Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek always had a utopian vision for the future. In the original series, mankind had transcended war, violence, even money, and had taken to the stars to spread a message of peace, hope and unity.
That humanitarian vision allowed the show to explore the conflicts of other worlds and other cultures as allegories of our own. "[By creating] a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles,” Roddenberry once explained. “Indeed, we did make them on Star Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network."
Subsequent series have also tackled current issues, and Star Trek: Picard is no different, as Michelle Hurd, who plays Raffi Musiker, a former colleague of Jean-Luc in the show, explains.
“[Star Trek has] always been a mirror to society,” says Hurd.
“Art imitates life, life imitates art. Our writers have been influenced, as we have, as we all are with the time that we’re living in. So, without being preachy, for sure, we are influenced by the climate, by the fact that we’re all sort of suffering. We’re all sort of hurting right now. We’re disjointed, we’re disconnected. I think some of us are feeling afraid of our very existence and our security here on earth in 2020.”
“And our show [Picard] in 2400 has the same sort of reality. We will deal with immigration. We will deal with divisiveness, other ‘isms’, exclusion and inclusion, which Star Trek has always done, talking about the stories of humanity.”
“[Picard] touches on the very real challenges we’re facing right now,” adds Jonathan Del Arco, returning as reformed Borg Hugh for the show.
“The biggest thing for me is that there seems to be across the world, a shake up of institutions, of places we trusted for leadership, places we looked to for moral guidance, for what’s right and wrong. And I think, like many of us, not only in America, are having to look inward to find guidance.
“Not just inward but in community, in other people, because our leadership has failed us, and I think that’s the world of the show.”
Cast newcomer Isa Briones, whose character Dahj plays a hugely important role in the new show, says it will also tackle the ongoing discussion around identity.
“Which I think is – thankfully – a big conversation right now,” Briones says, “ as we address things like gender identity, and being specific about who we are, and I think we really address that in a beautiful way with Dahj.”
Watch the full interview above to get the full lowdown on all the new characters in Star Trek: Picard.
Star Trek: Picard launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, 24 January.