Star Trek: Discovery will be a series of firsts. It is the first series in the franchise where the main character is not the captain, it is the first officer. Lt. Commander Michael Burnham is being played by Sonequa Martian-Green. And as the actor recently revealed, it will also aim to have a grittier take on the long-running franchise.
When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek in 1966, he tried to show an ideal version of the future. One where humanity had gotten past various prejudices and traveled the galaxy to explore and learn. While it only ran for three seasons, five spinoff series — four live-action and one animated — and 13 (so far) feature films have proven the show’s popularity. And now Star Trek Discovery is set to try something new.
Recently, Martian-Green spoke to TVLine about the series, and what audiences should expect:
“This iteration of Star Trek is going to have a different take than the others in the Star Trek canon. It’s going to be bigger, rawer and grittier… and the story’s going to build on itself. It’s going to be a tremendous journey.”
Since Star Trek has always been through the eyes of the captain, to be coming from [his second-in-command’s] mindset is going to be refreshing and challenging in ways that are very thrilling.”
Typically, because Star Trek is meant to be an ideal future, there is a hopeful tone to the various shows and films. Not that they haven’t turned dark at times. Main characters have been killed off in both the series and films. And sometimes the show has faced darker stories which have included the destruction of entire cultures and even genocide.
Star Trek: Discovery is going to be more serialized than the previous shows, which might have something to do with this grittier story. Generally the various series have largely included stand-alone episodes. The darkest storylines have been among the more serialized, such as ‘The Dominion War’ in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the search for the Xindi in Enterprise. Still, those stories were only portions of the entire series, while Martin-Green’s comment makes it sound like this time, that grittiness will be a part of the show from the beginning.
In spite of the promised “grittier” storyline, Star Trek: Discovery still shows a progressive future, much as many of its predecessors have. Martin-Green is the first female African-American lead in a Star Trek series, and it will also feature the first gay main character in the franchise — Science Officer Stamets — played by Anthony Rapp.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres later this year on CBS All Access.