Star Trek: Discovery is under constant delays, but fans keep hoping it's for the best and that the delays mean the writers and staff are taking their time to make it perfect. As a longtime fan, I really want to believe this; however, the longer it takes, the more disappointed I am because I'm waiting for something that isn't even an ideal version of Trek. For me, I'm a lifelong fan. Literally. I was two years old in 1987 when #TheNextGeneration started and I watched it with my father. When Star Trek: Discovery was announced I was excited, but disappointed when CBS announced it was creating a prequel.
Even longtime Trekkies will argue of what Classic Trek means — you have purists that only enjoy the original with Kirk and Spock, you have others that are Picard and Data enthusiasts. Some refuse to acknowledge Deep Space Nine, Sisko, Voyager, Janeway, and the Dominion, not to mention the widely hated prequel series, Star Trek: Enterprise that came after the other spin-offs finished (Enterprise is actually great, and totally binge-able if you get past Season 1).
You can find good in every series, and honestly, each iteration of Trek has been pretty unique to itself.
- #TheOriginalSeries pushed boundaries in racism, unity and acceptance.
- #TheNextGeneration was a great successor — many even claim it to be better than the original — and praise the ensemble cast.
- #DeepSpaceNine was a much darker series with strong story arcs and tons of action. It also had more fleshed-out characters, with secondary characters often stepping into the spotlight.
- #Voyager was set across the galaxy, where the crew were kidnapped and then stranded on a quest to make it back to Earth that would take them 75 years.
- #Enterprise was set before the Federation, before Kirk and Spock, where we got to see the first "deep space" Earth vessel explore their new large universe.
All of these series represent the vision of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in different ways. Roddenberry was described as "committed to a liberalism that believed in prosperity, technological progress, and universal humanity." He was well ahead of his time in his beliefs about race, gender equality, and economy. In the original Trek, each character represented a different nationality, representing the unity that humanity had formed in the future, and that we should reach to. These topics are relevant now, as we are constantly bombarded with news from around the world of bombings, natural disasters, starvation and war.
If Trek were to come back as a hope of the future I believe it would strike a cord with this generation as we reach towards equality and unity. To see this happen I want to see original Trek characters come back for a mini-series crossover! It would be awesome to see what happened after Captain Janeway returned with Voyager to Earth after being MIA for seven years. How did Earth and the Federation recover from the excruciating Dominion War we saw for two years in Deep Space Nine? Did Captain Sisko ever return from the wormhole? Did Captain Picard ever make Admiral? There are literally hundreds of questions I have about the 24th century that it seems like the opportunities are endless, so here are my top five reasons why Classic Trek should return!
1. What Happened?
It should be no surprise that in 28 seasons of Trek there are loose threads that never finished off. Even with The Next Generation, DS9 and Voyager all being planned endings after their seven-season runs, they still had threads that fans want to see tied up! Here's seven loose threads I'm dying to see!
1. The Next Generation "Conspiracy"
In this Season 1 episode we met a race of small slugs that took possession of humanoid bodies. Picard and Riker fight off the invasion after finding several Admirals and other high-ranking officers have been possessed, but the slugs never returned.
2. Romulan Commander Sela
Sela is the daughter of an alternate timeline Tasha Yar who was displaced into the past. She was captured by Romulans, and had a half-Romulan child — Sela — who was raised to be a cruel leader in the Romulan Empire, and to despise the Federation. Despite her popularity with fans, she only appeared four times.
3. Section 31
Deep Space Nine was much more shades of grey than other Trek series, and one thing it introduced was a secret section of Starfleet — Section 31. 31 had loose morals and would stop at nothing to protect Earth and its interests. By the end of the series one of its high-ranking officers was killed, but how deep into Starfleet did Section 31 go, and did it survive Sloane's death?
4. Deep Space Nine "What We Leave Behind"
DS9 had an amazing finale, but what we don't know is what happened next. Did Sisko ever return from the Prophets in the Wormhole? Did Odo stay with the Founders? Did Bajor ever join the Federation? As much as I love the finale, and the final arcs heading into it, I want to know what happened next. Most of all, how did the Alpha Quadrant recover after its war with the Dominion?
