Star Trek isn’t always a case of love at first sight. But that doesn’t mean the Star Trek fandom won’t find you later in life. “My earliest Trek memories make me laugh because there was a time when I thought Star Trek was boring,” remembered Johnamarie Macías. “I was around 8 years old, living in Puerto Rico, and my mom was watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I remember going outside to the porch, lying down dramatically on the floor, and claiming how watching 'old stuff' gave me headaches.”
Macías looked to three events to track the development of her Star Trek fandom over the years. “The first happened in 1995 when Kathryn Janeway took to the screen as the captain in Star Trek: Voyager. I remember feeling incredibly happy about a woman taking the reins and driving the franchise forward,” said Macías. “The second moment happened when I bought a ticket to Star Trek: Mission New York because I had this sudden urge to experience Star Trek in a convention setting. I had a great time, and it helped make me feel like I had a place in this fandom. The third event happened when I binged through Star Trek: Discovery’s first two seasons. That show turned things around for me and made me the Star Trek fan I am today.”
The trio of recent Trek shows (Picard, Discovery, and Lower Decks) have brought Macías closer to Star Trek than ever before. “This fresh wave of Trek content has had such a positive impact on my life,” noted Macías. “I never thought I would love Star Trek this much, but I do and it’s thanks to Discovery’s bold stories as well as diverse and relatable characters, Picard’s emotional journey, and the love-letter nature to all things Trek in Lower Decks. I’ve grown much closer to this franchise and have fully embraced my Trekker side because of the thought and care that went into these stories. I wish it hadn’t taken me this long, but better late than never!”
For Macías, relatable characters and their relationships with each other are key to her enjoying Star Trek content and the many other franchises she follows. “I love protagonists like Michael Burnham, Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels), and Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender) who go above and beyond for their loved ones. I also feel a close connection to characters like Silvia Tilly (Star Trek: Discovery), D’Vana Tendi (Star Trek: Lower Decks), and Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) because of their wide-eyed and vibrant personalities. And nothing gets my heart going faster than a good romance between characters like Burnham and Cleveland Booker, Joe and Nicky (The Old Guard), and Rapunzel and Eugene (Tangled).”
Two storylines that resonated the most with Macías recently were from Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. “Spock’s relationship with Michael has a special place in my heart because she tells him there will be people who will reach out for him and he needs to let them in,” said Macías. “She plays such an integral part in the man he chooses to become, it tugs at my heartstrings just thinking about them. And on the other side of the coin are Picard and Data. Data’s final moments crushed me! What a beautiful and heart-wrenching way to portray how part of being human is accepting that life is finite. That’s what makes everything else in life so special and precious because it’s fleeting.”
Macías has been going to geek-focused conventions for years to share her love of her favorite shows and films with other fans. “Cons are a home away from home because there’s this sense of belonging and being in a place where thousands of people share the same geeky passions as you do. New York Comic Con 2019 stands out a favorite show to me for many reasons, one of them being Star Trek: Picard’s presence on the show floor. They had a mini-exhibit, costume display, and merchandise booth. I immediately gravitated toward it because it felt familiar, fun, and refreshing, since it was clear to me that Star Trek wanted to make it a memorable experience for old and new fans.”
“Even with all the drastic convention changes this year,” noted Macías, “I think Star Trek knocked it out of the park with their virtual presence at San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, and Star Trek Day. As someone who’s embracing more of her Star Trek side, I was impressed by the quality of the content, the fan engagement, and the thoughtful reveals that made the community even more excited for the future of Star Trek storytelling.”
In addition to attending conventions and chatting with fans online, Macías regularly gets crafty. “I’m the kind of person who has a corner dedicated to arts and crafts, so when I feel inspired, I go to that space and start messing around with felt, glue guns, and acrylic paint. I also use my creative side whenever I want to express my love for something. Star Trek recently introduced the Qowat Milat, a group of Romulan warrior nuns, and I immediately felt this attachment to them. I modeled her after Zani, the leader of the Qowat Milat in Star Trek: Picard. She’s my first Trek-inspired craft and definitely not my last because I’m already thinking about doing Becket Mariner and D’Vana Tendi plush dolls in the near future. I’m also in the process of figuring out how to create a Qowat Milat cosplay because I don’t think my life will be complete without it. It’s my dream to attend another Star Trek convention as a Qowat Milat sister and greet fellow fans with an ecstatic, Jolan tru!"
While Macías has been inspired to go back to watch and read some past Star Trek content, she thinks it’s important for new Star Trek fans to remember that they aren’t taking a college course that demands prerequisites. “One of the questions I get often from people who are interested in diving into Star Trek is whether they need to watch what came before in order to enjoy it. I usually offer myself as an example because there’s a lot of Star Trek I haven’t seen yet. I know bits and pieces because my mom exposed me to it as a child, and I engaged with it some more on my own time. It operates in a futuristic and advanced setting, but it explores common themes, presents relatable characters, and challenges us to think.”
Macías is looking forward to the new Star Trek series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and, as a lifelong fan of animation, Star Trek: Prodigy. “I am a huge fan of Star Trek tapping into animation as a way to continue telling inspirational stories to a newer generation, so I’m eagerly anticipating its debut in the near future. Animation is such a clever way of building a younger fan base and ensuring a future for any franchise.”
This article was originally published on October 4, 2021.
Amy Richau (she/her) is a freelance writer and researcher with bylines at StarWars.com, Star Wars Insider, and Nerdist. She is also the author of the book Star Wars: I Love You. I Know.: Lessons in Love and Friendship.
Star Trek: Discovery Seasons 1-4 are currently streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. Internationally, the series is available on Paramount+ in Australia, Italy, Latin America, the U.K. and South Korea, as well as on Pluto TV in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. It will also stream exclusively on Paramount+ in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria later this year. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.
Star Trek: Picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Global Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories, and in Canada it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Group Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.