Star Trek has been around in one form or another almost continually since 1966, with Star Trek: Picard being only the latest in a long line of series and movies. And its star Patrick Stewart has now commented on what he believes to be behind the saga remaining relevant for all that time.
The most recent show brought back arguably Starfleet’s greatest captain for a (possibly) final mission, the journey bringing him into contact with new faces, old friends and former enemies. You don’t have that kind of ready-made mix of new narrative and nostalgia without a certain respect for the past, as Stewart ruminated.
“We live in a complicated world in which the need for care and concern for other members of society is much more potent than it ever was before. My wife and I went to Italy earlier this year: Florence, Bologna and Ravenna. I’d never reflected much on these cities, so when I saw they were ancient towns – not just a church here, an old building there – and still vibrant parts of Italian society, I was astonished. The connection between past and present was so strong. Star Trek offers this too. And the connection to [TNG costar] Whoopi’s [Goldberg] comment is that it will get better. Though right now it doesn’t feel like that.”
The mention of Goldberg’s comment refers to the previous question he was asked, regarding whether a show not rooted in reality nevertheless has a responsibility to reflect the real world, specifically regarding Isa Briones and other non-white actors central to the story, where he told of what it meant to Goldberg to see Uhura in a prominent position.
The Original Series of Star Trek debuted in 1966 and lasted a mere three seasons, the latter of which was of significantly lower quality than the previous two. However, it perfectly presented Gene Roddenberry’s utopian vision of the future that saw people of all races working together, having overcome the things we are taught should divide us and instead uniting for the common good.
While the stories of space exploration and encounters with weird and wonderful aliens have always been part of the appeal of Star Trek, it’s the universe’s themes exemplifying the best of humanity that resonate the heaviest, not reflecting exactly what we are, but rather what we could be, and with its acknowledgement of our diversity and respect for the past, Picard continues in that tradition.