Star Trek fans are known to be an outspoken bunch. If we don’t like something, we’re generally going to let our feelings be known, especially if we think it might have an impact on whether or not the situation gets rectified. Alex Kurtzman, the executive producer of Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Short Treks, and Star Trek: Picard, is no stranger to criticism from the fans, and maybe surprisingly, he considers fan feedback an important part of the process. Even though it might be difficult to take in every now and again.
Kurtzman said he understands that Star Trek fans are what has kept the franchise Trek alive for so long and because of that, he believes that Gene Roddenberry and the fans own Star Trek.
"At the same time, what I came to understand about Star Trek is that the fans of Star Trek have kept Star Trek alive for so long. It would have been canceled, and even after it was canceled, they kept it alive in syndication. And it always comes back to the fans, because I think the only two entities that really own Star Trek are Gene Roddenberry and the fans. The rest of us are just carrying it for a while."
And as long as fans like us exist, there will always be disagreement about the writing, which show is the best, which character is the best, which plot didn’t work, and the list continues. There will never be a time when 100% of the fans agree 100%. And Kurtzman says there’s a “real democratic quality to that.”
We’re invested because we love Star Trek. If we didn’t care, the franchise would have a whole lot more problems than just who prefers the Original Series to The Next Generation. Kurtzman believes that “listening to what people are reacting to is so important to understanding where to go with it.”
While we’re certainly not writers for the series and we don’t know all of the ins and outs of creating and writing a show, we have been fans for a very long time. So opinions do have value. Of course, there’s no way that producers can make us all happy. I’m not so sure I feel like we own a part of Star Trek, but I do think it’s important that producers and writers listen to what we’re saying, especially if a lot of us are saying the same thing. Fortunately, Kurtzman feels the same way.
"And you can separate the criticism that’s just ‘I hate everything,’ from ‘Actually that person had really valid points about why something didn’t quite work for them.’ And that’s something to keep in mind for the next time we do something else in the world of Star Trek. So I see it as a learning tool. It hurts, and at the same time, it’s necessary."
Most of us are lifelong fans of this franchise, and we’re going to pick up on something that isn’t right. We’re going to point out inconsistencies and non-canon plotlines. But we’ll continue to watch even when mistakes are made. Because that’s part of being a lifelong fan.