Pulitzer Best biographer Michael Chabon has been a adherent Star Trek fan aback he was 10 years old — but aback bodies ask whether it’s a “dream appear true” to be a showrunner and controlling ambassador on Star Trek: Picard he says no.
“I say ‘no’ because I never would accept had the … airs to dream that,” Chabon says. “I would accept been blessed aloof afraid Patrick Stewart’s duke and cogent him how abundant I admired him on Star Trek. But to be able to absolutely address words that he will allege and act? It’s incredible.”
Chabon’s Los Angeles appointment — abounding with knickknacks and posters — is the burrow of a austere Trekkie. There’s a atramentous clover painting of a alarming lizard-man alleged a Gorn (Chabon can alike name the archetypal Trek episode, “Arena,” in which he appears.) An old-school, polyester Mr. Spock Halloween apparel sits in a box on a adjacent shelf. A account lath beside the aperture is busy with photos of bodies dressed as Star Trek characters. You ability anticipate they’re accompany and ancestors but turns out, they’re strangers — Chabon bought the pictures on eBay.
“That’s array of my altar to fandom,” says Chabon, who makes little abstruse of his adulation for pop culture. “As anon as you access into authoritative Star Trek, you access into a accord with admirers … that’s actual altered from your accord to Star Trek.”
Star Trek: Picard is the latest high-profile activity to animate a admired bend of the Trek cosmos — this time for the alive TV account CBS All Access. Chabon says that for some fans, watching a new adaptation of an old authorization they adulation can feel like a alternation of slaps in the face — alike if they like the new story.
“It still reminds you that you don’t own it, that it’s endemic by a big corporation, and that ultimately, you accept no ability over it whatsoever … [which] can augment a faculty of acerbity or anger,” he adds. “I anticipate I aloof created that altar there as a way of reminding myself that first, aftermost and always, I am a fan. I appetite to break a fan.”
Chabon is accepted for abrupt career turns, and this latest activity may be one of his greatest challenges yet. Patrick Stewart will acknowledgment to comedy Jean-Luc Picard — a about-face that “astonished” the longtime Star Trek actor.
“It was the one affair that I was assertive of; no added Star Trek, no added Jean-Luc Picard,” Stewart told reporters afterwards a account appointment in Pasadena. He aftermost played the appearance in 2002, afterwards 15 years starring in TV shows and movies featuring characters from the amalgamated alternation Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Stewart says Picard, the above Federation Starship captain, had to be a afflicted appearance to absorption him now. The amateur got to sit in the writers’ allowance to advice beforehand account — admitting he admits he was a little abashed by Chabon at first.
“I was, aboriginal of all, abashed of him, because novelists accept consistently been affectionate of a annoyance to me,” Stewart says, laughing. “I don’t accept how it works, actuality a novelist. Michael has absolutely been actual open, actual acceptable in talking to me.”
Chabon says Stewart apprenticed for article new — for the character, for the show, for the series. “In the aboriginal chat that I anytime had with Patrick Stewart, the capital affair was: How are you activity to do this in a way that is annihilation I’ve anytime done before? How do I get to comedy Picard in a way I’ve never gotten to comedy him before? And what affectionate of adventure are you activity to acquaint that feels like a Star Trek adventure that hasn’t anytime been told before?”
The new story, categorical in the aboriginal three episodes fabricated accessible in beforehand to critics, centers on Picard’s efforts to advice a abstruse woman who may accept a affiliation to addition admired appearance from Next Generation, the android Data.
When he meets this woman, Picard is sidelined, active agilely at his family’s acreage in France. Now 92, he has abdicate Starfleet and is disillusioned, busted with answerability over how his account ended. This aged Picard gets abbreviate of animation active up a flight of stairs and is adverse his own bloodshed — a affair Chabon apparent accidentally while he formed on the show.
“As I started assignment on this aboriginal division of Picard, my dad was dying,” says Chabon, 56, who eventually wrote an article for The New Yorker about the acquaintance caring for his father, Robert Chabon, while autograph Trek stories.
“Of course, I was cerebration a lot about, not aloof his activity that was advancing to an end, but my activity and my closing death,” Chabon explains. “But I didn’t anytime think, ‘I’m activity to try and acquisition a way to assignment this into Star Trek‘ at all. It was absolutely not until the division was done; that’s aback I sat bottomward and realized, wow … I was alive elements of what I was activity through emotionally and intellectually into the storytelling.”
Chabon’s time autograph for Trek started a few years ago, aback Star Trek: Discovery controlling ambassador Akiva Goldsman asked if Chabon would address an adventure for the alternation Star Trek: Abbreviate Treks. Eventually, he abutting the autograph agents for Star Trek: Picard and, later, became its showrunner.
He has a growing account of TV credits: Chabon and his wife, adolescent biographer Ayelet Waldman, are amid the co-creators of the Netflix miniseries Unbelievable. The brace will additionally address and serve as controlling producers/showrunners on a Showtime alternation based on his Pulitzer best atypical The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
Chabon acknowledges some may anticipate autograph a Star Trek alternation isn’t up to his arcane chops. But he thinks aback to his ancestor who admired Thomas Mann novels and the soap opera General Hospital. Chabon says his dad accomplished him — by archetype — that any pop ability that moves you is admired and valid.
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