Star Trek: Discovery Guide

Star Trek: Discovery is the sixth live-action Star Trek TV series, and began airing in September 2017. This page will keep note of all the key information about the series, with links to more information from coverage on The Trek Collective, as well as details of tie-in products related to the series.


Setting 

The series is set in the prime timeline (that of all the previous TV series, rather than the alternate reality of the current film series), about ten years before The Original Series, during in a war with the Klingons.

The main setting is the starship USS Discovery NCC-1031, an experimental design which utilises a revolutionary spore drive, allowing for near instantaneous travel across the galaxy.

The first two episodes however were set aboard the USS Shenzhou. This is because the series is focused around the life of the character Micheal Burnham, rather than a particular ship and crew, so the story follows us her.

Additionally Klingons are point of view characters in the series, appearing in many episodes, giving us the view from the other side of the conflict.


Characters

Promotional photo featuring many of the main cast
The series focuses on the character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin Green), a Human who was raised by Sarek of Vulcan and his Human wife Amanda (the parents of Spock) after being orphaned. Throughout the series she struggles to find a balance between her Human instincts and Vulcan upbringing. We meet Burnham as first officer aboard the USS Shenzhou, but after attempting a mutiny Burnham looses her position in Starfleet and is sentenced to life in prison. Never the less she is later recruited to the USS Discovery during in the Klingon war, and begins a path to redemption.

The Shenzhou is captained by Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), a character who has great impact on both Burnham, and Saru (Doug Jones), the ship's science officer, who later has become first officer of the Discovery by the time Burnham joins that ship. Saru and Burnham have a collegiate but adversarial relationship, with Burnham's mutiny making him distrustful of her later.

Other main characters on the Discovery include the morally ambiguous Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Issacs). Highly focused engineer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), and his partner Doctor Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz). Enthusiastic and ambitious Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), who is Burnham's roommate. And Ash Tyler (Shazad latif), the chief of security, who joins the ship after being liberated from Klingon imprisonment.

The Klingons play a significant role in the series, and are often point of view characters. We are first introduced to T'Kuvma (Chris Obi), a messiah-like figure who seeks to unite the Klingon houses against the Federation. It is his followers L'Rell (Mary Chieffo) and Voq (Javid Iqbal) who become the main Klingon characters however, as well a competitor for Klingon leadership, Kol (Kenneth Mitchell).

Sarek (James Frain) and Amanda (Mia Kirshner) also feature in the series, as does another classic TOS character, Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson), who appears in two episodes.


Format and Distribution

The first season will run for fifteen episodes - See Discovery episode listing for full details of each episode.

The first season is split into two blocks, with the first nine episodes forming a mini-arc, released in a block starting from September 2017 - Within that the first two episode very much form a unique story that works as a prologue to the rest of the series. The remaining six episodes, dubbed chapter 2, will be released starting in January 2018.

Former showrunner Bryan Fuller has described the serialised format as being like a novel:
...with each episode being a chapter of that novel, and within that chapter there's a beginning, middle and end. We will have episodes that exist by themselves but are a part of a much bigger story.
In the US the first episode aired on the CBS Television Network, but subsequent episodes are available exclusively on the the CBS All Access on-demand streaming service, released weekly. Netflix stream the series in almost every other country in the world (188 in total), within 24 hours of US release. Canada is one of the few countries not covered by the Netflix deal, where the series will be available on Bell Media channels and streaming services, also released simultaneously with the US - The only country so far where also episode are aired on traditional TV channels. There are currently no arrangements for distribution in China, Syria, North Korea, and Crimea (the only territories Netflix does not cover).


Trailers

Several trailers have been released for the series as a whole, as well as numerous short trailers before the series began. The lengthier trailers are:
  • Teaser trailer - Previewed the logo, alongside some generic space shots. The trailer promised "New crews, new villains, new heroes, new worlds".
  • Teaser trailer 2 - Introduced the series ship, the USS Discovery. The final design was revised significantly after this trailer was producer.
  • Series trailer - First full series trailer, based on the first two episodes.
  • Comic Con trailer - Second full series trailer. including some footage from later episodes.
  • Season trailer - Released after the first two episodes aired, previews many episodes in the first half of the season.
There are also individual episode trailers for each of episodes later in the season:

Behind the Scenes 

Alongside the release of the main show there is also a dedicated behind the scenes show, After Trek, aired after each episode, with interviews with cast and crew and behind the scenes features.

Released in the era of social media, many members of the production staff have also shared behind the scenes photos, and other imagery from the production. I have compiled many of these releases, and After Trek clips, into articles here:

Several composers seem to have been considered for the series:

Early on there were also the odd images released giving us teases:

Tie -in fiction

Tie-in fiction releases based on the series are being closely coordinated with the writers room, giving an unprecedented level of fidelity, and even feeding back into the TV production itself.  Series writer and Voyager novelist Kirsten Beyer is coordinating the tie-in fiction efforts.

Three novels have so far been announced, all of which are prequels, set between one and ten years prior to the main events of the show. Two are set on the USS Shenzhou, and one earlier.

Several comic miniseries are also planned. The first, The Light of Kahless will be a four part series focused on T'Kuvma and the Klingons. This will be written by Mike Johnson and Kirsten Beyer, with art by Tony Shasteen.

Discovery ships and characters have also been integrated into the Timelines video game - See, various, trailers.

Discovery uniforms are also available in Star Trek Online.


Other Merchandise

The soundtracks from the series are published by Lakeshore Records, with two albums planned for the first season. Season 1, Chapter 1 will be released digitally in December 2017 (see: excerpts), and a second chapter will follow featuring music from the remaining episodes. CD and vinyl releases will follow in 2018, with the vinyl release expected to be a selection from both Chapters.

Eaglemoss will be launching a Discovery spinoff from the popular starship model and magazine series The Official Starships Collection. The Discovery series will featuring larger models than the previous series, released monthly. See full details on the Discovery Starships Collection list page.

McFarlane have announced plans for a range of action figures and role-play props based on the series. Gentle Giant also have plans for Discovery releases.

StarTrek.com offer a variety of Discovery apparel, and Trevco have a range of T-shirts, including sublimation print costume designs.

Meanwhile Anovos have announced a range of screen-accurate uniform replicas, and a phaser replica. Rubies are expected to launch a more affordable costume range too. QMx offer replica insignia badges.

If you don't want to dress up yourself, you can also get life-size standees of several characters.

FanSets offer a large range of collectable pins based on the series, including designs based on ships and characters, plus a pin for every episode in their EpisodePins range.

Titan Magazines have released a souvenir Star Trek: Discovery magazine. And there are two Discovery 2018 calendars, from Universe in the US, and Danilo in the UK.

Art prints are available from StarTrek.com.




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