Recently at a Star Trek gathering prior to the premier of the new series, actor/director Jonathan Frakes dropped a bombshell that Star Trek: Discovery would be revisiting the “Mirror, Mirror” universe. Quite a few people exploded in applause while others were noticeably disturbed. Frakes didn’t offer any story details. He didn’t seem to know if the story would occur in this season or the next. Nevertheless, the internet exploded with both positive and negative comments.
“Mirror, Mirror,” for those readers who aren’t familar, is a fan favorite from Season Two of The Original Series. A transporter accident displaces Kirk, Uhura, McCoy and Scotty into a parallel universe where they switch places with more maleficent versions of themselves. Those alternates are not members of the Federation, but rather members of the brutal Terran Empire. The episode showed us what might have occurred had conquest, domination and exploitation been the guiding principles of the Federation rather than a spirit of exploration, collaboration and adventure. Over the years it’s had a pop culture impact on how we interpret alternative universes. Specifically, it’s given us the Spock goatee as a visual short to clue viewers into the fact we aren’t in Kansas anymore.
Two of the sequel series picked up the unresolved plot threads of that episode and expanded on them. Star Trek: Enterprise did a two-part story located exclusively in the Mirror Universe showing us more of the power dynamics we saw on display in The Original Series. Deep Space Nine, on the other hand, had several story arcs in the Mirror Universe showing us what happened when their version of Spock took our Kirk’s advice to overthrow the Terran Empire. It leads to humans being weakened to the point where they are easily defeated by a Klingon-Cardassian Alliance and set adrift without homeworld. Although they eventually build a rebellion army to fight back it isn’t very pleasant.
Naturally, questions pop in one’s head. Why would the writers decide to go there when Star Trek canon says Kirk was the first to venture into the alternate universe? What would be the purpose of taking another journey into the Dark Dimension in the middle of a war with the Klingons? Anyway, Executive Producers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts were asked that question a few days ago. Here’s the video. Enjoy.