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

Over a year after the new Star Trek show was first announced we finally have a trailer for Discovery — and it was well worth the wait. Despite concerns over production delays and the departure of showrunner Bryan Fuller, the new Star Trek: Discovery trailer has everything we hoped to see in the new show: It's exciting, it's mysterious, it evokes the quintessential themes and appearance of while boldly moving forward into a new interpretation. And of course, the trailer is stuffed full of plot hints for the new show. So let's break it down!

Aboard The USS Shenzou

Don't be fooled by the trailer's captions — the ship we see in the trailer is probably the USS Shenzou, not the USS Discovery. Firstly, it looks very different to the USS Discovery that was unveiled in the teaser trailer almost a year ago.

The ship from the new trailer, and the USS Discovery. [Credit: CBS]
The ship from the new trailer, and the USS Discovery. [Credit: CBS]

But most tellingly, this ship in the trailer is captained by Georgiou — whom we know to be the captain of the Shenzou, while Jason Isaacs's Captain Lorca commands the USS Discovery. It's probable that Lt Commander Burnham served for almost a decade on the Shenzou, before the events of Star Trek: Discovery's first episode cause her re-assignment to the USS Discovery. Will the USS Shenzou be destroyed, or will this ship work with the Discovery? And what does this mean for Burnham's career path — clearly, with Isaacs cast as the Discovery's captain, Georgiou's plan for Burnham to captain her own ship has taken a step backwards.

But before we get into Burnham's journey, let's appreciate the bridge of the Shenzou, which has the typical circular shape of many Starfleet vessels. It's beautifully designed, with the classic captain's chair situated behind two helm consoles. The bridge looks very similar to that of the Enterprise-E, with two more consoles beside the captain's chair.

The bridge of the Shenzou and the Enterprise-E. [Credit: CBS/Paramount]
The bridge of the Shenzou and the Enterprise-E. [Credit: CBS/Paramount]

Naturally, this is a much more modern look than Kirk's bridge in The Original Series, but considering the NCC-1701 looked like it was held together by duct tape and a prayer, we're willing to forgive this anachronism! Besides, the flip-screen communicators and old school tricorders are nicely nostalgic, and establish Discovery's setting well.

Burnham Grew Up On Vulcan

Just from the trailer, we can tell that Lt Commander Burnham is the perfect protagonist for this show. She's a complex character, with a rebellious and passionate streak lurking under her Starfleet officer's composure. The trailer makes it very clear that Discovery is about Burnham's journey, dropping plenty of foreshadowing about her becoming a great leader.

Not only that, but it seems that Burnham grew up on Vulcan, explaining her haircut and slight Vulcan mannerisms. We don't yet know if she is human, or part Vulcan.

Sarek chides young Burnham. [Credit: CBS]
Sarek chides young Burnham. [Credit: CBS]

This is absolutely fascinating. Several Star Trek shows have explored the idea of mixed race and culture displacement, and what it means to grow up apart from your people. The most obvious example would be The Next Generation's Worf, whose childhood on Earth caused his fierce dedication to the Klingon way of life. In contrast, young Michael Burnham seems to want to embrace Vulcan culture, but Sarek (Spock's father, Vulcan Ambassador) shoots her down, telling her that she can never learn the Vulcan language because her "tongue is too human." Ouch. Still, Sarek was never known for his tact.

Sarek pops up several times in the trailer, also communicating with the adult Burnham via a holographic message that looks more Star Wars than Trek. It seems that he has a mentor-like relationship with her, and his presence in her childhood implies that she was his ward. Which begs the question: Did Burnham grow up alongside Spock?

New Uniforms

Starfleet has uniform redesigns every few years or so, and although Star Trek is known for its classic colors — gold, red, and blue — there have been several uniforms that have ignored the divisions' color coding (The Motion Picture's beige jumpsuits were the worst example of this. For shame, Gene Roddenberry).

The Discovery uniforms bridge the gap between the blue jumpsuits from Enterprise and later iterations of Trek. They're a smart navy blue, with high collars and shoulder pads that are reminiscent of the militaristic red uniforms that Nicholas Meyer introduced in the Star Trek films. Starfleet's divisions are still color-coded in Discovery, with gold denoting command, silver for science, and bronze for engineering/communication/security.

Command and science uniforms / the short sleeved variation. [Credit: CBS]
Command and science uniforms / the short sleeved variation. [Credit: CBS]

There's also a short sleeved variation that is similar to Chief O'Brian's first Deep Space Nine uniform.

A Mysterious Unknown Object

The appearance of "an object of unknown origin" seems to kickstart the events of Star Trek: Discovery. This object is found "on the edge of Federation space," and it seems that the USS Shenzou is venturing a little further than Starfleet regulations would usually allow. When Captain Georgiou wants to abandon their mission, Burnham urges her to continue, saying "we've come all this way" — which would imply that they knew the object was out there, or that they were responding to a signal.

The object itself seems to be located in — or is maybe causing — some kind of spatial anomaly, as we see a sun being torn apart and rings of debris when Burnham takes her space walk.

Is the object causing a spatial anomaly? [Credit: CBS]
Is the object causing a spatial anomaly? [Credit: CBS]

Intriguingly, Burnham travels to the object alone in a spacesuit — not a shuttle. This sequence is reminiscent of Spock's journey to the center of the cloud-like entity in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as his spacesuit is similar to the one Burnham uses. Hers also has a block-y helmet much like the spacesuits in First Contact.

Later on, Burnham has an intriguing line — "I'm trying to save you!" — which leads us to wonder whether she discovered people in need of protection inside the mysterious object. Of course, she could also be talking to the bridge crew, and her urgent tone would imply that something has gone horribly wrong — and that Captain Georgiou is incapacitated, prompting a fierce debate over command.

Klingon Alert!

Starfleet aren't the only ones interested in the mysterious object. The Klingons soon jump into the fray, and it's worth remembering that at this point in time, the Federation and the Klingon Empire were at war. This explains why Captain Georgiou alerts Starfleet Command that they've engaged the Klingons.

There's a perplexing sequence that either reveals the interior of the mysterious object, or the Klingon ship itself, as a group of Klingons gather around a sarcophagus.

The Klingons use a mysterious sarcophagus. [Credit: CBS]
The Klingons use a mysterious sarcophagus. [Credit: CBS]

Later, we see a spacesuited Burnham preparing for hand-to-hand combat atop the mysterious object, facing what seems to be a Klingon, also in a spacesuit and wielding a Bat'leth.

Starfleet Never Fires First...

...except when it does. Captain Georgiou's philosophy is admirable, and it's true that Starfleet officers are advised to employ diplomatic measures before engaging in combat. However, there are plenty of examples in Star Trek's history when vessels have been forced to take the first shot.

It's nice to see that Georgiou and Burnham present different philosophies and leadership methods. However, Burnham's advice to act violently — "target its neck, cut off its head" — may damage her career path towards command.

Tell us in the comments: Was there anything else you spotted in the trailer?


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