How Star Trek Discovery Blends Tradition with New, Relevant Frontiers


Star Trek Discovery, CBS All Access’ much-anticipated new TV entry into the Star Trek ranks, beamed into Comic-Con International in San Diego for the very first time in advance of its Sept. 24 premiere. While there, the cast and creators revealed during a spirited press conference, how the series -- set a generation or so before the original 1966 Trek -- hopes to build off of the core foundations established by creator Gene Roddenberry. As expected, the series will mingle sci-fi adventure and metaphoric social commentary, while pushing the envelope forward on eye-popping visuals and of-the-moment serialized TV storytelling, all in the name of boldly going where no Trek has gone before.

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Alex Kurtzman (executive producer): First and foremost, the defining factor of Roddenberry's vision is the optimistic view of the future and the idea that he envisioned a world where all species, all races came together not only to make our world better, but to make every world better. I think that that's something that can never be lost in Trek. I think once you lose that, you lose the essence of what Star Trek is.

That being said, we live in a very troubled times and every day we look at the news and it's hard. It's hard to see what we see and I think that now more than ever, Trek is needed as a reminder and a buoy for what we can be, the best of who we can be.

Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek has always been a mirror to the time in which it reflected. Right now, the idea that ... the question of how you preserve and protect what Starfleet is in the wake of a challenge like war and the things that must be done in war is a very interesting and dramatic problem. It feels like a very topical one given the world that we live in now, so that is what we are always trying to maintain, but again the optimism is that thing that we must hold onto as the torch for Roddenberry's vision of the future of Star Trek.

Akiva Goldsman (producer): What we are committed to is a real fractal version of the universe. That diversity has become too easy a word. We're committed to complexity and the differences in cultures and the differences in biology and in preference and inclusion. These were the principles that Star Trek was founded on, so we chase those.

The show's mission is to be inclusive, so we're very, very purposeful about that and I think you will see as we move forward that that's by no means, an accident. It's very intentional and the storytelling question is simply that we've gotten the chance to be something pretty unprecedented in Star Trek, which is just to be serialized.

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Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham): One of my favorites ideas that we explore on the show is acculturation and how when that happens, it doesn't have to mean assimilation. That's really one of the pillars, I think, of Star Trek. What it teaches is that we don't have to let go of who we are in order to learn who you are. We can do it at the same time.

I think that that's touched on a lot on The Walking Dead, and it's touched on here. It's touched on here in such a unique way and a way we haven't seen before, in a way that I think honors the legacy, but also carries it to the next level.

Storytelling is such a champion in our world and our society and it does so much for us. It shapes us and changes us and enlightens us. I just thank god that I was able to go from a show where this storytelling is so rich and so dynamic to another show where the storytelling is so rich and so dynamic.

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