Boldly digging into the details of the upcoming TV show.
Not long after CBS was forced to defend the lack of diversity in their fall primetime lineup, Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller revealed several new details about the highly anticipated show.
On diversity, Star Trek: Discovery has a fantastically diverse cast, if we are to believe what the studio and producers tell us. The primary character is a woman. It’s been confirmed that there will be LGBTQ characters. There will be all races of humans, as well as a diverse mix of aliens and sentient robots.
Perhaps the most interesting piece of news is that the main character of this new series will be a “lieutenant commander with caveats.” This is intriguing. The main character of the previous six series have all been captains and bridge officers. How will that modification change the flow of the show? There have been episodes in nearly all of the series that followed non-bridge characters, but these were typically isolated aberrations during a lull in the larger plotline. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out and if following a character who is not a captain will feel any less like Trek.
This almost-Lieutenant Commander will also be a woman. Strong female characters have always been part of the Star Trek canon, so Fuller and his team have mighty big shoes to fill if they want to follow Janeway, Uhura, and Troi. I was very heartened to learn that astronaut Mae Jemison was consulted in the creation of the character. Considering the quality of Ms. Jemison’s life and career, it gives me hope for this new character.
Speculation about this character has run rampant, due in part to Fuller’s wonderfully vague descriptions. One fan theory is that this character is the mysterious and unnamed “Number One” in an early flashback episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. This is theoretically possible, as the two series exist in the same canon universe. The Universe in which the soon-to-be seven series of Star Trek exist is called the Prime Universe. The alternate universe, created by J.J. Abrams and his reboots, is called the Kelvin Universe. These distinctions are made to keep clear the different events, characterizations, and plotlines that diverge from The Original Series. Discovery will take place only ten years before the launch of James T. Kirk’s first Enterprise mission, so the fan theory could conceivably hold weight.
Showrunner Bryan Fuller, of Star Trek: Voyager, Pushing Daisies, and Hannibal fame, gains some sick pleasure in tormenting and teasing long-term fans of the franchise. He seems to particularly enjoy answering questions in maybes and ambiguities. He’s been hinting at the possibility of classic characters being introduced in this new show in a new light. He’s even hinted that Amanda Grayson may even make an impact on the show. Grayson is the human mother of Spock and is a particular favorite of many Trekkies. Fuller also hinted at the possibility that Star Trek: Discovery was not bound to the single ship. No Star Trek series has ever focused on multiple ships and crews before, so this possibility is fascinating.
Even CBS Interactive President Marc DeBevoise couldn’t avoid dropping hints. When confronted about the biggest change from network broadcasting to digital streaming, DeBevoise mentioned the ability to show more “risque” and explicit content. Fuller made jokes about this. Is there a possible alien sex scene in our future? Who knows!
All things considered, Bryan Fuller’s hands seem capable at making good Star Trek. If the show is really as great as the wraps CBS has it under, it may be on par with the quality of the previous six series. Hell, maybe it’ll be so good that people actually subscribe en masse to CBS All Access.
Star Trek: Discovery will stream on CBS All Access beginning in January 2017.