The name Star Trek has been synonymous with thought-provoking science fiction for over 50 years now. Throughout numerous films and now six television series, Gene Roddenberry’s wagon train to the stars brought culturally curious escapism to the masses. While the long-running franchise hit a few snags in the new millennium, reboot maestro J.J. Abrams breathed new life into the franchise, reintroducing audiences to a rawer version of Kirk and crew from the alternative Kelvin Timeline. The Chris Pine-led Trek reignited public interest in the sci-fi staple, but also met with criticism from fans of the more introspective iteration.
Then, along came Star Trek: Discovery. The sixth live-action series launched to equal measures excitement and trepidation, mostly over the decision to return to the era of Kirk, Spock, and Uhura, the pay-service hosting for the show, and the divisive early starship design. Despite several hiccups along the way – including the loss of showrunner Bryan Fuller and production delays – the U.S.S. Discovery is ready to launch this fall. The show features Trek’s first African American female lead in Sonequa Martin-Green, as well as a generally diverse cast, and a reported return to its sci-fi roots.
Things are finally looking up for long-starving devotees, as CBS just announced an additional two episodes (for a grand total to 15). Most importantly, the first official trailer for Discovery is finally here. Join us as we break down the first new Trek on TV in 10 years.
Michael Burnham Is the Focal Point
The first official trailer packs in a lot of fascinating details about the next Trek. It also makes one thing very clear: for all the unique new species, updated technology, and classic adversaries, Sonequa Martin-Green’s Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham is the fulcrum point. Michelle Yeoh's Philippa Georgiou and Jason Isaac's Captain Lorca may be the captains, but Discovery is her show. Her character commands attention on the screen and the bridge. She blast off into space in a rocket spacesuits. On top of that, Burnham receives some cryptic command advice about inspiring her crew (serious foreshadowing) from none other than legendary Vulcan, Sarek.
Martin-Green's character is also the only crew member with a shred of backstory in the trailer, as she apparently spent some time on Vulcan (more on that later). The first officer stands proud on the bridge, sporting a fresh yet familiar new uniform, not afraid of taking the fight to the Klingons, she even pushes her commanding officer to fire the first volley and later engages in hand-to-hand combat with a gnarly Klingon warrior.
Compelling, dynamic, and well-deserved of her place on the bridge and on Discovery, Martin-Green’s character is the antecedent and antidote to Captain James T. Kirk.
In the trailer, we’re introduced to a new look, possibly even a new breed of the classic Federation allies and adversaries. Unlike modern Klingons, these warriors have more distinctive faces, wider, heavily-horned forehead ridges, and lack the hair of later iterations. In addition to that, their armored uniforms appear to be constructed of layered leather or bone, and bristles with bony spikes and spiny collars. Far different from the bland and borderline insensitive band from The Original Series, as well as the classic '90s warriors, Discovery’s Klingons are reminiscent of the early feature films, and more so, their Kelvin Timeline counterparts.
Some rumors suggest that these Klingons are actually part of an ancient sect, while others believe they're part of a ritualistic cast. Although there's been no official insight into it, the curious funerary rites from the trailer, as well as the “sarcophagus” ship on display may hint at an earlier sect – perhaps even that their death ritual, complete with a blood-curdling yell, often referenced in earlier series and films, originated from these ships. Of course, these Klingons could also be part of another, unmentioned chapter in their history or simply an attempt to add another facet to the long-running species.
According to casting news, Chris Obi will play T'Kuvma, head of a Klingon family whose "seeking to unite the Klingon houses." Although the characters are only listed in a pair of episodes, the unification of the empire is reported to play a major factor in the first season and the events of the era. One thing’s for sure, the Klingon's logo hasn’t changed much, at least if contemporary Starfleet readouts are accurate.