Showrunner Talks About How ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Will Deal With Issues Of Isolationism And Race

The first season of the upcoming series Star Trek: Discovery is set against the backdrop of a war with the Klingon Empire. At San Diego Comic-Con Discovery showrunner Aaaron Harberts talked to TrekMovie about how the Federation conflict with the Klingons was no longer an allegory for the Cold War conflicts with Soviet Union, but were more representing “different factions in the United States.”

Today Harberts gets more explicit, talking to Entertainment Weekly:

“The allegory is that we really started working on the show in earnest around the time the election was happening. The Klingons are going to help us really look at certain sides of ourselves and our country. Isolationism is a big theme. Racial purity is a big theme. The Klingons are not the enemy, but they do have a different view on things. It raises big questions: Should we let people in? Do we want to change? There’s also the question of just because you reach your hand out to someone, do they have to take it? Sometimes, they don’t want to take it. It’s been interesting to see how the times have become more of a mirror than we even thought they were going to be.”

Mary Chieffo as L’Rell in Star Trek: Discovery

However, even though the show began with using the Klingon/Federation conflict to reflect political debates within the U.S., Harberts explains that world events created new allegorical opportunities:

“North Korea is in our thoughts as we finish the series. What began as a commentary on our own divided nation — in terms of Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters — has blown out to North Korea and how we’re right on the brink. [The U.S. is] actually right at the place where Starfleet finds itself in episode one and we couldn’t have anticipated that happening. But how do you end conflict when both sides have such strong opinions?”

Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery


Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US.  In Canada Star Trek: Discovery will premiere  on Bell Media’s CTV and the Space Channel on the same night. Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25 to countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.

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