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8 things about new 'Star Trek: Discovery' that really aren't new to 'Star Trek'

Times files (1996)



Don't get me wrong: I'm glad we finally know something, anything about the new Star Trek show Discovery. Up till now, even teasers haven't given us much of anything.

But the rush get those facts out there and tout diversity, several outlets seem to have forgotten the long history of Star Trek, which has always been all about diversity. ("The reboot will be putting a new spin on Captain Kirk with the central character played by a woman," says the Hollywood Reporter.) In fact, somewhere during the Television Critics Association press tour where this happened, Fuller said, "Star Trek started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast. We're absolutely continuing that tradition."

Here's a list of 8 things about the new show that really aren't new to Star Trek.

1. A female character leading the charge.

That honor belongs to Capt. Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) of the U.S.S. Voyager in 1995.

Star Trek has also featured other women-in-charge as side or recurring characters, including Commodore Paris (Shohreh Aghdashloo) commanding Starbase Yorktown in Star Trek Beyond, Adm. Alynna Nechayev in TNG and DS9 and Capt. Erica Hernandez in Enterprise.

2. A "potentially diverse" character leading the charge.

That honor belongs to Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) of the space station Deep Space 9 in 1993.

Star Trek has also featured several black admirals, and Sulu was a captain by the end of the TOS movies (and in flashbacks from Voyager).

3. Someone who isn't a captain of a ship leading the charge.

Also Commander Sisko, guys. A ship called the Defiant was introduced in later seasons of DS9, and Sisko was eventually promoted to captain, but the primary setting was always a space station. I'm also not sure how "not a captain of a ship" will fit into Discovery, given that the teaser showed a ship actually called, well, Discovery.

4. An LGBTQ character.

Aside from new Sulu (John Cho) being revealed as gay in Star Trek Beyond, there has also been Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) — gender-bending, equal-opportunity lover alien on Deep Space 9. Ultimately Jadzia ended up in a monogamous heterosexual relationship as did her successor, Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer), so it isn't a direct comparison to the gay character coming in Discovery. But Jadzia's relationships and fluid gender identity (previous hosts have been male and female, Sisko calls her "Old Man") certainly paved the way.

5. A whole bunch of aliens ("more aliens than you normally do in a Star Trek show" says Bryan Fuller).

I'm not sure what Fuller means exactly. Sure, Spock was sort of the odd-alien-out in TOS, but the following shows all had more aliens. out of DS9's 10 main characters, only four were human (Benjamin Sisko, Jake Sisko, Miles O'Brien and Julian Bashir, who was actually a genetically modified human). The rest were Bajoran, Changeling, Trill, Klingon and Ferengi. If more than half the cast have already been aliens ... what does more aliens mean?

6. Robots.

Fuller also said there are robots, which might be newish if you don't count Data — A ROBOT WITH HUMAN EMOTIONS, GUYS — or the Borg.

7. A "diverse cast."


That's been Star Trek's MO since the The Original Series, with a white man, an alien man, an Asian man, a Russian man, a black woman and so on. Since those days, leading characters have included those mentioned in items No. 1 and 2, Klingons and Vulcans played by black actors, a Native American, a half-human-half-Klingon female engineer, a Muslim ... The list goes on and on.

Apparently anonymous sources have told the Hollywood Reporter "the rest of the cast also will feature an openly gay actor to play one one of the male leads (which Fuller confirmed), a female admiral, a male Klingon captain, a male admiral, a male adviser and a British male doctor." Sounds about par for the course except too many admirals.

8. A setting pre-TOS.

I know a lot of people would like to forget Enterprise, but it happened, guys. The new show is set post-Enterprise, pre-Original Series. What's fun to pick apart is this quote from Fuller: "There's an incident, an event, in the history of Starfleet that has been talked about (in previous Star Trek shows), but never fully explored."

The Federation was founded at the end of Enterprise, so it can't be that.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2016 5:30pm]


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