Update on Star Trek: Discovery
The development of CBSs Star Trek: Discovery is finally heating up and so it is time for an update. The first new Star Trek series since 2005 has had a difficult year with delays and creative staff turnover. However, CBS seems certain to release the series early this fall. Recently the cast were seen together to celebrate the birthday of James Frain – who will play Sarek. That is a good indicator filming has started or is about to commence.
Meanwhile plenty of unofficial announcements have indicated who the cast will be. For the first time in Star Trek history the principal character will not be the captain. Instead the focus will be on the first officer – referred to as Number One. That may not be a big change. Both DS9 and Voyager laid less emphasize on their respective captains. As of yesterday we know the name of the character – Michael Burnham – and she will be played by Sonequa Martin-Green. Sonequa had been unofficially announced to play the role for some time, but yesterday saw her final appearance as Sasha on The Walking Dead. Michael is of course a boys name, there is already plenty of fan speculation as to why that particular name. Does it indicate alien interference? Or have gender norms changed?
What Star Trek Discovery is about is not known at this moment. All we know is an event previously referred to will be at the heart of the series. The remaining cast announcements have not been a clear indication. Michelle Yeoh will play the role of Georgiou – Captain of the USS Shenzhou. Terry Serpico will play a Starfleet Admiral and Maulik Pancholy will play Chief Medical Officer of the USS Shenzhou. These castings are an indicator the show will not focus just on the crew of one ship, which is a first for Star Trek. Meanwhile Jason Isaacs has been cast as Captain Lorca of the USS Discovery. Doug Jones is set to play Lt. Satu, Science Officer of the Discovery. Satu will be a new species created just for this series.
What is not known is what the series will actually look like. We know it is set 10 years before The Original Series and that it is independent from the Abrahams-verse. Besides that we only have a picture of the Discovery itself, but nothing on uniforms, interiors, planets or space stations. Meanwhile most fans have a clear opinion on what the uniforms should look like and are certain the creative staff will get it wrong. Indeed, emotions are running high. I expect more announcements and a sneak peak to arrive anytime between now an early June during various conventions. I myself am hoping the unisex skirt uniform form TNG will make a return – it could be an interesting gender bender.
Star Trek Discovery appears to have learned several lessons from the previous incarnations. Indeed I wrote an article back in 2011 on why enterprise was canceled. It is interesting to compare those notes with what showrunner Alex Kurtzman is doing. Here is hoping Star Trek Discovery can deliver on those fan expectations.