'Star Trek: Discovery' Will Break A Franchise Rule You Probably Didn't Even Know Existed
The Star Trek franchise has been around long enough to develop quite a few traditions along the way. And in its next incarnation, Star Trek: Discovery, will break a rule that's been in place since the series' inception. Discovery is not a movie, but a long-awaited series on CBS All Access, the channel's streaming platform, and it's bound to change the game for the sci-fi series. According to Gizmodo, when Gene Roddenberry created the concept for Star Trek, he envisioned a futuristic society that had advanced beyond everyday conflicts. That meant no arguments between those aboard the vessels, so more attention could be paid to the various alien forces creating obstacles for the crew.
As you might've noticed, doing a quick skim through your memory of Star Trek canon, it's a rule that's been bent — if not, outright broken over the years. But now, with Discovery, showrunner Aaron Harberts is making a clear and deliberate move away from this rule. But don't worry — as he told Entertainment Weekly, it's to make the series more recognizable, not less. He said,
We’re trying to do stories that are complicated, with characters with strong points of view and strong passions. People have to make mistakes — mistakes are still going to be made in the future. We’re still going to argue in the future. The rules of Starfleet remain the same. But while we’re human or alien in various ways, none of us are perfect.
Within Roddenberry's restrictions, human error had largely been removed from the equation. And while yes, that does cut down on unnecessary squabbling, it also removes the potential for a lot of conflict, which is usually a writer's main tool for moving a story forward.
Harberts has given a convincing argument for adding it back in, especially since the director isn't trashing the Star Trek creator's idea. Instead, he's putting it to work in another field: conflict resolution. As he told EW,
The thing we’re taking from Roddenberry is how we solve those conflicts. So we do have our characters in conflict, we do have them struggling with each other, but it’s about how they find a solution and work through their problems.
The ways that these humans have progressed forward is not in their ability to avoid issues, but in their ability to address them. A future where we don't ever experience conflict feels centuries out of reach. But one where conflicting parties learn how to speak to each other with respect and move forward is more attainable, albeit perhaps tantalizingly out of reach in our current political climate.
In many ways, however, this actually makes the world of Star Trek more utopian, so Discovery will still honor the spirit of Roddenberry's vision to an extent. You might even say they're boldly going where no branch of the franchise has gone before.