Star Trek: The Original Series star George Takei visited Detroit to appear at the Motor City Comic Con this weekend. Before heading to the convention, Takei stopped by the Henry Ford Museum to see Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, an exhibit boasting more than 100 items and interactive features to allow visitors to immerse themselves in the Star Trek universe. During the visit, Takei spoke to the Detroit Free Press about the role the fans have played in building the Star Trek legacy.
"I love the fans gave us this incredible longevity," Takei said. "Star Trek is now 53 years old and we owe that — certainly we owe a great deal to Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the series — but this longevity was created by our devoted fans, generation after generation after generation. And there's another new Star Trek series being planned, starring Patrick Stewart. So who we thank for this incredible longevity are the fans, the generations of fans. Bless those original fans that found us. There weren't enough of them because we were low-rated, but they kept proliferating like tribbles, and so we have this huge fan following that's given us this longevity. So I see these conventions as an opportunity for me personally to thank them for this undying support."
Speaking of Roddenberry, Takei went on to discuss the Star Trek creator's vision of the Enterprise as representative of Earth, which is why he cast the bridge crew to represent every continent. "The strength of the Starship lay in the diversity of the team coming together, working in concert," Takie said.
That attempt at inclusivity extended even to giving Takie's character a name. Takei recalls that Roddenberry didn't want the name to be associated with any specific Asian nation, so instead "he had a map of Asia pinned on the wall and he was gazing at it to see if he might get inspiration." Roddenberry eventually noticed the Sulu Sea.
In the past, Takei has praised Star Trek: Discovery for returning to Roddenberry's vision for Star Trek. "I like it," Takei said. "It's getting back to Gene Roddenberry's idea of infinite diversity in infinite combinations — and the use of sci-fi as a metaphor for current issues. With J.J. Abrams' (films), we got way off the tracks — great space operas, all that running through corridors, zipping through space. And I envied John Cho getting that skydive. But that was it — you didn't have that other dimension, the real throbbing heart of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek."
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