Dear Star Trek crew,
For many Star Trek fans, Star Trek Beyond was a breath of fresh air in the Kelvin Timeline. Especially for those fans who have been longing for better representation of women, people of color, and the LGBT community in their beloved franchise. The casting of Shohreh Aghdashloo, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, and Lydia Wilson was extremely exciting to see. Science fiction is at its best when it acknowledges the diversity of individuals, showing that we have the potential to move beyond bigotry. We, as Star Trek fans, would like to thank you for taking a step in this direction.
Most notably, we would like to thank you for the gay Sulu narrative. It was amazing to see the franchise taking such big steps forward and hopefully urging other major sci-fi or action blockbusters to do the same.
With all of this in mind, and with our commitment to the values that Star Trek has always promoted, we have written this letter to ask you for one thing: we have not yet reached the final frontier, so please do not stop pushing towards it. Star Trek Beyond has indeed taken many steps forward and in many ways helped the franchise regain its original narrative but there is still so much potential left.
The characters and stories introduced in the original series inspired a whole generation and were truly remarkable for their time. But that that was remarkable then is not necessarily remarkable now. 50 years ago, a black woman on the bridge of the USS Enterprise was revolutionary. 50 years later, having only one woman on the bridge isn’t really something to be proud of.
It is true that we have overcome many of the hardships that faced us in the 1960s. But everyday people are still longing for positive representation and a hopeful and inspirational vision of the future. In the light of recent political events, it is a great time to set an example and allow the franchise to be groundbreaking once again.
It is perhaps wrong to believe that mindless action is the remedy to public political disenchantment. We do not want to be distracted, we want to be inspired and reinvigorated. For precisely this reason Star Trek Beyond was widely loved and enjoyed, even if it left us longing for more.
Specifically we long for more dynamic female characters and many of us would be thrilled to see the introduction of Nurse Chapel (disregarding the passing remark made about her in Star Trek Into Darkness). She was a main character in The Original Series and was even featured in more episodes than Chekov. As you probably know, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was considered the “first lady of Star Trek” and she should be honored, not forgotten. The box office success of movies like Mad Max: Fury Road, Rogue One, and the Ghostbusters reboot has shown how audiences have welcomed advances towards diversity.
We also want to encourage you to not shy away from delving into the existential philosophical and political themes that were such a common occurrence in The Original Series. Some would even argue that the entertainment industry has a responsibility to provide the public with not only entertainment, but also with a platform for substantial intellectual discourse. The episode “A Taste of Armageddon” provides an excellent example of science fiction that is able to address timeless philosophical issues and place them in exciting and thought provoking new contexts.
This is not to say that we want to see a Star Trek that is a cinematized version of Plato’s Republic. Modern movie making opens up for wonderful opportunities to combine action and science fiction landscapes with philosophy, politics, and psychology.
Finally, we want to thank you for carrying on the legacy of a beloved franchise, and providing it with the energy and wit so characteristic of the 21st century. By expanding on the world of Star Trek and its characters you have provided inspiration for a new generation who is approaching that future far more rapidly than previous generations. You have brought countless new fans and friends together, enabling the franchise to sustain itself for more than half a century after its birth.
We urge you to continue breaking boundaries and to not shy away from innovation and risks. Science fiction offers an unique opportunity to infuse Hollywood and popular culture with hope and kindness. Take this opportunity, and let Star Trek inspire a whole new generation to keep striving to be better.
A new generation of trekkies.