Was the first pilot episode of Star Trek inspired by Ray Bradbury's short story Mars Is Heaven! (later rewritten and renamed to "The Third Expedition") from Martian Chronicles?

There are many similar plot parts:

  • Human expedition arrives at unknown planet
  • They meet with people who were supposed to be dead
  • These people are not real people but illusion used to catch expedition in a trap
  • Aliens use telepathy

1 Answer 1


There is no explicit evidence, but it is quite likely as Roddbenberry was a fan of Bradbury's work and had personally invited Bradbury to write for Star Trek during the planning of the show.

There is no direct evidence apart from the coincidence you have noted in the question. "The Cage" was written by Gene Roddenberry himself, and he had not made any (public) comments about taking inspiration from The Martian Chronicles.

However, Bradbury and Roddenberry were close friends and enjoyed each other's work:

Bradbury also had a specific relationship to Star Trek, and especially to Gene Roddenberry. As he said in his remarks at Roddenberry's memorial services (published as his Foreword to David Alexander's biography of Roddenberry), the two were often mistaken for each other. He praised Star Trek for exploring the miracles of life and death, and for being "a moral example in a time when we need it," "in the midst of so much violence and so many shows we don't care about."


Among the losses that deeply grieved Bradbury was the death of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who was an intimate friend for many years. They remained close friends for nearly three decades after Roddenberry asked him to write for Star Trek, which Bradbury never did, objecting that he "never had the ability to adapt other people's ideas into any sensible form."


Given that Roddenberry died in 1991, this means that Roddenberry had asked Bradbury to write for Star Trek in the early 1960s, when Star Trek was still being conceived. In other words, Roddenberry had Bradbury's work in mind during that time, and quite possibly while writing "The Cage".

  • And of course Roddenberry was nor above lifting someone else's creative work if he got credit and money out of it.
    – Broklynite
    Apr 22, 2016 at 7:15

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