This is Day 130 of the WGA strike and Day 57 of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
There was fan convention energy on the picket line outside Paramount offices in Manhattan on Friday as more than 100 people marched in a Star Trek-themed rally put on by the Writers Guild of America East.
The first of two “United We Trek!” pickets in New York and Los Angeles drew a show runner and actors from spinoffs of the original Paramount-owned franchise, a Star Trek novelist, and a contingent of Trekkies marching in Starfleet garb.
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On another hot morning in the late-summer heat sink of Times Square, picketers incorporated Star Trek catchphrases into chanted refrains such as “Live long and prosper/We want their offer” and “Paramount, let’s engage/We want a fair wage.”
One marcher carried a picket sign written in Klingon. Dressed in a blue jersey with black trim and a gold arrowhead Starfleet insignia, the marcher said the message translated to, “Paramount, we must teach you honor.”
Cast members Ethan Peck, Melissa Navia and Jesse James Keitel, from the Paramount+ streaming series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, were on hand, as were Star Trek: Discovery cast member Wilson Cruz and Strange New Worlds show runner Akiva Goldsman.
A handful of actors with no Trek on their resumes, including Bob Odenkirk of Better Call Saul, also turned up in Times Square for a picket coinciding with Global Star Trek Day, which commemorates the Sept. 8, 1966 premiere date of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s original space-faring television series on NBC.
There was even a crossover: New York actor and playwright Michelle Best dressed as Princess Leia from Star Wars. “Everybody has to fight imperialism,” Best told Deadline. “I don’t know who beamed me here, but here we are.”
The interplanetary adventures of the first starship Enterprise crew — with a diverse cast that was groundbreaking for its time — have inspired numerous television and movie sequels and prequels, and a global fandom with a strong sense of community.
The organizer of Friday’s picket, writer and WGAE member Dawn Ennis, told Deadline that they tapped into that scene by calling actor friends including Peck, Navia and Keitel, and the head of a local Star Trek fan club, Hannah Simpson, to boost turnout.
Ennis said the idea for the themed picket came from a friend in Los Angeles, actor and SAG-AFTRA member Jonathan Del Arco. “I just copy/pasted it here!” Ennis said.
Ennis described Star Trek as a good thematic fit for the occasion. “Star Trek has always been for the betterment of society, for the betterment of our world,” Ennis said. “The thing that Star Trek Day is about is the fans, is the people who are on Star Trek, not the suits, not the corporations, not the president of Paramount or Viacom or anybody else.
“This is for the fans,” Ennis said, “and while we all love Star Trek and we love Star Trek Day, we’re taking it back. And that’s what today was about, was to send a message that we want a fair deal, a fair contract, and we want Star Trek back on TV and streaming and everything else.”
Navia, who plays the latest in a line of starship helm officers that stretch back to actor George Takei’s Lt. Sulu, told Deadline that the fan turnout was heartening. “To see so many … here with us, telling us how much our work matters, what it means to them, is just a reminder of why we do what we do, and why this fight right now is so necessary,” Navia said.
Goldsman told Deadline that Friday also marked “the end of tough week in Hollywood after a bunch of tough weeks in Hollywood” with the writers part of the strike now in its fifth month.
“I’m out here because we really need to be better when it comes to the folks who are starting out in the industry, folks who rely on intermittent work as so many of us do,” Goldman said. “And so the strike, which is getting increasingly painful, is also increasingly important. It may not be for us. But it’s certainly for those who come after us.”
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