The public perception of what a Star Trek fan is like has shifted in a huge way over the past few decades. The stereotype that Trekkers are nerdy guys who do nothing but play video games in basements is a thing of the past. As Graeme McMillan pointed out in an op-ed for Time Magazine honoring the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), that show “made nerd culture mainstream.”
Since then, nerd culture has essentially become pop culture. Star Trek is no longer something loved just by science-fiction enthusiasts. It’s loved by all kinds of people, including some of the world’s favorite celebrities.
Here are a few celebs who are hardcore Trekkers.
Hanks has talked about his love of Star Trek on several occasions. In an interview on the Graham Norton Show, Hanks said his family “worshipped” the show, and that he grew up watching it with them.
He loves the show so much that he has a clear plan for how he wants to appear in the Trek universe someday. Hanks revealed that he wants to play a Romulan, but only under specific circumstances. He wants to appear as a Romulan after their conflict with the Federation has been resolved and they’re on good terms with Starfleet. In his own words, he wants to play “a peaceful Romulan.”
Now that Star Trek: Discovery has taken the Trek universe way into the future, Hanks could get his opportunity. In the future laid out in that show, Vulcan was renamed Ni’Var when the Romulans and Vulcans finally reunited. Ni’Var was in conversations with the Federation about rejoining at the end of season three. So, it wouldn’t be farfetched to feature “a peaceful Romulan” in Discovery season four.
When Rihanna dropped a single that she’d recorded for the Star Trek: Beyond trailer in 2016 Trek fans and Rihanna fans were both a bit confused. However, she soon cleared things up for everyone by proudly owning the fact that she was a lifelong Star Trek fan.
In a teaser for the movie, Rihanna explained why Star Trek had always meant so much to her.
“Star Trek has been a part of my life since I was a little girl… It just took me one epsisode to fall in love with this other world that I couldn’t understand but I felt like I could relate to… I always felt emotionally connected to the characters and whatever they were going through… It’s never left me.”
As TrekNews.net reported at the time, the backlash against Rihanna’s revelation was huge within the Star Trek fandom. Fans accused her of lying about her love for the franchise to make a buck and the phrase “fake geek girl” was thrown around left and right.
However, Rihanna’s passion for the show seems to be as authentic and deep as anyone else’s.
On the sitcom That 70s Show, Kunis’ character was notorious for her hate of the Star Wars franchise. She even said the words, “Michael, I told you. I don’t like space.”
Kunis’ opinion about space couldn’t be further from Jackie Burkhardt’s. In fact, Kunis is a huge Star Trek fan, with very strong opinions about which series was the best in the franchise.
In an interview with GQ in 2011, Kunis admitted that she didn’t get into Star Trek until she was in her “late teens.” However, once she started, she was obsessed. She watched all the shows and even started attending Star Trek conventions. She also revealed that she and Seth MacFarlane — who loves Star Trek so much he created an unauthorized spinoff called The Orville — often argue about which Trek series is the best.
In an interview with IGN about her film Jupiter Ascending in 2015, Kunis lost her mind when she found out that Marina Sirtis wanted her to play Deanna Troi if a TNG reboot ever happens. She then went on a rant about how TNG is her favorite of all the Star Trek shows, yet again revealing the depth of her Trek obsession.
In an appearance on the Conan O’Brien Show, Dawson said that watching Star Trek was how she bonded with her brother. She told O’Brien that they’d been watching the show together since they were kids. Even as adults, they still watched the show together.
Dawson divulged that sometimes when they’re angry, she and her brother fight in Klingon. When O’Brien was taken aback by the fact that she could speak Klingon, Dawson explained that she only knew the basics. She then gave O’Brien a mini tutorial on essential Klingon words, including an insult that couldn’t be explained on network television.
In an interview with Wired about how technology will change the future, former President Obama explained how his childhood love of Star Trek shaped his perspective of what the future could look like. Obama told them that he was a huge fan of The Original Series and that he watched the eipsodes over and over when they aired in syndication.
Obama said that he loved the show so much because “it was about values and human relationships.” He talked about how important it was for him to see a show that was about finding commonality among people and species and using that commonality to solve problems. He also emphasized that Star Trek taught people to see other people as “complicated” and work through “barriers” and “differences” to find common solutions.
Star Trek’s universal themes make it appealing to people of all kinds, not just the nerds who loved it when it first came out. These days, celebrities unabashedly love Trek, just like Trekkers all over the world. These are just a few, but there are many.