As I get more excited about the UGC expansion for STO, I keep taking a few moments to reflect on the history of Star Trek fans. I think it’s fair to say that we have always been a pretty obsessive and militant fanbase, and we’ve gone to extraordinary measures to contribute to the lore through fan fictions, RPGs, artwork, etc.
If you think about it, Star Trek owes almost everything to the fans. We lobbied to get a third season of TOS with a letter-writing campaign. Our passion to watch and rewatch reruns led to the Animated Series in the early 70s. In another fan campaign, we got NASA to name the first space shuttle “Enterprise.” That is pretty insane when you consider that they originally wanted to dub it the “Constitution” to celebrate the Bicentennial.
Then, after the success of Star Wars, our grassroots militancy and obsessive compulsion launched the feature films, and, well, the rest is history, right?
Throughout Star Trek‘s 45-year journey, fans have been writing and circulating their own stories, designing and building their own models, and keeping the universe alive in the minds of millions. Although we’ve often been told that our unique creations are not canon, it doesn’t mean that our devotions and disorders have been meaningless. Rather we’ve pushed the franchise along at warp speed. In some ways, we are and shall always be Star Trek.
Here’s hoping that UGC artists show the same passion, sophistication, and OCD spurts of creativity that have defined Trekkers for decades. In the face of social stigma and shouts of “Get a Life!” we have always persevered, expanding the lore and mythos, while taking the franchise to new heights.
And now, the 24th century of Star Trek Online is OURS. Engage.