Star Trek: Prodigy gave Dal a very unique backstory.
Star Trek: Prodigy has finally revealed the backstory to one of its core characters in Dal. Dal was presented as an unknown alien who was captured by the Diviner and made to work as a slave in a mine. It was later revealed that the only person he ever truly knew and trusted, a Ferengi named DaiMon Nandi sold Dal to The Diviner
That was a huge blow to the young man, but as we’d find out in the episode “Masquerade”, Dal’s suffering was far from over.
The young man only ever wanted to go to Starfleet and maybe find out more about his parents, but in the latest episode of Prodigy we find out that Dal has no parents; and that he has no people. He is an augment, created in a laboratory by sciences that worshipped Arik Soong.
It was a bold move but why did they make it? Well, TrekCore spoke to Prodigyg EP Aaron Waltke and spoke about that very question.
"TREKCORE: Finally revealed in “Masquerade,” Dal’s history is very interesting and complex — how was it decided that he’d be an Augment?AARON WALTKE: It is complex, because I think if you zoom out 30,000 feet, the first ten episodes were learning about the idealized version of Star Trek, of Starfleet and the Federation, what it represents, its ideals, its beliefs. And I think the second ten are very much diving into the complexities of Star Trek, like: how do you put those beliefs or ideals or rules into practice in a way that still upholds the basic tenets of what Starfleet, or what Star Trek is?I think true to our nature, we didn’t wanna shy away from some of the things that we felt were still maybe a little bit unfair. Like, for instance, how augments are treated in the 24th century. We didn’t just want Starfleet to have an effect on our kids, but we wanted the journey of our Prodigy crew to have an effect on Starfleet. And one way that we could do that was by addressing what I would say is one of those dangling unanswered questions that could be explored deeper."
Star Trek: Prodigy may be stepping on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ toes
The questions around augments aren’t anything new. Khan Noonien Singh, one of the most iconic villains in cinema, not just Star Trek, was an augment. We’d later go on to see Julian Bashir on Deep Space Nine be mistreated due to being an augment. Though in his case, he never knew he was one.
Now Strange New World is addressing the question as well, with Una Chin-Riley being revealed to be an augment. That series is set before Deep Space Nine chronologically, however, so while the topics will be challenged much like Prodigy will do so, we already know that not much will change.
Still, it feels as though Prodigy is stepping on Strange New Worlds’ toes a bit.
We’ll have to see how both shows handle their specific characters, as well as the Federation at large. After all, if both shows depict Starfleet the same despite the huge lapse in time, then maybe it’s time to wonder less about how Starfleet treats augments and more about how the writers treat the franchise.
After all, you’d think the show would be more creative than constantly returning to the same storyline that has seemingly been resolved several times over.