Star Trek: First Contact is really a meta movie about Trek’s creation

The 25th anniversary of Star Trek: First Contact, quickly the very best Next Generation motion picture of them all, has actually triggered lots of short articles, essays, and podcast episodes about why this specific motion picture worked, and the other Picard-led movies were differing levels of bad. Was it the Borg? The time travel component? The humor? Jonathan Frakes’ instructions?

The most convenient, more than likely response is that it was the only one with a really exceptional script. The innovative concept of dividing the team, the out of breath pacing, and the creative action set pieces set it apart not simply from the other TNG motion pictures, however from a number of the other Star Trek movies too.

However what has actually constantly ignited my interest most is the efficiency of Academy Award candidate James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane, the irascible, alcoholic developer of warp drive that is sort of the MacGuffin of the whole movie. The story focuses on whether he can get it together and go on his historical warp flight. I’ve constantly considered Cochrane as a stand-in for Star Trek’s own developer, Gene Roddenberry, which Very First Contact is truly a film about the production of Star Trek itself — a sort of futuristic roman a clef about a deeply problematic male who altered the world.

A far-out theory? Invite to Galaxy Brains, people. C’mon.

On today’s program, Jonah Ray and I are signed up with by comic, author and long-time Star Trek fan John Hodgman to talk about whether Star Trek: First Contact is a sly Gene Roddenberry biopic.

As constantly, this discussion has actually been modified to sound less strange.

Dave: I believe a lot about Gene Roddenberry as the developer of Star Trek when I see this motion picture. Zefram Cochrane in the context of the meta motion picture that we are viewing is the developer of Star Trek. He states the words “Star Trek” in the motion picture. He develops warp drive. He satisfies a Vulcan for the very first time. He’s this unstable human with a great deal of defects, who satisfies his really rational individual, and they have a minute of understanding. I constantly have actually considered Zefram Cochran as essentially simply a stand-in for Gene Roddenberry. Gene Roddenberry has actually been stated by lots of people, including his assistant Susan Sackett, in her book, and a great deal of other individuals who’ve worked with him that he was sort of an unpredictable, tough male. Which’s sort of what Zefram Cochrane’s arc is. He starts as this man who’s simply attempting to earn money and make a dollar. Star Trek was a way to an end for Gene Roddenberry. However then it becomes this cultural phenomenon, and he alters the world in a great deal of methods. Do you see any of this parallel or am I entirely off base?

John Hodgman: To continue your sports metaphor, you are on base. You are safe.

Dave: I understand you like baseball, John.

John Hodgman: I like you, like baseball, and I like it. You simply tossed an online. I indicate, you did an excellent job. Goal, undoubtedly. Yeah. I’m not entirely familiar with the behind the scenes real life of Gene Roddenberry, however I’m definitely familiar with his deification, you understand, and the shadow as a developer that he cast and whether specific stories would be thought about “Gene enough” or “not Gene enough.” Yeah, there’s certainly I indicate, whether it’s recognized or not, there’s certainly a sensation of, you understand, don’t fulfill your heroes. They’re flawed individuals. They’re humans. That’s not even subtext in the motion picture.

Jonah: It’s text. More than ten years prior to this was, I believe, the huge cultural shift in the culture of Star Trek, which was the Saturday Night Live sketch, with William Shatner chewing out the fans to get a life. It did advise me of that thing of simply these all the geeks coming near Cochrane and, you understand, being delighted and him going like, What’s incorrect with you?

Dave: He’s a statue, and he’s so frightened to get the statue at some time considering that he doesn’t see himself as that essential. And I believe that’s most likely real of many people that we deify.

John Hodgman: I indicate, Gene Roddenberry produced a calm, egalitarian socialist paradise of tolerance, most likely since that didn’t exist in his own mind. That was a forecast of something that he longed for, that he didn’t have assurance.

Jonah: Something that Dave and I spoke about earlier is perhaps cash did fucking make him an irritable intoxicated. Perhaps he truly believed, like if only cash didn’t exist, I wouldn’t need to fret about this things all the time. There is something to that, like eliminating cash.

John Hodgman: Yeah, right? I was simply going to state it’s part of our cultural minute now. It’s like, well, after we closed down the economy for a year and individuals don’t seem like returning to work at those shitty tasks, we’re suddenly thinking, like, exists another method to do this?

Dave: And Gene Roddenberry likewise produced a world where sex was entirely various than how we view it now, and the concept of sexuality is more similar to, yeah, we make love and we can make love with great deals of various individuals or aliens or whatever. It was more chill in that regard. Which was something that he was predicting in the real life, too.

John Hodgman: Yeah, he wished to make love with everyone. He desired everyone to have green skin. He wished to make love with them.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.