Yesterday’s panel at Comic-Con International added some more details to what we know about Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham. The panel revealed that Burnham was raised as Spock’s adopted sister after her parents were killed.
Sonequa Martin-Green plays Burnham, the lead character in Star Trek: Discovery. We previously learned that she had a close relationship with Ambassador Sarek (James Frain), Spock’s father. We now know that she was actually raised alongside Spock by Sarek and Amanda.
The trailer, also revealed at Comic-Con, includes a shot of Frain approaching an injured girl. This is presumably a flashback to her rescue.
We also know that Sarek has an important role to play in the series. From the trailer, it looks like Burnham and Sarek have some personal issues to sort through. In the nearly 50 years since the character’s first appearance he has been shown to be a somewhat difficult father figure.
Burnham’s relationship to Spock will be explored later in the series, according to producers speaking at the panel.
During the time period in question, Spock and his father were not speaking. The TOS episode “Journey to Babel” shows their first reunion in 18 years. Discovery is set about 11 years before that episode.
Spock’s expression of his mother’s human ancestry was a source of conflict for the character during The Original Series. The fact that he was apparently raised with an older human sister may inform that conflict and help explain his rather human reactions in the original pilot, “The Cage,” which takes place a year or two before the first episode of Discovery.
This is not the first time we have learned of a secret older sibling in Spock’s family. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier introduced the emotional Vulcan Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), who was Sarek’s son from an earlier marriage and Spock’s half-brother.
The fact that neither sibling was ever mentioned in the series is consistent with the Vulcans’ preference for privacy in family matters.
Here’s a rundown of what we know now in July 2017. By the time the show premieres, we will know a lot more.
- Premiere: In the U.S., the show will air a two-hour debut episode Sept. 24, 2017, on regular CBS network TV. The series will then shift to the online platform CBS All Access, where episodes will be released weekly through November. Then the show returns with the second half of the first season beginning in January 2018. There will be a total of 15 first-season episodes.
- How to get the show: CBS All Access is a subscription service for U.S.-based viewers. The cost is currently $6.99 a month (or $11.99 with no ads). Outside the U.S., the show will be released on Netflix.
- Setting: The show is set about 10 years before The Original Series — in the original TV timeline, not the recent movie timeline — and will take place aboard at least two Federation starships, the USS Discovery and the USS Shenzhou.
- Story: We don’t know a lot, but we do know that the show will tell a serialized story throughout the season that will likely involved the Klingons.
- Producers: The show has already had some changes in the production staff. The following producers have contributed in a variety of roles since the show was announced in 2015. In the coming weeks we will be profiling each of the principle people involved in the show.
- Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek reboot films)
- Bryan Fuller (Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, American Gods)
- Heather Kadin (Sleepy Hollow, Scorpion, Tales From the Darkside)
- Gretchen J. Berg (Reign, Revenge, GCB, Mercy, Pushing Daisies)
- Aaron Harberts (Reign, Revenge, GCB, Mercy, Pushing Daisies)
- Akiva Goldsman (Fringe, Transformers, Paranormal Activity, I am Legend, Batman & Robin, Batman Forever)
- Rod Roddenberry (Star Trek: Inside the Roddenberry Vault, Trek Nation, Earth: Final Conflict)
- Trevor Roth (Rod & Barry, Star Trek: Inside the Roddenberry Vault, Trek Nation)
- David Semel (Goliath, Pure Genius, Madam Secretary, Legends, Person of Interest, Heroes)
- Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II, Star Trek IV, Star Trek VI, Elegy, The Day After, Time After Time)
- Vincenzo Natali (Utopia, Hunter, Getting Gilliam, Cube, Westworld)
- Cast and characters: One of the biggest differences in this show is that the main character will not be the commanding officer of the ship, but rather the first officer. At least, that’s what they are telling us before the first episode. We know very little about that characters and each person’s relative importance to the show as a whole.
- Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burnham is played by Sonequa Martin-Green (Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, The Good Wife). Burnham is the first officer of the USS Shenzhou and will be called “Number One” in reference to Majel Barrett’s character from the original Star Trek pilot. She has a close relationship to Vulcan Ambassador Sarek (Spock’s father). The choice of a traditionally male name for the character has not been explained yet.
- Capt. Gabriel Lorca is played by Jason Isaacs (The OA, Hitman, Star Wars: Rebels, Avatar: The Last Airbender). Lorca is captain of the USS Discovery. He is described as a brilliant tactician.’
- Lt. Saru is played by Doug Jones (The Strain, Falling Skies, The Flash, Arrow). Saru is the first Kelpian in Starfleet. His species has developed an ability to sense danger. The Kelpians have been created for this new series, so Jones will be working with a blank slate.
- Lt. Stamets is played by Anthony Rapp (Rent, Dazed and Confused). Stamets is a science officer.
- Sarek is played by James Frain (Gotham, Agent Carter, True Detective, Tron: Legacy). Frain plays a younger version of the character played by Mark Lenard in The Original Series, the films and The Next Generation.
- Chief Medical Officer Nambue is played by Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock, Phineas and Ferb, Weeds).
- Ensign Connor is played by Sam Vartholomeos (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).
- Admiral Anderson is played by Terry Serpico (The Inspectors, Blue Bloods, Rescue Me, Army Wives).
- Cadet Tilly is played by Mary Wiseman (Baskets, Longmire). Tilly is a fourth-year cadet assigned to Discovery.