The official Star Trek store is now selling a piece of official Star Trek: Discovery merchandise that is being met with mixed feelings by fans.
Fans can now purchase an official “Make The Empire Glorious Again” hat, inspired by the speech given by Gabriel Lorca in the Star Trek: Discovery episode “What’s Past is Prologue.”
Here’s the item’s official description from the Star Trek store:
The “great for any fan of the show” part may not be quite true. “Make the Empire Glorious Again” is a pretty obvious play on President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” That this slogan appears on an officially licensed hat is another reference to that, since Trump made his slogan famous by emblazoning it on a bright red baseball cap.
The line of dialogue comes from a monologue that Lorca delivers to through the Terran Empire’s palace ship as he
“Hello, Phillipa. I’ve watched for years as you let alien races spill all over the borders and flourish in our backyard and had the gall to incite rebellion. Terrans need a leader who will preserve our way of life, our race. Try as you might, that’s clearly not you. Even Michael knew that. It was her great shame. Well, its indecorous of me to share pillow talk. To the rest, many of you know me, some of you served with me. To all, I make this offer. Renounce Georgiou. The Empire died in her hands, but you don’t have to, not today. Michael Burnham is not to be touched. She’s integral to our future plans, a future where we together will make the Empire glorious again.”
Lorca is played by Jason Isaacs, who is a vocal critic of President Trump on social media. Lorca worked closely with Ted Sullivan, who wrote the episode, to craft this speech. Given Isaacs’ own political views, it seems pretty obvious that the comparison between Lorca and Trump was meant to be damning.
For that reason, some fans on social media, on both sides of the political spectrum, have found the hat with this slogan to be in bad taste, accusing it of trivializing a serious matter. Others embrace it, either sincerely or ironically. It's a similar issue that surrounds Marvel’s Hydra merchandise, given all of the possible political baggage that Hydra’s association with Nazi Germany carries with it.
Ultimately, it's up to each fan to decide for themselves whether the hat is a fun piece of pop culture ephemera or an ill-conceived cash grab. And while you're at it, there’s a “Make the Empire Glorious Again” shirt as well.
Star Trek: Discovery begins filming its second season in April.