Gene Rodenberry created a world where all races and creeds gather together and bond over the quest to explore the galaxy without the polarization of religion. In the Roddenberry universe, human civilization has moved beyond prejudices to make the Star Trek franchise one of the most popular science fiction properties of the last fifty years.
Star Trek: Discovery is the newest iteration of the long-running franchise and will introduce fans to a brand-new crew. Because Discovery is part of the #StarTrek universe, it will adhere to the rules that were set in place by Roddenberry when he created the franchise. For the new cast of Star Trek: Discovery, the established rules came as a bit of a shock when one actor learned that the use of the word “God”, was not allowed on the show.
The Word "God" Is Not Allowed On Star Trek: Discovery
Entertainment Weekly recently visited the set of Star Trek: Discovery, and witnessed an odd exchange between actor Jason Isaacs, who plays Captain Lorca, and the episode's writer, Kirsten Beyer. During a scene Isaacs used a common turn of phrase and was quickly corrected by Beyer. During a scene where the Discovery is rushing to the aid of a Federation ship under attack by Klingons, Issac implemented the following ad lib:
“Lock on the Bird of Prey! Basic pattern Beta 9. Hard to port! Fire at something, for God’s sakes!”
The director immediately stopped the scene, and Isaacs was approached by Beyer who informed him that he can’t use the word “God”. Confused by this statement, Isaacs replied as such:
“Wait, I can’t say ‘God’? I thought I could say ‘God’ or ‘damn’ but not ‘goddamn.’”
Beyer then explains the rules that Gene Roddenberry put in place when he created the series, and that the human society embraced science in the 23rd century and had left behind religion. Issacs was still taken aback by this rule, and shot back a sharp reply:
“How about ‘for fuck’s sake’? Can I say that?”
Beyer gauged Isaacs’s response, and offered a terse retort:
“You can say that before you can say ‘God.’”
Why Is There No Religion In The Star Trek Universe?
For those unfamiliar with the Star Trek franchise, this exchange between Isaacs and Beyer could be misconstrued as “anti-God” or a slight on religion. However, the writers for Star Trek: Discovery are merely sticking with a set of rules which were established over fifty years ago, and they are vital to the franchises continuity and spirit.
It was well documented that Gene Roddenberry was an atheist, and based on his personal ideology he created a world where religion does not exist. This does not mean that Star Trek is anti-religion; however, Roddenberry wanted to create a sort of utopia, where humans had moved past greed and war.
Roddenberry decided to target things present in human culture that cause conflict and suggest that in the future, mankind has evolved beyond those issues. Among these sources of conflict are religion, money, and bigotry towards any race, gender, or species.
It’s true that god-like entities exist in the Star Trek Universe, but even though they appear to be all powerful they are defeated by the Federation crew with science – which further cements the 23rd century principles Roddenberry created. The most notable “quasi-gods” are Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Prophets from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the Greek Pantheon from the Star Trek (TOS).
The influence of Roddenberry’s personal beliefs on his work is nothing new, and we have seen popular creators adapt their own ideologies into fiction for centuries. Biblical parallels can be drawn from the work of C.S. Lewis, and even J.K. Rowling used Christian themes in the Harry Potter series. However, the use of atheistic principals isn’t as noticeable in fiction, and when it is brought to the attention of casual fans, the show runs the risk of facing some aversion from religious viewers.
On the contrary, Roddenberry’s rules were meant to be inclusive, and rather than being anti-religion, the Federation is a place where anyone can belong. Roddenberry’s principles are a huge part of what made the franchise groundbreaking and why it has been adored by fans for over half a century.
Star Trek: Discovery looks to continue the legacy of the wonderful iterations that came before and adhere to the principles Roddenberry established from the start. Hopefully the show will welcome a new generation of fans to the universe that has delighted and inspired for generations.
You can catch Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access September 24, 2017.
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(Source: Entertainment Weekly)