The producers of Star Trek: Discovery are finally beginning to dole out some plot details on the long-awaited return to the world of Starfleet. Details on the series have been scarce up to this point, aside from the fact that it would be set a decade before the adventures of Kirk and Spock’s Enterprise – and its main character would be someone other than a commanding officer for the first time in Star Trek history. We’re now learning more about that character, Sonequa Martin-Green’s Commander Michael Burnham, as well as the role some old series-favorites will play in the prequel.
Following a somewhat chaotic pre-production process that saw the departure of initial series showrunner Bryan Fuller and multiple premiere delays, Star Trek: Discovery has now set a firm September launch date to go with the Discovery teaser trailer. The first episode will debut on CBS before pivoting to the network’s streaming service, CBS All Access, for the rest of the series.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg reiterated that Discovery is heavily serialized. While they were reluctant to give away key plot points, they did provide some information about how Michael’s narrative will be shaped by the very beginning of her personal journey:
Aaron Harberts: Burnham [has] spent a lot of time on Vulcan, but she’s human. Sarek [Spock’s father, played by James Frain] plays an important role in her life, which has been completely planned until she makes a very difficult choice that sends her life on a very different path. When we meet her, she’s the First Officer on the Starship Shenzhou [captained by Philippa Georgiou, played by Michelle Yeoh]. And Burnham’s choice that we’re alluding to is most difficult choice you can make — it affects her, affects Starfleet, affects the Federation, it affects the entire universe. That choice leads her to a different ship, the Discovery [helmed by Captain Lorca, played by Jason Isaacs] and there we begin what Gretchen and I call our ‘second pilot.’
The showrunners also ruminate on how having a main character who’s not a captain has opened up previously untapped storytelling possibilities for the Star Trek franchise with Discovery:
Gretchen J. Berg: “The joy is in the journey. The advantage to her not being in charge of the bridge right now is we get to tell stories from a very different point of view. It’s a fresh feeling because we’re not on the bridge all the time. We get access to more parts of the ship.”
The pair also confirmed what many have suspected: the Klingons play a huge, antagonistic role in the series. While fan reaction to the Klingons’ massive redesign has been decidedly mixed, there’s plenty of precedent for changing up the warrior race’s aesthetic and Trek history, and having arguably the franchise’s most iconic alien race front and center seems like a smart move to counterweight the creative risks the series seems to be aiming for.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS on September 24th, with the rest of the season following on CBS All Access.
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