‘Star Trek Discovery’ Trailer: Why The Franchise Needs a Fallible Hero

Matthew Loffhagen
Star Trek Discovery Trailer
(Photo: Star Trek Discovery Trailer)

There’s no denying that Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a future in which all races and people come together in harmony isn’t uplifting and inspiring. Star Trek shows the pinnacle of what our species could achieve, if ever we learned to set aside our differences.

Unfortunately, a perfect world is deathly boring.

Have you ever noticed how recent Star Trek movies (in particular Into Darkness and Beyond) focus on villainous Star Fleet leaders who’ve somehow been corrupted? That’s not an accident. It’s the result of creators really struggling to find any semblance of drama in the core concept of a Utopian future for the human race.

Star Trek typically focuses on a captain of some kind of starship, and these captains are usually held up as being the greatest, most talented and heroic leaders who’ve ever lived.

Obviously, we all know Captain Kirk as a womanizer and violent murderer now, but the intention of the show has always been to show the character as a good man.

That’s very dull by modern television standards. Audiences like gritty, grumpy antiheroes who get things wrong and make mistakes.

So when the new trailer for Star Trek Discovery shows just that – a main character who gets things wrong and is a little too trigger happy, it’s easy to see why this direction has been taken.

This isn’t to say that Sonequa Martin-Green’s character is going to be a completely awful human being. If handled well, this new show could explore that most cherished of Star Trek concepts, the Kobayashi Maru no-win scenario.

The trailer shows First Officer Michael Burnham (played by Martin-Green) seemingly arguing in favor of a preemptive strike against an unseen threat. It’s safe to assume that whatever the context here, there’s probably no right answer in order to keep everybody safe onboard her ship.

As much as Star Trek is meant to be about a version of humanity that’s outgrown political struggles, carefully constructed stories could show the two sides to any argument, as the crew of the Discovery engage in peacekeeping as part of their exploration mission.

It’s great that Michael Burnham seems to be clashing with other crewmembers on her ship – it shows the potential for character development as she learns her place within Star Fleet.
Yup. This could be good.

Let’s all cross our fingers and hope for the best.

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