Star Trek: Discovery’s showrunners spill a bean or two on the lead character’s journey

4 min read

We’re just a few short months away from the launch of Star Trek: Discovery and there have been surprisingly few crumbs of actual information released. So far all we know that it’s set a few years before the original series, Spock’s father Sarek is involved, the Klingons are unfriendly (surprise!), we’ve got two starships – the USS Discovery and Shenzho – and the lead character, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), is not one of the captains but is instead the first officer of the Shenzhou.

Initial showrunner Bryan Fuller revealed previously that the show would tackle “an incident and an event in Star Trek history that’s been talked about but never been explored… to dig deep into a very tantalizing storyline”. No other details have been forthcoming, but in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, current showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg revealed that Burnham, the first human to attend the Vulcan Space Academy, is the likely catalyst for the incident and event mentioned by Fuller:

“Burnham [has] spent a lot of time on Vulcan, but she’s human. Sarek [Spock’s father, played by James Frain] plays an important role in her life, which has been completely planned until she makes a very difficult choice that sends her life on a very different path.

When we meet her, she’s the First Officer on the Starship Shenzhou [captained by Philippa Georgiou, played by Michelle Yeoh]. And Burnham’s choice that we’re alluding to is most difficult choice you can make — it affects her, affects Starfleet, affects the Federation, it affects the entire universe.

That choice leads her to a different ship, the Discovery [helmed by Captain Lorca, played by Jason Isaacs] and there we begin what Gretchen and I call our ‘second pilot.’”

The switch from the lead character being the first officer instead of the captain is also something the showrunners believe will bring a different perspective to the series and open up more possibilities:

“The joy is in the journey. The advantage to her not being in charge of the bridge right now is we get to tell stories from a very different point of view. It’s a fresh feeling because we’re not on the bridge all the time. We get access to more parts of the ship.”

One thing that’s quite evident from the trailer is that the production values of the show are quite high, which the showrunners referenced as one of the reasons why the show was repeatedly delayed, and reminiscent of the recent J.J. Abrams-led Star Trek movies. However when asked which movies or shows had the most influence on the upcoming series the producers replied:

“There’s a hint of all of them, but in the writers’ room people are so in love with The Original Series and Next Generation, and they talk about the family aspect of those cast members.

I think Nicholas Myers’ [sic, and writer/director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country] film are a touchstone, and not just because he’s been on staff with us. His storytelling is complex and intellectual and yet there’s a lot of room for character voices and character work, he’s done such an incredible job with the franchise. In terms of scope and scale, there’s something about Star Trek: The Motion Picture that really speaks to us as well.”

Star Trek: Discovery is due to begin airing on 24 September, and I must say I’m starting to feel the hype. While the constant delays aren’t a good sign, everything we’re hearing these days sounds right to me. I’m ready for a modernised, high budget Star Trek series that does what the franchise has always done so well – explore, both the universe and humanity. How about you?

Last Updated: June 28, 2017

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  • Original Heretic

    So looking forward to this and all the holodeck episodes they’re bound to do.

    • I cannot wait for the holodeck-sodes! They are the best!

    • Time period is wrong. Holodecks on ships were not s thing back then. Hell Captain Kirk did not captain a single enterprise with a Holodeck.

      • Original Heretic

        Shhhhhh! We’re taunting Trevor!

        • You want to taunt Trevor then all you need to say is.

          “So how many episodes till they ruin it with the obligatory time travel arc?”

          • Original Heretic

            So many choices! He just makes it way too easy, having all those pet hates.

          • Actually I also hate most of the time travel stuff. It ruined the last few seasons of Voyager.It ruined all of Enterprise. Basically only the movies did it right. First Contact is still my nr1 movie.

          • All good things was awesome.

          • That was the last episode of TNG I believe where discord once again Judges humanity.

          • yup, it was also a brilliant time-travel episode.

          • I prefer the episode where Alarak send Picard back in time to where he got stabbed in the heart as a Cadet and has the chance to change his history.

          • Original Heretic

            I really didn’t enjoy Voyager as much as the other series.
            And Enterprise, I missed the last two seasons of that (was way too busy with life at that time for ANY TV).
            As for First Contact, yup, one of my favourite ST movies as well.

          • The last episode? tehehe

          • Or maybe the first episode like Enterprise.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor
      • Original Heretic

        Far as I can recall, though, it was during the Enterprise series that the holodeck tech was discovered. They got it from that alien race that was feeding off their warp energy or something.
        So if Enterprise remains canon, it might well appear in this series.

        • It was never in the Original though…

          • Original Heretic

            Yeah, I know, it wasn’t.
            But back then they were also rather limited with what they could do. No such limits now exist.

          • I hope not. They shouldn’t have a holodeck on a ship that is basically an exploration vessel. ST:TNG was quite different what with the Enterprise-D having a family on board that needed entertainment. And not the sort found in Quark’s bar…

          • It is canon that Galaxy Class ships were on of the first ships built with a holodeck.

          • Ya. I know that. They are not in a Galaxy class starship in Discovery.

          • Those ships are 200 years in the future.

          • Yup.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            They have an early version of Data though…

          • back, the F off man,. Leave Data alone. He’s trying to be a real boy!

          • HvR

            But they can have a Hololens room ….

          • Don’t think MS exists in the future. 😛

          • HvR

            Yes they do, how many episode in NG are there where ship computer goes bonkers or have major security flaws

          • Every, single, one?

          • Licensing every computer on every starship would have financially crippled Starfleet.

          • Original Heretic

            The economy in the ST canon is much stronger than it is now.

          • Nope. The economy is non existent as they can virtually make anything using replicators. Certain things like gold-pressed latinum they could at the start not make but after a while even old replicators could make them.

          • Original Heretic

            Exactly. Waaaay stronger than now.

            No economy is better than an economy where the entire world is trillions of dollars in debt to….someone.

          • LOL!

          • Hammersteyn
          • hahahahahahaha WIN!

          • Oh oh! They can have a PS4 VR Mk 500!

          • Original Heretic

            Very good point.
            @Kromaswow:disqus also a good point.

            Hence it wouldn’t make sense.
            Much to Trevor’s relief.

        • You are correct however that tech was never integrated on any ships till like a few years before the Galaxy class ships were built with them in blueprint.That is at least 200 years after this show.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor
      • Original Heretic

        You’ll come round.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Refer to previous gif. ;P

          • Original Heretic

            Careful now, this might lead to a gif-off.

          • We know you love them. That episode of Ship in a bottle was legend!

          • Original Heretic

            I rather liked the one where Data was Holmes and La Forge told the computer to construct and enemy that could beat Data (not Holmes) and then the Moriarty character gets all self-aware.

          • Ya. I too enjoyed it. There were a few good ones actually. Trev just doesn’t know what is good and what isn’t.

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