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Fighting for the FutureEssays on Star Trek: Discovery$
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Sabrina Mittermeier and Mareike Spychala

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621761

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621761.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the Mirror

The Negotiation of Franchise Identity in Star Trek: Discovery

(p.21) Looking in the Mirror
Fighting for the Future

Andrea Whitacre


This chapter examines the Mirror Universe as a figure for Star Trek’s negotiation of its own franchise identity. It argues that the Mirror is a tool with which Trek examines its own legacy, tropes, and purpose. It is no coincidence that this dark, funhouse vision is used most extensively in Discovery and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, two shows whose premises are built on re-examination and reinvention of the franchise, and whose themes draw morally murky connections between the Trek future and our real present. These shows repurpose the dystopian Mirror as a necessary means of reflection on what it means to be Star Trek, and how the franchise negotiates its complicated past. This chapter focuses in particular on how Discovery revisits and revises the systems of power inherent to the franchise’s operation, both onscreen and in audience distribution, especially as they pertain to women, power, and normative subjectivity.

Keywords:   Star Trek, Star Trek Discovery, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, franchise identity, reinvention, dystopian, mirror universe, alternate universe

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