SDCC 2018 – A Family Reunion: Star Trek Discovery Season 2
Season 1 of Discovery allowed us to witness a crew go through weal and woe together and emerge victorious, scarred, but united as a family. Watching the cast and show runners during the press junket at San Diego Comic Con reveals that the sense of camaraderie and family we see on screen is not just good acting, but a genuine expression of how the actors feel for one another both on and off set. This is appropriate, since the show will be continuing the theme of family in Season 2.
Sonequa Martin-Green (Burnham), Doug Jones (Saru), Shazad Latif (Ash), Mary Wiseman (Tilly), Anthony Rapp (Stamets), Wilson Cruz (Culber), Mary Chieffo (L'Rell), Anson Mount (Pike), and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin fielded questions during San Diego this year. Here's what we have to look forward to in Season 2 of Discovery.
Time Keeps On Slipping Into the Future...
We knew that the series took place prior to The Original Series, but it is confirmed that the show is set ten years before Roddenberry's pilot, which had Pike and a female Number One, portrayed by Roddenberry's wife Majel Barret. This year, Rebecca Romjin (X-Men, The Librarians) will be joining the cast as Number One. Although Number One didn't survive Roddenberry's pilot, Romjin discussed how this season of Discovery was a chance to explore a groundbreaking character for her time. Mount discussed honoring Jeffrey Hunter's portrayal of the original character, bringing mentorship, "optimism, and a good heart" to the Discovery bridge. Obviously this is the polar opposite of Lorca, and it will be interesting to see how these newcomers will adjust to a crew that has gone to the brink of death and back together. In some ways it's tough to know that Burnham still won't get to be in a position of captain. It is logical since she was just reinstated at the end of season 1, and Pike's appearance is definitely in the advancement of the larger storyline. That said, I wonder if there was a way to bring Pike on without placing the Discovery in the hands of another White man. That said, the trailer shows a character who appears to recognize while he's been brought in as part of a larger threat, it is his role to adjust to this group, not bend the group to his will. As such, season 2 shows a great deal of promise, and season 1 proved that the show runners know how to develop a 21st century show that is a prequel of a show from the mid 1960s.
Closing the Loop
When Star Trek: Discovery was first announced, the fandom went a little bananas.
Well, a lot bananas.
Questions were (rightfully) raised about the absence of the spore drive in any part of the Star Trek universe. There is a mirror universe and our counterparts have been here before? Spock has a sister? Who is human? AND BLACK? HOW SWAY?
Kurtzman and Kadin assured us that not only do those questions get answered, but that Discovery is definitely a part of the current Star Trek canon, and by the end of season 2, the link between this show and the other shows will be firmly established. The trailer indicates that Spock will be a major feature this season, as the mystery that they are dealing with surrounds his presence. Many fans were wondering if we would be exploring the mirror universe and the possibilities that creates, but as Kurtzman pointed out, the mirror universe was a specific plot point whose purpose was to help Burnham deal with her demons and explore her identity. That story was told to completion in season 1. As Martin-Green pointed out, there will be exploration, but the theme and the focus of the show will continue to center on family: what it is, how is it defined, how is it formed, and how it endures. We will also see the return Tyler and L'Rell, who are both on paths of discovery, working to navigate two worlds.
Everything Is On The Table
Contrary to the belief of some, Star Trek has always been about the realm of possibility, a tableau of a inclusive future where we set aside our differences and work towards a common goal. That goal was never the advancement of the white supremacy agenda, but of an equal and peaceful coexistence as we travel the stars and advance technology. We were curious about how Star Trek inspired some of the technology we use today, and the cast and show runners confirm that Discovery will continue to explore and build on real science in universe. The Mycelium Network was not just an invention for the show, but a real phenomena in science and vegetation. This real life science will be used to explore the world Stamets became a part of in season 1, and promises the return of Culber (Wilson Cruz), who was killed in a shocking episode during season 1. Cruz indicated that we will get more of the story and relationship between Stamets and Culber-both their individual narratives and their romantic relationship. Additionally, Kurtzman indicated that there is nothing that cannot be explored in the Trek universe. Trek will not be used to promote harmful ideas, but the concepts of what being disabled means in a future where medical science has developed resolutions to current ailments are not out of the question. It is a welcome change to see that Culber's death in season 1 was indeed not just a spurious plot device, and that the concept of love in all its forms will be explored. There are those who will balk it it, but then again, those people never really understood Roddenberry's vision.
Star Trek Discovery returns with a few special episodes in December, but is slated for an official January 2019 return.
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