Star Trek and the Strike
Since 2 May 2023, the Writer’s Guild of America has been mired in one of the longest strikes in recent memory. The main goals of the strike are the following: increase funding and job security for the writers; increase the size of writer’s rooms; and limit the influence of artificial intelligence in the writing process. How has this affected Star Trek today?
Production on Season 3 of Strange New Worlds is currently on hold until the strike is resolved. That includes behind-the-scenes work, including costuming. In a recent interview with Warp Factor Trek, Strange New Worlds costume designer Bernadette Croft talked about the strike. “Yeah, we had started working and we were prepping,” she said. “We were given some but not all of the scripts. We had the first three locked and then we had very rough outlines of the rest. For our department, we were, like, so in the groove and some of the episodes were just incredible. So, we were so excited and were in the middle of prepping some really insane cool stuff.”
For Croft, the news that production on Season 3 was being delayed came down rather quickly. “As soon as the writer’s strike was announced, our show shut down, and it’s just like, ‘Okay, pack up your office and go.’ I had started doing concept work, but we just hadn’t got enough that was approved by the studios to keep filming.”
This appears to show that Strange New Worlds is currently sitting in drydock, awaiting the resolution of the strike, which has now stretched to almost two months as of 29 June, with no signs of stopping any time soon. It has affected the potential Fall schedule for all of the major cable and broadcast networks for the upcoming season for scripted original programming, slated to begin in September. There is also the prospect of a Screen Actors Guild strike that will likely begin if a contract lapses on 30 June with no new one in place.
Croft explained, “It’s the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] that need to meet the writers with their very reasonable requests. You know, we’ve done the right thing. We do have to wait until the writers get what they need. And it’s just a shame it’s gone on so long, because we were in the middle of something cool. But anyway, hopefully it’ll resolve soon.”
Paramount+’s slate for new Star Trek content appeared to handle the work stoppage, with the currently airing Season 2 of Strange New Worlds set to conclude in mid-August, Season 4 of Star Trek: Lower Decks later this summer, and Season 2 of Star Trek: Prodigy in the winter. That all changed on 23 June 2023, when Paramount+ suddenly announced they were cancelling Prodigy, along with three other Paramount+ original series. Prodigy has been removed from the service in the United States, with the rest of the world soon to follow. The show’s best hopes for a second season depend on getting a new streamer to carry it, though that is an uncertainty.
The Star Trek viewing audience is boldly heading where few franchises have gone before with a significant writer’s strike, one that continues to unravel. It remains to be seen if the current era of the Star Trek franchise will extend beyond 2024, when Star Trek: Discovery’s fifth and final season will air. The writer’s strike has potentially put the brakes on an upcoming Starfleet Academy series and a Section 31 TV movie starring Michelle Yeoh. Despite all this, Star Trek will continue to thrive — we know that much.
Wes Huntington has been a Star Trek fan since he was born, thanks to his parents (both of whom are still very much alive and are big Trek fans themselves). He lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, with his wife and cat. He is also a co-host of the Twin Cities Trekkies podcast, which launched in February 2021 and talks about all things Star Trek. You can find Twin Cities Trekkies via Facebook, Instagram, or anchor.fm/twincitiestrekkies.