The first episode of Star Trek premiered more than 50 years ago, but the beloved sci-fi franchise is still going strong. The space saga is scheduled to return with the new series Star Trek: Discovery in 2017 on CBS All Access (the network’s stand-alone streaming service) for those in the U.S. and Canada, and on Netflix for international audiences.
CBS unveiled the first teaser for its new Star Trek series in early 2016, and the show’s official title was revealed to be Star Trek: Discovery during Comic-Con International in San Diego in summer 2016. Since then, there have been many strange twists and turns, including the exit of series creator and showrunner Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, American Gods), leaving many Star Trek fans wondering exactly how the series will look under new showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (Pushing Daisies), and how it will fit into the Star Trek TV universe.
Discovery is currently scheduled to premiere September 24. Here’s everything we know about Star Trek: Discovery so far.
The sound of Star Trek history
The musical theme for Star Trek: Discovery will take plenty of cues from past iterations of the franchise.
CBS premiered the show’s theme in a video featuring composer Jeff Russo working with a 60-piece orchestra to craft the nostalgia-inducing musical homage to cosmic adventures that boldly go where no one has gone before.
Star Trek fans will certainly recognize many aspects of the theme, which is clearly inspired by some of the most iconic elements shared by past series’ themes.
Going to war at Comic-Con
After announcing the official title of the series at San Diego Comic-Con in 2016, CBS made a big splash at the annual convention again in 2017 with a brand new, extended trailer for Star Trek: Discovery.
The new trailer suggested that a war with the Klingons — possibly involving a nefarious Starfleet faction — will factor prominently into the narrative of the show’s first season. Series lead Sonequa Martin-Green features prominently in the trailer as First Officer Michael Burnham, along with supporting Starfleet characters U.S.S. Shenzhou Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Science Officer Saru (Doug Jones), as well as U.S.S. Discovery Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs).
Actor Mark Lenard also appears as the Vulcan Sarek (Spock’s father), and Rainn Wilson makes a brief appearance as cosmic smuggler and infamous swindler Harry Mudd.
Make it so, Number One
While the faces in front of the camera for Discovery might not be so familiar to Star Trek fans, there will be at least one very recognizable figure behind the camera.
According to Entertainment Weekly, veteran Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Jonathan Frakes will direct at least one episode of Discovery.
Best known for playing Commander William T. Riker on The Next Generation and the films based on that series, Frakes has a long history of work behind the camera. Along with directing several episodes of The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager, he also directed the feature-length films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. He also helmed episodes of popular television shows Leverage, Burn Notice, and NCIS: Los Angeles.
“Jonathan Frakes will rejoin the Trek world with Discovery,” said writer-producer Gretchen Berg in a statement accompanying the news. “He’s a fantastic guy and great director.”
It’s unknown exactly which episode (or episodes) he’ll direct at this point.
Captain Lorca, I presume?
Although he isn’t expected to play series’ lead, the captain of the U.S.S. Discovery was introduced to the world in an official photo released in June by CBS (via Entertainment Weekly).
Played by The OA and Outlander actor Jason Isaacs, Federation Starship Captain Gabriel Lorca is described as “a brilliant military tactician.” Along with putting Isaacs front and center, the photo also features the first look at the bridge of the Discovery, as EW’s article indicates that all prior photos and footage have only featured the bridge of the other starship featured in the series, the U.S.S. Shenzhou.
A launch date and a mission plan
A number of delays during development and production of the series left the premiere date for Star Trek: Discovery uncertain since the project’s initial announcement. CBS finally made the launch date for the show official in mid-June via an animated promotional image for Discovery that revealed the series would kick off September 24 on the network and its streaming service, CBS All Access.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) June 19, 2017
The network also outlined its rollout plans for the series, which will debut on CBS on Sunday, September 24, with CBS All Access subscribers given the option to watch both the first and second episodes on-demand that evening. Subsequent episodes will be made available on CBS All Access each Sunday.
According to CBS’ announcement, the first season of the series will be divided into two chapters, with the initial eight-episode arc running from September 24 through November 5 on the network’s streaming service. The second arc will then premiere in January 2018 on CBS All Access and encompass seven episodes, made available weekly on Sundays.
Boldly going … where, exactly?
