The worlds of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” are supposed to be different. Trek, created to serve as a model of what humanity could be in the future, was initially based on science and what could be. Wars, on the other hand, was created by George Lucas to bring the adventure stories and serials of the 1940s and ’50s to life for a new audience.
Gene Roddenberry didn’t want his creation to be about one story or family. This is why he strictly prohibited the writers of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” from referencing “The Original Series.” Outside of Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) toddling down the corridors of the Enterprise with Mr. Data (Brent Spiner) in “Encounter at Farpoint,” there were just a handful of references to the William Shatner-era stories on “Next Generation.”
This stands in great contrast to “Star Wars,” where the entire story is wrapped around one family — the Skywalkers. The stories revolved around these core folks, starting with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), then branching into Darth Vader and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Even the prequels ensured viewers knew who the most important characters were — their last name was always Skywalker. While the sequels were a bit different, Luke did return in a different way that many would have expected; he was the centerpiece of the story.
Trek fans might scoff at this tactic. Their franchise was never tied to Kirk, Picard (Patrick Stewart), Sisko (Avery Brooks), or any of the other stars of the various series. The story was about humanity and how this race matured and found its space legs.
Mind Meld with Kirk
Or is it? According to one fascinating fan theory, there is one character who seems to appear in many different stories. This person plays a huge role in shaping many of “Star Trek’s” main protagonists and has been recast several times.
This character is Sarek. Initially, as he appeared in “The Original Series,” Sarek was played by actor Mark Lenard. Sarek was Spock’s full-blooded Vulcan father, who disapproved of his half-blooded son. Sarek appeared in TOS and returned in “The Animated Series” as well.
Lenard returned to the role for “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” where he mind-melded with Kirk. Sarek also played a part in “The Next Generation,” where he did the same thought exchange with Picard. At this point, Sarek was dying, and he shared his pain with Picard.
Mind Meld with Picard
Actor Jonathan Simpson played a younger Sarek, but his voice was still Lenard’s. Later, for “Star Trek (2009),” Sarek was recast for the reboot series. In those appearances, Sarek was played by the late Ben Cross. For his role on “Star Trek: Discovery,” Sarek was played by James Frain.
According to fans on r/startrek Reddit, Sarek held some of the most important secrets to the early Federation. That included the identity of his rogue son Sybok, the life and disappearance of his adopted daughter Michael Burnham, and the existence of the lost technology aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. While some of the fans admit that memories could be wiped by groups like Section 31, when a Vulcan shares his “Katra,” or living spirit, with another being, they might not be able to hide.
Fan Rhediix commented that “a simple mind-meld does not transfer all the information in their minds. Plus, Picard was being used as a repository for Sarek’s emotional turmoil. He was starting his decline. It’s entirely possible if the information had transferred to Picard, he’d have brushed it away as a construct or figment of Sarek’s mind.”
Spock melds with McCoy
Others also pointed out that even if Sarek was in declining health when he melded with Picard, he was fine when he merged with Kirk in “Star Trek III.” That could mean Kirk would have been aware of Burnham and possibly Sybok. Rhediix agreed but reasoned that Vulcans must be operating at a different level than humans.
“All of that is possible, depending upon just what exactly is shared during a mind meld,” said Rhediix. “Vulcans may have a way of protecting certain memories. And since humans aren’t telepathic, the information transferred would be conducted by the Vulcan. McCoy totally knows since he had Spock’s Katra. He knows as much as Spock does. I’m convinced of that.”
Fans also reasoned that since Picard was assimilated into the Borg, the collective would have access to all memories, including Sarek’s. Logically, then Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) would also know all of Picard’s secrets.
Could the writers of “Star Trek” ever weave all of this together? Perhaps, but any writer’s room who tried to map who knows what, thanks to Sarek and the Borg, would need a whiteboard unlike any constructed.
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