"Star Trek: Discovery" creators: Our Klingons are secretly Trumpsters

The producers behind "Star Trek: Discovery" explain how the Klingon battle cry is basically "MAGA"

Published September 22, 2017 12:29PM (EDT)

Mary Chieffo and Chris Obi in "Star Trek: Discovery" (CBS/Jan Thijs)
Mary Chieffo and Chris Obi in "Star Trek: Discovery" (CBS/Jan Thijs)

The co-executive producer of the new series "Star Trek: Discovery" has told Rolling Stone that President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign was "front and center in our minds" as they developed it — so much so that the rallying cry of the show's villains is specifically patterned after the Trumpster credo "Make America Great Again"

"We felt like it would be interesting to really look at what's going on in the United States," Aaron Harberts told Rolling Stone, noting that the series' primary villains — an extremist Klingon sect — scream "Remain Klingon," something deliberately reminiscent of "Make America Great Again."

As Harberts put it, "It's a call to isolationism. It's about racial purity, and it's about wanting to take care of yourself. And if anybody is reaching a hand out to help you, it's about smacking it away . . . That was pretty provocative for us, and it wasn't necessarily something that we wanted to completely lean into. But it was happening. We were hearing the stories."

"Discovery" star Jason Isaacs added "We're living in monstrous times, let's not dance around it. Hideous, divisive times, when all sorts of stuff we thought was long buried is coming to the surface, and being encouraged by the most powerful people on the planet. We're living in disgusting times."

He continued, "I don't think science fiction can solve any of these things. But we are holding up an optimistic vision of what the world could be – a better vision of ourselves."

It's actually fairly common for "Star Trek" properties to tackle their subjects with distinctly progressive stances. Ever since the original series took to the airwaves in 1966, the series has been notable for presenting an optimistic view of the future, one that emphasizes economic equality, racial diversity and an overall ethos that values science and mutual respect over superstition and intolerance.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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