With the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes ongoing and no clear signs of forward movement, a group of Star Trek actors are planning a special picketing event as “counterprogramming” to Star Trek Day. Details of the day are below, along with our complete interview with John Billingsley, Jonathan Del Arco, and Natalia Castellanos.
Trek celebs urge fans to join the picket lines in LA and New York
In a letter sent out to supporters and potential participants, actors John Billingsley (Dr. Phox, Enterprise), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Picard), Natalia Castellanos, and Michelle Hurd (Raffi, Star Trek: Picard) have asked that “the creatives behind Star Trek—the writers, the actors, the craftspeople and the crew members gather together outside the gates of Paramount” on Star Trek Day, September 8, “to remind the executives who claim to ‘own’ this franchise that Star Trek’s values are anti-exploitative, and rooted in a deep belief that EVERYBODY has a role to play in the protection of our shared ecosystem.”
From the letter:
On September 8th 2023 Paramount once again will celebrate “Star Trek Day,” a day intended to pay homage to Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a future, a future where everyone is treated with respect and corporate greed is a thing of the past.
Sadly, though, the studios and the AMPTP are failing to live up to Gene’s vision.
The group requests that anyone “who has ever worked on a Trek production, in any capacity, in front of or behind the camera, come out and picket.”
There are also welcoming fans who would like to join them in solidarity. Adding fans to the mix came up when Jonathan Del Arco and John Billingsley were on the picket line together and found themselves talking about how they’d helped organize the Star Trek picket that happened in May, when writers and actors from Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds, Lower Decks, and Prodigy united to show their support of the WGA strike.
— Bill Wolkoff (@flying_lobster) May 20, 2023
In an interview (now released as a supplemental All Access Star Trek podcast), Del Arco told TrekMovie what happened next:
John and I were on the picket line together. And we were like, We should do this for the actors, right? Yes. And then we’re like, we should invite the fans because no one’s ever thought of doing that before and the fans are this huge part of Star Trek. Fans are what created Star Trek, as far as I’m concerned, what saved Star Trek in the 1960s. So why not include the fans who have been so supportive on phone calls, on texts, on Instagram, saying “What can we do to support you?”
Billingsley told TrekMovie why it was so important to do this event on September 8:
We wanted to do it on [Star Trek] Day, which is something that Paramount has celebrated in past years. And it’s brought a large community of folks together, to essentially say, look at the wonderful values that we all support the ecosystem, it seems to us that what is happening right now is actually running counter to Star Trek values. And the ecosystem is really about we as actors and writers and designers and craftspeople coming together to say, this wonderful universe is something that you probably associate with us, not with the corporation.
“We’ve called it United We Trek,” says Castellanos. “That is what our picket day is. We’re all going to trek together at the Paramount gates united as one.”
Listen to the full interview with John Billingsley, Natalia Castellanos, and Jonathan Del Arco
Our full interview with John Billingsley, Jonathan Del Arco, and Natalia Castellanos delves into the big issues around the SAG-AFTRA strike and why taking action is so important.
Where and when to join the picket lines
For those in Los Angeles:
And for New York:
If you plan to join them, bring sunscreen, water, and comfortable shoes—you will be walking with picketers the entire time. (John Billingsley also recommends you “wear a nice hat.”) They suggest you take public transportation or car services to get you there, as parking will be at a premium at both locations, and ask you to avoid wearing Star Trek-themed clothing.
When you arrive, check in with either SAG or the WGA station even if you’re not a member. Billingsley added,
Bring a homemade sign if you want to. You’ll have to have it approved by a SAG or WGA captain. We ask you not to use the name of the show or any individual character on any show. We’ll have SAG and WGA signs hopefully available for everybody, but they may be at a premium. And stay for as long as you want between 10 to 12. We’ll hopefully have a big group picture at the end-ish.
Fans who can’t be there can still help
If you can’t make it but still want to support the unions, the group respectfully encourages donations to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation to help striking worker and their families at https://sagaftra.foundation/. You can also spread the word on social media and elsewhere using the graphics above, and some fans are writing letters to Paramount and the AMPTP in hopes of making their disappointment clear.
TrekMovie will monitor events with the potential WGA strike as they happen and report on any updates.