Sexy Klingons? Hilarious Vulcans? Star Trek: Discovery Is Dancing To Its Own Music


Returning 2020

Klingons aren’t usually flirty. Vulcans don’t naturally tell jokes. And what do the Bangles have to do with any of this?

There certainly was lots to discuss at the Star Trek: Discovery panel during the Television Critics Association event. The big-buzz new series is coming to Space on September 24, with the debut episode also airing on CTV, in addition to full episodes streaming on CraveTV.

The first season will consist of 15 episodes, split into two chapters. The first chapter airs from September to November, with the second chapter beginning in January 2018.

So what was seen, heard and discussed when the cast and producers of Star Trek: Discovery got together with a room full of TV reporters?

For the first time, reporters got to hear the new version of the Star Trek theme. Like the series itself, it takes something that’s familiar and puts a new spin on it.

A video clip showed a 60-piece orchestra playing and recording the theme.

“Is it okay to cry at the TCA?” asked executive producer Alex Kurtzman after hearing the clip. “The first time I heard that, I was just so excited and thrilled at finding a new sound that married to an old sound.”

Kurtzman also assured everyone that the theme music would not be cut, as occurs with so many shows these days, if in fact they have any theme music at all.

“It’s absolutely running at that length, for sure,” Kurtzman said. “I think it’s 1:30, and we have a credit sequence that we are very excited about, that we’ll run with it.”

Reporters wanted to know why, with a female lead in a Star Trek project for the first time in a long while, the character was given a traditionally male name. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but Sonequa Martin-Green’s character is called First Officer Michael Burnham.

“We’ve worked on many shows with Bryan (Fuller, who stepped down as showrunner last year), and it’s a motif,” executive producer Aaron Harberts said. “It’s his signature move for his lead women to have names that would typically be associated as male.

“So we were sitting around with the writing staff going through male names and we all hit on Michael. I only have known two female Michaels. Michael Sneed was a gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. And Michael Steele played the bass for the Bangles. That’s a deep dive on female Michaels.

“It was just a really interesting name. And of course, an archangel is named Michael as well, and it just had a lot of potency for us.”

Martin-Green concocted yet another scenario, which has helped her fill out the back-story of Michael Burnham.

“Understanding that’s where (the name) had come from, I appreciated that, and I appreciated the sort of statement it makes, all on its own, to have this woman with this male name, just speaking of the sort of amelioration of how we see men and women in the future,” Martin-Green said.

“But I also just decided for my creation, and for my background and whatnot, that I was named after my father.”

There’s something to be said for keeping it simple!

There has been plenty of online buzz about the revamped look of the Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery.

“One of the things (Fuller) really, really wanted to do was shake up the design of the Klingons,” Harberts said. “And one of the first things he ever pitched to us was his aesthetic for the Klingons and how important it was that they be aesthete, that they not be the thugs of the universe, that they be sexy and vital and different from what had come before.”

Sexy Klingons? I’d call that tough love.

Asked if there will be any opportunities for lighter moments, which the original Star Trek was known for, reporters got a good laugh from James Frain, who plays Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, a.k.a. Spock’s father.

“I’ve got to tell you, the Vulcans are hilarious,” said Frain, with knee-slapping excitement. “They are just so witty and funny. You are going to love them.”

He was kidding. Or was he?