In the latest episode of Star Trek Picard, a character talks about his efforts to prolong his own life in a way I won't spoil. He lets go of this idea, and in the message he leaves behind, he says "Evolution is not about preservation - it's about addition.“ He's talking about something specific to do with robotics/science, but the line jumped out to me.
I still have to rewatch the older episodes, but I'm pretty sure there was some discussion of older starships, and new components that were added, retrofitting them to be more up to date or improved. So with two mentions of this idea, I think we have at least one of the themes of this series.
These idea tie in to the approach the series is taking - plenty of older ”legacy characters“ are here, and written really well by the way, as well as several new characters with connections to those older characters. Also, the story itself in season three has roots in the previous Trek series, with new elements added in.
It's a contrast, at least in my opinion, to Star WARS, and the approach to that franchise at least during the main sequel trilogy. The Last Jedi had the line, ”Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.“ It was spoken in context between two characters, but also seemed to be one of the driving themes at work.
Even in the interviews leading up to the beginning of that trilogy, the creators were talking about ”clearing the decks“ of the older returning characters to make room for the new characters. The movies did play out that way, and leaving the past to move forward was a running theme, to some degree, in that trilogy.
The Star Trek line about ”Evolution is not preservation“ could be interpreted as saying ”we can't keep everything the same forever in we're going to move forward“. And saying ”it's about addition“ clearly means ”we add to what already exists to move forward.“
Now, I prefer the idea of ”Addition“ to the ”Killing the Past" idea.
My thoughts are that evolution (as in, creating new chapters in an existing franchise), is not about preservation - but it's also not about subtraction, either. We don't dismiss what came before - we honor it, and we add our own stuff to what came before.
Of course, ‘addition’ in terms of adapting, or adding sequels, spinoffs, and reboots can mean so many things. Adding bigger and bigger versions of the same threats as the original version - well, is that really adding something of value? It depends. These things can be challenging, no doubt about that!
“The Great Play Goes On,
And you can contribute a Verse,”
as Robin Williams quotes in Dead Poet's Society.
Anyway, some ‘Trek and ’Wars thoughts for the week.
Have a good one!
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Banes at 12:00AM, March 30, 2023
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