There’s been a modest amount of promotional material for CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery thus far, but there are still a lot of questions left to be answered surrounding the series’ plot, including the reason why there are two ships featured in the series: the U.S.S. Discovery and the Shenzhou. Well, a new interview with series showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg (via Entertainment Weekly) sheds some light on the hotly anticipated series’ plot.
The heavily-serialized series — especially in its first few episodes, which makes the series difficult to discuss ahead of time — stars Walking Dead alum Sonequa Martin-Green as a Starfleet First Officer who was the first human to attend the Vulcan Science Academy. Harberts discussed the character’s journey a bit, revealing some of her history on Vulcan.
“Burnham [has] spent a lot of time on Vulcan, but she’s human,” Harberts says. “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.’”
Traditionally, Star Trek series have featured a captain, but Discovery breaks the mold by featuring Burnham, a character who’s a First Officer, aiming to climb up the Starfleet ranks. “The joy is in the journey,” Berg teased. “The advantage to her not being in charge of the bridge right now is we get to tell stories from a very different point of view. It’s a fresh feeling because we’re not on the bridge all the time. We get access to more parts of the ship.”
As for the showrunners’ influences on the series, Berg said, “There’s a hint of all of them, but in the writers’ room people are so in love with The Original Series and Next Generation, and they talk about the family aspect of those cast members.”
Harberts added, “I think Nicholas Myers’ film are a touchstone, and not just because he’s been on staff with us. His storytelling is complex and intellectual and yet there’s a lot of room for character voices and character work, he’s done such an incredible job with the franchise. In terms of scope and scale, there’s something about Star Trek: The Motion Picture that really speaks to us as well. CBS has allowed us to find a cinematic language that’s wider in scope — our aspect ratio is 2:1 — and it just lends itself to a very lyrical way of telling the story. And just visually speaking, there’s also a little hint in terms of what J.J. Abrams did, a little bit, in terms of some of the visuals.”
In the United States, Star Trek: Discovery debuts Sunday, September 24 on CBS, before moving to the CBS All Access streaming service for follow-up weekly installments. In Canada, the series debuts on CTV and Space at 8:30 pm ET, with its second episode set to air immediately after on Space — subsequent episodes will air Sundays through November 5. Internationally, the series will debut on Netflix.
Stay tuned to CBR as further Star Trek: Discovery details are revealed.
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