Simon Pegg On How Star Trek Beyond Reflects Modern Politics

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Mar 30, 2008
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San Diego Comic-Con 2016 doesn’t get underway until tomorrow, but the cast of Star Trek Beyond are kicking it off in style with the premiere of the movie at the Embarcadero Marina behind the convention center. The movie is set for general release in just a couple of days, but fans eagerly gathered to see it on the big screen in the perfect atmosphere.

Directed by Justin Lin (Fast and Furious), Star Trek Beyond continues the new adventures of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the USS Enterprise as they pursue their five-year mission to explore new worlds. Of course, with new worlds come new dangers, and it isn’t long before the team find themselves stranded and forced to face off against a new enemy: Krall (Idris Elba), who fiercely objects to the Enterprises mission and warns that the frontier will “push back.”

Screen Rant was in attendance at the premiere, and spoke to Star Trek Beyond‘s co-writer Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty in the movie) about his third outing in the rebooted Star Trek universe. Since science fiction tends to reflect the period that it’s written in, we asked how Star Trek Beyond is a product of its time. According to Pegg,the film’s story is defined by warring ideas of unity and separatism:

“We wanted to address the idea of collectivism and the importance of unity – on a macro scale and micro scale: the idea of the Federation and the idea of the crew as a collective – and Krall being a force which thinks that is not the right way to go. It’s about separatism, and about conflict, and about maintaining war, because that’s where heroes are born, heroes aren’t born in peace time.

“And that’s a very current idea, you know, we have people who are constantly trying to drag our society into conflict. We have people who want to drag us apart, you know, we’ve just been through that back at home with Brexit. You have Trump talking about building walls between countries. It’s like, this is madness, we should be coming together,the most important thing is that we put aside our differences and find a way to work together. That’s what this film is about.”

Star Trek Beyond has taken one bold step that caused quite a stir, revealing that John Cho’s version of Sulu is gay. With all the talk of politics, we asked Pegg if he feels a sense of social responsibility when writing a movie that will reach such a massive worldwide audience.

“I feel a responsibility to Star Trek. Star Trek has always been social commentary. It’s always used science fiction as a metaphor to reflect on current preoccupations and fears. And so, just out of deference to Star Trek, it’s important to have something in there to chew on. Every piece of art, if we can be that lofty, is a reflection of where it comes from, and you’ll see social commentary, even if it’s not intended, in everything. Art is our deepest thoughts coming out and being expressed in different ways. So it’s almost inevitable that it happens. For us, it was something that we wanted to do on purpose.”

According to the reviews so far, it seems that Star Trek Beyond will serve as another worthy addition to the franchise’s collection – though of course we’re still waiting on the verdict from fans.
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