SDCC 2017: Star Trek Discovery Press Conference Recap

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SDCC 2017: Star Trek Discovery Press Conference Recap
Posted by Jacqueline Coley

July 27, 2017

The Star Trek Discovery Panel this weekend at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) answered and precipitated questions. Thankfully after the panel, we were able to sit down with the cast and follow up.

Star Trek: Discovery will follow the voyages of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new lifeforms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself. The series will feature a new ship, new characters and new missions, while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doer

The panel and our follow up press conference included cast members Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham, Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca, Doug Jones as science officer Saru, Anthony Rapp as fellow science officer Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Cadet Tilly, James Frain as Sarek, astrophysicist and father of Spock, and Shazad Latif as Lieutenant Tyler.

They were joined by executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, Heather Kadin, and Akiva Goldsman. The panel was moderated by Rainn Wilson, who guest stars as Harry Mudd on Discovery. However Wilson was able to sit down and just answer the question in the press conference. The Star Trek Discovery series has been maligned with production woes – losing Bryan Fuller early on; casting controversies – casting Sonequa Martin-Green raised the ire of the more narrow-minded Trek fans, and departures – Discovery mark the first Star Trek Series to follow an officer through her journey to become a captain, as opposed to following a captain from the start. Despite all the challenges I remain optimistic. With such a strong cast and a very compelling trailer, the team behind the series looks to overcome everything to produce another stellar Star Trek series this fall.

The biggest bombshell reveal from the panel was confirmation of a rumor that’s been whispered about since May of this year. Michael Burnham is Sarek’s adopted daughter!!! Upon this announcement heads of the collective geekdom exploded. EP Aaron Harberts assured the fans in attendance that he knows this is not established canon but “Give us time, folks. We are gonna explain it.” The fact that Burnham has a tenuous familial relationship to Spock is huge. Perhaps fans will get to see a young Spock? Spock’s father Sarek is already established to be a very integral part of the series, as Burham’s adoptive father. The relationship between the two of them and the dynamic of a human being raised by a non-emotional Vulcan are both intriguing aspects of the story to explore. Though most fans and especially, Trekkies of color are beyond excited for the series a very vocal minority was none too pleased with Green’s casting.

Green addressed the controversy, saying ‘If you say you love the legacy of Star Trek, but you don’t love [diverse casting], then you’ve missed it,”. An ahead of its time production since the first iteration, Star Trek: The original series, Trek has always championed representation.

I feel that storytelling is such a champion of our world, in our society, and it does so much for us. It shapes us, and changes us, and enlightens us. I thank God that I was able to go from a show where the storytelling is so rich and so dynamic, to another show where the storytelling is so rich and so dynamic and there’s such a stellar group of people here and everyone else that isn’t here that we stand and represent for you. I feel that all stories are pretty. I think the complexities of the story, the dynamics of the relationships, I think honestly there’s an idea that, one of my favorites, that we explore on the show, which is, acculturation and how when that happens, it doesn’t have to mean assimilation and that’s really one of the pillars I think of Star Trek and what it teaches is that we don’t have to let go of who we are to learn who you are. We can do it at the same time and I think that’s touched a lot on the Walking Dead and it’s touched on here. And it’s touched on here in such a unique way, no way that we’ve even seen before, in a way that honors the legacy but also carries it to the next level. – Sonequa Martin-Green

When asked about the prospect of carrying on Nichelle Nichols’ legacy from TOS Green got visibly emotional. “I certainly stand on Nichelle’s shoulders. I think all of us stand on the shoulders of the innovation and being in the Star Trek canon up to now. All of the progression and how this is really the story of the universality and this is a story of coming together and understanding that you really are one with all of life. And I am…I don’t know if I can put it into words. Honestly, I feel that if I try, I would cry and we would just…it would get really messy up here. (LOL) But just, the honor, and…dadgummit, I’m getting ready to cry…it’s such a privilege to be a part of a story that I truly believe is going to bring people together,” Green said choking back tears. Discovery is taking that ideology even further casting Anthony Rapp as the first openly gay Star Trek officer, science officer Stamets. Wilson Cruz who was not in attendance was confirmed to play Stamets’ partner.

The timeline of Discovery will take place about ten years before the events of the original series. The Federation is at war the Klingon nation. Fans should expect to see a lot more action scenes, as the trailer they debuted at the end of the panel suggests. Star Jason Issacs furthered this in his description of his character Capt. Lorca “[he’s] probably more fucked up than any of them,” and has “a lot of sharp edges.” It seems gone are the days of the wise and benevolent Picard. I have a feeling this captain will be more akin to Captain Ahab and I am more than ready for it.

Star Trek, one of the most iconic and influential global television franchises, returns to television 50 years after it first premiered with Star Trek: Discovery. The series will premiere on the CBS Television Network with all subsequent episodes available on CBS All Access, the Network’s digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service, and will be distributed concurrently by CBS Studios International on Netflix in 188 countries and in Canada on Bell Media’s Space channel and OTT service CraveTV.

Discovery is the sixth Star Trek Television series adaptation and will have 15 episodes.

Star Trek: Discovery – First Look Trailer

Official Trailer

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