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Star Trek Discovery’s first trailer brings a new ship, new characters, and old conflicts

A newbie commander faces a lot of angry Klingons amid sumptuous visuals. It all feels very Trek.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

The first trailer for the long-awaited series Star Trek: Discovery is here, exploring the franchise’s most time-honored conflicts within an early era of the Federation.

The trailer features Sonequa Martin-Green, fresh from The Walking Dead, as Michael Burnham, a first officer promoted unexpectedly to the position of captain by her mentor, Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). Set 10 years before the original Star Trek series (and 90 years after the franchise’s only other prequel, Star Trek: Enterprise), the new series follows the starship Discovery as Burnham learns to become a captain. But she soon finds her abilities tested by a host of challenges that will be familiar to all lovers of the classic sci-fi universe: new worlds to explore and alliances to forge, hostile Klingons, and the difficulty of adhering to the Federation’s peacekeeping mission.

While the two women on the command deck are new, very little else about the Discovery trailer is. The graphics and visuals feel modern, but still very much in keeping with the aesthetic of previous Trek series, in particular Voyager and Deep Space Nine. Alongside new starship officers, we see familiar faces, including Vulcans — specifically Spock’s dad, Sarek, and apparently a young Spock — Romulans, and Klingons. The Klingons, at least, seem to have gotten an upgrade — they’re more warlike and menacing than ever, and we get a rare glimpse at what seems to be a royal Klingon burial ceremony.

What gets short shrift in this trailer is the series’ overarching plot; but given that the Federation’s shaky forging of alliances with the Klingons is a crucial part of Trek history, and their prominence in the trailer, it’s likely that their early conflict will drive the story. In any case, seeing the Klingons in all their combative glory feels a bit like coming home for Trek fans.

The trailer’s release follows an earlier announcement from CBS that the series’ initial season would feature an additional two episodes, for a total of 15. Star Trek Discovery premieres this fall.

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