Star Trek: Picard Showrunner Cancels New Project After Swift Backlash Over Content

Star Trek: Picard CBS All Access

Star Trek: Picard showrunner Michael Chabon has backed down on the development of another series after some swift backlash from many concerned with the content of his potential show. The project, which chronicled the real-life events of the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire, is now no more after Chabon and his co-writer wife Ayelet Waldman heard the plight from many touched by the situation and decided that it was too soon to revisit.

Waldman took to social media to explain their decision to leave the project undeveloped. Over the course of several tweets, Waldman shared that a bulk of the decision was based in conversations with the victims of the tragedy.

We believe in the power of art, and specifically of this medium, to effect change, and had hoped to harness that power not just on behalf of the victims of tragedy at the Ghost Ship, but also to help to call to account those who most bear responsibility for it. Over the past few days, however, we’ve heard from parents of the victims, from friends and survivors, and from conscientious members of the community, appealing to us to reconsider telling the story of the Ghost Ship because it’s too soon, because the wounds are too deep and too recent and the pain of reliving the experience would be too great. These appeals have been heartbreaking to hear, and they have changed our minds. We believe that there is a conversation to be had about the propriety of telling the story of the Ghost Ship, and about the identity and moral responsibility of those who tell it, but clearly it’s not a conversation that can be conducted without causing further pain to the living victims of this tragedy. At this time, therefore, we will not be proceeding, and will do our part to leave the families and survivors to their grief and their loss, in the fervent hope that someday they find not just comfort but also a measure of justice.

The Ghost Ship warehouse fire was a tragedy in which a warehouse serving as a residential "artist collective" for creatives in San Francisco Bay Area caught fire during a concert. The fire resulted in 36 deaths, and sparked controversy when it was discovered there were emails from years prior of safety concerns regarding electrical systems inside the building. Master tenant Derick Almena and creative director Max Harris were charged with several counts of involuntary manslaughter as a result, but Harris was acquitted of all 36 counts and Almena received no sentence due to mistrial.

Weeks prior to this new announcement Ayelet Waldman had tweeted followers the Ghost Ship project (which was still in its early stages) would move forward. Waldman added she and husband Michael Chabon would cover the topic with the "greatest sensitivity" and care. Some backlash was seen in the replies to the tweet in which users stated profiting off a story about deceased artists that belonged to a collective that rejected commercialism was disrespectful. Overall, it seemed those against the project felt it more important to protect the victims of the incident rather than put a spotlight on the aftermath and any injustice following the tragedy.

There's Good News And Bad News About Data In Star Trek: Picard

While one project may be dead, Michael Chabon still has Star Trek: Picard on the way to CBS All Access in 2020. Stick with CinemaBlend for continued updates on that series, and for a look ahead at what to expect in television and movies in 2020 and beyond.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.