'Star Trek: Discovery' Showrunners Explain Why the Show Has Two Starfleet Ships

Monday, 26 June 2017 - 9:10PM
Star Trek
Star Trek Discovery
Monday, 26 June 2017 - 9:10PM
'Star Trek: Discovery' Showrunners Explain Why the Show Has Two Starfleet Ships
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CBS
For all the coverage of Star Trek: Discovery coming out lately, we don't know too much about the plot beyond that it's a prequel to the original Star Trek series. Even the trailer didn't answer many questions about what exactly they were doing the whole time.

And most confusing of all, why is the main character, First Officer Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), a crew member on the USS Shenzhou when the show is named after a different ship, the USS Discovery? Well, even though the gritty details won't be revealed until the show comes out, showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg spoke to Entertainment Weekly to clear up some confusion about what everyone's doing in Star Trek: Discovery.

Here's Harberts:

Opening quote
"Burnham 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.'"
Closing quote


That's actually a decent explanation for the show's two different captains, Shenzhou Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Discovery Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs, looking just as mean here as he did in Harry Potter). As for the difficult decision Burnham will be making, we most certainly did not learn enough from that explanation to make a decent guess. The Klingons will be villains once again, but unless someone is secretly working for the Klingon Empire, it's tough to discern what could make Burnham switch ships.



While it's not brought up here, we do have one extra hint regarding that "difficult choice." Just recently, the showrunners said they were ditching a long upheld Star Trek rule set by Gene Roddenberry himself: the rule that Starfleet members shouldn't come into any major conflicts with each other. While that did happen on occasion in earlier shows (Picard and Sisko certainly didn't get along in Deep Space Nine), the idea was that having too many immoral Starfleet members would take away from the optimistic future the series portrays.

But it also limited what kinds of stories could be told in Star Trek, so Discovery will be doing away with it. There's something to be said about dropping a rule that Roddenberry felt was important to the series, but again, this won't be the first time that's happened - as long as the story is good, fans will forgive it. So don't be surprised if either Captain Lorca, Captain Georgiou, or someone else aboard a Federation vessel is so immoral that Burnham does something drastic enough to get her reassigned to a new ship. 

Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24, 2017 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS and their streaming service, CBS All Access.
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