Trekkies around the world are beyond excited about “Star Trek: Discovery.” It is, after all, the first “Trek” series since “Enterprise” went off the air more than a dozen years ago.
And the people behind “Discovery” really hope that Trekkies like the new show … but that’s not their priority.
“They aren’t the people we’re making the show for,” said Jason Isaacs, who stars as Captain Gabriel Lorca. “It’s made with respect and love for them, but these are stories we’re telling fresh. With fresh characters and fresh dilemmas for a fresh century.”
“Discovery” takes place 10 years before the original series — 10 years before Captain Kirk and the Enterprise — in the original timeline. The writers/producers are cognizant of “Trek” canon, but they’re not slaves to it.
“What we really want to do is to make sure that, at the end of this series, everything reconciles and it is seen as an extra chapter in the time period we’ve chosen to set it,” said executive producer Aaron Harberts.
“Discovery” is the first “Trek” series that doesn’t focus primarily on the captain, but on the first officer — Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green of “The Walking Dead”). That character marks a major departure from “Trek” canon — Michael, it turns out, is Spock’s half-sister. There has never been any mention of Spock having a half-sister.
“We don’t necessarily call her the half-sister,” said Harberts. “We tend to refer to her as more [Spock’s father] Sarek’s ward or Sarek’s foster adopted daughter. And the relationship between Michael and Sarek plays a huge part, not only in her backstory, but in … what she brings to every ship she serves on.
“Her time on Vulcan causes her to make several choices in our first episode — choices that will really have aftershocks throughout the entire series.”
(James Frain, who plays Sarek, is a series regular.)
Still, it violates canon, although it’s worth pointing out that the movie “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” introduced — and killed off — Spock’s previously unknown half-brother.
And “Trek” fans have noted that the Klingons look … different in “Discovery.” The producers set out to “shake up the design of the Klingons” so that “they be aesthete, that they not be the thugs of the universe, that they be sexy and vital and different from what had come before,” Harberts said.
“And different from one another,” said executive producer Heather Kadin. “Some have white skin. Some have dark skin, which is cool.”
Some of the fans think it’s cool; others are already complaining bitterly on social media.
It’s not that the writers/producers don’t care … but they don’t care that much.
“The aim is to not violate things that are very important to a great number of people,” Harberts said. “We take that very seriously. But at a certain point, you have to turn off the social media and drill down on what the best moves are for the characters and what the best stories are.”
Isaacs was considerably more blunt.
“I know the people in the writers’ room care enormously what the Trekkies think. I could care less,” he said. “I love them, the ones I’ve met. They’re great. I know they’re incredibly enthusiastic — some of them enthusiastic about being furious, about being outraged. Some of them enthusiastic because they love it.”
And he was, no doubt, correct when he predicted that “even the ones who are naysayers will be at the front of the queue to watch it.”
“I’m thrilled that there are people who are furious about our lens flares or our costumes, because it just shows how much they love it and how much they can’t wait to talk about it,” Isaacs said.