An interesting fan theory claims that one of the major characters in the Star Trek universe may not have been what he appeared. In fact, he wasn’t even alive at all. Here’s everything you need to know about this fascinating theory. If true, it would certainly have implications for not just past episodes, but for upcoming episodes of shows like Star Trek: Picard or Star Trek: Discovery. Beware, there are potential spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: TOS.
Fan Theory Says Secret Androids Are Hidden Throughout the Universe
In the video above, one Star Trek fan runs down a theory about the Star Trek societies that may have secret androids living among them in untold numbers.
The video, from the Star Trek Theory YouTube account, argues that the formation of the Romulan Zhat Vash order may have been tied to an ancient attempt to destroy synthetic life. For those who aren’t up to date on the events of Picard season one, the Zhat Vash was a secret Romulan order, comprised of Tal Shiar insiders. The Tal Shiar is the intelligence service for the Romulan people.
The broad strokes of this theory are simple. At some point, organic beings created synthetic life in the form of androids. Some of these androids eventually rebelled against their creators, believing they were superior and could bring order to the galaxy in a way that organics were incapable of, given the many distractions organic life is susceptible to.
Since androids in Star Trek can take nearly any form, the fan theory argues, some of the historical figures in the Trek universe could well have been androids in disguise as organic heroes. These secret androids could have been subtly controlling organic life, shaping their politics from the shadows for hundreds or thousands of years. However, by the time of Star Trek: Picard, “synthetics” have been banned by Starfleet.
This Fan Theory Incorporates ‘TOS’ Plot Points
Filming wrapped for the #StarTrek episode, "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" on this date in 1966. The title is based upon a nursery rhyme: "What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice, and everything nice, That's what little girls are made of." pic.twitter.com/LGodfXcxd7
— Silver Age Television 📺 (@SilverAgeTV) August 8, 2018
The fan theory interweaves both modern Trek lore, and some of the classic episodes from TOS. One TOS episode in particular that ties into this theory is What Are Little Girls Made Of? In that episode, the evil Dr. Korby has a plan to replace key members of the Federation, including Captain Kirk, with lifelike androids. By the end of the episode, Korby himself is confirmed to be an android, having uploaded his consciousness into an artificial body.
The episode also features another android character, Ruk, who informs the crew about the ancient, unavoidable conflict between the organic “Old Ones” and the androids that brought about the end of organic civilization on his world.
The fan theory extrapolates that, perhaps, other androids from this civilization left their homeworld, spreading to other planets in the galaxy in the hopes of spreading logic and order among illogical, organic beings. These synthetic androids can take any shape, so perhaps some of the great characters in Trek lore were secretly androids.
Was Surak an Android, or Organic?
Surak's ancient IDIC. Prop from the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "The Forge." The IDIC was designed by Bill Theiss and Gene Roddenberry, the symbolic union of two disparate forms, the circle and the triangle, to create something new and beautiful. pic.twitter.com/hrAdW363DJ
— Michael Okuda (@MikeOkuda) April 21, 2020
In the fan theory video, one possibility that’s suggested is that Surak himself may have been a synthetic android. Given this character’s importance in the history of Vulcan, that revelation would be huge.
Surak was the Vulcan who popularized logic among the Vulcans, and long-time fans of the series know that the Vulcans and Romulans were once the same people. Through the lens of this particular fan theory, the argument goes that the first Romulans were rebels fighting against a synthetic Surak, and left the planet to found Romulus…and the Zhat Vash. Romulans and Zhat Vash are known to avoid AI technology. Given that the Zhat Vash’s stated goal is to kill all synthetic life, it makes sense that the Romulans would need a reason from their past to have such strong feelings about androids.
While interesting, one part of the fan theory about Surak isn’t fully explained by the “secret android” theory. As noted on Star Trek’s official site, Surak had a katra, the Vulcan equivalent of a soul. This katra was eventually passed on to Jonathan Archer for a brief period of time, in the Enterprise episode “Awakening”. It’s not yet clear in the universe of Star Trek whether synthetic life forms have a soul or katra that can be shared in this way.
One thing that is known? Surak’s katric ark sold for over $5,000 at a Star Trek auction in 2006.