When tensions between the Federation and the Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery erupts into war, the ideology of the Klingons — and even some humans in the Starfleet — might look a lot like Trump’s America.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly published Thursday, Star Trek: Discovery showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg spoke about how the 2016 presidential election influenced their writing of the new sci-fi series. Specifically, the real-life “times have become more of a mirror” reflecting the root perspectives fueling the conflict in Discovery.

“The Klingons are going to help us really look at certain sides of ourselves and our country,” explained Harberts. “Isolationism is a big theme. Racial purity is a big theme. The Klingons are not the enemy, but they do have a different view on things.” In this way, the conflict at the heart of Discovery will be informed by the political divide in the real world.

The ultimate lesson might be that it’s more important to learn from diverse opinions than take up arms against those that think differently from you.

This is the future that conservatives want.
This is the future that conservatives want.

According to Harberts, the characters in Discovery might come to ask themselves the same questions people in the real world ask about the current political climate: “Should we let people in? Do we want to change? There’s also the question of just because you reach your hand out to someone, do they have to take it? Sometimes, they don’t want to take it.”

Harberts said, “The thing about the war is it takes Starfleet and the Federation and forces them to examine their ideas and ethical rules of conflict and conduct.” Harberts says.

Characters might come to questions everything they believe in, but Berg adds that the dire conflict “ultimately brings out the best in our Starfleet officers.”

For Harberts, this demarcation from traditional Trek marks an exciting new era for the franchise: “It provides a backdrop to how we want to be as a society and that analysis and self-reflection is new for Trek. They’ve done it in certain episodes in the past, but this is a true journey for the institution in itself.”

Star Trek has long used its sci-fi setting to tackle real-world issues. As such, each series or movie tends to reflect the sociopolitical climate of its time. Arguably nothing in the past year has defined American culture more than the election of President Donald Trump, so it only makes sense that a sci-fi series set in a space age war over ideologies would reflect America today.

But will viewers like what they see? We’ll have to wait to find out.


Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24, 2017 on CBS before moving exclusively to the CBS All Access streaming platform.