‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Trailer Analysis: Burnham Is a Badass, and 8 Other Things We Learned
With the debut of over two minutes of footage from “Star Trek: Discovery,” fans of the “Trek” universe and/or anyone curious about what a new “Star Trek” airing on CBS might look like now have plenty to analyze.
The new trailer doesn’t answer all of our questions, but it does establish some key facts that only have us more excited to know more about the new series. Below are just a few of the things we learned by watching.
1. This Cast is DIVERSE (On Both a Gender and An Alien Level)
If a white human male spoke once in this trailer, it barely made an impression. (James Frain appears as Sarek, but in case you couldn’t tell from the ears, he’s playing a Vulcan.)
Otherwise, the spotlight is firmly on Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham, as well as Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), passing the Bechdel test in the very first scene. In addition, the trailer features a diverse range of alien species, some of which appear to be brand new to the “Trek” universe. Just check out the screenshots below:
This is one of the clear vestiges of original showrunner Bryan Fuller’s influence. As he said last summer, “Usually you’ve got one person with a bumpy forehead and then seven other people who look relatively human. We wanted to paint the picture of a Starfleet that is indicative of a universe where we’re encountering people who are much different than we are.”
2. Also, Yes, the Klingons Look Different
And we get a lot of them in this trailer, including what appears to be a scene set at a Klingon funeral.
Here’s what’s important to remember: “Star Trek” has a historically shaky record when it comes to a consistent look for the Klingon race, which is best summarized/not summarized by the below clip from the “Deep Space Nine” episode “Trials and Tribble-ations.”
Technically, the difference between old school versus new school Klingons (which began with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” which means yes, this is Roddenberry’s fault) was “explained” by an episode of “Enterprise.” But J.J. Abrams also reset the Klingon look in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” so at some point you just kind of have to embrace the fact that Klingons are going to look however Klingons are going to look.
Oh, speaking of Abrams…
3. Whoever Shot This Show Has Clearly Seen the Abrams Movies
It’s hard not to notice the distinct use of lens flare and kinetic camera moves at play in this trailer — whether that’s consistent across the series as a whole is unknown, but if you were already a fan of Abrams’ visual approach (in partnership with cinematographer Dan Mindel), you’re in luck. If you find the style irritating, well, sorry about that.
4. Some of “Discovery’s” Technology Feels Modern
Such as these warp speed swirls:
And a new look for the transporter effect:
5. Some of It Does Not
Just check out Georgiou’s appropriately flippy communicator:
6. Burnham Has a Backstory With Sarek
While we’re not sure why Burnham has something resembling a mentor-mentee relationship with a high-ranking Vulcan official, thanks to a flash of young Burnham speaking with him in person we get a sense that it’s a relationship that goes back years. (Does that mean she also knows Spock? That’s something to look forward to discovering.)
7. Martin-Green Is Definitely the Star Here
She might not be the captain, but between whizzing around in a space suit and confronting Klingons, Burnham is definitely the center of the action. And we already kind of love her badass attitude (and cute haircut).
8. Burnham May Not Escape Just a Little Bit of Objectification
In a shot of Martin-Green on some sort of med bay cot, Burnham can be seen wearing a very teeny top, triggering some unfortunate “Enterprise” decontamination flashbacks. Please, “Discovery.” Be better than that.
9. Burnham Is Here to Save Us
In the battle between cynicism versus optimism — a metric that has always been under close scrutiny by “Star Trek” fans — “Discovery” might lean darker than its title might have originally implied. In the trailer, Burnham directly battles her captain over whether or not they need to attack first: “Cut off its neck or target its head.” Again, we see what looks like a Klingon funeral. And the trailer ends with Lieutenant Saru (Doug Jones) literally saying that he senses “the coming of death.”
Is Burnham the hero we need in this pre-Kirk era of “Star Trek”? We’ll find out this fall on CBS All Access. Fifteen episodes have been ordered.‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Trailer: CBS All Access Reveals Massive Look at Starfleet 10 Years Before Kirk'Star Trek: Discovery’: Rainn Wilson Cast as Kooky Conman From Original Series'Star Trek: Discovery’ Casts Jason Isaacs as Captain