Star Trek: Discovery’s season 2 trailer arrived at San Diego Comic Con and there have been some changes. Season 1, even fans would admit, was a little darker than we’ve come to expect from a Star Trek show. The characters were morally ambiguous, the sets were all moodily lit and the colour palate ranged from grey to dark blue. It looked stunning though and the characters certainly showed promise. Worst of all, it lacked a sense of humour.
Well season 2 seems to have brought a bit of colour in the form of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) of the USS Enterprise. For anyone who doesn’t know, Pike was Captain of the Enterprise before Kirk and he appeared the original Star Trek pilot ‘The Cage’ which was then worked into Trek’s first season in a sort of flashback episode called ‘The Menagerie’. Back then he was played by Jeffrey Hunter. Pike will be familiar to modern Trek fans thanks to his appearances in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness as played by Bruce Greenwood but that’s set in an alternate universe so don’t think about that. Is that all clear? Beep once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no’.
What further complicates things, is that Spock served under Pike on the Enterprise and was the only character from that pilot to become a series regular. And if you were paying attention during season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery, then you’ll know that Spock’s foster sister Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is serving on board the Discovery and their father Sarek is also along for the ride. Spock has gone on leave though because he has to solve some big mystery. So it seems that season 2 will see Spock become a human Maguffin like Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi to help answer a sci-fi problem – it’ll be a search for Spock, if you will.
Spock is the most iconic role in Star Trek and recasting is an insane thing to do but Discovery’s setting just before The Original Series invites this sort of thing, after all, we’ve already met Harry Mudd, Amanda and Sarek. The movies pulled it off once with the blessing of the role’s originator Leonard Nimoy but it will be tough to do it again. How many Spocks and Pikes do we really need? It’s a big universe out there.
It’s nice to see some humour in there too, although the final gag is so broad you might actually expect to see it in The Orville. It’s all about balance. Writers have indicated that after season one being carried by Burnham the show will have more of an ensemble feel this year so perhaps we’ll find out the names of robot head and cyborg lady, and that other guy who sits at the back there.
Star Trek: Discovery returns on CBS All Access in the US and on Netflix globally in early 2019.