chasing a stolen ship and transporting its crew aboard when the ship is destroyed. It turns out those who stole the ship are trying to reach a place called Eden, even though it is in Romulan territory. They take control of the Enterprise in an attempt to reach it but, once they arrive, they discover it is no paradise. Here, Fontana is again credited as Michael Richards for the story, along with Arthur Heinemann, who is credited for the teleplay as well.

“Those were just stories. I had gotten out of the show because I realized that the people running it — not Gene Roddenberry, he removed himself — but the people running it did not know the characters,” Fontana said. “What became ‘The Way to Eden’ was originally a story called ‘Joanna.’ It was about Dr. McCoy’s 22-year-old daughter and, after having been away from her because of his space missions, etc,. for a number of years, he’s now introduced to his 22 year-old grown up daughter, who is a nurse. So, she’s in his profession and she’s kind of a stranger to him, and he is a stranger to her. How do they react?”

Fontana told Blastr she went in to promote the story further after it and “That Which Survives” had been written and paid for, and producer Fred Freiberger told her McCoy could not have a 22 year old daughter, since he was Kirk’s contemporary.

“We had always played it that Dr. McCoy was about 10 years older than Spock and Kirk. That was the actual age of the actors who were playing it, and I said to myself,  ‘you don’t understand that McCoy is 10 years older than Kirk? That he could have a 22-year-old daughter? I’m out of here.’ Because I knew I couldn’t work with that,” she said. “My agent got me out of the contract, the two stories were left because they had been bought and paid for, and somebody else wrote them, had nothing to do with me.”

“The Lights of Zetar” (Season 3) - Shari Lewis

You might be surprised to learn that one of the writers behind this episode was none other than the woman behind Lamb Chop and other brilliant puppets, Shari Lewis. Lewis wrote the episode with her husband, Jeremy Tarcher.

“The Lights of Zetar” finds the crew of the Enterprise on the way to Memory Alpha, a planetoid set up by the Federation to act as its central library. Along the way, they encounter a strange storm that heads to Memory Alpha and kills those present. While the Enterprise follows the storm, they discover it is made of Zetars trying to take over the mind of specialist Mira Romaine, who was traveling with the Enterprise to the library — and with whom Scotty has fallen in love. Ultimately, they are able to save Romaine, who is able to go to Memory Alpha after all to continue her work.

Lewis was a Star Trek fan and, in a 1991 interview with Starlog magazine, discussed her experience writing the episode.

“There are always guidelines when writing for TV, and by that time [the show’s third season], there was so much precedent that the guidelines were implicit if you were a Trek fan,” she told Starlog. “We were not on the set. I wanted to act in the episode, but it just didn’t come about.”

Placing Scotty in the love story was a decision made by the couple, since they enjoyed his character and Lewis, “wanted to do a love story for a character who hadn’t had a love story...”

“He’s an excellent and interesting character. Besides, it struck us that everybody was always falling in love with Kirk, so we felt Scotty was an interesting way to go,” she said.

“The Cloud Minders” (Season 3) - Margaret Armen

Armen wrote the teleplay for this episode, featuring a story by David Gerrold and Oliver Crawford. In an interview with Starlog in 1987, Armen recounted being called in by Fred Friedburger. He told her that he had a story from two writers for which he didn’t want her to look at the teleplay, since it didn’t work due to “philosophizing and talk.” However, he wanted action and, after telling her the story, asked her to work from that.

“All they told me was that part of the society was living on the planet's surface in great luxury, and the larger part of the society was down in caves working like slaves and kept that way,” Armen told Starlog. “As I say, I never saw David Gerrold's work [outline], nor did I see Oliver Crawford's, so I don't know that it was static and didn't work. I wondered how in the world I could add action into this philosophical notion, and that's why I added the gas in the caves that numbed the people's minds so that they appear to be stupid. For all I know, the story's first draft and teleplay may have been even more acceptable than mine, but mine happened to be what the producer wanted."

The resulting episode follows this basic storyline, with Kirk and Spock beaming down to a planet where they are picking up a much-needed mineral in order to stop a plague. The pair does end up in the middle of a struggle between those living among the clouds and on the surface, with the gas and masks that can protect the people from it playing a central role in the conclusion.

“All Our Yesterdays” (Season 3) - Jean Lisette Aroeste

This episode aired second to last in the series, and starts with the Enterprise arriving at a planet the sun of which is about to go nova. However, the population of the planet appears to have vanished. When McCoy, Kirk, and Spock investigate, they are suddenly thrust into two different points in the planet’s history and realize the population escaped the nova by going into the past to live out their lives. Kirk manages to escape his time and starts searching for McCoy and Spock, who encounter a woman named Zarabeth sent to the ice age as punishment. The longer Spock spends in the past, the more he starts to revert to what his ancestors were like at that time, and he falls in love with Zarabeth. This was the second episode written by Aroeste.

“I think I had first a different idea and that wasn’t working out and suddenly I thought ‘well, why don’t we somehow do time travel?’” Aroeste told Blastr.

The episode is a brilliant look at the dynamic once again between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The moments between McCoy and Spock are particularly memorable, as is the scene where Spock has to leave Zarabeth.

50 Years Later

For some of these writers, Star Trek would be their only experience writing for television while others would have long careers in the industry. Even as they all worked brilliantly on other projects and in other careers, though, their Star Trek episodes remain as some of their most memorable work. Certainly, as we approach the show’s 50th anniversary, it’s hard not to marvel at how these episodes and the series, itself, have endured through the decades.

To Fontana, the triumph of the show is how it continues to attract people all these years later.

“That the stories we told in three seasons reached out to people, touched them, kept them coming back, and introduced new people to this show that’s 50 years old, now, and we can still speak to an audience,” she said. “We were telling stories that were about human beings. Human beings in a new environment in space, new worlds, new civilizations as we say, but the simple fact is we were trying to tell stories about humanity, about people in sometimes difficult situations. How does a human being react? What is the best thing to do for these aliens that we don’t know too much about, but we think they have good qualities? We’re going to try and help them.”

In her 1987 Starlog interview, Armen said she, “always felt that Star Trek was a very special series and that it would become a part of history.”

“I loved doing it and I especially loved doing it when I could work with Gene Roddenberry, because he was so creative,” she said. “I’m very proud that I wrote for Star Trek, because it gave you the opportunity to make comments on things that you couldn’t on a regular series. You could make a social comment without them saying, ‘Oh, you’re attacking so-and-so.’ In the future, you couldn’t be attacking anything, although you were. Overall, writing for Star Trek was one of the happiest periods of my career.”

When asked how it felt to have left a mark on such an iconic franchise with her episodes, Aroeste said she wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about it, but told Blastr she has, “always been quite proud of having done that and having something to do with the series. Of having written episodes each of which had a good part for a woman.”

Fontana said the series was a great experience in which they were able to do a science fiction show unlike any others at the time.

“We just felt, you know what? If we go out into space, we’re going to try to be the best human beings we can be, and then if we’re forced to [do] something bad or something in terms of a conflict or war or that kind of thing, then we’re forced to it,” she said. “We’re not going to go looking for it. We’re trying to tell stories about human beings in new situations, meeting new kinds of people and saying, ‘hey, can we work together? Lets see what we can do.’ It was very hopeful, and I still feel that it is. Star Trek is one of the shows that look to the future and try to be the best that we humans can be.”

Without the contributions of these women writers, the legacy of Star Trek would look very different all these decades later. Their work helped shape the series, its unforgettable voyages, and no doubt the careers of other women inspired by their work to write their own entertaining and important stories, perhaps also set among the stars.

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