Star Trek: Discovery: first cast picture, rumours about two ships, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Star Trek: Discovery release date: TBC 2017
  • Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Rapp, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, James Frain, Maulik Pancholy, Terry Serpico, Sam Vartholomeos
  • Producers: Nicholas Meyer, Vincenzo Natali, Akiva Goldsman
  • Showrunners: Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, David Semel

Update: 21 March, 2017 - Here’s our first shot of the Discovery cast together

Thanks to James Frain’s birthday, we’ve got our first candid shot of the united Discovery cast.

The team’s now in Toronto to continue work on Star Trek: Discovery, but they managed to grab some down time to help Frain celebrate. 

A photo commemorating the event was posted on Instagram by actor Chris Obi with the caption: “We are Star Trek family! Celebrating birthday of James Frain.”

The Instagram account is private (boo), but for a peek, head on over to TrekMovie.com. From left to right, the photo features Jason Isaacs (Captain Lorca), Michelle Yeoh (Captain Georgiou), Chris Obi (Klingon leader T’Kuvma), Sonequa Martin-Green (Lieutenant Commander Rainsford) and her husband Kenric, Doug Jones (Lieutenant Saru), James Frain (Sarek), and Shazad Latif (Kol, Klingon protege to T’Kuvma).

Update: 15 March 2017 - Could this rumour explain why there are two ships in Discovery *SPOILERS*?

Okay, so this is based on nothing but speculation and rumour (and if that makes you feel iffy, turn away now - I won’t hold it against you), but for those who’ve been wondering why Discovery focuses on two shiny starships, brace yourself: fans - with a little help from inner “sources” -  think they might have worked out why.

According to Spaceinvader.me, an insider closer to the series has intimated that the Shenzhou is the USS Discovery. 

“After an unfortunate set of circumstances in the first episode, the Shenzhou is left badly damaged and almost beyond repair,” states SI.me. “The original Shenzhou will have more of a ‘chromey’ familiar Federation feel, but once refitted, repaired and renamed to the USS Discovery, the ship will look a little different as you might have seen from the original teaser trailer of the Discovery rolling out of drydock. I am told there are reasons for the gold/copper look of the ship and a solid explanation for the shape.”

It wouldn’t be the first time a Federation ship has been renamed (for example, a replacement for the USS Defiant was originally known as USS Sao Paulo in Deep Space Nine), but if it turns out that the Shenzhou really is destroyed early on in the series, it’s certainly plausible the crew goes elsewhere, perhaps joining ranks with Discovery, right? Plus it’ll go some way to explaining why Discovery features two all-star crews.

Update: March 10, 2017 - Discovery’s Captain confirmed, but premiere has been delayed once again

Sitting in the captain’s chair will be none other than Jason Isaacs - although you may know him best as Lucius Malfoy. In a cheeky tweet, Isaacs posted a picture of the iconic chair, stating: “Nice chair. Hope it’s comfy”.

Just when we’ll see him grace that chair is still up for debate, though. Variety is reporting that the debut has been pushed back again to an unspecified time in “late summer”. CBS chief Morgan Stanley stated the new series requires “a lot of post production” and that “it’s important to get it right [as] Star Trek is the family jewels” of its new streaming service. 

As for the idea that Discovery could bring back characters that have aged or passed away? In a recent interview with Trek Movie, director Adam Nimoy - who recently worked on the Deep Space Nine documentary, What We Left Behind - stated it would be “cool” to see a version of Spock return to the screen in Discovery.

“I think it’s an interesting idea. I loved what they did in Rogue One,” said Nimoy, who is son of iconic Trek actor Leonard Nimoy. “I thought it was pretty clever, and I was blown away by it, frankly. All of the stuff that Peter Cushing was doing was mind-boggling to me. I’m a sucker for that stuff. I think it should certainly be explored, but I’m not the final arbiter as to whether it’s going to happen, but I think it’s a great idea, personally.”

Star Trek: Discovery is blasting off this year

On March 11, 1964, Gene Roddenberry wrote “Star Trek is…” onto a blank piece of paper. Fifty years later, the fan-favourite show continues to intrigue and innovative audiences the world over, and now - with Star Trek: Discovery, just on the horizon - never have our expectations been higher… nor our craving for all things Trek greater.

Where shows rooted in reality have had to bend to the rules of life on Earth, Star Trek’s magic lies in its ability to deliver progressive, humanistic stories through its science-fiction premise. As we prep for take-off to parts unknown, here’s everything - and we do mean everything - we know so far about latest iteration Star Trek: Discovery, including facts, fan theories, and good ‘ole idle speculation.

