With Paramount's Kevlinverse films currently on hold, much has happened since the season one finale of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery as the franchise continues expanding the current series' "universe". Fans have been treated to a series of Star Trek-related mini-movies (Short Treks), and have even more to look forward to in the immediate future. Along with a new animated series (Lower Decks), an untitled Captain Picard series starring Patrick Stewart will address the popular Enterprise captain's life post-TNG. Michelle Yeoh's upcoming Discovery-spinoff will focus on her work with Starfleet's secretive Section 31 – and will also be the actress' first lead role on American television.
With so much at stake and Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premiering this week, here's a look at some of our observations and questions heading into the series' return.
Will We See More "New" or More Traditional Trek?
One of the biggest complaints about the new show is the greater level of melodramatic strife among the crew and an over-emphasis on action compared with the exploration and utopian aspects of Gene Roddenberry's original 1966 series.
Roddenberry's utopia of Starfleet was always a formula followed with each show from Star Trek: The Original Series to Star Trek: Enterprise, which set itself apart from traditional science fiction shows. Some claim Seth MacFarlane's sci-fi dramedy, The Orville is more true to Roddenberry's vision than Discovery is.
The random crew deaths, the conspiracies, the decision to set the series in the past, and the dramatic design changes that didn't gel with canon are just a few of the reasons Discovery divided the hardcore Trek fanbase–while being asked to pay for another streaming service.
With that said, the show's success with casual and new fans has justified Alex Kurtzman's growing franchise influence–and from what we can see from the trailers for the second season, it doesn't appear Discovery will deviate much from its tone and direction.
How Much Focus Will Be on the Enterprise?
The current timeline sees Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) in the captain's chair before James T. Kirk and a younger Spock (Ethan Peck) among the Enterprise crew. The season one cliffhanger saw the crew of the Discovery meet the iconic ship from a distress signal.
While it provides an opportunity for more exposition with Michael Burnham's (Sonequa Martin-Green) past as the adopted daughter of Sarek (James Frain) and her relationship with biological son, Spock. From the looks of the trailer, we see far more human characteristics than Vulcan in him. This would also be an opportunity to address why in later canon, Spock never mentioned his adoptive sister at any point.
The story of Pike's Enterprise shouldn't be the sole focus of season 2 as it diminishes the value of the Discovery and its crew. Depending on the season's reception, we could potentially see a fourth series focused on the earlier voyages of the USS Enterprise.
Will We See Any Other Races Like Romulans, Cardassians, etc?
With Burnham ending the war with the Klingons, there's nothing to indicate how the Federation will deal with them in the future. We do know by the time of Kirk, relations deteriorated to the point where they were at war again. Whether the broken truce happens during Discovery almost seems like an inevitability. That said, with the lack of an exploration aspect and the primary focus of the first season being the war with the Klingons, will we see the franchise's other signature races like the Romulans, Cardassians, or the Ferengi?
We know it was a creative decision to alter the look of Nero and his crew in the Kelvinverse film, with the physical changes explained in the supplemental comic to the 2009 film, Star Trek: Countdown. With the series focusing more on Burnham's past with Spock on Vulcan, it's not far-fetched to see the involvement of the Romulans at some point.
As far as the other two races, it would be a toss-up depending on the show focuses this season on the singular narrative. With the exception of a few instances like the "mirrorverse" and the Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson)-centered episode "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad," the Federation-Klingon War became the main narrative.
Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access on Thursday, January 17, 2019.