While fans may be bothered by what they perceive as Star Trek: Discovery playing fast and loose with Star Trek canon, one the series showrunners has made it clear that the show will start bringing the series in line with established continuity beginning with its second season.
Some of the major sticking points for fans have been the experimental spore drive that powers the USS Discovery and the existence of Spock’s previously unmentioned adopted sister, Michael Burnham. Showrunner Aaron Harberts says that, as the show comes closer to when Star Trek: The Original Series took place in the timeline, events will begin to form a clearer picture.
‘We have ten years until The Original Series comes into play,” Harberts tells Metro. “It is a challenge creatively because we have lots of choices, in terms of how do we reconcile this [Spore] drive? This surrogate daughter of Sarek? How do we reconcile these things the closer we get to The Original Series?”
Harberts says this will be a topic of discussion as they begin work on Star Trek: Discovery’s second season.
“That’s going to be a big discussion that we have in season two,” he says. “What’s so fun about the character of Michael, just because she hasn’t been spoken about, doesn’t mean she didn’t exist. A lot of the writers on our show are deeply involved in Star Trek, their knowledge is some of the finest around, they really do help us find areas where we can steer around things.”
As for the spore drive, who’s to say what’s lost in the classified archives of Starfleet?
“But the Spore drive? Who knows,” Harberts says. “It could be classified. There are many options. Some of the best ideas come from all over the place, not just in our writers' room so I love hearing about the fan ideas and theories. We’ll have to see.”
Considering that it took illegal eugenics practices to get the spore drive working in the first place, and the negative effects using the spore drive seems to be having on Lt. Paul Stamets, it wouldn’t be crazy to believe that Starfleet simply wrote the experimental drive off as being too dangerous to move forward with. A lot of that theory may ride on where exactly the drive brought the Discovery in the fall finale and what it takes for the ship to return home.
As for Burnham, the fact that she’s Starfleet’s first mutineer may be reason enough for her foster brother to avoid bringing her up in casual conversation. Plus, it isn’t like Spock hasn’t kept his siblings secret before. There was his older brother Sybok as well, whom no one had ever heard of before he showed up in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Despite the challenges, Harberts has also said that he appreciates creator Bryan Fuller’s decision to make Star Trek: Discovery a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series rather than a sequel to Star Trek: Voyager.
Star Trek: Discovery will return to CBS All Access on January 7, 2017.