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Star Trek’s John Billingsley Says Following The Official Storyline Isn’t Important

Billingsley, famous for his role as Dr. Phlox, believes the series’ broader appeal goes beyond its specific storyline.

Known for his role as Dr. Phlox in ‘Star Trek: Enterprise,’ John Billingsley recently told Inverse about his views on the importance of the canon within the Star Trek universe, suggesting that following it might not be as crucial as some fans believe.

Reflecting on ‘Enterprise’s impact, Billingsley noted that while the canon arguments have their place, they should not overpower the broader appeal of the franchise. Regarding the criticism surrounding the series, he said:

“‘Star Trek’ is a narrative from beginning to end. So, if you completely disregard narrative sense, I can see why fans might feel like this lifelong project has been pissed on. I get that.”

Billingsley then talked about the franchise’s visual signature that is instantly recognizable to viewers, suggesting that this might be as integral to the series as the canon itself. After that, he acknowledged the detailed focus of some fans on timelines and continuity but emphasized that ‘Star Trek’ appeals to a wider audience beyond these specifics:

“I imagine that the folks who produce ‘Star Trek’ also get an earful from the 20 percent of fans who aren’t fine with changes. But, the great bulk of people are like, I don’t care. I watch television. This is fun. I like watching it. But then they are people deluged with the canon. It can’t help but be in the back of the minds of [the people that make Star Trek] that, in an ideal world, we serve both audiences.”

Why ‘Enterprise’ Was Controversial?

Aired from 2001 to 2005 on the United Paramount Network (UPN), ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ marked a shift in the Star Trek narrative. As the first prequel series in the franchise, it introduced new elements to the canon, such as an earlier version of the ship Enterprise, new insights into species like the Klingons and Orions, and the use of a new theme song: ‘Faith of the Heart.’

UPN canceled the series after its fourth season, ending an 18-year continuous production run of ‘Star Trek’ on television. There was a fan-led campaign to save the series, but it was unsuccessful. Despite initial resistance from fans and controversy over its canon, ‘Enterprise‘ now enjoys a more favorable reputation nearly two decades after its cancellation.

As of now, Billingsley is the producer of Trek Talks, a charity initiative benefiting the Hollywood Food Coalition. Currently in its third year, Trek Talks is a virtual Star Trek convention featuring a variety of guests and panel discussions.

He is also involved in upcoming appearances in various TV series and movies, such as ‘Uncharted Regions,’ ‘BSA,’ ‘Manhattan Transfer,’ ‘Badwater,’ and ‘Skincare.’

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