Star Trek Writer Explains Why Captain Picard Is the Hero We Need Right Now

Michael Chabon is helping to bring Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard back to the Star Trek universe. According to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Picard is the hero we need right now.

Chabon spoke to CNET about “Calypso,” his episode of Star Trek: Short Treks which debuts Thursday night on CBS All Access. Chabon is also one of the writers working on the new Picard series starring Patrick Stewart.

In speaking to CNET, Chabon discussed how he believes there are certain important values expressed in Star Trek that have faded from our public consciousness.

“Now that I'm working on the show and now that I'm part of Star Trek, I feel like it's my responsibility to make sure that the current model is true to the ideals of the original show, the ideas of tolerance and egalitarianism,” Chabon says. “Obviously, you look at the way women are represented on The Original Series, and that show fell far short of its stated ideals of egalitarianism, although at least they did have women in some positions of responsibility. But I think we have this responsibility to continue to articulate a hopeful, positive vision of the future. I think if anything that's more important now than it was when The Original Series came out. It was really important then, and it had a profound impact, socially, with Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise, and this message that we can think our way out of our most primitive violent instincts.

“To me, dystopia has lost its bite,” Chabon continued. “A, we're living in it, and B, it's such a complete crushing series of cliches at this point. The tropes have all been worked and reworked so many times. There was a period where a positive, optimistic, techno-future where mankind learns to live in harmony and goes out into the stars just to discover and not to conquer, that was an overworked trope. But that is no longer the case. A positive vision of the future articulated through principles of tolerance and egalitarianism and optimism and the quest for scientific knowledge, to me that feels fresh nowadays.”

And that brings Chabon to the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

“Captain Picard is the hero we need right now,” Chabon says. “He exemplifies in some ways even more than James Kirk -- and I'm not gonna get into the Kirk vs Picard argument because I love Captain Kirk, he was my first captain -- but Picard is even more of an exemplar of everything that is best about Star Trek's vision for the future.

“... And he wasn't such a hound dog as Captain Kirk.”

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The new CBS All Access Picard series is currently in pre-production and is expected to begin filming in early 2019.