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Jon Povill

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Jon Povill

Jon Povill in 2009

Jonathan W. "Jon" Povill (born 29 August 1946; age 68) was the associate producer of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He also received writing credit for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Child", as it was based on the original script he co-wrote with Jaron Summers for the abandoned Star Trek: Phase II.

A fan of Star Trek: The Original Series, Povill actually began his association with Star Trek by helping Gene Roddenberry move back into his Paramount office when the latter was attempting to write and produce a new Star Trek film in 1975. Less than a year later, Povill – an up-and-coming screenwriter himself – was asked by Roddenberry to write his own treatment for a potential Star Trek film after Roddenberry's own script was rejected. Roddenberry felt Povill's story would be more suitable as a series episode than as a film, and the treatment was rejected. Later, however, Roddenberry asked Povill to collaborate with him on another film treatment, but this, too, was rejected by Paramount.

When work began on Star Trek: Phase II, Povill initially served as "assistant to the Producer" before being promoted to story editor based on his work on the script for "The Child", a planned episode for Phase II. Povill also co-wrote the Phase II series "bible" with Gene Roddenberry between May and August of 1977. After it was decided that the two-hour pilot for the series would be turned into The Motion Picture, director Robert Wise made Povill the film's associate producer.

As noted by Robert Wise in the "Group Commentary" Special Feature of the Director's Edition DVD of "Star Trek -- The Motion Picture," Jon was responsible for coming up with several key elements that figured in the resolution of the movie. Specifically, while the story had always included the idea that V'Ger was seeking to find its creator, Jon added the reason for its search -- that V'ger wanted to "join" with its creator in order to evolve to a higher plane of being. Jon devised V'Ger's plan to immediately join with whatever being entered the correct identification code in its ground test computer. The "fusion" of V'Ger, Decker and Ilia came from Povill.

The origin of the Klingon language can be traced back to an afternoon in Jon's office when he and Jimmy Doohan simply made up the Klingon words necessary for the opening of "Star Trek -- The Motion Picture."

Povill recounted his experiences with Star Trek and his brief period at Paramount in the three-page introduction to Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. The Phase II "bible" is also reprinted in the book, as is the revised draft of Povill and Summers' script for "The Child".

Fifteen years after leaving Star Trek behind, Povill became a producer and script consultant on the popular science fiction series Sliders, which starred Star Trek: Voyager guest actor John Rhys-Davies. Povill is also among those credited with the screen story for the 1990 sci-fi/action film Total Recall, the screenplay for which Povill wrote back in 1975 shortly before joining Roddenberry at Paramount. Total Recall ended up featuring Trek alumni Marc Alaimo, Roy Brocksmith, Robert Costanzo, Ronny Cox, Mel Johnson, Jr., Frank Kopyc, and Robert Picardo, and became the seventh highest-grossing movie of the year.

Povill is married to Michele Ameen Billy, an actress whom he met on the set of Phase II and who ultimately appeared in The Motion Picture. They have two sons, Andrew and Sean. In 2001 he was interviewed for the special feature Phase II: The Lost Enterprise on the Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) DVD.

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