Star Trek: Discovery production is underway! Two of our writers sit down to try and put everything into context.
Star Trek fans, Discovery is on its way. Well, sort of. After many months of back and forth between producers, showrunners, the network, production finally began. The stars are on set, the costumes in place, and most importantly, the bridge (or should we say bridges) are built.
What is the series shaping up to look like? Why is getting new Star Trek more important than ever? And can we finally get a show about Klingon politics? Two Hypable writers, and Star Trek fans, sit down to figure out all of that and more!
Welcoming a cadet on the bridge
Donya: They’ve got a lot of really cool sounding descriptions for some of the characters. We’re used to see the bridge crew. For example, there’s this Tilly character. She’s a cadet in her final year being assigned to the Discovery.
Most of the time when we are thrown into Star Trek, a majority of the characters we see have been operating in space for a while or they have a lot of experience. So, having someone like [Tilly], who is almost like a Wesley Crusher-esque, I think that’s quite interesting.
It’s going to have a completely separate dynamic because she is someone who obviously has aspirations to work on a ship, but isn’t quite there yet.
I’m looking forward to learning more about how Starfleet operates with its cadets and how they then become assigned to a ship. It’s almost like work experience or a work placement. Not everyone is going to be a fully formed character with experience in space and diplomacy and everything that is going to expected of them. They are going to be really green.
I love the idea that we are going to have a character like that.
Brittany: Plus that opens up the potential for a mentor/mentee relationship. Where, like you were saying, everyone is at the top of their game and in their position they are the best.
From what we’ve seen so far, there’s not a lot of struggle or learning obstacles because they know what they are doing. Instead [they focus] on how they interact with each other under different circumstances.
But here, I think that Tilly, for example, is going to be a catalyst for a mentor/mentee type of story arc.
Donya: And the other thing is that my gut would have me assume that the mentor role would go to Sonequa Martin-Green’s character, Commander Rainsford. This idea that the mentor/mentee relationship is going to be two women is great. I love it.
I think it’s really cool to see a woman of color be in the position of the mentor, when a lot of the time the women that you see higher up in the command chain, not necessarily singling it out with Star Trek in particular, but across media, your positions of power, if held by a woman, are held by a white woman.
It’s really interesting to see those roles subverted and having a really strong, accomplished, successful woman of color being the lieutenant commander and having her potentially then guiding and helping someone else is great.
Brittany: I’m really excited about her casting and her being in the forefront of this crew because with Jason Isaacs joining it was kind of like “whomp whomp.” Here’s our token white captain guy who’s full of experience.
But since we have [Martin-Green] as the lieutenant commander and as a challenge to Jason Isaacs, I think that could be an interesting dynamic if they push her to challenge him.
Donya: I’ve seen a lot of discussions, particularly around theories and directions that [Discovery] might take. I’m kind of on the fence with this idea, because I love Jason Issacs a lot, but there are a lot of theories about Captain Lorca not making it out of season 1.
It could be quite interesting to see that dynamic shift. Because it’s very unusual that we would see a Captain die.
Brittany: I think that could be a really great untold story. That is definitely something new, that we could see the number one taking over after the captain dies or perishes. And it could lead to [Rainsford’s] role coming into conflict with the crew. We don’t know what her dynamic is with this new crew.
New species, same Doug Jones
Brittany: There is a lot going on in this crew. There are different species, which I am thrilled about. And we’re getting a new species, the science officer.
Donya: Not only is it the science officer, Lt. Saru is going to be played by Doug Jones. When it comes to creature actors, he is one of my favorites. He just imbues so much personality into every single character that he portrays. He’s so good. SO GOOD…
Brittany: Hold on! He is the leader of the Gentlemen in Buffy?
Donya: He’s EVERYTHING. He’s literally every creature you can probably think of.
Brittany: Oh, now I am pumped for this. His resume is…
Donya: INCREDIBLE. He’s so good. I love him so much.
Brittany: He’s Billy from Hocus Pocus! Now I am triply excited about Doug Jones’ casting. I didn’t know him from anything else by name.
What goes into naming a Starfleet ship?
Brittany: We also have another ship coming in, which is incredibly cool. But I don’t know how they are going to play together.
Donya: Not only that, we are getting quite a lot of crew members announced for this ship. We know the show is called Star Trek: Discovery, which precludes the fact that it is going to be about the Discovery.
But the Shenzhou is playing really heavily into the casting announcements, which suggests that either they are going to be working very closely with the Discovery, or we are going to interact with them quite significantly.
Brittany: You get the name, The Discovery, and of course, my mind at least went to, “Oh, this is an exploratory crew, they are going to be doing some five-year mission, going to other planets, taking notes and reporting back.”
But if there is this other ship, and the catalyst for this show is an event that is mentioned, but not explored in the Star Trek universe, I don’t know how much they are going to go into the daily episodic adventures. When Bryan Fuller was still attached, at least, they kept referring to it as more of a “novel” approach. A more cohesive story that is unpacked over a season.
Which I think is a little more interesting, and different for the Star Trek universe.
Donya: Even Shenzhou in particular, just the name is really interesting. It is named after the Shenzhou program, the Chinese manned space flight. That’s really cool, that it is harkening back to a real space program. And maybe not one that most of us would be familiar with unless you are really into looking into space programs outside of NASA.
The name itself, loosely translated, is either “divine vessel,” or “divine arc.” Something along those lines. It’s difficult to translate Chinese to English because it could have different meanings in context. I don’t know if that is a clue to the position that the Shenzhou holds in Starfleet.
Brittany: That potentially puts the Discovery in an underdog role in contrast to the Shenzhou.
Donya convinces Brittany Sarek is okay
Brittany: What do you think about Sarek coming? I’m not thrilled about it.
Donya: You’re not? I don’t mind it. I think it is an interesting choice. It’s a direct connection to the Enterprise crew, without specifically including the Enterprise crew.
Brittany: I think I would need to know more. But if it is a very limited role, I will be more okay with it. I wanted [Discovery] to exist in its own bubble without being directly related to the original series. If Sarek is not popping in and out all the time, I think it will be fine.
Donya: I agree with that, but speaking loosely to his role within the Stark Trek universe, he is hugely influential when it comes to Vulcan, not only as a Vulcan astrophysicist, but he is also an ambassador to the United Federation of Planets. So, if any character from the original series was to get involved in some way, he is probably one of the ones who is the most… logical.
Brittany: [!!!!!] Oh that pun is going in there.
Donya: Realistically speaking, it does make a lot of sense why he would be involved in some way. I’m with it.
I would have preferred to have a first season exist solely around these new characters so we get a chance to learn about them and how they operate and how they work within Starfleet before bringing in more familiar characters.
But, that said, though he is a familiar character, I wouldn’t necessarily say he is a major character in any respect. It makes sense to me that he would in someway have a vague role particularly with a ship that is going out there and discovering new things.
Brittany: Especially if you are going to be out discovering you are going to want to interact with familiar and unfamiliar races, like the Vulcans. And if you want to bring in the Vulcans, why not bring them in with Sarek?
I see exactly where you are coming from. That’s a good point. He plays a pretty important role with everything Starfleet deals with, so why not bring him in.