TNG’S AXED AIDS EPISODE

Empire (UK) - - The Box -

Back in the 1960s, the idea of a black woman, a Ja­panese man, and a Russian man serv­ing on the deck of a star­ship was ground­break­ing. When the 1980s rolled around, many be­lieved it was time for The Next Gen­er­a­tion to cross an­other fron­tier by pro­vid­ing gay rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Gene Rod­den­berry (pic­tured be­low) was all for this, and his pledge to fans led staff writer David Ger­rold to pen the now-in­fa­mous ‘Blood And Fire’, an episode that would deal with the AIDS cri­sis while blaz­ing a trail with Trek’s first gay cou­ple. Alas, it was not meant to be. Ris­ing so­cial ten­sions meant that Para­mount was fear­ful of what ‘Blood And Fire’ might mean for the show’s PR. The script un­der­went nu­mer­ous rewrites, with the gay char­ac­ters erased com­pletely. Even­tu­ally the episode was axed, and Ger­rold quit. Decades later, En­ter­prise would pick up the torch with their own Aids-al­le­gory episode ‘Stigma’ — and over 50 years af­ter Star Trek be­gan, Dis­cov­ery fi­nally put a gay char­ac­ter in the main cast.

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