Star Trek: Discovery Trailer Beams Down

Greetings, Wagoners! Long time no see…I’m sorry to say that real life events and travels have taken me outside the range of the local subspace relay network lately. But the Star Trek: Discovery trailer hit the other day, and you know I had to get my two credits in. Set a course for screenshots and SpaceStationWagon commentary!

YELLOW ALERT: No spoilers, unless you want to avoid learning names of some characters/concepts. I avoid spoilers like Rigellian Fever, so all plot suppositions are entirely my own.

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Sonequa Martin-Green plays our hero, Starfleet officer Michael Burnham

Scuttlebutt has it this series is set in the “Prime Timeline” depicted in TOS, TNG, DS9, and Voyager. The recent JJ Abrams Star Trek films take place in what has come to be known as the “Kelvinverse,” an alternate timeline created by the destruction of the USS Kelvin by Nero in 2009’s Star Trek (where exactly Enterprise fits into all this is a subject of much debate, and is a tangent for another time).

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Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou

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The Final Frontier

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James Frain as Sarek of Vulcan (Spock’s daddy)

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a choir of Klingons

Even if Discovery is set in the classic Trek universe, it takes a lot of visual cues from the new movies. The uniforms in the trailer are very reminiscent of Enterprise NX-01’s jumpsuits, the Kelvin uniforms in ST09, dress uniforms in ‘09 and Into Darkness, as well as the “field jackets” and USS Franklin jumpsuits from Beyond . They also kind of remind me of the landing party jackets in “The Cage,” the first pilot episode for TOS (shown in order below):

 

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There’s a lot of other visual similarities, like the “warp effect” and aliens having the JJ Abrams movie look. Despite the recent rights kerfuffles between CBS and Paramount (Paramount owns anything to do with Star Trek movies, while CBS controls Trek TV…and never shall the two meet) the showrunners are creating a visual style matching the movies, which makes sense. You want to present a unified front, and not confuse casual (hopefully later die-hard) viewers.

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The USS Shenzou (I think) breaks through the clouds on the unknown desert world

I get the feeling that the actual setting doesn’t matter and this show could fit in either world, which is fine by me. If the series must be a prequel (gross) it can at least make an effort to strike out on its own, and not be beholden to what came before. So long as the show remains true to the spirit of Star Trek…that we can always try to be better, that we can befriend and work alongside those who are different from us, and that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in any philosophy…I don’t care if it’s a reboot or alternate timeline or if all took place in a snowglobe. The world could use some wonder and thinly-veiled social commentary injected into it right now.

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an alien Starfleet officer

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a strange, new world

Things I love:

  • The two characters featured most prominently in the trailer are women (and not white)
  • The ALIENS! They look rad, particularly the Klingons. My prediction that they would look fantastic when well lit and in motion was correct. That sarcophagus is so badass!
  • I also love seeing multiple alien crewmembers on the bridge
  • That sweet “grid” transporter effect
  • The wonder of it all, the wide open spaces. It looks like we’ll be treated to a romp through a densely packed debris field around what could be a black hole…maybe a star eating another star?
  • Burnham jetting around in a spacesuit, like in Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness
  • The starship we see in the trailer is not a replacement for the USS Discovery design seen in the teaser a while back – it’s the USS Shenzhou, a different vessel. I loved the Ken Adam/Ralph McQuarrie influenced design of the Discovery (we took a detailed look at the genesis of the design a while ago) and was worried that it had been changed because of non-stop Trekkie whining. Go play in the path of the Doomsday Machine, nerds.
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a corridor aboard the USS Shenzhou

Minor complaints:

  • The appearance of Sarek, Spock’s father. Did we absolutely need someone related to an Original Series character to appear? I do love James Frain and I think he’ll do a great job…but he could have just played a different Vulcan. I think at this point he was estranged from his son (their reconciliation was shown in TOS: “Journey to Babel”)…wonder if that will come up
  • For all the hullabaloo about Doug Jones’ alien I thought he was going to be really, really alien, like Jones playing Abe Sapien in the Hellboy films alien. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a great design…but still very humanoid. However, I have faith that Mr. Jones can use his acting abilities to really bring out the character’s otherworldliness through body language and dialogue delivery
  • The Shenzou’s exterior is a little too TNG-era for my taste, particularly the blade-like warp nacelles (I do dig the bridge though)

All in all, I am PUMPED for this series. I love Star Trek and I hope that it hasn’t run its course…I want it to impress and inspire, for this to be a great piece of television and not a warming over of old ideas. With Discovery’s daring departures from what’s come before and its great cast, I think it’s got a shot.

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Doug Jones as an alien crewmember

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a classic flip-phone communicator

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this guy’s armor makes me think of the TOS Klingons’ gold tunics

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Lobot?

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a robot?

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