NOTE: Article discusses spoilers from the season one finale of Star Trek: Discovery
Following the eventful season one finale of Discovery and the surprising encounter with the USS Enterprise, executive producers of the show have been talking to various outlets (and appearing on the after show) to discuss the episode, and what’s next. We break down the highlights of what they had to say below.
Enterprise encounter planned shortly after Fuller departure, seen as inevitable
Speaking on After Trek, co-creator Alex Kutzman talked about how they worked backwards from the finale:
The whole season was reverse-engineered from knowing at the beginning where we wanted to end. For Sonequa’s arc and the bridge crew coming together as a family and knowing the Enterprise was going to show up as the last frame, because obviously we owe the audience some answers to the question of “Why has Spock never mentioned his half-sister before.” The Enterprise promises answers to that question.
While the decision to bring the Enterprise in came early, it was not conceived until after co-creator and original showrunner Bryan Fuller left the show in October 2016. New co-showrunner Aaron Harberts explained to The Hollywood Reporter:
Bryan wasn’t involved with this part. It definitely came later in the evolution. As we were charting out this season and what we wanted to do next season, we thought, ‘Let’s tell this story now.’
Speaking with IGN, Harberts explained their reasoning for introducing the Enterprise now:
…it seemed like we were gonna be running into the timeline and the time period of The Original Series. The more we thought about that … it became more and more apparent that those two ships existed at the same time. And the more that we realized oh, obviously Burnham and Sarek have a relationship, and Sarek has a relationship with Spock, and that ship that he’s on is out there, from very, very early on we knew [we’d bring in the Enterprise] probably because people would be wondering about it, and wanting [us] to. Like, there’s no real… it’s provocative for us too, so let’s just get there, and tell those stories.
Enterprise introduction allows sync with canon
Speaking to Variety, Kurtzman elaborated further
The show is called ‘Discovery.’ It’s not ‘Enterprise.’ So yes, the Enterprise will play a part of Season 2 but it will absolutely not overshadow Discovery. And I think with Enterprise’s arrival in the finale we recognize that the audience has a lot of questions about our synchronicity with the original series, which really means or synchronicity with canon. So the promise of the Enterprise holds the answers to a lot of those questions, including Spock’s relationship with his half-sister who he’s never mentioned.
Harberts also spoke to this canon connection with IGN
And I think the other question that’s always been coming up, and it’s a fair question, is how did Discovery fit into canon? And by having them cross paths with Enterprise, that’s our opportunity to continue to tell that story and sort of fill the audience in on exactly where our ship fits.
Aware new design can spark controversy
Speaking to Inverse, Harberts acknowledged the the new look for the Enterprise is not going to be something fans agree on:
One thing I have learned is that I haven’t seen Star Trek fans be able to agree on anything. Some Star Trek fans are going to love the new design and some are going to hate it. But what people need to realize is that we’ve got visual artists, production designers, and our visual effects people, that are fans on staff. I just hope peoples’ ire or emotions don’t get in the way of enjoying the show. You have to embrace where you’re at now.
Don’t expect to see Spock
While they aren’t ruling it out, the executive producers made it clear in various interviews that the introduction of the Enterprise does not mean the introduction of Spock as a character on the show. Harberts told THR that they are not casting for the role and even expressed doubt that they ever could do so successfully, saying:
[W]e realize how incredible Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto’s performances were and what [Star Trek movie director] J.J. Abrams and the original series were able to pull off with that character. Finding another actor that could even come close to what Leonard Nimoy did with the original portrayal, we’d never want to go down that road.
Expect more spore-driving in Season 2 as Stamets finds his second act in life
Another late event in the season finale was Stamets giving up his job as the human component to make the spore drive work, but on After Trek co-showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts made it clear that isn’t the end of his story or the drive:
Gretchen: We have set up that there are some difficulties using it, but you don’t get a Maserati and then put it in the garage. I think we got to figure out some things, for the ship to run the way we love to see it run.
Aaron: The spore drive is such a metaphor for Stamets as well. Season 2 is all about his second act. He’s not driving the ship at the moment. He has lost the love of his life. So, we are going to be talking about how he pulls that together.
Another hint that the last spore was significant
In episode 13 there was a moment when a single spore floated around the lab and landed on Tilly. When asked a question on After Trek about any lingering effects of the tardigrade DNA on Staments, Harberts pivoted to hint we should be keeping our eyes on another crewmember:
I think that fans should be thinking about what landed on Tilly.
L’Rell and Tyler’s challenges for season 2
The showrunners strongly implied that Mary Chieffo and Shazad Latif would be back for season two as they discussed what their characters are facing after L’Rell takes command of the Klingon Empire:
Aaron: I think she can be trusted, she has proven that. I think the question is, can the other Klingons be trusted with her in charge?
Gretchen: L’Rell has a huge order in front of her, but I think the right person is in charge.
Aaron: The fact that Tyler has stayed with her and the fact that he has Voq’s memories is going to be a help.
They also talked about Tyler’s decision to stay with L’Rell:
Gretchen: As the Torchbearer, he is there to light the way for her and help her along. She is goign to need all the allies she can get. It is not going to be easy for Tyler, as looking like a human, whether he has access to Klingon memories, but he has committed to helping her at this time.
Aaron: As we look into season two, Tyler is definitely going to be questioning the wisdom of that decision. He is the ultimate expat.
Season two will deal with spirituality and science, plus more Kelpiens
On After Trek, when the producers were asked if they could spoil anything for the second season, Harberts said:
I think one of the things we are really interested this year is the collision of science and spirituality. I think that is something moving from a war chapter. That’s something that excites us for this season.
And during a lighting round of questions, the producers were willing confirm season two will have more Kelpiens, more planets and more partying, but wouldn’t discuss if Prime Lorca survived in the Mirror Universe. Nor would they talk about who is set to be the captain of the USS Discovery.
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access It airs in Canada on the Space Channel and is available on Netflix everywhere else.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.