ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. Twitter: @ExtraTremeerial | Email: [email protected]
Eleanor Tremeer

We may not know much about the eagerly anticipated Star Trek: Discovery, but what we do know is tantalizingly mysterious. Defying the conventions of previous shows, Discovery will split the main cast between two ships: The eponymous USS Discovery, and the USS Shenzhou. Commanding the Shenzhou is Michelle Yeoh's Captain Georgiou, with two other main characters aboard this vessel. The logical conclusion is that the show's focus will be split between the two Starfleet ships, though recent rumors suggest otherwise.

The website SpaceInvader has reported leaks that reveal the fate of the USS Shenzhou, and these "inside sources" offer an interesting explanation for why Star Trek: Discovery has its main cast divided between two ships — because the USS Shenzhou is the Discovery itself.

This is an intriguing plot twist that has interesting implications for the plot of Star Trek: Discovery, and might just explain the role of the Klingon characters who were announced a few months ago.

Undercover In Klingon Space

Lining up with fan speculation that the USS Shenzhou will be destroyed in the first episode, reports that this vessel will be damaged in "an unfortunate set of circumstances" in the pilot, leading it to be repaired and renamed.

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.

The USS Discovery leaves spacedock. [Credit: CBS]
The USS Discovery leaves spacedock. [Credit: CBS]

SpaceInvader ties the appearance of the USS Discovery together with the design of Klingon ships, speculating that this is because the Discovery's mission is to team up with the Klingon characters, possibly going undercover into Klingon space.

It is likely that Discovery is working in collaboration with some Klingon factions, namely the actors that have been revealed to be Klingons, in bringing a new order to the Klingon empire.

This Klingon plot is already an established part of the Star Trek: Discovery story, revealed in a press release that announced the Klingon characters.

SpaceInvader speculates that the Discovery was designed to look similar to a Klingon Bird of Prey. This could be because of moderations made by the Klingons themselves, although it is worth pointing out that at this point in time, the Federation and the Klingon Empire are engaged in a bitter skirmish.

How Likely Is This To Happen?

Klingon plot aside, destroying the Shenzhou and turning it into the USS Discovery might be a dramatic way to start the show, but it does seem rather redundant. Splitting the main cast between two ships is a bold move, and it's something that Star Trek has never attempted before. This structure would make for varied storytelling, with a complexity that lends itself well to the serialized structure that Discovery is rumored to be using.

Michelle Yeoh in 'Marco Polo'. [Credit: Netflix]
Michelle Yeoh in 'Marco Polo'. [Credit: Netflix]

There's also the fact that two captains have been cast for Star Trek: Discovery — Michelle Yeoh as the Shenzhou's Captain Georgiou, and Jason Isaacs as the Discovery's Captain Lorca. This seems to disprove what SpaceInvader's sources are reporting, as there's not much sense in CBS casting two high profile actors as captains, and then removing one from her commanding role.

It seems more likely that these new reports are just rumors based on fan theories, but without any evidence from the show to disprove these apparent leaks, it is possible that the Shenzhou will become the USS Discovery in the first episode of the show. Personally though, I'm hoping for this to be untrue, as splitting the main cast would make for very interesting television.


Do you think the USS Shenzhou is actually the USS Discovery?


[Header image by Eduardo Gil de Montes. Poll image credit: CBS]


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