In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, series producers Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg share a bit of insight on how today’s real-world, politically-charged environment has influenced the development of Star Trek: Discovery‘s story.
Harberts revealed that things started during the hotly-contested 2016 US presidential election:
The allegory is that we really started working on the show in earnest around the time the election was happening.
The Klingons are going to help us really look at certain sides of ourselves and our country. Isolationism is a big theme. Racial purity is a big theme. The Klingons are not the enemy, but they do have a different view on things.
It raises big questions: Should we let people in? Do we want to change? There’s also the question of just because you reach your hand out to someone, do they have to take it? Sometimes, they don’t want to take it.
It’s been interesting to see how the times have become more of a mirror than we even thought they were going to be.
Harberts’ comment on “racial purity” certainly seems to lend a bit of credence to our theory that the Enterprise-era Augment virus storyline may come into play during Discovery.
He continued, speaking to how the Federation begins to act during this impending war with the Klingon Empire – hinting that the UFP may not play so nice during this crisis, which parallels some current international incidents that may be slowly building to a head.
The thing about the war is it takes Starfleet and the Federation and forces them to examine their ideas and ethical rules of conflict and conduct.
It provides a backdrop to how we want to be as a society and that analysis and self-reflection is new for Trek. They’ve done it in certain episodes in the past, but this is a true journey for the institution in itself.
North Korea is in our thoughts as we finish the [season].
What began as a commentary on our own divided nation — in terms of Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters — has blown out to North Korea and how we’re right on the brink.
[The U.S. is] actually right at the place where Starfleet finds itself in episode one and we couldn’t have anticipated that happening. But how do you end conflict when both sides have such strong opinions?
Despite the doom-and-gloom of what Harberts indicates about the state of the Federation during this critical point in time, his co-showrunner Gretchen Berg sheds some sunshine on the situation:
In times of stress and conflict it can bring out the best of us and the worst of us, but ultimately brings out the best in our Starfleet officers.
We’ll see how this present-day situation manifests itself when Star Trek: Discovery arrives on September 24.