CBS is keeping many of the story details for Star Trek: Discovery under wraps, but we do know that the series will be set about 10 years before the original series. The first teaser promised “new crews,” “new villains,” “new heroes,” and “new worlds” — and we’ve since learned that we’ll see something that unfolds within the “Prime” canon of the established Star Trek universe, but not tied to the events in the movies.
Fuller told CNN the series’ placement between the four-season prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and the original 1966 series “gives us an opportunity to bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series.”
In the June 2017 announcement of the show’s premiere date, CBS released the official synopsis for the series.
“Star Trek: Discovery will follow the voyages of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new life forms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself,” reads the description of the show’s premise. “The series will feature a new ship, new characters, and new missions while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers.”
First look trailer
On May 17, CBS released a new trailer giving fans a glimpse at the upcoming series.
The trailer establishes the overarching plot points for the pilot episode of Star Trek: Discovery, and ostensibly the series’ first season. The trailer opens with Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) walking over the sandy dunes of a remote planet, before beaming up to a Starfleet vessel. We get a look at the rest of the crew, including Doug Jones (Hellboy) as Science Officer Saru, as well as Mark Lenard as the Vulcan Sarek, the father of Spock from the original series. We also get a look at the new Starfleet uniforms.
The trailer also introduces a conflict between Starfleet and the Klingon Empire. After discovering a mysterious object on the far reaches of Federation space, the crew encounters the Klingons, and if the trailer is any indication, it’s not the friendliest meeting.
In May 2017, CBS released an official photo from Star Trek: Discovery, offering fans — and curious audiences — their first look at the series.
The image features Michelle Yeoh (left) as Captain Philippa Georgiou and Sonequa Martin-Green (right) as First Officer Michael Burnham. The duo is pictured in desert attire, gazing out over what appears to be a relatively bleak, barren landscape.
No Worf for you
After a rumor indicated that Discovery would feature Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Michael Dorn playing an ancestor of his original character, Worf, the actor quickly — and officially — refuted the report.
Speaking to TrekMovie.com, Dorn’s publicist said there were “a couple of conversations with producers last summer” about a potential role on Discovery, but there are currently “no plans for him to appear at this time” on the series.
While that still leaves some uncertainty about whether he’ll appear in the show, a theater and art critic attending a recent speaking event that featured Dorn expanded on both his likely absence from the series, and the reasons behind it.
“I can tell you with 100-percent certainty that Mr. Dorn did not say he was going to be on the new Star Trek show,” said Orlando Sentinel critic Matt Palm of comments the actor made regarding Discovery during a recent event. “In fact, he went to great lengths explaining why he would not be on the new show: That there had been interest expressed, but he was not offered enough money. He said they had offered him less than 1 percent of what he made in his last contract as Worf.”
What’s in a name?
During San Diego Comic-Con in 2016, another teaser for the series was released — this one featuring the “test flight” of the U.S.S. Discovery, the space-traveling base of operations for the cast.
During September 2016’s Mission New York convention for Star Trek fans, Fuller shed some light on how the ship got its name.
“This ship is called the Discovery for a few reasons,” said Fuller. “Not the least of which is Stanley Kubrick’s contribution to the Discovery on 2001: A Space Odyssey, NASA’s vessel the Discovery, and also the sense of discovery.”
Noting a particular relationship between the word and the sci-fi series’ fandom, Fuller added that another reason for the ship’s name is “what the word ‘discovery’ means to Star Trek audiences who have been promised a future by Gene Roddenberry where we come together as a planet and seek new worlds and new alien races to explore and understand and collaborate with.”
Harry Mudd, I presume?
A March 2017 casting announcement offered a pretty significant call-back to the franchise’s past, with The Office actor Rainn Wilson slated to play original series character Harry Mudd.
Variety reported that Wilson will play the interstellar con man who made his 1966 debut in the first season of the original Star Trek series. The character, who was initially portrayed by Roger C. Carmel, would go on to appear in several subsequent episodes of the series and its spinoffs over the years.
Also cast around the same time were The OA and Outlander actor Jason Isaacs (pictured below) as Starfleet Captain Lorca of the U.S.S. Discovery, and Longmire actress Mary Wiseman as Tilly, a Starfleet cadet.
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