Joining A New Battle
♦ Star Trek: Discovery begins on 24 September on CBS All Access in the US and on the Space Channel in Canada and on Netflix in the rest of the world including the UK. Over on IGN, they just spoke to its executive producer Aaron Harberts to get a few more details about the new show including its portrayal of religion. Here are a few excerpts from that chat…
The idea of religion is one that will be very important in the show, Harberts reveals.
“You will come to understand why that character has faith or doesn’t have faith is of vital importance,” Harberts says.
“We had no interest in killing God, you know,” he says. “And by God I mean anyone’s God. So the fact of the matter is I don’t think religion is going anywhere. Polls may say differently, but I think faith and hope and spirituality, whatever you may think that is, we’re carrying that into the future. We have to.”
“I think that the world is, and our Star Trek universe, is open to any and all belief systems,” continues Harberts. “The Klingons absolutely have some sort of faith. You see a Klingon funeral in our pilot. Is it [TOS episode] ‘Balance of Terror’ that starts with a wedding? … I want to actually do some storylines about it. I think the best way, instead of making, you know, pronouncements about that, is let’s tackle some storylines. Let’s talk about faith. Let’s talk about what place it has in the future. Let’s talk about what it makes people do. Let’s talk about encountering new ones.”
Star Trek has always dealt with war and conflict and its consequences and Discovery will continue in this vein, he explains.
“These Starfleet officers who find themselves in war are very quick to remind the audience that they didn’t sign up to do that,” says Harberts. “That they are explorers first, that they are diplomats first. So our officers are quick to comment on the fact that this is not Starfleet’s mission. War is not why we’re here. And in fact, Discovery is a science vessel that has been conscripted for the war effort.”
One character in particular who will reflect this is Anthony Rapp’s Lt. Paul Stamets. He’s a scientist who specialises in astromycology, which is the study of fungus.
“[His] methods and life’s work is now being converted to be used for the war effort, and that bothers him greatly, and he talks about it a great deal,” says Harberts. “So we go into this with all of the people involved saying, this isn’t why we’re here. We have to do this, but this isn’t our main focus.”
“So then the question becomes, okay, we’re in a war. What does it mean to win a war? At what cost? And for the writing staff, it really became, how do you solve a war? How do you end a war, how do you find peace, without crushing and annihilating your opponent? And to me, that’s the Star Trek way of doing a war story. It’s not the Federation annihilates the Klingons. It’s Starfleet and the Federation figure out a way to truly make peace. Now we know that when TOS picks up, that peace doesn’t last. But we have to find peace in our time, in our slice of the Star Trek pie. That’s a really important thing to us, and we’re going to offer up a way that these two warring factions come to an understanding.”
Star Trek has a long history but the executive producer doesn’t feel constrained by the show’s history over the decades:
“In terms of the thematics, I don’t feel that they’re limiting, because we as a staff want to tell stories that have people up and cheering,” he says. “And we want to have a show that you watch with your family or your spouse and turn off the TV and have a debate about. Or turn off the TV and feel really good before you go to bed. Or have an episode of television that leaves you thinking that the world could be a better place and that getting up for work the next day is actually something that’s possible. So, in terms of limitations that way, I don’t feel any of that. That’s the kind of TV that we need, you know? It’s like, I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, but when they burned the little girl at the stake, I was like, well, yeah. This is gonna be a tough one. That’s a tough one on a Sunday night.”
To read the whole article, please go here