The creators of Star Trek: Picard discuss the very strong Irish connection to the new show
Irish fans of Star Trek will absolutely love this.
Fans of Star Trek should be pretty used to hearing a strong Irish accent on the show, what with Chief Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney) appearing on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and over the thirteen years on both shows, he did manage to introduce the word "Bollocks" to the universal vernacular.
Despite that, there was a moment when watching the first few episodes of Star Trek: Picard (full review up on JOE very soon!) when we had to pause the show, rewind it, and immediately rewatch a scene to make sure we didn't mishear something.
During an investigation into... something (no spoilers here)... Retired Admiral Picard (Patrick Stewart) is joined by his friend Laris (played by Irish actress Orla Brady), and when they discover something suspicious, she suddenly spits out "Those sneaky feckers!"
Considering that Laris is a Romulan, it was a surprise to hear an alien from a distant planet use such a specific Irish phrase, and it was something that we needed to know more about, as soon as possible.
In the run up to the release of the new show, JOE was lucky enough to sit down with some of the series' executive producers, including Alex Kurtzman (Fringe, Alias), Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend), and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Chabon (Unbelievable, Spider-Man 2).
While we did also discuss some of the heavier aspects of the new series (more on that here), we had our priorities, and had to ask about this Irish connection.
"That scene was written differently," Chabon tells JOE. "She was supposed to say 'Those sneaky bastards', but she said 'Bastards doesn't sound right', so we asked 'What would?' and she said 'Feckers!', so we said 'Okay!'"
"But we did, actually very consciously, feel that indigenous accents were okay," Goldsman adds. "Just as you have people that have learned English versus American, Romulans can have learned the language wherever they learned it, and as such could carry that accent, which for us was much more authentic than trying to create a kind of Anglocised, mid-Atlantic thing that often happens in science fiction."
Chabon continues: "Yeah, we have a very neutral ear, where if somebody has an American accent or a British accent, then we don’t care. Even though those are totally inconsistent, we accept them and we thought that doesn’t really make sense. So if we have this Irish actress, who has this gorgeous speaking voice, and that’s her natural way of speaking, there is no reason why she couldn't be a Romulan and speak that way."
So there you have it. Some of these Romulans were taught English by Irish teachers, and that is why "Feckers!" is now being used on distant planets.
Star Trek: Picard launches on Prime Video on Friday 24 January.
Clip via Prime Video UK