Back in 1965, NBC told Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry his science-fiction TV show was “too cerebral” for television audiences to enjoy. And it looks like in 2016, our current incarnation of the heroic Captain Kirk agrees with that assessment. While making the interview rounds for Star Trek Beyond, Chris Pine said, “…you can’t make Star Trek cerebral in 2016. It just wouldn’t work in today’s marketplace.”

To be fair, these comments can be read as a defense against the perception that Star Trek Beyond is valuing fast-and-furious action over philosophical rumination. Pine went on to say that the recent Star Trek films have attempted to “hide” complex themes inside of bigger, louder narratives but that right now, doing anything more interesting or thoughtful is “tricky.”

Since the J.J. Abrams 2009 reboot of Star Trek, fans have debated what the thematic focus of this beloved sci-fi franchise ought to be. Should Star Trek be a quirky meditative exploration of how humanity might function in a distant future? Or, should it be a series of palatable and fun action-adventure stories which just happen to be set in space? With the new film coming on July 22nd, one thing is certain; Star Trek fans will always find some reason to be in pain. Because, maybe the debate about Star Trek’s essence is the thing that truly makes Star Trek, Star Trek. As Captain Kirk said in 1989’s universally panned Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, “I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!”