Star Trek Discovery capped off its freshman season this past Sunday in an episode that answered a lot of the questions posed through the season (click here to read TrekMovie’s review of the episode, and here for our podcast about it). The finale also raised a number of new questions that we’re eager to see answered in season two.
Red alert! The questions below will contain lots of spoilers for folks who have not watched the finale episode of the season, so proceed at your own risk.
How long will the big “E” stick around?
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the finale was the arrival of the of the USS Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C, or D!), reimagined in the Star Trek: Discovery style. The arrival of the ship was more than a cameo and Discovery’s producers have indicated that the Enterprise will play a role in season two, but not a dominant one. It’s possible the ship could just beam over Discovery’s new captain and be on its way, but the more intriguing possibility is that there will be more dealing with whatever was behind the finale’s cliffhanging priority one distress call. For now producers are not confirming if we will ever see the interior of the ship. Given Alex Kurtzman’s comments, if we see inside, we expect some kind of updated look that will pay homage to the original. And, if we see any of the crew, we won’t be surprised to see them wearing the standard Starfleet uniforms everyone else is wearing on Discovery too.
Will we see Pike or Spock?
The finale established that the garbled distress call from the Enterprise came from Captain Pike, who commanded the ship before Kirk. If the Enterprise is sticking around, there is a good possibility they will be recasting Pike, originally played by Jeffrey Hunter in the Star Trek pilot “The Cage.” As the timing of the finale is only a few years after “The Cage,” it is quite possible a number of the other characters seen in that episode are on board and could show up on Discovery. One intriguing possibility is Dr. Boyce (originally played by John Hoyt) as we know the Discovery is down a doctor. And even if a character wasn’t seen in “The Cage,” there is no reason they couldn’t be on board, opening up the possibility of seeing any number of canon characters. Certainly the most intriguing notion is Mr. Spock. Based on canon, and knowing exchanges between Sarek and Michael Burnham, Star Trek’s most famous Vulcan is also on that ship. However, show producers have indicated they are not looking to recast such a major and iconic role.
Who will be sitting in the Captain’s chair?
Season one of Discovery ends with the ship en route to Vulcan to pick up their new Captain, with Saru in charge as acting captain. While there’s a bit of a fan movement to promote Saru to actual captain, it seems unlikely that the writers would set us up for an introduction only to pull it back. So, who this new captain? Online speculation has advanced a number of possibilities, including T’Pol (she’d be a spry 170 years old). Of course, just because the captain is on Vulcan, doesn’t mean the new captain is a Vulcan. A laundry list of minor characters are being speculated by fans, including Pike’s “Number One,” or even Pike himself. Then again, it could also be a brand-new character. Lorca (Jason Isaacs) proved to be a popular character with big shoes to fill, so we are hoping they continue that trend and come up with someone new.
Now redeemed, what’s next for Michael Burnham?
The focal character for Star Trek: Discovery is Michael Burnham, and more than anything, the arc of the first season was about her redemption. The finale neatly book-ended her fall from grace in the season opener to being able to forgive herself for the betrayal of her captain. She was also reinstated with her rank as Commander and assigned as science officer for the Discovery. With the finale tying things up for Burnham, it opens up the question of what will the focus of her arc be for the second season, and beyond? The pilot opened with the possibility for her to get her own command, so is her ambition back? And if so, that could bring Burnham back into some conflict with her old friend and sometimes rival, Saru. The finale also saw Michael say goodbye to her first love. So, will she keep an ember burning for the Klingon/Human Tyler, or will someone new catch her eye? Maybe the new captain? The slate is blank for Michael now.
What is the status (and future) of the spore drive?
Over the course of the first season, effectively using Discovery’s revolutionary Displacement Activated Spore Hub drive required either the ethically dubious use of a Tardigrade or a tardigrade-infused human, risking their mind to mycelial oblivion. So, the final moments of the finale had the ship returning to the use of old-fashioned warp drive. However, newly promoted Lt. Commander Stamets indicated that Starfleet is seeking a technological spore drive interface. Earlier episodes in the season seemed to be leading up to drive being determined to be too risky to use, but the finale indicates Starfleet is not ready to shelve it. And if the ship is in a jam, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for them to not take the risk and plug Stamets back in. In fact, co-showrunner Gretchen J. Berg said on After Trek, “you don’t own a Maserati and keep it in the garage.” So, the question remains then, why didn’t spore drive technology become widespread in the 23rd century and beyond?
Without spore navigation, what is Stamets going to do with himself?
