Filming has commenced for Star Trek: Discovery, the first Trek TV show in over a decade. Naturally, expectations are high for the new series, so every piece of news and casting is being scrutinized with all the intensity of a Federation-issue atomic microscope. After examining those weird new Klingon designs, and gathering hints that Discovery's protagonist served aboard the USS Enterprise, it's high time we turned our gaze to one of the most interesting characters confirmed to appear in the new show.
That person would be Sarek, father to Spock and longtime ambassador of both Vulcan and the Federation. First appearing in The Original Series, an aging Sarek went on to have a small but pivotal role in The Next Generation, and he also popped up in J.J. Abrams' 2009 movie Star Trek.
So why exactly is Sarek appearing in #StarTrekDiscovery, and what will his role be? Sarek's long Federation career may give us some answers about the plot of the show.
Brokering Treaties, Stopping Interstellar Wars
Basically, Sarek is the guy the Federation brings in when things get tough. Something of a diplomatic heavy, Sarek has played a role in many different treaties, alliances, and agreements between the Federation and their allies — and their enemies. Interestingly, Sarek helped the Federation sign the Treaty of Alliance with the Klingons in The Next Generation, taking the two groups from an uneasy truce to a new era of friendship... until the Klingons broke the terms of the alliance in Deep Space Nine, of course. Unfortunately, by then Sarek was too dead to broker another treaty.
As a heavy duty ambassador, Sarek's role in Star Trek: Discovery is likely to be crucial to the show's plot, which already seems to be dealing with the tense situation between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. With several Klingon characters in the main cast, Discovery will break from Star Trek tradition in choosing not to focus just on Starfleet. It's possible then, that Sarek will bridge the gap between the two casts — Discovery may reveal that the Federation was in the early stages of brokering a truce with the Klingons, which would change what we know of galactic history.
At this point in time, the Federation was embroiled in a nasty war with the Klingons — not quite reaching Dominion War level, this conflict nevertheless cost the lives of many people on both sides. By the time The Original Series rolled around 10 years after Discovery the war had simmered down a bit, but the Klingons continued to butt heads with the Federation until the Khitomer Accords were signed in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Interestingly, when Nicholas Meyer — who wrote several of the original Star Trek movies — was announced as one of Discovery's chief writers, he revealed that he and the other writers considered The Undiscovered Country a "narrative jumping off point" for the new show.
Putting this together with the casting of both Sarek and the Klingons, it seems as though Discovery may well follow Starfleet's efforts to broker an early truce between the two cultures, which would explain why there was no all-out war in The Original Series. How successful Sarek's mission was remains to be seen, and it's likely that Star Trek: Discovery will feature several battles between the Klingons and Starfleet — and I'm betting that the controversial Battle of Axanar will be one of them.
Tell us in the comments: What do you think Sarek's role on Star Trek: Discovery will be?