Has ‘Star Trek’ Gotten Too Political?

Stacey Abrams and Anson Mount

Paramount Stacey Abrams and Anson Mount

It’s never a good thing to become embroiled in the “Culture Wars” in the United States. It seems that things never go well for anyone when it comes to this one way or another. As many have pointed out, America’s current state of affairs is one of division. The sides are entrenched with conservative against the liberal — and vice versa — in a struggle for the nation’s soul.

And unfortunately, it seems that “Star Trek” has now been pulled into a battle where no one wins. 

Sadly, since this struggle has gotten so bitter, there are lists of companies that fans of either political side are supposed to shop and support. Republicans, according to the Blue State Conservative, are instructed to spend their money at Hobby Lobby, Cracker Barrel, and with MyPillow. Meanwhile, Democrats receive more political donations than their counterparts from the employees of big tech companies, like Adobe, Google, and Apple, according to CNBC

While there are lists of where partisan dollars should be spent, there is no doubt about where conservatives get their TV news — Fox News. According to Sarah Shevenock of the Morning Consult, 69% of Republicans in the United States watch Fox News. This is important because a recent article by commentator David Marcus on the Fox News website recently declared that the current writers of Trek have taken the show “where it’s never gone before — woke politics.”

Fox News on ‘Star Trek’

“The first blatant example of electioneering, on ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ was a cameo by current and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as none other than the President of Federation of Planets,” wrote Marcus. 

Marcus also noted that in the premiere episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” during the lecture of Captain Pike (Anson Mount) near the end of the story, footage from the January 6th Insurrection at the Capitol Building was used. He admitted that the “Star Trek” of the 1960s and ’80s touched on some political issues, like using a diverse cast and saving whales.

“All of that should live long and prosper, but these two recent incidents go a good deal farther,” wrote Marcus. “This isn’t issue advocacy; it’s pure partisan politics.”

Director and producer of “Discovery,” Olatunde Osunsanmi, told TV Line that Abrams made it onto the show because she was a huge fan and knew Wilson Cruz (Dr. Culber). 

“It turned out that she is a legit fan, quoting dialogue from episodes,” said Osunsanmi. “She came on set, and everybody’s head exploded because 90 percent of the crew didn’t know she was coming.”

Some Fans Disagree

Inverse’s Ryan Britt pushed back at the accusations of Marcus. Britt, who is also a huge Trek fan (and has a new book on the subject coming out), disagreed.

“Marcus draws conclusions that I don’t agree with at all, and his ontology runs counter to the facts of how ‘Star Trek’ was created and written over nearly six decades,” Britt wrote

Trek fan and Twitter user “Captain’s Log” posted that they had read the Fox News article and that “they’re mad that ‘Strange New Worlds’ used footage of the capitol riots to demonstrate conflict that could lead to a greater conflict. They missed the point of the message.”

Others defended Trek by pointing out that the appearance of social issues are nothing new in “Star Trek.” One fan noted that the classic episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” was all about two sides who were completely against each other. That episode was meant to mirror the racial struggles in the U.S. during the 1960s.

‘Trek’ Writer Responds

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Robert Hewitt Wolfe, known to Trek fans for his time as a writer on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” did not have nice things to say about the Fox News article. He commented on Twitter that Marcus was a “moron.” 

“Star Trek” star George Takei, known for his left-leaning politics, commented on the article. Takei asked, “who wants to tell him?” about the article’s headline. Takei implied that “Star Trek” has always been “woke.” 

In an essay from 2020, writer Keith Wilson made a fair point about those upset with how “Star Trek” plots and stories are headed.

“I’m of the opinion that when people say ‘Star Trek’ has gotten too political they’re talking about seeing viewpoints they don’t agree with,” wrote Wilson. “They were okay with things that didn’t go too far from their concepts of cultural norms. Once an episode made them confront their own bias, the show became too political.”

“No one likes to see themselves as the bad guy,” Wilson said.

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