In the current era of “Star Trek,” the viewer is constantly challenged to pay attention to the very most minor details. The writers and creative minds behind the series are almost all die-hard Trekkies and slipping in references. Subtle hints to the audience are something that they love to do. Foreshadowing and allusion are frequent tools these writers and producers use.
“Star Trek: Lower Decks” is not among those shows which slip in reference to the old movie or beloved show. “Lower Decks” is so packed with references and Easter Eggs that watching each episode just once is nearly impossible. Many Trek fans watch once to get all the jokes and gags, then a second time to look for all the characters, gadgets, and situations which are out of place.
In the current season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” a few things that have happened are references to things that took place not too long ago but could have a considerable impact on the show’s future.
First, in “Anomaly,” which was Episode 2 of Season 4, fans heard Jean-Luc Picard’s name-dropped. This was about his synthetic body, which he took on in the final episode of his own show. Viewers were made aware that an artificial body, like Picard (Patrick Stewart), could help Gray Tal become a “corporal” person, which means they would have a physical body.
‘Choose To Live’
In the next episode, “Choose To Live,” Gray (Ian Alexander) got their new body and is able to interact as a normal person could. In Episode 6, “Stormy Weather,” Gray and the ship’s artificial intelligence, Zora (voiced by Annabelle Wallis), become friends and even play a game together.
Throughout these episodes, Zora becomes a more significant part of the crew and is eventually sworn in as a member.
As we pointed out, this is sort of ridiculous, as no one could stop an AI from doing whatever it wanted with the ship and crew. When previous synthetic life forms were part of Starfleet, most notably, Mr. Data (Brent Spiner), anyone could stop the android if they knew where his off switch was. Data could also be stunned and disabled. Not so with an AI which controls the environmental systems on the starship.
But, if Zora were extracted from the data banks on the Discovery and incorporated into an android body, like Gray or Picard, she could live the life she described in the “Star Trek: Short Treks” episode.
According to Trek boss Alex Kurtzman, “Short Treks” are side stories. He told Variety that they allow “fans to explore stand-alone stories when lacking the time to keep up with the long-running show.” On the “Short Treks” episode “Calypso,” fans met Aldis Hodge as Craft and Willis as Zora. According to the story, Zora found Craft drifting through space in an escape pod and nursed him back to health.
This was an incredible find for Zora, who held the Discovery in a position for a crew that she had not seen in 1,000 years. It is unclear when exactly this story takes place, and even Memory Alpha says that it happens in the “far future.”
They developed an intimate relationship, which included watching movies together, and ended in the two dancing. Craft stopped the dance before he and the holographic projection of Zora kissed. Then she asked him:
“Craft, on your world, if we were lovers, would you tell me your name, your true name?”
She also tried to persuade him to go further, saying that because she is an AI, it “didn’t mean anything.” He said she was a liar.
The episode ended with him leaving on a shuttlecraft on his way to Alcor IV and his wife and child. As the above quote proves, Zora wants to act out her emotional fantasies with other human beings and not stay cooped up in a hard drive somewhere.
And just to be safe, Showrunner Michelle Paradise confirmed that “Calypso” is part of Trek canon, and not some fun one-off story.
Wallis and ‘Star Trek’
Since Wallis has voiced Zora, it makes sense that she would portray an android version as well, which is precisely what Paul Bellamy did for Vision in the Marvel films. Bellamy was the voice of Tony Stark’s AI, Jarvis, years before Bellamy got to appear as the powerful robot on film.
Wallis could appear as Zora as a regular character now that Tilly (Mary Wiseman) is not on “Discovery,” or an android Zora could appear on a few episodes and leave the ship searching for her own adventure.
In a way, if Zora became a human-like android, it would be the opposite of what happened in “The Motion Picture,” where Illia and Decker merged with V’Ger. Illia evolved into an all-knowing machine, while Zora is an all-knowing machine that wants to experience humanity.
Evolving characters is something that Wallis is interested in, too.
“Women who are not always the hero of the story – there’s a bit of an anti-hero in them,” Wallis told The Glass Magazine. “I like the complex truth of women throughout history. And also, the modern woman and what we’ve evolved into. I’m fascinated by the human race – I think we’re in such an exciting age of evolution.”
Wallis is already involved with Trek as a voice actor, and behind the scenes, as she is dating Captain Kirk (Chris Pine).
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