Star Trek: Discovery’s release date keeps changing

Star Trek: Discovery was only announced in June 2016, but already the show’s been set back not once, but twice. Originally slated for January 2017, then showrunners Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman announced the show would be pushed back to May 2017 to ensure the “demand of physical and post-production” didn’t “compromise quality”.

But that’s not the end of the story. In a statement just this month, CBS Television Studios confirmed a further delay - this time to an unspecified date - stating: “Production on Star Trek: Discovery begins next week. We love the cast, the scripts and are excited about the world the producers have created. This is an ambitious project; we will be flexible on a launch date if it’s best for the show. We’ve said from the beginning it’s more important to do this right than to do it fast.”

Yes, the delay is unfortunate, but hey, at least production is underway. As yet there’s no word on when it might air, but it should definitely be this year. Watch this space! (Okay, I’m sorry).

The Star Trek: Discovery trailer has got us hyped already

Our very first glimpse of Star Trek: Discovery, shared at the San Diego Comic Con last year, came in the form of a minute-long teaser that gave a premature peek at the U.S.S. Discovery itself in space, plus a quick look at the all-new series insignia.

Already much has changed since that time, which might not be surprising given the number of internal production crew changes, but it’s changes to the Discovery itself, plus the series logo, which are most notable. But it was the second Star Trek: Discovery teaser trailer that sent fans into a spin thanks to argh-blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpses of the Discovery uniform, alien headwear, the construction of the Bridge, and, naturally, a refined U.S.S. Discovery itself.

We also get a glimpse of the all-important Captain’s chair… but no-one’s sitting in it yet. More on that later...

The Star Trek: Discovery plot will "continue to push boundaries"

Hailing from Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller (who’s also penned Voyager and Deep Space Nine episodes), Star Trek: Discovery - named after new starship the U.S.S. Discovery NCC-1031 - promises to be a “progressive” story depicting the “adventure of humankind”.

Though we as yet don’t know much about what the storyline will entail, talking to fans at the Star Trek 50th Anniversary panel at San Diego Comic Con last year, Fuller stated that it was important that the show “remind audiences the message of Star Trek - continuing to push boundaries.”

Fuller has teased that there’s an incident in Star Trek history that’s been “talked about but never explored”, and stated that - as a fan himself - it’s something he would “want to see”.

So: what could it be? Speculation is rife, but all signs point to it not being the Earth-Romulan war, and neither is it likely to be concerning the Battle of Axanar. Intrigued? Yeah - us too!

Apparently, the new show isn’t afraid to deviate from the original premise; in the same panel, Fuller added Discovery wouldn’t stick to episodic storytelling, which suggests the show’s keen to adopt broader story arcs than may span several episodes.

The thing is, Fuller has also said that the Star Trek episode Balance of Terror - in which the Federation is battling Romulans rather than Klingons - was a “touchstone for the Star Trek: Discovery story arc,” which leaves us a bit confused, let’s face it.

The series will be delivered over just 13 episodes, with each one its own distinct chapter with a “beginning, middle, and end”. But this is Star Trek, and few shows are better equipped to juggle storylines, alien races and alternate universes.

Star Trek: Discovery’s cast boasts some familiar faces

Star Trek: Discovery revealed its first trio of cast members late last year, confirming that Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Rapp, and Doug Jones will respectively play Captain Georgiou, commander of the USS Shenzhou, Lt. Stamets, a science officer specializing in astromycology (that’s space fungus to you and me), and Lt. Saru, a Starfleet science officer and member of a previously unseen alien species.

Rapp also marks a Star Trek first as being the TV show’s (if not the movies’) first openly gay character.

But that’s not all. Last December it was revealed The Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green will be joining the team as Discovery’s lieutenant commander, too. (Don’t panic if you’re a TWD Sasha fan, by the way - her appearance in Star Trek: Discovery does not necessarily mean she’s leaving the zombie show… yet, anyway).

More recently, Gotham’s James Frain was confirmed to be joining Star Trek: Discovery as Spock’s father, Sarek, who's been described as a "key character" in the series. This is the first character from a previous Star Trek franchise to be confirmed for the upcoming show. Sarek - an astrophysicist and Vulcan ambassador to the United Federation of Planets - fathered Spock with his human wife, Amanda, and has featured in the original series and The Next Generation, as well as several of the Star Trek movies.

It’s also been confirmed that 30 Rock’s Maulik Pancholy will join the team as chief medical officer Dr. Nambue, The Purge: Election Year’s Terry Serpico as Admiral Anderson, and Sam Vartholomeos will play Ensign Connor.

