Star Trek: Picard showrunner Michael Chabon recently explained that it’s impossible to recreate Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Chabon’s comments come after the latest Star Trek: Picard episode “Nepenthe” where he detailed that he’s sympathetic with fan criticism, but believes Star Trek needs to evolve.
He attempted to connect to the current fan push back when he described his initial reaction when he saw the first episode of The Next Generation.
Speaking with IndieWire, Chabon stated, “When I sat down and watched the first episode of ‘The Next Generation’ the night it premiered, my first reaction was, ‘I don’t like this.'”
He added, “What is this crap with the bald actor? And a counselor on the bridge? Why do you need this first officer – like, who’s the captain here? And this android’s just a knockoff Spock?”
He believes that fans will come around like he did with The Next Generation, “These things take time and the shock of the new can be very real.”
However, Chabon seemingly misunderstands many of the fan complaints. He seems to believe fans want a recreation of The Next Generation. He makes that clear when he says, “Even the most sincere, especially the most sincere, committed, genuine attempt to recreate ‘Next Generation’ would fail miserably.
The problem is, fans aren’t asking for a clone of The Next Generation. They just want a Star Trek series that is faithful to the actual Star Trek franchise and brand. They don’t want Star Trek to take pieces of Altered Carbon, The Expanse, or Star Wars and slap the Star Trek brand on it. They want Star Trek to remain Star Trek. We want a return to the franchise that gave us an optimistic view of the future, while also challenging us intellectually, morally, and ethically.
Instead, Chabon explains Picard is about “telling the story of how time changes people and how 20 years can put you into a completely different place that you never would have imagined.” He adds that he wanted to tell “a macro story over the course of this season about the legacy of the Borg and of the lives of former Borg characters. I think we just understood immediately and intuitively that a lot of former Borg would find themselves in fairly tragic circumstances.”
I think he hit the nail on the head for a lot of people, Picard is definitely a Star Trek show that puts you in a “completely different place that you never would have imagined.” In fact, some would argue that the show isn’t really all that much Star Trek at all.
YouTuber Gary Buechler in his review of Episode 7 Nepenthe, described that the show has reached “Star Trek: Discovery levels of stupid.” He even implores CBS to talk to “Robert Meyer Burnett, or Doomcock, or somebody who knows anything about Trek, you might be able to save this show.”
However, Chabon’s explanation of the show might not be that accurate. Jonathan Del Arco indicates the show is about virtue signalling about politics.
Del Arco says, “We live in such a fractured world. You have refugees treated not that differently from the xBs”
Del Arco isn’t the only actor to make these types of comments. Patrick Stewart made it clear that the show was a reaction to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Donald Trump.
Stewart explained back in January the show is “responding to the world of Brexit and Trump and feeling, ‘Why hasn’t the Federation changed? Why hasn’t Starfleet changed?’ Maybe they’re not as reliable and trustworthy as we all thought.”
Chabon concludes the interview by again attempting to sympathize with Star Trek fans. He says, “As a fan, I share that desire to go back, and to have it be the same and to want more of what I already know I love,…That sort of inherent conservatism — not in a political sense — I just meant there’s a lower-case ‘c’ conservatism in a fan’s heart that says if you already know you love something, why would you want it to be different?”
What do you make of Chabon’s recent comments? Do you believe him?