Karl Urban Still Believes In Roddenberry’s Original Star Trek Vision


Aside from the occasional invasion by the Borgs, Romulans, Cardassians or warring Klingons, Star Trek‘s vision of life in the 23rd and 24th centuries is pretty sweet. As Jean-Luc Picard put it in The Next Generation: “A lot has changed in three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We have grown out of our infancy.”

From the original series onwards, Trek has purposefully tried to be as progressive as it can, whether it be Uhuru sharing a kiss with Kirk, The Next Generation‘s gender neutrality (which in early episodes, extended to some male crew members wearing skirts), Janeway’s Captaincy of the Voyager or Discovery‘s gay relationship.

But lately, it doesn’t exactly feel as if we’re moving towards a shining future of unity and tolerance, so can this vision of the future really be plausible in 2018? That question was put to Karl Urban recently, who plays Bones in the current Star Trek films. He explained that from his perspective as a New Zealander, the USA feels increasingly like the “Disunited States,” with the actor saying:

That’s one of the things I really respected and appreciated about Gene Roddenberry’s vision, was this hopeful view of the future and the fact that you had this wagon train to the stars that had a multi-cultural crew and they were working together in order to solve their common enemy or whatever the problems were.

That to me was a vision of humanity that had overcome its more base instincts, overcome war and greed and rampant commercial exploitation of the environment. It had overcome that and was united in the spirit of exploration. That is what always appealed to me about Star Trek. That and it was a character driven show and you tune in each week to see how this group of eclectic individuals had to overcome their personal differences with each other in order to succeed.

Star Trek‘s scarcity-free future is, sadly, somewhat implausible right now. After all, we could be living in a scarcity-free present if mankind could be persuaded to cooperate with one another without being haunted by the spectre of acting in our own self-interest. But, right now, self-interest and greed are what the global economy runs on and it doesn’t seem like things are going to change any time soon.

Still, it’s great that Star Trek continues to show us a potential future in which the accumulation of knowledge and the betterment of mankind as a species is prioritized over the enrichment of any one individual.