The Star Trek franchise has always been very socially-conscious and unafraid to tackle important issues and themes. While the various shows may inevitably date in some ways, then, the big concepts at play in them remain timely even many years later. Case in point: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which the stars of the 90s series believe holds up well in today’s climate as its exploration of race ties into the Black Lives Matter movement.
Three DS9 stars took part in a virtual panel dedicated to the show at GalaxyCon recently. In the chat, Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), Andy Robinson (Garak) and Armin Shimmerman (Quark) discussed the legacy of the show and how they think it’s still relevant today. Particularly through its lead, Avery Brooks, who played Captain Sisko, the franchise’s first ever African-American protagonist.
Vistor: I think the legacy of Deep Space Nine is: The more things change, the more they stay the same. I think there are questions that Deep Space Nine brought up and held up for people to look at that completely for this time, they are the same. I think Deep Space Nine is very timely.
Robinson: In terms of the legacy of the show and thematically and what it means, I don’t know. Here we are stuck in this world where we live now and being assailed on all fronts, politically, medically, and personally, and financially. Times are hard and it is nice perhaps to turn on a show and see where there is a 24th century that has good actors in it.
Shimmerman: The legacy of the show, I think Nana is right that the more things change, the more we stay the same. Because of what Andy said as well, we are dealing with strange times with an understanding of what the African-American community has been suffering for many years. We were always reminded of that on the show. We had a phenomenal actor who was very much concerned with Black Lives Matter, our captain, Avery Brooks. I think one of the legacies of the show is his performance and what they wrote for him to demonstrate the problems of being a Black in basically a white and orange society.
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The conversation then turned to the question of what would DS9 be tackling today if it was brought back. Shimmerman was confident that it would continue what it did in its original run and talk about racism. The actor pointed to the fact that the series had a different remit from other Trek shows so it was more about how to live with each other when you’re stuck in the same place, something else that is very timely.
Shimmerman: We would be talking about racism. We did talk about racism and we would be talking more about it… Our program wasn’t about boldly going anywhere; it was about boldly living with each other. And with people who didn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with each other, but we had to live with each other. We were quarantined together on the station and we had to learn how to figure that out. And if we didn’t like someone, we had to figure out how to deal with him. That is what we would be talking about today. How do we live with people who are not familiar, because we must do that. We must learn to live with people who are not familiar.
Star Trek: Picard recently relaunched the Next Generation corner of Trek in a big way, as well as bringing back Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine from Voyager, too. As far as we know, though, there aren’t any plans to tie things into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And that’s certainly a shame, as like the cast discuss here, bringing a few of the characters back could lead to some timely themes and storylines.
Source: GalaxyCon (via TrekMovie.com)