[Opinion] - Rebooting Star Trek: The Next Generation


There was a time when to say I was a Star Trek fan would have been a hyperbolic understatement. I was obsessed, as is my tendency. I fell into it 100%, learned every detail, watched every episode, subscribed to the magazine, hated Voyager. I was a Trekker through and through (enough to know that I was a Trekker, who appreciated the show, as compared to a Trekkie, who are the sort of people who put transporters in their dental offices). And it was all because of The Next Generation. The Original Series was never really my bag. I loved the ever loving hell out of the films, which I still think are a better expression of the ideas of the original series then the series. But NextGen was my series.

And then, time wore on, and Enterprise was cancelled, and things waned, as they do. My obsession became a respectful interest, briefly reignited by J.J. Abrams in 2009, but it never returned to the way it was. But, it's all still in my noodle somewhere. I can still recite dates, plot descriptions, lines and character biographies at a moment's notice, and have been told that when I stand, I give my waistcoats the Picard Manoeuvre (the short tug Stewart would give on his uniform every time he stood, because they would ride up while he sat).

Jill Pantozzi, over at The Mary Sue, recently posted her suggestions for a recast of the Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the style of J.J. Abrams' 'reboot' (gods, how I loathe that word) of Star Trek. Her ideas are dead on, for the most part, especially for Riker and Picard. My only real disagreement is Bryce Dallas Howard as Dr. Crusher, if only because I have never seen Howard impress me with any of her roles. She seems like a living example of getting by on a name, and not on talent (she could form a club with Liv Tyler). So I would go with someone else. I would also make one addition: Stana Katic as Ro Laren.


Pantozzi was inspired by the image of Tom Hiddleston as Data, as seen above, and took it from there. I, in turn was inspired by her list, to wonder what an Abrams-style TNG reboot might look like, assuming that it takes place in the same timeline as the Chris Pine/Kirk universe.

And so, hit the jump to give it a read.

Star Trek: Armistice

2364. After 25 years, the Federation is at peace. The Klingon War has ended in compromise, the Klingons retreat into their own space in embarrassment. Suddenly Starfleet, which has been combat focused for so long, finds itself without an enemy. The captains of old, the fighters and the bold, are beginning to give away to a new generation of captain: the diplomat.

Without warning, the Bajorian people rise up against the Cardassian regime that has held power for nearly two centuries. Civil war threatens to tear the sector in half. The Federation, while not officially partners with either the Bajorians or the Cardassians, wishes too see both freedom and democracy spread, but also need to continue their trading relationship with the Cardassians. They send the Enterprise-D into the heart of the conflict to help negotiate a peace.

Since changes in the timeline have advanced
technology, the D would look much more like the E, seen here.
Picard/Crusher
Having been the captain of the Enterprise for several years, Jean-Luc Picard is one of the most decorated officers in the fleet, known for his stoic nature and tendency towards measured, passive resolutions to conflict. However, he was recently reprimanded for giving orders that lead to the deaths of thirteen crew members, including his first officer, Jack Crusher. The guilt over this incident has been eating away at Picard, compounded by the fact that Crusher's widow, Beverley, remains on board the Enterprise as chief medical officer. Before Jack's death, Picard and Beverley were engaged in a long standing affair. Jack's young son, Wesley,  makes matters all the more difficult, since there is a chance that Wesley is actually Picard's.
Picard's almost Vulcan-like lack of emotions makes him seem cold, but to the few he allows close to him. By taking his relationship with Beverley from unconsummated to adulterous, it give Picard another layer of guilt and doubt. So much so, that even the sight of Wesley fills him with rage. But the heart of Picard, that he is more inclined to sit and talk then throw a punch, remains in tact, just as Kirk's tendancy to rush in where angels fear to tred, was retained.

Riker/Worf/Troi
William Riker is a war hero, and newly assigned first officer of the Enterprise. Earning a reputation as a natural leader during the war, he has many fans in the admiralty who still believe that ships still need a 'Kirk in the hot seat', and wish to replace Picard very soon. Riker's appearance on the ship is distracted by the presence of two figures from his past. The first, the fully Betazoid councillor Deanna Troi, who left him years ago, when he enlisted in Starfleet. The other, his former opposite number in the Klingon military, Commander Worf, who holds a position on the Enterprise as part of an officer exchange program that was part of the peace treaty signed at the end of the war. Riker and Worf met several times in battle, and hate each other for what they did during the war.
The rivalry between Riker and Worf, as they are essentially the same person from different worlds, would be an emotional and evolving relationship that could arc through the film. I see their relationship being like Legolas and Gimli from Lord of the Rings: they start off hating one another, but once they prove they have each other's back in battle, they have a kind of mutual respect/competition thing going on.

