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ICYMI: What We Discovered about Star Trek at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

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When the late UPN network put Star Trek: Enterprise into permanent drydock in 2005, one of science fiction’s most famous and influential franchises began a 12-year absence from TV. J.J. Abrams’ “reboot revival” of the franchise hit movie theaters in 2009, but many believe TV remains Star Trek’s first, best destiny.

That hypothesis will be put to the test when Star Trek beams back to television – albeit in the medium’s streaming form – this September with the 15-episode serialized story Star Trek: Discovery.

This year’s San Diego Comic-Con gave fans plenty of reasons to be excited about the new series’ launch.

Weren’t able to be there? Let Entertainment Earth give you a mission briefing and status report!

What No Fan Had Seen Before

Image: StarTrek.com

Throughout the Con, the Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery hosted an impressive display of costumes, props, and concept and production art from Star Trek: Discovery.

Visitors could get up-close looks at the show’s Starfleet uniforms, form-fitting two-piece outfits that suggest discipline without being overly formal. Long-time Trek fans will note how the suits’ finer details nod to various versions of the franchise – for example, the Next Generation-style “pips” on the classic Starfleet delta, and the panels on the sides featuring miniature deltas in a repeated pattern a la the J.J. Abrams movies. And the uniforms as a whole feel like a logical evolution from the 22nd-century jumpsuits of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Guests could also linger over the exquisitely detailed Klingon fashions and artifacts. The Federation’s major rivals will be garbed in armor-plated leather that echoes the almost Elizabethan sensibility of Imperial design seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Image: StarTrek.com

The baroque Torchbearer armor seems completely new, however, and almost unnervingly original (save for the familiar insignia emblazoned on the shoulders). Had H.R. Giger designed a costume for Star Trek, it might have looked like this!

Image: StarTrek.com

The Klingon accessories, including full-head helmets (reminiscent of those worn on Kronos in Star Trek Into Darkness) and ornately filigreed d’k tahg and mek’leth hand weapons, are silent but eloquent witnesses to the Empire’s blood-soaked but honor-filled heritage.

Image: StarTrek.com

Beautiful and vivid paintings depicting settings, ships, and scenes from the new series rounded out the exhibit, all promising that Star Trek: Discovery will offer some of the strangest new worlds yet seen in the Star Trek universe.

Spectacular New Series Trailer

Saturday saw the release of a second, slightly longer and more substantive Star Trek: Discovery trailer.

The new trailer focuses less on Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and her crew than did the first, instead of shining the spotlight squarely on Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), the series’ protagonist. Despite the indecisive lyrics of “I’d Love to Change the World” that serve as this trailer’s score (no quotes of the famous Trek fanfare this time around), Burnham looks like a confident, take-charge-in-a-crisis leader with a penchant for off-the-cuff philosophy – in short, the very model of a Star Trek hero.

We also see Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) recruiting Burnham to help stop a war he says she helped start – a war with the Klingons, who still howl for their dead despite their new, almost reptilian look. We hear more from James Frain’s Ambassador Sarek – including an admonition about preconceptions that could be a timely reminder to anxious Trek fans! – and get our first glimpse of guest star Rainn Wilson’s take on Harry Mudd. Wilson seems to relish the character’s sinister undertones that original series actor Roger C. Carmel buried under layers of broad comedy.

Evocative and exciting, the new trailer leaves no doubt that Star Trek: Discovery will be the most beautiful and cinematic Trek TV series yet. It brings the sleek (and, yes, sometimes lens flare-filled) aesthetic of the recent “Kelvin Timeline” movies to Trek’s “Prime” universe. If the scripts and characterizations are as gorgeous as the visuals, Star Trek: Discovery should soar.

Trek Talk Saturday

Image: TrekMovie.com

Saturday’s highly anticipated Star Trek: Discovery panel featured cast members Martin-Green, Isaacs, Frain, Wilson (who served as panel moderator), Doug Jones (Lt. Saru, the death-sensing alien science officer, a Kelpian, featured in the first trailer), Shazad Latif (Lt. Ash Tyler), Mary Wiseman (engineering cadet Sylvia Tilly), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Paul Stamets), as well as executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, Heather Kadin, and Akiva Goldsman.

What were some of the biggest highlights from the Trek panel?

  • The revelation that Burnham is Sarek’s adopted daughter – and thus the adopted sister of a Vulcan scientist of our acquaintance – caused warp-speed waves of excitement or trepidation, depending on whom you asked, throughout Star Trek Acknowledging the apparent canonical conundrums this creative choice raises, Kurtzman urged fans, “Be patient with us.”
  • Rapp reported he is “very proud” to be portraying “the first openly gay character in the history of TV Star Trek.” Lt. Stamets’ love interest will be the Discovery’s chief medical officer, Dr. Hugh Culber. Culber is played by Wilson Cruz, best known as Rickie Vasquez on My So Called Life. Commenting on Star Trek: Discovery’s cast as the most diverse yet in the franchise’s 51-year history, Martin-Wilson reminded the audience that diversity in unity has always been part of Trek’s vision of the future: “If you say you love the legacy of Star Trek, but you don’t love that, then you’ve missed it.”
  • Not all will be sweetness and light in this Trek! Isaacs said his character, Captain Lorca, has “a lot of sharp edges” and is “probably more [messed] up than any” of the other characters to occupy a starship’s center seat. Although fan media outlets have made much of Star Trek: Discovery’s intent to include conflict among the crew – an ostensible violation of franchise creator Gene Roddenberry’s original vision – Kurtzman stressed that the entire creative team loves the original Star Trek, and will still be looking to it for inspiration even as they explore different dimensions of the Star Trek
  • Speaking of kanon canon, Star Trek: Discovery’s Klingons will be speaking accurate Klingon language – and so, says Berg, “you will be reading” subtitles. Qapla’!

The human adventure begins again when Star Trek: Discovery premieres on Sunday, September 24 on CBS, before moving to streaming service CBS All Access for the rest of its 15-episode run.

What are you most looking forward to about Star Trek: Discovery? Let us know in the comments below – our hailing frequencies are open!

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