Spock left the spaceship Wednesday night, transported (as actor Zachary Quinto) to the District the same evening his new movie, "Star Trek: Into Darkness," opened nationwide. So does the sequel, which delves into space politics and terrorism, have something to say to real-life politicians?
"I think it's not trying to be a political film," Quinto told Yeas & Nays, adding that it's "fair" to consider it something of a political allegory since it explores the "idea of revenge." "I think it reflects the time we live in, as 'Star Trek' always has. [Creator] Gene Roddenberry always used it as an allegorical vehicle for people to be confronted with issues that maybe weren't so readily talked about in the '60s."
Quinto flew into town to introduce Wednesday evening's screening at Motion Picture Association of America headquarters for a group of anonymous "bigwigs." (We spotted Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, who told us he couldn't stay for the screening but planned to see the movie at the theater because he's "a big space fan," sidestepping questions about whether he favors "Trek" over that other "Star" universe.)
Too bad Hoyer also missed meeting Quinto, who told us the movie might not have anything specific to say to Congress -- but he does.
"I think we live in a time that requires unity and actual affiliation with one another and not such partisan dismissal, and it just seems like such a quagmire here right now in D.C.," he said, then accelerated into hyperspace: "It feels like for humanity's sake we need to be more of an example for the world and each other. I don't know, I'm not a politician for that very reason. I can do my own work in other ways, which I'm grateful for."
Three of Quinto's fellow cast members joined NASA staff in a Google Plus Hangout on Thursday, but Quinto said space exploration isn't a personal policy "priority," whereas he does advocate gun control and marriage equality.
Even if "Star Trek" characters can't break up congressional gridlock, they are still having an impact on technology, according to astronauts Michael Fincke and Kjell Lindgren, who joined the Hangout from Space Center Houston. Fincke told the "Trek" cast that astronauts "look up to you guys to inspire us" with speculative technology, after which stunned writer Damon Lindelof demanded they prove NASA has not been taken over by aliens.