A new promo video for Star Trek: Discovery is leaning into the show's history of embracing peace and tolerance. Featuring a pointed monologue from lead character Commander Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green), it's the strongest indicator yet that Discovery will engage with the optimistic, progressive ethos established in the earliest days of the franchise by creator Gene Roddenberry.
The first Star Trek television series since Enterprise was cancelled in 2005, Discovery has created waves among the venerable science fiction franchise's fans through both its bold departures from previous iterations and its unfortunate behind the scenes drama. Originally spearheaded by American Gods and Hannibal mastermind Bryan Fuller. Fuller's more avant garde take on the series was felt to be too risky by CBS and, coupled with the demands on his time required by his role on American Gods, Fuller exited the series before production began. Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts took over, and early previews have suggested a darker, more morally complicated take on Star Trek than what's come before.
While that may be the case, a new promo seems to be aimed squarely at longtime Trek fans worried about the show's direction. Martin-Green's Burnham strikes a much more optimistic tone in the new promo, which was posted to Star Trek: Discovery's Instagram. Check it out below.
There's quite a bit riding on Discovery's success. The future of the franchise's rebooted film series is still in a sort of limbo, as last year's Star Trek Beyond, while critically acclaimed and embraced by fans, was a financial disappointment at the box office. While cast members like Karl Urban have said they'd be game to return for a fourth outing, there's been no solid indication that Paramount is gearing up for another Star Trek movie.
And while the success of the films is not unimportant, Star Trek is, in its purest form, a television series. The heart of the franchise has always been telling episodic stories that deliver important lessons about big, bold themes of humanity's aspirational spirit, with well rounded ensemble casts that always end up feeling like families. Discovery is already ditching one of those cornerstones, as the show will reportedly be highly serialized, a first for Star Trek outside of the later seasons of Deep Space Nine.
If successful, Discovery could potentially launch other Trek TV series as well, with a series about the franchise's greatest villain, Khan, reportedly already in development.
But Discovery has to get it right first, and the new promo is a promising sign that, even among all the darkness and destruction previewed in its trailers, it understands the idealism that is the beating heart of the series.
Star Trek: Discovery debuts on CBS All Access on Sunday, September 24.