One of the major bits of technology introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation – and seen throughout the 24th century Trek shows – was replicators. These handy devices could make almost anything and they were so ubiquitous, they were even seen in crew quarters. While an interesting bit of sci-fi tech, Star Trek: TNG and DS9 writer/producer Ron Moore feels they were bad for the show. In a new interview with Bleeding Cool Moore stated:
Replicators are the worst thing ever. Destroys storytelling all the time. They mean there’s no value to anything. Nothing has value in the universe if you can just replicate everything, so all that goes away. Nothing is unique; if you break something, you can just make another one. If something breaks on the ship, it’s “Oh, no big deal, Geordi [LaForge] can just go down to engineering and make another doozywhatsit.” Or they go to a planet and that planet needed something: “Oh, hey, let’s make them what they need!” [The writers room] just hated it and tried to forget about it as much as possible.
While replicators weren’t standard in Starfleet until the 24rd century, they even showed up on the 22nd century show Star Trek: Enterprise when the NX-01 visited a mysterious alien repair facility. When confronted with a replicator the character of Trip Tucker echoed Moore’s point saying “if we had one of of these in engineering, we could make all the spare parts we needed.”
One of the reasons Discovery is in 23rd century?
This issue regarding how some writers and producers felt the technology of 24th century Star Trek was so advanced it hampered storytelling is nothing new. While most often seen making food, replicators also made clothes and parts and other objects, negating situations where story points could be written around limitations of what a crew could reasonably have brought along to the final frontier. Could this be one of the reasons why when it came time to make a new Star Trek series the decision was made to go back instead of forward? With Star Trek: Discovery set in the 23rd century – 10 years prior to the original Star Trek – the writers will not have to deal with replicators being around. So they can create a MacGuffin whenever they want.
See BleedingCool for more from Ronald D. Moore including discussion on his new Phillip K. Dick anthology series for Amazon.