If Stamets’ days as the plug-and-play human interface for the spore drive are over, what will be his role on the ship? The Discovery is still a science ship, but Stamets’ spore “kiddos” are no longer driving it, so he’s going to have some time on his hands. There are 300 science labs on board, some of which were guarded when we first saw them, so there’s probably more weird science for Paul to get into. One strong possibility that would keep Paul playing with his space fungus is him trying to reconnect with his lost love, Hugh Culber, who was last seen hanging out in the mycelial network.
How will Discovery‘s war with the Klingons transition to the cold war we know?
The ending of the Klingon-Federation war in the finale felt a little too quick and simple. Just because L’Rell has a bomb doesn’t mean the 24 great houses are going to stay unified and happy to put the war behind them. Producers have said that they are moving on from the war story, but have also indicated that L’Rell and Tyler (formerly Voq) will play a part in the second season. We know that by the time of The Original Series, tensions with the Klingon Empire remain high with the Federation so it is unlikely there is much detente, and it is unclear if there will be an official armistice or treaty ending the war. The chances that L’Rell and her bomb can stop all her fellow Klingons from causing trouble for the Federation is low, so expect some flare ups in the second season. Side note: Do L’Rell and Tyler have to sleep in shifts if possession of that detonator is all that’s holding the Empire together?
And what does this mean for Tyler and L’Rell?
Speaking of Tyler, the finale showed him sort of re-embrace his origins as Voq, at least to some extent. He decided to stay with L’Rell to help her and to bridge the gap with the Federation. His transformation into a human may make it hard for him to continue his role as the “Torchbearer” of Klingon ideals and honor, as he could just become an object of scorn. Voq was already that before his transformation, and then failed in his mission anyway, so his chances of getting his status elevated now that he’s a human seem slim. And then there is Tyler’s extremely complicated love life. Will L’Rell and Tyler resume their romantic relationship? Will T’Lell become a thing? (Sorry, is that Ty’Rell?). Even though the Klingon War story line was not entirely satisfying, these two characters and actors stood out and hopefully they will be explored further in season two.
How can Starfleet — and Cornwell — rebuild with integrity?
Starfleet just fought a devastating war against the Klingons, losing one third of their ships and 20% of their territory, and in response, they came THIS close to committing genocide. How will Starfleet rebuild itself both physically and morally? Admiral Cornwell ordered the destruction of an entire planet, which is Terran Emperor-level bad guy stuff. Yes, she was fairly easily persuaded to shift gears, but will there be any repercussions for her and others – including Sarek – who were complicit in the ordering a war crime? These acts are not the kinds of things we expect from the Federation or Starfleet and hopefully the fallout from these decisions will not be just swept away.
How will the Sarek family deal with this ‘reunion?’
We know from the TOS episode “Journey to Babel” that Spock and his father had not spoken to each other for eighteen years, and season one of Discovery ends just about halfway through that period. But Sarek is aboard the Discovery at the end of season one. How will they avoid speaking to each other, especially with Spock’s sister Michael aboard? Then again, let’s not forget that the Sarek-Spock feud was all about Spock’s choice to join Starfleet and Sarek’s disapproval of his choice. Having Sarek arrive on a starship full of glowing approval for Michael Burnham’s career choice is sure to reopen old wounds. (Shhh…don’t tell your brother about the genocide thing!).
What is Georgiou’s next move?
As former Terran Emperor Georgiou slinked off into the shadows a free woman, bound only by her non-existent conscience, what will she be up to in season two? We’ve seen Georgiou’s brutality; she spent her life devoted to building her own personal power and imposing her will on the rest of her universe. Why would she stop now? Will she team up with Orion pirates? Rebuild an empire? Will she do it all in that fabulous feathered cape? You don’t bring Michelle Yeoh back to life without a game plan and even though nothing has been said, it is a good bet she will be back in season two and probably causing some trouble.
What is the mission of the USS Discovery now?
Since it was introduced in episode three, the USS Discovery was a ship tasked to help win the war with the Klingons. With the war now over, what will the mission of the ship be? There was no indication in the finale as to where the ship was headed after it picked up the new captain on Vulcan. The ship was originally designed to be a science vessel, so perhaps it could be returning to its roots? Michael Burnham’s speech to Starfleet did talk about returning to “exploring strange new worlds,” something core to Starfleet and Star Trek since the beginning. The producers of the show have also talked about how the second season will look at the “collision of science and spirituality” which sounds pretty intriguing. We are hoping that we can get back to meeting some strange new life forms and new civilizations, and maybe not shooting at them.
One thing’s for sure, the writers and producers of Star Trek: Discovery season two have a lot to think about. We are optimistic that they’ll find creative solutions to some of these questions, and will surprise us with a bunch more as well.
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.