‘Star Trek’: William Shatner, Brent Spiner and More on ‘Trek’ as a Beacon for Today’s Troubled Times

     July 24, 2016

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Fresh off its 50th anniversary and the release of Star Trek Beyond, Comic-Con hosted an exclusive panel previewing the new Star Trek TV series, revealed to be titled – Star Trek: Discovery. Crew members from throughout Star Trek past, Scott Bakula, Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn and William Shatner, fielded questions from newly minted Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller about just what the show means, what we can learn from it in these troubled times and the hope Trek continues to inspire. For the full panel recap, read below.

Panel Highlights

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    Image via Paramount

    Bryan Fuller was humbled by the opportunity to host a panel dedicated to Star Trek. “I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a Star Trek writer,” Fuller revealed. Star Trek is about the promise of a better world, of a better tomorrow – all species united together. Fuller reminded the audience to think about the state of the current world and remember the future Star Trek “I want to take America to the future Gene Rodenberry promised.”

  • Shatner stated that the Star Trek canon mythology is essential. “It’s the basis of law and order.” However Fuller pointedly asked Shatner wouldn’t it be great if we undo Kirk’s death in Generations and see further adventures with Captain Kirk? Could Shatner be making a return appearance to the Star Trek? Was this a hint? Who knows…
  • Brent Spiner said that to him “Star Trek has always been about universal rights and about respecting everybody.” We’re living in a world where that respect is being questioned all around the world and within this country. Star Trek can be held up as an example for what instead to strive for.
  • Per Fuller: “It’s so easy to alienate something that is different. Star Trek is about showing us how we can be one. And that’s the most beautiful message.”
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    Image via Paramount Pictures

    Scott Bakula confided that, “the great thing about science fiction is the optimism present in the genre… That somehow we’ll become a unified species and take care of each other and this place we live on.” Bakula tends to be an optimistic person and believes that somehow, even when it’s dark, we’ll figure it out. “The scientists and dreamers will figure it out.”

  • Per Fuller: Star Trek: Discovery has to remind the audience of the original message of Star Trek. It has to be progressive. It has to continue to push boundaries and give us hope for our future.
  • Also per Fuller: The new Star Trek TV show is not episodic. “We’re going to be telling stories like a novel. Chapter by chapter.”
  • Bryan Fuller stated that in talking to astronaut (and Star Trek: Next Generation guest star) Mae Jemison, he was inspired to learn how the show inspired her professional choice. Fuller said he hopes the new show serves a similar purpose – that people who watch Star Trek are inspired to do better, to want to go to space, to move forward…
  • Who was everyone’s favorite Star Trek species? Jeri Ryan – The Borg; Michael Dorn and Scot Bakula – The Andorians; Brent Spiner – The Androids; William Shatner – The Tribbles.
  • Jeri Ryan stated that it was difficult at first joining Star Trek: Voyager. “It wasn’t the first series I had joined in progress,” she said, “And I was an army brat growing up so I was used to being the new kid.” But she said it’s imperative to quickly figure out the lay of the land. Star Trek Voyager was especially difficult because Ryan was replacing a previous character. Because it was a new character – “the writers were salivating to tell new stories with her.” So a lot of the scripts centered around Seven – which took its toll on some previous cast members, frustrated that a new character had taken up so much screen-time.
  • Brent Spiner said he “drew on his imagination to play an android.” The viewers and their reactions inspired Spiner to determine how Data would develop as a character.

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