On the heals of the release of Star Trek Beyond comes a treat from CBS. This past weekend they gave San Diego Comic-Con attendees, and the world, a taste of things to come. They also gave us a title for the upcoming series, which will see its pilot on broadcast television, and the remainder available via their streaming service CBS All-Access.
The show’s title? Star Trek:Discovery.
Unfortunate abbreviation not withstanding, the title inspires much of the spirit of the original series, with its call to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” It’s not just the title that does this, the design of the ship seems a huge departure from the comfortable norm — that is, until you look back at some designs for the ill-fated Star Trek: Phase II by Ralph McQuarrie. That television series was never produced, but it did pave the way for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Ralph McQuarrie is a name more commonly associated with Star Wars than Star Trek. The new Star Wars films The Force Awakens and the upcoming Rogue One revisit many of McQuarrie’s original designs from 1976 when the original Star Wars movie was in production. Prior to the final agreements by studio and Roddenberry that led to the first Star Trek film, a different Trek film was planned. Titled Planet of the Titans, it drew on many well known design and concept names, including McQuarrie. You can see his design for the Enterprise below. Frankly, it’s a bit bizarre … but in the context of Star Trek: Discovery it might actually make sense.
Fans have said the new design looks like an odd hybrid of a Starfleet Constitution class and a Klingon D5 / D6, and that may actually be intentional. Nicholas Meyer had this to say just after the announcement that he would be part of the Star Trek All Access Writing Staff :
“The one thing I can relate to you is that The Undiscovered Country—according to Bryan [Fuller]—is a real sort of taking off point, or touchstone for how I guess he’s thinking about the direction of the new show. I don’t want to be misquoted and I don’t want to misquote him, but he’s fond of that film. Let’s put it that way. “
In that context the name “Discovery” for the N.C.C. 1031 takes on a whole new meaning. Could this be a test-bed for technological co-operation between the Klingon empire and United Federation of Planets?
Only one way to find out.
“Take us out, helm. One quarter impulse …”