5. Voyager "Dragon's Teeth"
In this standalone episode Voyager finds sub-space corridors that could take them home to Earth in no time at all. In a fight for the use of the corridors, Voyager unknowingly awakens the Vaadwaur, a species who had been in stasis for almost a thousand years. In their prime, the Vaadwaur had used the corridors to raid planets and further their territory. By the end of the episode they escape and re-claim these corridors. The story sets them up to be future villains, but they never return.
6. Borg Resistance
One of the most unique story lines in Voyager was the two-part episode where they helped form the Borg Resistance. Several Borg break away from the Collective and become self aware, they then bring others into their resistance, gaining control of several ships and start a civil war among the Borg. We see the Borg later in Voyager, even the Borg Queen, but the civil war and resistance are not mentioned.
7. Voyager "Endgame"
Voyager had a good finale, but the biggest problem was what happened next. We spent seven years watching this crew attempt to get home, but the final shot was Voyager approaching Earth. Did the Maquis stay in Starfleet? We know Janeway is immediately made an Admiral with her appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis, so did that leave Chakotay in command? Also, when the Janeway from the future and her shuttle were assimilated, do the Borg now have technology from the future — including the hull armor?
One of the ongoing themes in Trek is hope. Hope for a better future, hope for humanity and hope that we can figure all of that out before we annihilate ourselves. There are tons of political undertones in Star Trek as well as examples of tolerance and the need to see past someone's self. As Picard says in First Contact:
"The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity."
I wish some of our world leaders would take up this philosophy! The hope for a better future is what Trek was built on, and right now there are a lot of people without hope. Seeing a bright and potential future where they're included, valued and cared for would be extremely comforting. For example, Lt. Uhura was a strong female African American character (which was unique at the time of 1966). Many African Americans have thanked her and praised her for the role because of what it did for both African Americans and women's equality. When Nichelle Nichols was considering leaving the show, Martin Luther King — an iconic civil rights enthusiast — begged her to reconsider. He explained that she had important role, one with intelligence, honor and dignity — a role that was without stereotype, and that nothing else like that existed on TV for their people. Her role gave people hope.
That's only one example of the hope that Trek is built on; there are so many examples that it could be an article all to its own. The point is: We need to see hope of a brighter future, and Trek has been that beacon in the past — why not turn that beacon on again?
There is nothing more powerful in a movie than a sacrificial death that really hits home. Spock's original death in Star Trek II became one of the most memorable death's in film history, but when Kirk died in Generations it fell flat. Death is important to storytelling, but it has to be done right.
If our classic Trek characters could return, I would love to see deaths that meant something. Picard needs an amazing send off, and a sacrificial death for someone, or something, would be an amazing thing for the character and the franchise. Bringing back the Borg would add that personal element to his sacrifice because of his deep history with them.
In #StarTrekFirstContact, when the Enterprise-E and the crew go back in time to stop the Borg, they go to one of humanity's biggest crossroads: First contact with an alien race, the Vulcans.
"It unites humanity in a way no one ever thought possible. When they realize they're not alone in the universe, poverty, disease, war - they'll all be gone within the next fifty years."
At this point in our history our world is fractured in hundreds of countries, many with their own ideologies and goals; some rich and some poor; some with thousands of people just struggling to survive each day. We talked about how Trek was always meant to be a beacon of hope, and part of that hope is in Earth's unity. We need an example of that unity now more than ever. Politically speaking, our planet is at a new crossroads, and if we had the right examples I believe our younger generation could make better choices than we have.
5. Because More Star Trek!
I'm not going to lie, part of me just wants more Trek! Why not? I would love to see these classic characters from my childhood return. I would love to see the different television series cross over and see characters like Data and Seven of Nine interact. I would love to see how Sisko changed while living with the Prophets. More Trek means more of my childhood fulfilled!
I am excited for Star Trek: Discovery, but it still doesn't change the fact that I wish we could get some closure to the 24th century storylines and characters. Do you feel the same way or are you excited with the direction Star Trek will be heading in?