It seems the Star Trek franchise has been going on for ages, gracing fans with numerous episodes that deal with space exploration, extra-terrestrial species, and building relationships between various civilizations. We’ve also seen our fair share of more than spectacular movies, but Star Trek’s story is yet far from its ending. Star Trek: Discovery is the sixth live-action series, taking place 10 years before The Original Series. This means we get to enjoy a classic retro feel of the show mixed with cool sci-fi gadgets and futuristic technologies to keep it modern. Yet there’s a number of things that make this show stand out from the rest, as well as more than a few Easter eggs and references hiding in the background. Here are 10 cool facts about Star Trek: Discovery that will make you either love it or hate it.
It’s not all about the captains (yet)
Although we’ve gotten used to captains being in the centre of a story in the Star Trek Universe (from Kirk to Janeway and Picard), this is not exactly the case with the new series. The new story is told from a perspective of the first officer Michael Burnham, who seems to be a perfect fit for the captain’s seat, but jeopardizes not only her career, but her whole life with a decision that puts two civilizations at war. Starting the series like that is a really bold move if you want our opinion!
The ship is based on a 70’s design
USS Discovery’s sleek design has a distinct retro feel to it that takes us back all the way to the original series of Star Trek. It appears that its look was actually based on a starship design for a scrapped film Star Trek: Planet of the Titans. For that project Ralph McQuarrie, an illustrator who worked on the original Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars trilogy, created a special re-design for Enterprise. Nearly 40 years later his unused concept art became the basis for the USS Discovery and we finally got to enjoy this amazing work.
In the show’s premiere episode we notice Captain Georgiou refer to Commander Burnham as Number One, the very nickname Captain Picard gave Commander Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Not many people know that the history of this nickname dates back even further, to The Original Series. In its pilot, Number One is Star Treks first ever female officer, played by series creator Gene Roddenberry’s wife Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. Although the character was removed during the show’s post-pilot redesign, the pilot is considered canon by most Trekkies.
It’s called ‘Discovery’ for a reason
Yes, Star Trek is all about space exploration and exciting discoveries, but this is not the only reason the series is called that way. The name is also a reference to the Discovery 1 spacecraft from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as the real life space shuttle Discovery that marked more than a few ‘firsts’ for NASA, most notably hosting the first female shuttle pilot Eileen Collins.
A new alien race enters the game
During the season’s premier we meet Lieutenant Saru of the Kelpien species. The new race was created specifically for the show and has never been mentioned anywhere in the Star Trek Universe before. On their home planet, Kelpiens can function as two things – either predator or prey. Our Lieutenant Saru is of the latter kind, which makes him an unusual character bearing a very distinguished mentality from the time spent as ‘prey’ opposed to all the predators back at home. He’s very sensitive to the coming of danger and can literally sense death!
We get to meet Spock’s father
The unique timeframe of the show allows it to play with various characters that otherwise would have been unavailable. Just like that, we get acquainted with Spock’s father played by James Frain. We’ve seen Sarek’s older version before, portrayed by Mark Lenard in The Original Series and Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as Ben Cross in the J. J. Abrams movies. Yet it appears this Vulcan ambassador and astrophysicist is not just Spock’s father, but is also a step-dad to Michael Burnham, one of the main characters of the show. Through their father and daughter interactions we get to know about some pretty cool mind tricks Vulcans can do with the people close to them, as well as other thrilling details that make the show really exciting to watch.
The show is set in the Prime Universe
In a huge universe that is Star Trek it would be almost impossible to keep track of what’s going on in all series and movies plot-wise. Bryan Fuller and his crew were planning on creating a show that could function in all timelines, including J. J. Abrams’ movies, but in the end they decided to stick to the so-called Prime Universe as it would give the show more freedom. What we mean here is that the 2009 reboot of Star Trek with all the following movies belongs to the so-called Kelvin Timeline which is an alternative reality to the original Star Trek timeline. The story of Star Trek: Discovery takes place solely in the Prime Universe, so no Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine here.
Mind-meld and sharing katra (soul, life essence) is not something Vulcans take lightly. In Star Trek: Discovery we find out that Sarek not only shares his mind with Burnham from time to time (mostly under duress), but also his katra in order to save her life! This takes us back to Enterprise, when Surak, a Vulcan saint, put his katra into Captain Archer’s mind, and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock when Spock shared his katra with McCoy. What we do know is that Sarek, Spock’s dad, never mind-melded with his son, but he did with Burnham! So she must be an exceptional human being.
The show is more than just pricey
There are plenty of expensive shows out there right now, but as far as production costs go, Star Trek: Discovery might soon leave Game of Thrones and The Crown far behind. According to the reports, CBS is spending somewhere between $6 and $7 million per episode, and with season 1 consisting of 16 instalments, the overall cost of the show will be around $105 million! While producers have spent more on Star Trek movies back in the day, it is still quite a huge investment for a TV series.
Klingons got a new look
Redesigning the classic Klingon look everyone is so familiar with was a risky step, but it was the one Bryan Fuller was willing to take. The Klingon race has stayed mostly the same since the show debuted in the 60s, but it’s all changed now. Not only did Klingons go absolutely hairless, they’ve lost most of their human-like features as well, looking more alien than ever. Bryan Fuller also introduced quite a bit of styling for different Klingon houses to distinguish them from one another and build a more entertaining and exciting plot. What can we say, these new Klingons definitely look like the warrior race that they are!