The first episode of Star Trek premiered more than 50 years ago, but the beloved sci-fi franchise is still going strong. The space saga has returned with the new series Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access (the network’s stand-alone streaming service) for those in the U.S. and Canada, and on Netflix for international audiences.
CBS unveiled the first teaser for its new Star Trek series in early 2016, and the show’s official title was revealed to be Star Trek: Discovery during Comic-Con International in San Diego in summer 2016. Since then, there have been many strange twists and turns, including the exit of series creator and showrunner Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, American Gods), which left many Star Trek fans wondering exactly how the series would look under new showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (Pushing Daisies), and how it will fit into the Star Trek TV universe.
Fans finally found out when Discovery premiered September 24. Here’s everything we know about the series so far.
Entering chapter 2
With Star Trek: Discovery season 1 broken into two chapters, there is a hiatus ahead. Chapter 1 will conclude with episode 9’s release on November 12, and then fans are in for a wait. Fortunately, the break won’t be too long; CBS has announced that the next chapter will premiere on January 7 with episode 10, Despite Yourself. The network also released the episode’s synopsis, teasing challenges to come:
While in unfamiliar territory, the U.S.S. Discovery crew is forced to get creative in their next efforts to survive opposing and unprecedented forces and return home.
The chapter 2 premiere will be the first of an additional six episodes, bringing us more Starfleet adventures through the season 1 finale’s release on February 11.
Boldly going to season 2
Despite all of the show’s troubles leading up to its launch, the first voyage of Discovery appears to be going well enough to merit another set of adventures.
On October 23, CBS confirmed that Star Trek: Discovery has officially been renewed for a second season on its streaming video service CBS All Access.
“In just six episodes, Star Trek: Discovery has driven subscriber growth, critical acclaim, and huge global fan interest for the first premium version of this great franchise,” said CBS Interactive President and COO Marc DeBevoise in a statement accompanying the announcement. “This series has a remarkable creative team and cast who have demonstrated their ability to carry on the Star Trek legacy. We are extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished and are thrilled to be bringing fans a second season of this tremendous series.”
There’s no official word on when the second season is expected to premiere.
What lies ahead
With the first two episodes of Discovery sparking a record-setting number of sign-ups for CBS’s streaming video service, the network released a video preview of what’s to come in the remaining episodes of the show’s first season.
The two-minute video is filled with spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched the series’ first two episodes, so it would be wise to make sure you’re caught up with the show before you learn about what Discovery has planned for the Star Trek universe.
Going forward, new episodes of Star Trek: Discovery will be made available Sundays on CBS All Access.
Set phasers to “wait” for season 2
Given all of the delays leading up to the show’s premiere, many fans are wondering about the network’s long-term vision for Discovery — particularly when it comes to the second season.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, series producer Alex Kurtzman explained that the best-case scenario will have season 2 of Discovery premiering in early 2019.
“There have been preliminary conversations about when and how [a second season could air] and we’ve been very consistent in our message, which is that rather than announce a date and have to push again, let’s take into consideration everything we’ve learned from this season,” said Kurtzman. “Now we know what we can do and where the sand traps are, so let’s give ourselves ample time to announce a date that makes sense to everybody — both the needs of production and CBS. Breaking story is, in some ways, the easier and faster thing; it’s the ability to execute on it that’s much harder. We want to take the right amount of time and don’t want to rush.”
Asked whether 2019 is a good estimate for the second season’s premiere, Kurtzman responded, “Ideally, on the early side of 2019.”
Launching new records
The premiere of Star Trek: Discovery on September 24 did what the network hoped it would — inspire a spike in CBS All Access signups. In fact, there were so many in the day leading up to the show’s launch that Discovery powered a single-day signup record, as Deadline reports. Although CBS didn’t release the exact numbers, the network did reveal that they exceeded the flurry of new subscriptions that came in February ahead of the 2017 Grammy Awards, the previous record holder.
The record day capped off what also became the streaming service’s top week and month for new subscribers. Between Star Trek: Discovery, Big Brother, and the return of NFL games, CBS All Access has been riding high. The service will likely continue to see growth if Discovery continues to increase in popularity.
Sunday’s premiere kick-started the season’s first arc of eight episodes, with two episodes being released. Fans also got to take in the debut of the series’ new after-show, After Trek.
The sound of Star Trek history
The musical theme for Star Trek: Discovery will take plenty of cues from past iterations of the franchise.
CBS premiered the show’s theme in a video featuring composer Jeff Russo working with a 60-piece orchestra to craft the nostalgia-inducing musical homage to cosmic adventures that boldly go where no one has gone before.
Star Trek fans will certainly recognize many aspects of the theme, which is clearly inspired by some of the most iconic elements shared by past series’ themes.
Going to war at Comic-Con
After announcing the official title of the series at San Diego Comic-Con in 2016, CBS made a big splash at the annual convention again in 2017 with a brand new, extended trailer for Star Trek: Discovery.
The new trailer suggested that a war with the Klingons — possibly involving a nefarious Starfleet faction — will factor prominently into the narrative of the show’s first season. Series lead Sonequa Martin-Green features prominently in the trailer as First Officer Michael Burnham, along with supporting Starfleet characters U.S.S. Shenzhou Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Science Officer Saru (Doug Jones), as well as U.S.S. Discovery Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs).
Actor James Frain also appears as the Vulcan Sarek (Spock’s father), and Rainn Wilson makes a brief appearance as cosmic smuggler and infamous swindler Harry Mudd.
Make it so, Number One
While the faces in front of the camera for Discovery might not be so familiar to Star Trek fans, there will be at least one very recognizable figure behind the camera.
According to Entertainment Weekly, veteran Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Jonathan Frakes will direct at least one episode of Discovery.
Best known for playing Commander William T. Riker on The Next Generation and the films based on that series, Frakes has a long history of work behind the camera. Along with directing several episodes of The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager, he also directed the feature-length films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. He also helmed episodes of popular television shows Leverage, Burn Notice, and NCIS: Los Angeles.
“Jonathan Frakes will rejoin the Trek world with Discovery,” said writer-producer Gretchen Berg in a statement accompanying the news. “He’s a fantastic guy and great director.”
It’s unknown exactly which episode (or episodes) he’ll direct at this point.