Star Trek: Discovery takes place ten years prior to the five-year mission of Captain Kirk and the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Original Series, and a century after the exploratory mission of Captain Archer and the original Enterprise in Star Trek: Enterprise. This is relatively new territory for the series and it’ll be explored by an entirely new cast and crew.
The most significant characters in the series will be the crew of the titular spacecraft, the USS Discovery NCC-1031.
The lead character of Star Trek: Discovery is Commander Michael Burnham. In breaking with Star Trek tradition, Burnham is not the captain of the Discovery but the First Officer. Burnham is a human who was raised on the planet Vulcan by Ambassador Sarek and Amanda Grayson, the parents of classic Star Trek character Spock. She served for seven years on board the USS Shenzhou, which is where she still serves as Star Trek: Discovery begins before she moves to the Discovery.
Burnham is played by Sonequa Martin-Green, who is best known for playing Sasha Williams on AMC’s The Walking Dead.
The captain of the USS Discovery is Gabriel Lorca. Unlike most captains from past Star Trek series, Lorca is aggressive and has a brilliant mind for military tactics, though there have been hints that he may also be somewhat unstable.
Lorca is played by Jason Isaacs, who is best known for playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series.
Lt. Commander Saru is a science officer serving on board the Discovery and is a friendly rival to Burnham. Saru is a member of a new alien race to the Star Trek universe, the Kelpians. Saru is the first Kelpian to join Starfleet. Kelpians were prey on their planet and evolved to sense impending death, which has earned them a reputation for cowardice in Starfleet. Saru’s role on Star Trek: Discovery has been compared to that of Spock and Data on past Star Trek series.
Saru is played for Doug Jones, who is best known for working with director Guillermo del Toro under heavy makeup in Pan’s Labyrinth and as Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies.
Paul Stamets is a science officer on board the Discovery and is an astromycologist, studying fungi in space. Stamets will be the first openly gay character on a Star Trek television series.
Stamets is played by Anthony Rapp, who is best known for his role in the Broadway production of Rent.
Silvia Tilly is a Starfleet Cadet in her fourth and final year at Starfleet Academy. She is assigned to the Discovery and becomes roommates with Burnham.
Tilly is played by Mary Wiseman.
The Discovery crew aren’t the only Starfleet members involved in Star Trek: Discovery. In fact, another ship in the fleet is said to play a major role in the show’s story.
That ship is the USS Shenzhou, on which Burnham served for seven years. The ship is captained by Phillipa Georgiou, who is a far more optimistic and idealistic captain than Lorca. Where Lorca is a tactician, Geogiou is an explorer at heart, though she has seen the horrors of war in her lifetime. She and Burnham had a mother-daughter relationship while Burnham was serving under Georgiou’s command.
Georgiou is played by Michelle Yeoh, best known for playing Yu Shu Lien in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Lt. Ash Tyler is a Starfleet officer and a former prisoner of war. The exact nature of his imprisonment is still unknown, but he is attempting to deal with his post-traumatic stress syndrome. In doing so, he forms a bond with both Burnham and Lorca, which suggests that he will be on board the Discovery, though it is unclear if he will be serving in an official capacity.
Tyler is played by Shazad Latif, who was recast after originally being cast as the Klingon Kol. He is best known for playing Dr. Jekyll on Penny Dreadful.
There are a couple of characters among the Star Trek: Discovery cast who should be familiar to classic Star Trek fans, though they are being played by new actors.
The first is Ambassador Sarek, the Vulcan father of Spock and surrogate father of Burnham. Sarek is an astrophysicist and ambassador for Starfleet.
Sarek will be played in Star Trek: Discovery by James Frain, who played Jarvis in TRON: Legacy and Azrael on Gotham.
The other is Harry Mudd, the charismatic con man who appeared in episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. This younger version of Mudd will be a bit more dastardly than he was in previous appearances, and may also have a hidden agenda.
Mudd will be played by Rainn Wilson, who is best known for playing Dwight in The Office.
Starfleet will unexpectedly make contact with the Klingon Empire, which will lead the Federation into war.
The Klingons that Starfleet encounter are members of House T’Kuvma, led by T’Kuvma himself. T’Kuvma leads his ancient house using Klingon religion and proclaims himself to be the second coming of the Klingon messiah Kahless, who was the first Klingon Emperor. T’Kuvma wants to unite all of the Klingon houses under his leadership.
T’Kuvma is played by Chris Obi, who played Mr. Jacquel on American Gods.
Another member of House T’Kuvma is L’Rell, a female Klingon Battle Deck Commander who is also part of House Mo’Kai. L’Rell’s character arc will involve her dual allegiances to two houses with different ideologies.
L’Rell is played by Mary Chieffo.
The Klingon Kol is a member of House Kor and the apprentice of T’Kuvma. Kor’s character is said to be both powerful and complicated and based on Kor himself, the first Klingon to ever appear on Star Trek: The Original Series.
Kor is played by Kenneth Mitchell, who played Eric Green in Jericho.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24, 2017. For more information on how to watch, check out our viewing guide. For more information on when in the Star Trek timeline Discovery takes place, check out our primer on the state of the Star Trek universe.
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