Star Trek Head Explains How Franchise's Message Resonates During Coronavirus Pandemic

The world is in a pandemic, and Star Trek head Alex Kurtzman sees the franchise's core message reflected in the world's response. Kurtzman spoke to Deadline about the Emmy-nominated shorts series Star Trek: Short Treks. During the discussion, he talked about how he and his team come with stories to tell in the short-form format. "I really am astounded by the work that Pixar has been able to do, really across the board, but their shorts are so powerful, and I always marvel at the fact that they can make you feel so much in so little time," Kurtzman says. "There's something about the world of animation that when it works, when all cylinders are firing, you are completely transported to another place in your mind, so much so that you actually have to settle back into reality when it's over, and I love the experience of being able to do that, in the context of what Star Trek does."

He talked about another of the shorts, the Star Trek: Picard lead-in "Children of Mars." In that story, he sees the message at the heart of Star Trek presented in a way that should resonate with the world today.

"So with, for example, 'Children of Mars,' which I wrote with Jenny Lumet and Kirsten Beyer, and was directed by Mark Pellington, we said, 'Let's do a silent film. Let's see how much story we can tell with no dialogue, and let's use this as a setup to a major storyline in Picard that would typically have felt like backstory,'" he says. "By allowing the event to be experienced through the eyes of children in a totally surprising way, where you don't actually realize what you're watching until you get to the very end, and you see this extraordinary connection that emerges from people who, up until that moment, had really been enemies, I think it's profoundly moving. But it also speaks to the core essence of what Star Trek is, which is about people overcoming their differences to come together, and recognizing that in the face of tragedy, and in the face of triumph, we really are all the same.

"Certainly, when you think about analogies to what we're experiencing now globally, with coronavirus, everyone's realizing that nobody is immune, and therefore, we're all in it together, and I think that's something that Star Trek has been saying for a really long time. It's been speaking to that very fact since its inception, and I think all of these shorts, in one way or another, look to capture the spirit of what Roddenberry was trying to express."

You can watch Star Trek: Short Treks for free for a limited time.