But it has cool special effects!

But it has cool special effects!

I read this article this morning and it made me both sad and disappointed:

Idris Elba In Early Talks for ‘Star Trek 3’ Villain

So Star Trek needs Khan-like villains now in every new film? Once, I remember Star Trek was about exploration, discovery, big ideas and the betterment of humanity, about the movement away from a world of scarcity and divisiveness into a world where each person is free to seek out her bliss in whichever way they see fit. Now it’s all about space battles and evil nemeses. This is why I have enjoyed films like Interstellar and books like Kim Stanley Robinson’s amazing 2312, which both explore what humanity might become without need for an arch-nemesis or evil mastermind. Can you imagine? No? Sorry, but that’s your fault. Except it’s not your fault, not really. It’s what you’ve been conditioned to think through years of pessimistic visions.

Some say science fiction is never about the future and always about the present. And in this case of Star Trek they are right. Under Roddenberry’s command, the Star Trek enterprise (see what I did there) was always about envisioning a positive humanity for us. With his passing, the show reverted to a Star Wars like laser-gunslinging adventure. Now every new film is about some evil mastermind, a la James Bond or Holmes’s Moriarty. It’s never about how humanity, in the centuries from now, overcomes our worst tendencies of violence and barbarity and explores the unknown. Starfleet is depicted less like an advanced university now and more like a military academy. Roddenberry was always aware of the fine line between the command structure of the ship he envisioned and one of a military vessel. But the Enterprise was primarily a vessel of exploration, not offense.

That has been dropped in favor of new villains. We are no longer exploring what’s out there, venturing into the deep unknown. Hollywood, because most of the producers have the imagination of a paper bag, can’t see beyond the next space battle. And so we are left stuck in the Us vs. Them mentality. Nothing against Idris Elba. He’s a fine actor. But I have to say that Star Trek is beginning to bore me.

Dear Hollywood, can you envision a positive future for humankind? I dare you.