Star Trek: Picard Showrunner Explains Why the Franchise Swears Now

Some Star Trek fans were taken aback by the colorful language in the franchise since it moved into the world of streaming television. The most recent example comes from Star Trek: Picard. In the show’s second episode, the commander-in-chief of Starfleet calls Jean-Luc Picard out on his “sheer f---ing hubris.” Picard showrunner Michael Chabon took to Instagram to answer questions that have come up about the show over its first three episodes. That included addressing the swearing issue. His reply came in two parts. First the philosophical, and then something that’s more practical.

“Listen. No human society will be perfect, because no human will ever be perfect,” Chabon says. “The most we can do -- and as Star Trek ever reminds us, must do -- is aspire to perfection, and work to make it so. Norkon forden perfectunun, as a wise Yang once said. Until that impossible day, s--t is going to continue to happen. And when it does, humans are going to want to swear.

“The absence of swear words in Star Trek was never a matter of Federation principle, it was a matter of FCC rules. Writers of previous eras had no choice. They were censored. Searing is one of humanity’s most ancient, sensible, and reliable consolations. Personally I would consider any society that discouraged, banned or abandoned the use of curse words to be a f---ing dystopia.”

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Season 1 Showrunner Michael Chabon Answers Some Fan FAQs about Star Trek: Picard

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This isn’t the first time that a swear has come up in Star Trek. There’s been some mild cursing in the films, but the first television F-bomb in the franchise’s history came in Star Trek: Discovery from an overly-excited Syliva Tilly. In 2018, ComicBook.com spoke to Mary Wiseman, who plays Tilly, and asked her if she had expected to become the franchise’s favorite potty-mouth when she signed on for the role.

“No, but it feels pretty appropriate,” Tilly said. “I have a bit of a potty mouth myself, so I think it makes a pretty natural extension of my regular life. I'm just honest. I think it's really sweet that this happy, unassuming, super nervous, wants to do everything right kind of person is the biggest curser on the show, and it's not like Harry Mudd or something. It's very satisfying to me.”

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How do you feel about the swearing in Star Trek? Let us know in the comments. New episodes of Star Trek: Picard become available to stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.

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