All Hands to the Bridge
Slightly more claustrophobic than its Constellation-class cousin, the Shenzhou's bridge blends the control section the Enterprise-NX with elements from the Kelvin Timeline's Enterprise. The low lighting and eerie blue glow even harken back to the alternative universe Enterprise-D from The Next Generation episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” with the cooler, militaristic vibe of the battle bridge. Whether this means the Shenzhou is a warship is unclear, but given Georgiou’s adherence to the Federation’s peaceful agenda in the trailer, it seems unlikely.
The vessel’s command section also eschews the nobs and dials of the TOS-era in favor of clear, holographic displays and flat panel stations, also coming equipped with a massive window/viewscreen and what appears to be a heads-up display. The chairs and stations, however, look a lot like those used by Kirk and company in both Kelvin and Prime Timelines.
Sarek’s Relationship to Michael?
James Frain’s casting as Sarek might have blindsided a few fans, but any Star Trek epics set during the 2250s and diving into the intricacies of Federation diplomacy would be remiss without the Vulcan VIP involved in some way – Mark Lenard or otherwise. Much like Darth Vader in Rogue One, though, Sarek’s presence in Discovery is as reassuring as it is enigmatic.
Early on, Sarek and Lt. Cmdr. Burnham appear to have a significant connection. In particular, one scene involves a young child with a very Vulcan hairdo being scolded by the legendary ambassador about her abysmal command of the language (“your tongue is too human”). A suggestively placed dissolve, featuring a teary-eyed Michael, implies these are her memories, and that they had a painful mentor-mentee relationship.
While difficult to discern, some of her features could hint at a possible Vulcan origin. That might explain Sarek’s “too human” line. In all likelihood, Michael is just a human pupil, but their relationship seems to imply more. Sarek even questions her accomplishments (or those of her ship) at one point, asking her “what have you done out there on the edge of Federation space?” His critique sounds just as patriarchal as it does Federation authoritative. Even if Burnham shares common ancestry or adoptive ties, Spock has thus far never mentioned a sister in 50 years’ worth of canonical appearances.
On the other hand, his half-brother Sybok (from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) came completely out of left field and was thankfully never mentioned again. CBS’s first official poster could also be telling, seeing as it consists of Commander Burnham’s face set against a Vulcan salute.
Strange New Worlds
The opening moments of the Discover trailer dazzle viewers with a gorgeously rendered if arid and rocky planet. Sure, this hazy spot could be somewhere close by, like Vulcan, but there are no recognizable landmarks to compare one way or another. If it is Vulcan, then there wouldn't be much of a reason for Burnham and Georgiou to run around lost on a heavily populated Federation world? Later on, the crew visits yet another lovely vista, complete with a cool, blue atmosphere and the near-orbit of a ringed planet or moon. It may simply be an alternative perspective one the first desert world, however, there are a handful of early rumors that the planet could be Andor.
One thing's for certain: as Sarek notes, their location "on the edge of Federation space," suggests the Shenzhou and its crew are definitely out there, boldly going where no one has gone before.