Family Guy's Star Trek Special Spurs Trekkie Debate

Family Guy Executive producer David Goodman geeked out over this week's Star Trek-centric episode, spilling details about Tasha Yar jokes, and the "is Kirk dead?" debate. He also gave a Family Guy Star Wars update.

What's your favorite scene from the episode?

My favorite scene is the one that I'm in. I'm a huge Star Trek fan. An artist drew a version of me and I voiced the character dressed as a Star Trek... some might say fan, some might say geek. And I have a little bit of a run in later with Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes, so that's probably my favorite scene.

Is that the best line of dialogue?

The best line of dialogue is what Stewie says to the cast at the end of the episode. I'm not going to give it away. [In the episode, Stewie] doesn't get to ask his question at the Star Trek convention, so he kidnaps all of them and he has a little bit of a journey with them and his final words to them are very funny, but I'm not going to give it away.

Why do an episode with The Next Generation cast now?

You could have asked, last week, why we did Back To The Future reference in the show. Seth and I are huge fans of Star Trek, and we realized that while there have been plenty of episodic television that brought back the cast of the original series, in fact, I wrote one of them for Futurama. Seth and I realized that nobody had really reunited The Next Generation, and many of them had appeared on our show. Next Generation was a hugely popular show. We're not going to reference the most popular and current shows. Our stock in trade are our own memories of those shows we watched when we were younger.

Would you do a Terminator spoof?

We've done a few little Terminator gags, we've got one (I think) coming up. But our big movie things coming up, we did the Empire Strikes Back. And we're doing all three of the Star Wars films, and we occasionally do little references in the series.... We have an episode with Tootsie coming up next year. No plans at the moment to do the Terminator.

The episode is called "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven," how much is Brian in this episode?

There are two stories going on in the episode. One story follows Meg and Brian. Meg finds god, she finds religion and is giving Brian a hard time for his atheism. And when we developed that story we realized that Stewie doesn't have a big role to play. So we developed that and two stories tie together in the beginning, when the family goes to the Star Trek convention, and Stewie doesn't get to ask his question, so he makes a transporter in his room for the cast. Meg and Brian focus on religion, which is a subject we've approached before, but this has a new twist on it. We were struck by the fact that in America atheism is considered worse (by some people) than Muslim extremism. That was an interesting subject for us.

Any chance of a Battlestar Galactica episode in the future?

I don't know if we'll do a whole episode, but there may be a gag.

What's the update on Star Wars?

I think, but I'm not 100% positive, that Empire Strikes Back - that episode will air at the end of next season, and may be released before then. That movie was a very different movie from the original Star Wars, so our sequel will be a lot different and have of new characters, and a lot of great jokes that we threw in. We're very happy with how the first one turned out, so we had to set the bar was very high for the sequel... We're a little bit early to start on the third one, but the bar is set that much higher.

But you'll have Ewoks for the third.

There are Ewoks to mock. And when we get to the third one and there may be characters from other shows that show up since we were sort of running out of the original show. So characters from American Dad and maybe the Cleveland Show will show up in the first one.

Will there be any other casts reuniting on Family Guy, from other Star Trek series?

You never know. Seth is a huge Star Trek fan, he's watched all the series. He was on Enterprise when I was there. I wouldn't necessarily count on it, but you never know.

Were there any jokes or issues that you had to address (as a trekkie and as a writer) to any of the characters on the show, such as Geordi La Forge or Tasha Yar?

Yes there is a Tasha Yar joke in the episode, it's pretty obvious from the minute she opens her mouth. Denise was very game about it, and anyone who is familiar with the series will get it right away. Anybody who is not, it's just funny as a joke on its own. For me, the second scene that my character is I am pontificating about a piece of Star Trek cannon. I'm having an argument with another Star Trek fan, which is actually a real argument that Star Trek fans have, so I was very pleased to put that in.

What was the argument?

I'm going to sound like a real Star Trek fan. In the episode "Relics," the character of Scotty is pulled out of suspended animation, and he says, "Oh I'm just waiting for Captain Kirk to pick me up" and then we find out after The Next Generation ended that Captain Kirk died and Scotty was there. So why, in that episode, did he think Captain Kirk was going to pick him up if he saw him die? And of course, the answer is that they hadn't made the movie yet or made that decision. But there is also a possible explanation which I offer as a cartoon character and I was very pleased to do it.

Did the actors get all of the jokes?

They all did. I don't think we were particularly cruel to anybody. It was a lighthearted jest at them. As a group, they could not have had a better sense of humor. Which you don't always find with actors. A lot of actors don't like to play themselves, they don't like to spoof themselves. But this group was just the opposite - they were all just terrific.

Family Guy's TNG episode airs Sunday March 29th on FOX.