by Robert Nicholls
Ten years before Captain Kirk. Ten years before the U.S.S Enterprise, there was Discovery.
Star Trek: Discovery
The starring role in the new upcoming Star Trek show is the First Officer Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green (from The Walking Dead) who starts off her Star Fleet career on the U.S.S Shenzhou. Although there was some initial confusion, Discovery did not continue a common thread of having a Vulcan First Officer but even though human, she did attend the Vulcan Learning Center when she was young and moved to the Vulcan Science Academy as a young adult. So this and her relationship with Spock’s father Sarek, played by James Frain, should keep the more traditional fans happy with this Vulcan connection. Her character has been said to be the adopted sister of Spock and is more complicated than fans have traditionally seen throughout the franchise. The entire crew is actually portrayed in a more realistic light showing their strengths and weaknesses and Sonequa is no exception as she struggles with her inner conflicts.
Although not a leading role, the captain of the U.S.S Shenzhou, Philippa Georgiou, is played by Michelle Yeoh who has mentored her First Officer for seven years before starting the motion to move her forward in her career assumingly leading her to the unseen starship Discovery.
So what is the plot? There are many theories but the leading idea is that the show will be based around The Treaty of Armens (at least partly). Since the Trekkies have pieced together the official statements and hints and chronologically set the show to take place around 2255, this is the only recorded events in the Star Trek history during that time. Star Trek: The Next Generation did have an episode (“The Ensigns of Command” ) that referenced this 500000 word treaty between the Federation and the xenophobic species known as Sheliak and now it is believed that Discovery is involved in the conflicts before this peace was obtained.
Of course that can’t be it. T’Kuvma, the Klingon leader is also seeking to unite the Klingon houses and somehow Discovery gets involved with this. The Klingons are looking very different in this new Star Trek show and this has upset many Trekkies. It has been said that they are the good old Klingons but with a new look and a little more sophistication. The story doesn’t paint them as the bad guys or the usual two dimensional war craving species we have seen before but they are shown in a more relatable way so we can learn to understand them.
Another criticism that has been made is how far the show has gone to cater to the social justice movements. The repeated theme of the constant struggle to understand everyone and how we all fit together, two leading women of different minority groups as well as Star Trek’s first gay couple are prime examples.
Danby Connor stationed on the Starship Shenzhou, played by Sam Vartholomeos is a straight laced Starfleet Ensign who happens to be in love with the ship’s doctor Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz). Even though I am a little tired of social justice movements myself, I don’t see this as a big stretch for the franchise. Despite some controversy, Star Trek has always done this. The original show in the 60s had a Russian, Japanese and a black woman on the bridge working as equals which was a big, unbelievable move forward for the time. Future shows had humans and aliens working as one so why not something a little closer to our own home and timeline? I think Sonequa Martin-Green explained it well responding to this when talking with Entertainment Weekly.
“ …the franchise has continued to present Gene Roddenberry’s utopian multicultural vision of humans and other species overcoming their differences to solve problems. It’s kinda the whole idea behind the show”.
There were some issues that delayed the release date from its original schedule of January 2017. There were two contributing factors that are being said to have caused this. The first was that Sonequa Martin-Green would not be released from her role in The Walking Dead in time to allow her to be in the starring role. The second reason was said to ensure the quality. The sheer detail of everything from redesigning Klingons, creating their weapons, new uniforms, new star ships, new soundtrack and all the elaborate settings just took more time to do it right.
Producer Alex Kurtzman explained the delay.
“We postponed our schedule because the truth is we did not want to put out something that was subpar, and as the vision expanded we started feeling like we weren’t gonna be able to deliver the scope and the scale that was on the page.”
So whether a Trekkie, a casual fan or sci-fi enthusiast, the trailers, new images and the all-star cast from the new Star Trek Discovery show has everything needed to draw you in. With over 300000 views on the first official trailer, we suspect that it will be well received when it comes out.
When and Where to watch Star Trek Discovery?
Star Trek Discovery is all set to premiere on CBS and CBS All Access on Sunday, September 24 at 8.30/7.30c and will span a total of 15 episodes, but they won’t air in one big string.
The season is divided into two chapters.
• The first eight episodes will run through Nov 5
• The second batch will launch sometime in January next year
Meet the Star Trek Discovery Cast
Expect a lot of powerful performances, unlimited excitement, and great fun with the fresh and talented Discovery Cast!
• Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead) as First Officer Michael Burnham
• Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) as Captain Philippa Georgiou of the USS Shenzhou
• Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca
• James Frain as Sarek, father of Spock
• Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd Doug Jones as Kelpien Lt. Saru, the USS Discovery’s science officer
• Anthony Rapp as Lt. Paul Stamets, an astromycologist (fungus expert)
• Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber
• Chris Obi (“American Gods”) as Klingon leader T’Kuvma
• Shazad Latif (“Penny Dreadful”) as Lt. Tyler
• Mary Chieffo as Klingon commander L’Rell
• Kenneth Mitchell (“The Astronauts Wives Club”) as Klingon commander Kol
• Mary Wiseman (“Longmire”) as Starfleet Cadet Sylvia Tilly