After decades away from the small screen, Star Trek is finally boldly going back to TV in January next year, and we couldn't be more excited. When Bryan Fuller was first announced to be running the new Star Trek series, many fans were overjoyed, and with good reason — although he's known for shows such as Hannibal and Pushing Daisies, Fuller started out his career writing for Star Trek. And he's been talking about running his own Trek show since Enterprise's cancellation in 2005.
Then the news fell fairly silent, and after learning that Nicholas Meyer would be co-writing the show, details for the series were thin on the ground.
That didn't stop rumors flying about like so many shuttlecrafts, of course, but Fuller has finally broken the silence to give a few hints about what we can expect from the new show. And frankly, he's saying all the right things.
Staying True To Roddenberry's Vision
Before we get to the good stuff (by which I mean the quotes), it's important to add in a bit of context. Gene Roddenberry envisioned Star Trek as an optimistic vision of humanity's future, one in which we did not simply tolerate but took "special delight" in the diversity of life out there. It's a beautiful sentiment, echoed in the Vulcan philosophy of "infinite diversity in infinite combinations." And although Roddenberry conceived Trek 50 years ago, his aims in creating the show are still desperately needed today.
When speaking to Collider, Bryan Fuller talked about how important this philosophy is to creating a new Star Trek series.
"We want to carry on what Star Trek does best, which is being progressive. So it’s fascinating to look at all of these roles through a colorblind prism and a gender-blind prism, so that’s exciting."
Fuller, who famously said he wanted to have a woman of color as a Trek captain (his pick was Angela Bassett), and another woman of color (Rosario Dawson) as the first officer, definitely seems to have clear priorities when it comes to casting the new show.
But beyond racial and gender diversity, it could be that Fuller's new show finally introduces the one thing Trek has been lacking for far too long.
Queer Representation Is Important
Star Trek certainly has a complicated history when it comes to LGBT representation. Back in 1987, Roddenberry stated unequivocally that there would be a gay character in The Next Generation. What followed was years of fierce debates between the writing staff and various censorship bodies, all of which are far too tangled to go into (good thing there's a Wikipedia page on it).
Although no character was identified as gay, bisexual, or trans in any of the Star Trek shows, there were a few characters over the years who dealt with LGBT themes. Arguably, Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine is the only long-running bi/pansexual character in Star Trek, and the episode in which she kissed her ex-wife garnered both praise and criticism. The Next Generation episode "The Outcast", which dealt with the pressure to ascribe to gender norms, featured a fantastic speech about gender and sexual equality.
The long and the short of it is, while Trek has dealt with LGBT themes in the past, there has not yet been a main character who has obliquely been identified as other than straight, using LGBT terminology. Many people see queer representation in Star Trek as long overdue, considering the franchise's apparent dedication to diversity. And when Collider asked Fuller directly about including an LGBT character in the new show, he "strongly implied" that one would appear.
"Absolutely. I think the progressive audience that loves Star Trek will be happy that we’re continuing that tradition."
It's not a definite yes, but it's not a no either. And it's worth considering that Fuller also mentioned the new show wouldn't be "subject to broadcasting network standards and practices," which is what prevented LGBT characters in the past.
All in all, Fuller has a clear plan for what he wants for the show, and so far this all seems far truer to Roddenberry's vision than we ever could have hoped. It might be a bit pre-emptive to say this, but Fuller seems to be setting his phasers on high for this new show — and we're already stunned.
Would you like to see an LGBT character in the new Star Trek show?