In spite of Star Trek‘s long history of promoting diversity — as in, like, from the very, very beginning — its fandom is not immune to the kind of ugly racism that comes from the smallest of minds. The reactions to Star Trek: Discovery have sadly served as proof of the hatred among Trekkies. As the first series in the franchise led by a Black woman — Sonequa Martin-Green — and working harder than most series to give representation to women and the LGBTQ+ community, Discovery is often the target of racists and those who can’t stop themselves from criticizing it for being overly “woke.” Now one of the producers has opened up a bit about the hateful messages received from fans literally as soon as Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh stepped on screen in the premiere episode.
Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter posted the transcript and audio of its latest THR Drama Showrunner Roundtable. The producers present included Ben Stiller (Severance), Dan Fogelman (This Is Us), Peter Gould (Better Call Saul), Soo Hugh (Pachinko), Elizabeth Meriwether (The Dropout), and Jenny Lumet (The Man Who Fell to Earth). When the subject of extreme fan reactions came up, Lumet — who is also a producer on Star Trek: Discovery — spoke up about the racist backlash against Yeoh and Martin-Green. “In the premiere of Discovery, we had Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green on a planet walking around,” Lumet recalled. “The hate mail! ‘There are no Black people or Asian people in space!’ Yeah, I know. It’s tricky. ‘There’s the blue guy over there and a tentacle guy over there, but Michelle Yeoh? What the f–k is she doing there?'”
Sadly, this trend in Star Trek: Discovery has continued well past the premiere of the series, with most fans bemoaning the addition of any new characters who are women, people of color, and/or from the LGBTQ+ community. Thankfully, the cast and crew of the series have continued — to increasing success — to ignore the hate and to plow forward, regardless of the fans who suffer emotionally allergic reactions to the notion of not every single captain in Starfleet being William Shatner or Anson Mount.
Star Trek: Discovery isn’t the only science fiction franchise to suffer from this kind of senseless fan response recently. After the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi streamed on Disney+, actress Moses Ingram — who plays Third Sister Reva on the series — revealed she’d received hundreds of racist messages online, both in terms of comments and DMs. It got to the point where both Lucasfilm and Ewan McGregor publicly responded both their support for Ingram and their disgust for the hateful messages she was receiving.
While Star Trek: Discovery season 4 concluded in March, season 5 has already begun filming according to TrekMovie. There isn’t an official release date for the season, but with the kind of post-production work necessary for the series, it seems like late 2022 or early 2023 would be a good guess. The sooner, the better of course; so all the racists have something to hate-watch, and the rest of us get more great Trek.