San Diego Comic-Con 2017 has been the source of much new delicious geekitude, and one of the important things that came out of that unbridled throng of media events was the new extended trailer for Star Trek: Discovery. Oh, the things that you’ll learn. From reports, the entire cast are Trek fans themselves, and are beside themselves with excitement to be a part of the grand legacy of Star Trek. The enthusiasm they all share certainly finds its way into the visuals, and that one thing can make up for an awful lot. Have a look. We’ll break them down for you.
First, it’s not really an extended trailer. It’s two trailers uncomfortably glued back to back. The first one is a trailer for the first episode, and the second covers the series as a whole and is more or less the one we’ve already seen.
The Klingons are having a very very bad no good day. There has been a fierce battle, leaving wreckage everywhere – including a Klingon Bird of Prey (at least we think it is, as they’ve massively reconceived what Klingon Birds of Prey look like if that’s what it is). The Klingon in charge of everything is T’Kuvma (Chris Obi), the leader of an ancient Klingon house looking to unite his people, even if that means provoking a war with the Federation. By his side is L’Rell (Mary Chieffo), his Battle Deck Commander. Apparently T’Kuvma doesn’t last the episode, and there is a Klingon memorial service.
The Klingons themselves? They’re the fish-faced versions in the dainty little waistcoats we saw in that leaked backstage photograph from last February, but at least they seem to be acting like Klingons in this new footage, despite being dressed in outlandish togs totally unsuited for personal combat. The difference in appearance has been explained by declaring these new Klingons as being part of an older sect that we have simply not seen before now. According to an interview in Entertainment Weekly, the producers are hoping we’ll be okay with it, since Klingons have changed their appearance radically over the years anyway. It’s an explanation that at least makes sense.
There are a few bits and pieces of the story as well. We see a Federation starship, the USS Europa, getting chewed up by an impact with something big and dangerous. We see short bursts of the U.S.S. Shinzhou as well, maneuvering through the wreckage. We see some jumbled images of Commander Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) racing around inside a beleaguered Federation vessel (we don’t know which one), sometimes with the benefit of gravity, sometimes not. We see a shuttlepod rocketing out of a shuttlebay, and a hole much bigger than the shuttlepod opens up to allow it to pass, and there no violent decompression event. Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) figures prominently, but he seems to spend a lot of his time trapped behind force fields. There is a very – very – brief flash of Commander Burnham undergoing what appears to be a Vulcan mind meld.
There is unfortunately far too much in the way of plasma fields and lens flare going on, to the point of being so visually dense that you’re not sure where you’re supposed to be looking sometimes – but at the same time, the look of Trek probably has to be updated to suit the sensibilities of a modern 21st century audience if it’s going to capture the imagination of a whole new generation of viewers. When a franchise gets to be 50 years old, you’re going to start having problems like that, and there are only so many practical solutions.
And there’s Burnham tumbling in space in an EVA suit with a dangerously cracked faceplate.
If you stitch all of this together, it confirms very loosely with what we’ve been hearing about the pilot. Federation and Klingons find a way to set their differences aside long enough to forge a single crew. The whole thing is starting to make a bit more sense. The quality of the storytelling may pull the whole thing together into a cohesive whole.
It all debuts on broadcast television on September 24, but we’re only getting the first episode. After that, it’s all behind the CBS All Access pay-for-play firewall for United States viewers (the rest of the planet gets it along with the Netflix they’re already paying for).