Star Trek: Discovery is also poised to feature three recurring Kingon cast members, too. Last month CBS announced Chris Obi, Mary Chieffo, and Penny Dreadful’s Shazad Latif will join the show T’Kuvma, L’Rell, and Commanding Officer Kol.

As for Star Trek alumni cameos? William Shatner confirmed that though he’s yet to be approached, if Star Trek: Discovery was open to a cameo from Captain James T. Kirk, he’d be, too: "Am I up for it? I'll get up. If I said, 'I hardly think so,' that would be the beginning of negotiations. If I were asked, I might consider it".

The Star Trek: Discovery timeline ignores the rebooted movies

Discovery is set 10 years before the original series, placing it around the time the Federation was at war with the Klingons, which makes sense given creator Fuller stated that Discovery thematically traces alien races attempts to “understand each other”. Couple that with recurring Kingons in the cast list, and it all slots together, right?

This is further exemplified by Fuller confirming that the show will “probably have a few more aliens than you typically have on the show. We wanted to paint a picture of Starfleet where we’re going to have new exciting aliens and also new imagining of existing aliens”.

Rooted in the universe of the TV franchise - rather than the alternate reality presented by the rebooted Star Trek movies - Discovery ignores the ‘Kelvin’ timeline in which Spock and commander Nero disrupted the time continuum and spawned a new reality when they were sucked into a black hole and subsequently time-travelled back into the past, attacking the U.S.S. Kelvin on arrival.

That said, while Discovery takes place before the original series, it occurs after Enterprise… so it’ll be interesting to see how the new series bridges the gap between Enterprise and the original series. Could it be possible we’ll revisit characters from either series?

The Star Trek: Discovery ship is based on an abandoned ‘70s design

Star Trek: Discovery’s namesake, the U.S.S. Discovery NCC-1031 ship, is based upon a version of the ship initially designed - but never used - in the 1970s.

“There was an abandoned Star Trek series in the '70s,” Fuller has stated. “It was actually for a movie. And Ralph McQuarrie had done some wonderful illustrations, and we saw those and saw sort of harder lines of a ship and started talking about race cars and Lamborghinis in the '70s and James Bond cars and started working on the designs, taking those inspirations and coming up with something completely unique to us."

That said, don’t take anything you’ve seen to date as a definite. According to Fuller, development of the ship is “an evolution”, so what we see now might not necessarily be what we see when the show finally launches.

And what of the Miranda-esque class ship seen in the teaser? The Shenzhou, perhaps? Or, given the saucer is seemingly placed above the warp nacelles, perhaps it’s an Akira-class reminiscent of Deep Space Nine?

Star Trek: Discovery’s Captain will not be the focus of the show

As yet, we have no idea who will be settling into the captain’s chair on the U.S.S. Discovery. Though we’ve had several roles confirmed - including leading character Number One, who’ll be portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Green - the Captain ain’t been one of them. Yet.

Talking of which, if recent rumours are to be believed, Star Trek: Discovery’s leading character, Number One, may have served on the U.S.S. Enterprise with the iconic James T. Kirk.

The Star Trek: Discovery uniforms look strangely familiar

A recent Star Trek: Discovery teaser trailer gave us the briefest of brief glimpses at the new Starfleet uniforms, which you can see above. 

I know - it’s not much, right? But the peek at the royal blue tunic and newly styled insignia hint at a possible The Cage influence (not to mention being really reminiscent of Enterprise uniforms, too), and unlike the original 1960s series and JJ Abram’s movie, there’s no black collar, either.

Although the colour certainly is reminiscent of the Enterprise uniform, we have no idea as yet what the colour might signify, or if that shiny gold piping is indicative of rank. Curiouser and curiouser.

“I think that when you see it [the uniform] I can tell you specifically what the influences are, and that the styles that [they adopted] a transporter accident in their approach,” Fuller has previously teased. “I think when you see the design, you’ll say, 'It’s a little bit of this, it’s a little bit of that'.”

Related Star Trek: Discovery news

Star Trek: Discovery's new captain is Lucius Malfoy and this couldn't possibly spell disaster

Does Star Trek: Discovery mean Sasha’s done for on The Walking Dead? She “can’t say"

Star Trek: Discovery casts Gotham's James Frain as Spock's Dad - but the premiere is delayed (again)

Star Trek: Discovery's finally revealed its lead actress - and she’s a Walking Dead survivor

Star Trek: Discovery gets first three cast members and a new alien you won't know you recognise

Star Trek Discovery delayed months to May 2017 for extra special effects work
Unsurprisingly, William Shatner sounds like he'd be up for a Star Trek: Discovery cameo

New Star Trek TV series is called Star Trek Discovery- watch the first teaser trailer

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