Nicholas Meyer Talks Star Trek Canon

Does the Star Trek writer/director's insight into canon tell us anything about Star Trek: Discovery?

Star Trek: Discovery‘s premiere this weekend has Star Trek fans excited, but cautiously so. It has’t been the best decade to be a Star Trek fan. Sure, we got the reboot movies, but they arguably miss what is essential about the Star Trek story — besides Star Trek belongs on TV, right? In other words, we wait with bated breath.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too nervous. After all, Nicholas Meyer — a man who shaped much of the Star Trek legacy through his role as writer and/or director on films The Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country, and The Long Voyage Home — is a writer and consultant on the new series. He recently spoke to Inverse about his role in the project and how he interprets Star Trek canon.

“I would sort of put in my two cents every once and while,” Meyer said of his role in the Discovery writers room, adding that the opportunity to come back and work on another Star Trek project has been a surprising “vehicle for self-expression” through which he “could discuss issues that were on my mind.”

For Meyer, Star Trek canon is not as strict as the most rigid of Star Trek fans may believe. He compares it to “the text of the Catholic mass.”

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The text of that mass, as it exists in Latin is sort of chiseled in stone. But there have been many musical arrangements of that text, by innumerable composers. And it sounds completely different every time. But the words are the same. But you don’t really know you’re listening to the same thing because the emotional reaction or impact is so profoundly affected by the music. So, Star Trek has a text, it has an entire world. It has certain characters. And you can expand it and contract it, but you’re basically functioning off Roddenberry’s Federation and its various spinoffs. And that’s the music. That’s all the different music. And so, my music is a little different.

Does this description give us any insight into Discovery‘s place in the context of already-existing Star Trek canon? Perhaps. While we know the new series will be set 10 years before the events of Kirk and Spock’s adventures on Enterprise, there are some whispers that Discovery might try to reset the timeline a la the Abrams reboot films.

We will soon know. Star Trek: Discovery sets sail this Sunday on CBS and CBS All-Access.