I never understood Roddenberry's obsession with things being half-human. Seems a little creepy to me, not to mention biologically impractical. So, Troi has been made a full Betazoid, and Worf's adopted human parents have been scrapped in favour of streamlining characters, and allowing Worf to be at the centre of some cultural racism and mistrust. He was a warrior, now he's being forced to work with the people he's been fighting for years.

Data/La Forge/Yar
The most successful creation of robotics expert Dr. Noonian Soong, who was working with Starfleet to put automated crews on starships, Data's positronic brain allowed him to think like a human, and his synthetic skin allowed him to look, and age, like a human. Soong's assistant, Geordie La Forge, an expert in positronic neural nets, is the closest thing Data has to a friend. So, when Soong dies suddenly, both men are left without a clear path. They opt to join the Enterprise, to try to help Data broaden his horizons. Though he cannot feel emotions, Data is certainly susceptible to their influences, especially after meeting security chief Tasha Yar. When La Forge bonds with the ship's Chief Engineer, Miles O'Brian, it strains their relationship as well.
Data was always played up as Pinocchio, but I see him more like Edward Scissorhands. He was promised to be 'real', but his creator dies before finishing him, leaving him suspended between worlds. Instead of being completely emotionless, I see his emotion chip as being something that evolves with each interaction. So, the first time he feels something, he feels it intensely. Each time after, his reactions become less intense. His father intended to introduce stimuli slowly, but dies before he could. Data's flirtation with Yar would call back to the brief connection they had on the series before she was killed off. His and La Forge's friendship was probably the strongest on the series, and I wanted to preserve that. People forget that La Forge started out as the helmsmen (the joke being that a blind man was flying the ship) before moving into the engine room. I avoid all that and make him a robotics expert. He wouldn't wear the visor, instead he would use bionic implants like he did in the later films, which he designed himself.

Q
Appearing only to Picard, Q would accuse humanity of savagery under the guise of civility, and that if they wish to survive in the galaxy, they have to embrace their true nature. Picard is convinced that Q is a hallucination brought on by his guilt. Q uses the Bajorian conflict as an opportunity to judge humanity, via Picard, to see if they are worthy of continuing on their "trek through the stars."
Q's role, other then comedic relief, would essentially fill the same role as The Operative in Serenity: an antagonist when he's needed, but more a force to push Picard into moving past his guilt and self doubt, and accepting his flaws as part of himself (and through him, humanity as a whole). Plus, because Q can appear as anything, and is aware of all possible timelines, it could open up the possible cameo of John De Lancie and Patrick Stewart, through footage from the series, for a brief moment.

The Cardassians/Bajorians

After two hundred years, the Bajorians have had enough. They rise up against their Cardassian masters, whom they outnumber 5 to 1, steal their ships, take control of the food, and basically freeze the Cardassian's empire. Believing that the Federation will side with the Cardassians, the Bajorians attack the Enterprise in Cardassian vessels, convinced the Federation will side with the Bajorians afterwards. As they become more desperate, they resort to terrorism to try to sway their influence.
The central theme to this whole idea is that of true nature. Are humans no better then Klingons, but unwilling to admit it to themselves? Does being artificial make you any less human? Do our actions make us the people we are, or are the people we are lead to us taking certain actions? Are we free, or do we serve? The Bajorians do the work, make the equipment, grow the food, and yet it is called Cardassian. What must happen for it to be called Bajorian?

The recent middle eastern uprising are my obvious inspiration, and that can lead to themes on terrorism, identity, oppression, along with the character themes of grief, adversity and revenge. And of course, at the very end, we need a hook, apparently, so the film would end on Q giving Picard a warning that humanity needs to prepare, as there are worse things in space then just Klingons.

Which would, in turn, lead to Star Trek: Resistance. And this time, it really would be futile...

Via The Mary Sue, for the inspiration.
Share on Google Plus

About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

2 comments :

  1. No more reboots. Stop pissing on our childhoods. Stop pissing on the people who spent billions on merchandising for this great franchise. We are the most loyal and obsessive fans in the world.... to purposely ignore us and cater to the younger fickle crowd who'll go home and forget all about it, is reckless and poor business.

    Ya got a goldmine here if you'll just make something Trek fans will actually like. No more friggin reboots. Ya ruined TOS... and that was bad enough but don't fuck with my TNG!!!

    Don't mean to shoot the messenger. Just venting. hehe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree with you. All of this above was my reaction to the Mary Sue "recasting" Next Gen, which I personally feel is unnecessary and abhorrent. I'd much rather see something original developed, that takes place within the established universe. Like Bryan Fuller's "U.S.S. Reliant" idea. Takes place within the TOS timeframe, but is just a parallel set of adventures, without having to reboot anything.

      Delete