Star Trek Discovery has done a great job of teasing without revealing anything so far, since all we really knew about it was the appearance of the ship itself from that brief, tantalizing teaser (below). But now, showrunner Bryan Fuller has dropped a whole bunch of details about the newest Trek show, and everything we've heard makes us more excited for it. Here's everything we know about Star Trek Discovery so far:
At a TCA press event (via EW), Fuller revealed that Discovery will take place in the Prime Universe, rather than the Kelvin universe of the films. And as many guessed from the registration number on the ship Discovery, the show takes place prior to the events of the original series. Fuller revealed that it will be set ten years before Captain Kirk's five-year mission, serving as a bridge between Enterprise and TOS.
"Since we are doing this series in 2016, and all the other series have been produced in a timeline that isn't as sophisticated as we are now in terms of what we can do production-wise, we're going to be reestablishing an entire look for the series. Not only for the series, but for what we want to accomplish for Star Trek beyond the series. So we have to start early on with a touch point where people can understand and have access into it, show them how we're reimagining Star Trek and then hold their hand as we pull them hopefully into iterations a lot of different timelines beyond what we have seen."
The lead character
Fuller revealed that the lead character will be human, and won't be a captain, but a "lieutenant commander." Since we've already had six Trek series with a captain as a lead, he thought it would be more interesting to explore the ship dynamics from the perspective of someone with a little less power. Another significant change from previous series: the lead will be a woman of color.
"Star Trek started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast … our lead of the show is going to be subject of that same level of who's the best actor and also what can we say about diversity on the show. We haven't cast her yet, so we don't know what level of diversity she will be, but that's forefront in our minds.
And although CBS was recently taken to task for picking up six fall shows with white male leads, Fuller claims that he is not responding to that criticism, and that he had the idea for a female POC as captain back in 2013 (and we believe him, since he seemed very committed to diversity when he spoke at SDCC):
"I want Angela Bassett to be the captain, that's who I would love to have," he said. "Captain Angela Bassett and First Officer Rosario Dawson. I would love to do that version of the show and that's in the future to be told."
The episode order
Discovery's first season will consist of thirteen hourlong episodes, which Fuller describes as a "novel" with thirteen chapters, each with their own arc. So it will mostly be a very serialized plot, although there may be some standalones here and there.
The inciting incident was referenced on the original series
He claims it's not the Romulan War, although that's "close," and that Section 31 could play a role.
"There's an incident and an event in Star Trek history that's been talked about but never been explored. To do this series, we're telling a much more serialized story, to dig deep into a very tantalizing storyline. And we have a character who's on a journey, and in order to understand something that is alien, she first has to understand herself."
We might see familiar characters from the original series
Since it only takes place a decade prior to the events of TOS, we could easily see familiar faces pop up in Discovery (Fuller especially wants to include Spock's human mom, Amanda Grayson), although maybe not until the second season:
"There's so much about the history that once we get through this first season and establish our own Star Trek universe with the crew that going to be reimagining a lot of Star Trek elements, we'll be looking in the second season to open up to more familiar characters and how they can feed into the [show]. First and foremost, I think we really want to convince you and establish the greatness of the [new] characters that are going to be introduced."
There will be a gay character
Sulu was recently confirmed as the first gay character in the Star Trek universe, but there will be at least one other character joining him in Discovery. Fuller confirmed that "absolutely" there will be a gay character. He recalled working on Voyager and receiving folders full of hate mail when any character was rumored to be gay. As a result, he promised himself that if he ever made his own Trek show, he would include a gay character.
"We've come a long way since then. I feel like actually gay rights have come a lot further in that time than race issues and women's issues."
There will be robots and lots more aliens
Fuller said that there will definitely be robots, and that there will also be lots and lots of aliens, even by Star Trek standards:
"We'll probably have a few more aliens than you typically have on the show. We wanted to paint a picture of Starfleet where we're going to have new exciting aliens and also new imagining of existing aliens."
It will be a little more risque than other Star Trek shows
Unlike other Trek shows, Discovery is streaming, and so isn't subject to broadcast television restrictions on content. When asked whether Discovery would take advantage of this and contain more adult content, Fuller said:
"Well there's a reason we call it S.T.D.," he said, referring to the show's initials. "We're going to have a broader spectrum to explore those issues, but it's still Star Trek. It will probably be slightly more graphic content. We discuss language every day. Is it appropriate for somebody to see a bridge blow up and say 'Oh s-.' I imagine we're going to shoot scenes a couple of ways and see what feels more authentic in the editing room."