Though plagued with production setbacks at the beginning, CBS is on-track for Star Trek: Discovery to make its Sunday, Sept. 24, debut (first on CBS and then on their CBS All Access streaming service; with Netflix handling international distribution). After getting fans excited with the show's trailers and "first look" pics, showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg are finally ready to tell fans what the show is actually about.
Well…kinda. Star Trek: Discovery is expected to be a heavily serialized drama with unexpected plot twists around every corner, so there's only so much Harberts and Berg are going to share. But that didn't keep the two from giving Entertainment Weekly and Star Trek fans some information to work with over the next three months:
So what's the deal with Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the two starships?
Harberts: "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.'"
With Martin-Green's character being the first to lead a Star Trek franchise and not be a captain or in a captain-like leadership position, what difference will that make to the show?
Berg: "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."
Any familiar names (or species) we should be expecting on Star Trek: Discovery?
Both Harberts and Berg confirmed that the Klingons would be heavily involved with the first season…and these won't be your kinder, gentler Klingons.
Star Trek fans are always looking for clues, so which series/movie influenced Star Trek: Discovery?
Berg: "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."
Harberts: "I think Nicholas Myers' 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. CBS has allowed us to find a cinematic language that's wider in scope — our aspect ratio is 2:1 — and it just lends itself to a very lyrical way of telling the story. And just visually speaking, there's also a little hint in terms of what J.J. Abrams did, a little bit, in terms of some of the visuals."