Roddenberry, who was 17 when his father, Jane, passed away, says, “It was only as I grew up and more mature that I appreciated the depth and intellectual side of Star Trek.
Such an idealistic view of the world could be a tough sell to today’s masses, who are battered by hateful politics, violence, war, and dire warnings about a rapidly warming planet. But it’s a change that Roddenberry, the executive producer on the new show, lauds.
He adds, “It’s going back to the original series format. It’s the kind of thing we need to publish to give us hope.” “I understand this is just a TV show, but it inspires countless people to live better lives.”
What can we expect in the new series
“Uhura we have a young woman. She started as a student,” Goldman says. “Where did she come from? What decisions did she make to allow her to be in Starfleet and become the heroine we know?”
Another big change in the captain’s chair. Goldsman says the character of Captain Pike is very different from that of Kirk.
“Jim Kirk is a young boy’s fantasy of a Star Trek captain,” says Goldsman. “He’s reckless and impulsive – he knows the rules but doesn’t follow them. He’s arrogant. Pike is a rational, thoughtful man who builds consensus.”
By contrast, later versions of the show, such as “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” featured some characters who took moral danger or sometimes made decisions that went against their values.
“I’m looking for the original series on a 21st century budget,” Robinson says. “If they could combine cutting-edge storytelling, beautiful special effects, and the energetic ‘Right Stuff’ storytelling of the ’60s, I’d be over the moon.”
Why hopeful storytelling is never outdated
One unspoken question in the new series is one you won’t see on many of the show’s discussion boards: Does Star Trek’s optimism and focus on inclusivity seem outdated in today’s cynical world?
It’s hard to believe in humanity by looking at the headlines. Racial, ethnic, and political divisions are as deep as the outward extensions of space itself.
Then again, feel-good, inclusive TV series like “Sheets Creek” and “Ted Lasso” have found huge audiences in this pandemic, a trend many attribute to audiences starving for hopeful stories.
“Dark times require storytelling with hope,” Goldsman says. “Optimism and belief in a better future are essential to many of us.”
Goldsman says it’s a myth that the original “Star Trek” aired in a kinder era that was much different than ours. He cites 1968 as an example.
“We were at war,” he says of the US involvement in Vietnam. “The civil rights movement was still in its moment of intense struggle. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were murdered, not to mention the looming nuclear threat. The country was completely divided. The 1960s was a turbulent period.”
The futuristic universe of “Star Trek” allowed it to tackle some of the era’s most explosive issues in a way no other show could, says Robinson, the author. He says the formation of the Enterprise crew was itself a call for forgiveness.
“It’s metaphorical storytelling that allows you to take science and imagination to look at your community,” Robinson says. “he is [Roddenberry Sr.] I spoke of race by owning a Vulcan instead of a black man.”
“The Troubled Soul” of the Creator of “Star Trek”
It’s a small miracle that the creator of Star Trek is so optimistic about humanity. He had seen and experienced many tragedies during his life. Roddenberry Sr. was born in El Paso, Texas, and nearly died as a young child when his house caught fire. The passing milkman saved him.
However, despite it all, Roddenberry imagined a future world that was merciful and harmonious, much different from the one in which he lived.
How can someone who has seen so many tragedies be optimistic?
Author Robinson cited a quote from musician John Lennon.
“Lennon said the reason I keep talking about peace and love so much is because I’m really angry,” he says. “Maybe you’re looking for what you need for yourself. Gene was definitely a troubled soul.”
Roddenberry turned his pain into a vision of the future that continues to inspire millions more than 50 years later. Phrases such as “Live Long and Prosper”, “Ignite me, Scotty” and “Warp Engine” are now part of popular culture.
And so is “Star Trek”‘s humanitarian message, which continues with the new show.
“If people say, ‘Why does Star Trek still exist?’” Roddenberry Jr. says. I’ll tell you why.” “Because it is the idea of appreciating all things that are different and not just tolerating them, and that it is the differences that we will grow out of.”
The response to “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” will reveal whether that vision still resonates with people, or whether the barriers of ridicule and hate are now too high for even the USS Enterprise to overcome.