Vic Mignogna is a devout Christian. Gene Roddenberry was a humanist and agnostic. Mignogna is certainly no household name, but he’s now getting attention by starring in (as Captain Kirk) and producing a fan run web show called, Star Trek Continues. Despite official Trek’s long history of not involving itself directly with religious promotion, Mignogna seems keen to replace the iconic catchphrases Live Long and Prosper or Beam me up, Scotty, with Praise the Lord or He Has Risen. He’s not out loud and proud about his seemingly fundamentalist, evangelical Christian themed fan version of Star Trek, but there are more than a few clues that even Enterprise officer Lt. Data (Brent Spiner) playing Sherlock Holmes might find more than slightly intriguing.
Pilgrim of Eternity
In ST:Continues first effort, we get a sequel of sorts to original episode, Who Mourns For Adonais? The original, clever outing had William Shatner’s Kirk confront a Greek ‘god’ – at least a being who claimed he was one or just as powerful. Actor Michael Forest (The Twilight Zone) originated the role back in the day and reprises it in Vic Mignogna’s amateur vanity project.
In Pilgrim Of Eternity, Apollo is now old, weathered and running out of his godlike power. He meets up with a middle aged Kirk – Shatner was in his mid 30’s back in the original, while Mignogna is an adequately preserved 51. Once immortal Apollo may now die if a righteous cure for his godly illness isn’t found, so those brainy Starfleet officers get down to work.
Finally, an Amazing Grace like moment is had by all. Fanboy Kirk’s crew determine good deeds (Christian behavior?) can rejuvenate, refresh and energize this old poser god. Once he acts more Christ like – than not – Apollo morphs into a missionary like pilgrim ready to spread the good word throughout the universe.
While there may be multiple interpretations of the episode’s story, it’s clear the monolithic narrative force behind it – Mignogna – is promoting a charitable, good Samaritan vibe. Is it more Davey and Goliath than Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments or even the recent blockbuster Noah starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly? Watch. Decide for yourself.
In an interview with The Daily Herald, Mignogna, on his motivation for STC states, ” It is purely a labor of love,” he said. “It is purely an extremely expensive passion project.” He makes it sound like the whole thing is merely a pricey hobby – or maybe, like newly baptized Apollo, it’s akin to missionary work.
While it’s true the term ‘passion project’ has come to mean many things one may undertake in a passionate way, traditionally, it’s usually connected to a Christian endeavor. A passion play. The Passion of the Christ. Etc . Is Mignogna telling us Star Trek: Continues is his own passion play? His own Christian allegory to promote his religion?
STC isn’t saying publicly if they wish to turn non-denominational Star Trek into a Christian storytelling vehicle. So, is it merely a conspiracy theory? Conspiracy theories can be great fun or just plain dumb. Still, buried even in the most outlandish conspiracy theory, there’s a nugget of truth. What of a ST: Continues carpenter conspiracy theory – is it a dutiful credit listing? Read on, for more clues.
Despite modest fame as a voice actor, and other ways he acts to produce his self described passion play, Mignogna’s credits on his web show are vastly, even overwhelmingly controlling. Simply put: It’s all about Mignogna. He wears many hats, so he has many credits.
One credit even lists him as carpenter. Carpenter? Like another – perhaps the most famous carpenter of all – like Jesus Christ? He may wear many hats on the amateur, unofficial production, and may indeed have worked some wood on the sets, but can it also be yet another Christian allusion or connection to his self produced fan show?
In Roddenberry’s original NBC TV show – and all spin-offs to follow – executive producers and show runners like Roddenberry himself, or producers Rick Berman, Michael Piller, Jeri Taylor, Brannon Braga, Ron D. Moore and Ira Stephen Behr called the creative shots and supervised the content of the final episodes on shows like Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. In Star Trek: Continues, Vic Mignogna calls all creative shots – he produces, writes, stars in and directs the episodes. He even funded the first one by coming up with the financing himself. Therefore, any religious – Christian or otherwise – messages (overt or intentionally subliminal) must come from Mignogna.
Writer and producer Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek within a progressive philosophy. As a humanist and an agnostic, he felt strongly all religions would be gone from Earth by the 23rd century. It would be interesting to see what Roddenberry would say of Vic Mignogna’s apparently religious based Star Trek passion project – appearing to promote a Christian persuasion and perception – when he fervently wished his beloved creative legacy unbound and unburdened by any organized religion.