Star Trek: Discovery is set a decade before the events in 1966’s original series — so it just barely predates Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock — and about 90 years after the 2001 prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise. So expect some retro ’60s design in the new show, complete with old school phasers, tricorders, and communicators.
Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green (who played Sasha on The Walking Dead) as First Officer Michael Burnham. She’s served aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou for about seven years and has a close relationship with he captain, Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). The Shenzhou — not the Discovery — is the ship that’s largely seen in the CBS All Access trailer.
Burnham is human but was largely raised on Vulcan, having been the first human to ever attend the Vulcan Learning Center and Vulcan Science Academy. She has a close relationship with Sarek (Spock’s astrophysicist father, played by James Frain).
Burnham is forced to make an impossibly difficult choice in the show that “affects Starfleet, affects the Federation, affects the entire universe.” That choice leads her to the U.S.S. Discovery, a more modern science vessel in the fleet.
The Discovery is captained by Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs from the Harry Potter franchise), who is considered a brilliant military leader.
Burnham is close to Lt. Suru (Doug Jones from Hellboy, among many other titles), a Science Officer. He’s different type of alien being that hasn’t been in the franchise before. In the trailer, Lt. Suruclaims he can sense approaching death.
There are also a lot of Klingons. The series is set during the Klingon-Federation cold war, but you can expect things to not stay too cold for long. The main focus is T’Kuvma (Chris Obi), a leader looking to unite the Klingon houses … by any means necessary.
The cast also includes Anthony Rapp (Rent) playing the TV franchise’s first openly gay character, Stamets, a Science Officer who’s a fungus expert.
Rainn Wilson (The Office) is also on the show, playing a younger and more grounded version of Harry Mudd, a charismatic and non-Starfleet con man character from The Original Series.
Discovery will update traditional Trek TV storytelling by embracing a serialized style that allows for more conflict between crew members while still holding true to Trek ideals. And as the first non-captain Trek lead, focusing on Burnham takes viewers off the bridge, into more parts of the ship, and explores lower-deck story lines.
Discovery will debut Sept. 24 on CBS, then will shift to the CBS All Access streaming service for the rest of its first season (which will number 15 episodes). The Next Generation star and director Jonathan Frakes will helm one of the episodes. Watch the trailer here.