In a surprising revelation, the producers of the upcoming prequel Star Trek: Discovery have announced lead character Commander Michael Burnham’s connection to the original series is deeper than we were initially led to believe, as she is the half sister of the franchise’s stalwart Vulcan science officer, Spock.
The cast and crew of Discovery assembled at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday to discuss Star Trek’s much anticipated return to the small screen. While the series has enjoyed a successful movie relaunch under J.J. Abrams, Star Trek has been absent from television since Enterprise was unceremoniously cancelled in 2005. Plot details on Discovery have been elusive, but the show’s producers are beginning to open up about what’s to come.
One of the biggest revelations of the day was that series lead Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green) is in fact Spock’s half-sister. As reported by the official Star Trek Discovery Twitter, Burnham was raised on Vulcan as a child by her human mother, Amanda, who was married to Spock’s father, Sarek. The producers acknowledged there’s never been any mention of Spock having a half-sister, and asked the fans for patience in telling their story.
This is actually not the first time Spock has been saddled with a previously unmentioned half-sibling. In the legendarily lousy Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the crew of the Enterprise is menaced by a man named Sybok, a charismatic, emotionally charged Vulcan obsessed with finding Sha Ka Ree, a planet he believes will lead him to God. Sybok was revealed to be Spock’s long lost half-brother, the polar opposite of the famously emotionless, logical Starfleet officer.
While producers had previously hinted that Burnham had a connection to Sarek, this is a decidedly bigger connection than what has been alluded to, and potentially a troubling one. Star Trek has generally thrived in the moments where it didn’t dwell on its own past, such as The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine; the franchise’s previous attempts to mine its own history for relevance, like the aforementioned Enterprise, have largely been misfires.
And while the show may have a brilliant reason for altering the history of arguably the franchise’s most iconic character, there is a whiff of prequel desperation here, attempting to create an easy link to the original series as a shortcut for genuine character development. Coupled with the show’s controversial redesign of the Klingons, and its long, troubled production history, this is not exactly a positive sign that Discovery is going to be able to overcome its most obvious prequel hurdles.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24 on CBS, before moving to CBS All Access for further episodes.
Source: Star Trek Discovery Twitter
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