Co-showrunner Aaron Harberts says there's an allegory at the core of Star Trek: Discovery. That allegory is very much rooted in reality.
“The allegory is that we really started working on the show in earnest around the time the election was happening," Harberts tells Entertainment Weekly. "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.”
Harberts also says that as Star Trek: Discovery progresses, so too will its allegory progress to reflect issues that have become relevant more recently.
“North Korea is in our thoughts as we finish the series," he says. "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?”
Star Trek series in the past have delved into social issues like racism and segregation as well as the international politics of the Cold War religious extremism. The political and social landscape may have changed in the years that Star Trek has been off the air, but Star Trek: Discovery seems to be eager to put the franchise right back into the conversation.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sept. 24.