Although he will likely be best remembered by genre fans for his work on the Star Trek film franchise, Harve Bennett was a super-producer. His career began in the fifties – with his first credited work on Now is Tomorrow, a television movie starring actors Robert Culp and Sydney Pollack. However, Bennett really came into his own as a producer of seventies television. He helped to create The Mod Squad and The Invisible Man. However, he is perhaps most noted in geek circles for his work on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Along with director Nicholas Meyer, Harve Bennett effectively reinvented Star Trek. Taking over the reins from Gene Roddenberry after that creator’s bloated (if ambitious) work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Bennett stumbled upon an ingenious idea. Instead of trying to hide the fact that the cast and crew were getting older, he would embrace it. Bennett effectively came up with the idea of allowing the characters to grow older, coming up with an approach that would help to distinguish the Star Trek films from their source material.
It would be too much to suggest that Harve Bennett was the first writer to reinvent Star Trek, paving the way for creators like Michael Piller or Ira Steven Behr or Brannon Braga or Manny Coto. After all, Star Trek had already been reinvented by Gene L. Coon and D.C. Fontana before Bennett come on board. However, Bennett was part of the first creative team to reinvent Star Trek in a very overt and very conscious way. Meyer and Bennett were the first creators to be overt (rather than subversive) in how they were updating and revising the Star Trek canon.
Bennett was part of the creative team that oversaw the first truly seismic transition in what Star Trek actually was, the first without any major behind-the-scenes continuity. In doing so, Bennett was one of the first creators to demonstrate the versitility and the potential of Star Trek. In shepherding the movie franchise, Bennett was a vital part of keeping Star Trek alive long enough for the franchise to prove that it could be self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. Bennett is a much bigger figure in Star Trek history than he is given credit for.