By Carolyn Hinds
If you’re a fan of science fiction, Star Trek is more than likely part of your history. Whether you were there for The Original Series created by Gene Roddenberry, or like me became a fan through watching the sequels The Next Generation and Deep Space, the franchise is one that has had and continues to have a priceless impact on people all over the world. Through its discussions on race, colonization, environmental issues and a whole host of other socially conscious topics, Star Trek has acted as a mirror for audiences to see and understand the impact that humanity has on each other and the world.
Star Trek: Discovery
For the past two years a new show, Star Trek: Discovery has created a reawakening of sorts for the older generation and an introduction for those now finding their love for the genre. With an ensemble cast starring Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones and Anson Mount, Discovery is a more modern prequel to the first sets of shows, that has maintained the heart and soul of Rodenberry’s vision and feel of the first shows including the fun and humor.
At the 2019 Star Trek Universe Panel, fans were introduced to friends old and new. For Discovery it was revealed that David Ajala will join the cast for season three as Cleveland Booker, a.k.a Book, a character that it seems will prove to be a challenge for the crew to initially get used to, due to his tendency to “break the rules.” At the end of season two Michael Burnham (Martin-Green) and her fellow crew mates have left everything and everyone they knew behind, in order to protect them and the universe from possible annihilation by Control.
During the panel, Martin-Green explained that the crew is even closer together: “I feel like this venture into the future is so powerful because we as a company and also as a crew on Discovery, we became a family at the end of season two, and now we’re forging this path that has never been forged before boldly I might add. We sort of want to remember everybody who’s not going to be here anymore with us, so shout to all of those who made marks that’ll never be erased.”
In season three audiences will get to see the characters in new ways. Martin-Green said, “In terms of Discovery, there’s just so much more of that. We go to the deepest level of Discovery in season three because we’re in this new place together, and we have to figure out everything about where we are and who we are now you know, and so I really love that from a character perspective. That everybody is really unfolding in these really sort of impelling and compelling ways. It’s exciting.” She added, “There’s also this magic of being connected to canon like we never were before in season two and then expanding like we are and going to a future that we’ve never seen before in season three.”
Regarding Burnham’s journey and growth as a character, show creator and executive producer Alex Kurtzman said, “I think what Burnham carries with her, which is fascinating is this tremendous sense of responsibility of taking care of everybody, and obviously that extends to the idea that she felt she had to lead her ship through time in order to save all sentient life, and that’s a really big burden bear. That’s a lot, and to explore for her character what that means. At what point is it too much, at what point is it too much to carry, so she goes through a lot of changes, as do all of the characters in many different ways.”
One of the things that makes the Star Trek series so potent is that these characters have all made the choice to make the journey with people who were strangers at the on-set. At the end of season two, the crew of Discovery did this, but with the knowledge that they could never return to Star Fleet and their families. With a time jump of 1,000 years, there will be many changes that the crew will go through, and how they affects their dynamics and relationships with each other will play a big role in season three.
Kurtzman explained, “The great thing about the third season of a television show is that season one was about these people kind of coming together and figuring out who they were as a family. Season two was about really solidifying that, but then as Sonequa said they choose each other for eternity and they leave their birth families behind, and Star Trek has always been a show about a bridge through family and I love that this season we get to start mixing and matching relationships between different characters. People who you’ve met but only got to know peripherally are going to take center stage in different kinds of ways. There’s going to be a ton of new characters. There’s going to be a whole exploration of what the world looks like a thousand years from now.”
Star Trek: Picard
When it was announced that there would be a CBS All Access series centered around the life of Captain Admiral Jean-Luc Picard — simply titled Star Trek: Picard — fans all across social media (including myself) rejoiced at finally getting to see what happened with Picard after the culmination of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
It has been too many years since Sir Patrick Stewart last wore the Star Fleet uniform and graced the screen as Picard. For many of us, he was the star of the first Star Trek we saw and was the example of what a leader in the genre could be. Fans — again, including me — went wild when Sir Patrick (yes, I’ll be using his formal title from here on out) was introduced to the Hall H panel. The idea that we would get to hear and see our Captain tell us about Picard was everything.
Sir Patrick began his Hall H panel by sharing a quote he says as Picard in a show script: “We never know, do we, when our last moment will be.” He continued, “We never know, do we, when our best moment will be. And that is now.” I could end this writeup here because this phrase perfectly encapsulates everything Star Trek and Picard (the show) represents. If we all seize each moment to do something good and positive, each moment could be our best…even if it’s our last.
When asked what inspired him to be in the show, Sir Patrick revealed that it was the writing that lead to becoming Jean-Luc Picard again: “Well I decided that…just over a year ago, and I had been for a longtime saying no. Thank you, but no. And then as the subject matter of this new proposed series became clearer and clearer to me, and when I began to meet our writers — our incredibly distinguished writing team — and to attend the sessions with them, I knew that something very unusual was going to happen and I wanted to be a part of it. To imagine that something like this might go ahead, and I wouldn’t be there was just too defeatist… and so here I am, and very, very happy to be here.”
As a new show in the franchise with older and more familiar characters, showrunner and writer Michael Chabon and the creative team were careful to make sure that Picard would honor the history of the Enterprise series, while being something new and distinct, which is very important in a day and age where remakes are all the rage.
Also reprising their roles in the Star Trek universe are Rebecca Romijn as Number One in the upcoming shorts, and Brent Spiner as Data. Joining them in the universe are new cast members Michelle Hurd, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora and Allison Pill. Though they couldn’t say much about their roles, fans are excited at the prospect of seeing Picard interacting with these new characters, and what new sides of him this adventure will reveal.