Top 10 Facts You Didn't Know About Star Trek Discovery

Top 10 Facts You Didn't Know About Star Trek Discovery
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Nick Spake

After countless missions, ships, and crews, there's still so much to discover. Welcome to and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Star Trek Discovery Facts.

For this list, we're taking a look at interesting trivia regarding this CBS All Access series. Though spoilers are pretty unlikely, if you're the type who doesn't want to know anything at all until it unfolds, well then, yellow alert and ready shields.

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After countless missions, ships, and crews, there’s still so much to discover. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Star Trek Discovery Facts.

For this list, we’re taking a look at interesting trivia regarding this CBS All Access series. Though spoilers are pretty unlikely, if you’re the type who doesn’t want to know anything at all until it unfolds, well then, yellow alert and ready shields.

#10: The Captain Isn’t the Focus

From Kirk to Janeway, a strong starship captain has typically been at the center of “Star Trek.” This show will be told from a different perspective, however, focusing instead on First Officer Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green. Referred to as Number One, this is a reference mostly to a female character of the same name from the original “Star Trek” pilot, “The Cage”, but is also the nickname of Next Gen second in command, Commander William Riker. “Discovery” will thus stand out as the first “Star Trek” series to revolve around a Lieutenant Commander, boldly going where the franchise has never gone before.

#9: Familiar Faces Will Appear In Time

While “Star Trek: Discovery” will follow a crew comprised of original characters, a few fan favorites could still beam up somewhere down the line. Co-creator Bryan Fuller opened up about the possibility of seeing characters from The Original Series mingle in, and explained that the first season would primarily be dedicated to developing a new cast and building the show’s identity. Season 2, however, will be open to more familiar faces. Fuller in particular expressed interest in bringing Amanda Grayson, Spock’s human mother, into the fold. Could that also mean we’ll meet a young Mr. Spock?

#8: It’s Set 10 Years Before the Original Series

“Ten years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise, there was Discovery.” This tagline asserts upfront that “Discovery” will be another “Star Trek” prequel series. Speaking with CNN in 2016, Bryan Fuller said that the show would “bridge the gap between Enterprise and The Original Series,” which are separated by about 150 years. Of course, given the tighter gap between Discovery and TOS, Kirk and company actually exist during this show’s time, meaning we could see new actors play classic-era mainstays. But then again, time travel is a staple of this franchise, meaning a William Shatner cameo isn’t out of the question.

#7: Rainn Wilson Plays Harry Mudd

As Dwight Schrute on “The Office,” Rainn Wilson portrayed a character obsessed with “Star Wars,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and sci-fi in general. Plus, one of Wilson’s earliest roles was in “Galaxy Quest,” a satire that obviously borrowed a few pages from “Star Trek.” Given his résumé, and his comedy chops, it’s fitting that Wilson landed the role of Harry Mudd in “Star Trek: Discovery.” Originally played by Roger C. Carmel, Mudd was a slick con man who hassled Kirk in The Original and Animated Series. With just 3 classic appearances to compete with, Wilson’s take could be as fresh as the first bite into a newly grown beet.

#6: The Ship Is Based on a 1970s Design

Before “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” hit cinemas, there were plans for a different but ultimately scrapped film - entitled “Star Trek: Planet of the Titans”. For this project, Ralph McQuarrie had developed concept designs for a revamped Enterprise. His unused art was later considered for the “Star Trek: Phase II” television series, but that project – and his designs - were also scrapped. The Enterprise’s eventual big screen retrofit stuck close to its small screen form, but nearly 40 years on, McQuarrie’s designs became the basis for the USS Discovery and are finally ready to enter warp.

#5: It’ll Feature a New Alien Race

Of all the diverse characters aboard the USS Discovery, Lieutenant Saru just might be the most distinct. Serving as Science Officer, Saru belongs to an alien species that was specifically created for the show. The man behind Saru is Doug Jones, an actor who has featured as Billy Butcherson in “Hocus Pocus,” Abe Sapien in the “Hellboy” films, and multiple creatures in “Pan’s Labyrinth.” In other words, he’s used to wearing makeup. Jones expressed excitement about developing a character and species from the ground up – a character with no baggage and no fan expectations to meet.

#4: James Frain Plays Spock’s Father

While the jury’s still out on an appearance from Mr. Spock, actor James Frain does have a significant role as Spock’s father, Sarek. Frain will portray a younger version of the Vulcan astrophysicist, who was previously played by Mark Lenard in The Original Series, films, and even TNG. Ben Cross, meanwhile, took over the role for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot, leaving Frain with some big shoes to fill. Given Frain’s strong work in shows like “True Blood” and “Orphan Black,” though, this seems like a most logical casting choice.

#3: It’s Called ‘Discovery’ for a Reason

This franchise has always been about exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life. But that’s not the only reason why this series is called “Discovery”. The name is also a reference to the Discovery One spacecraft from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” as well as the real life Space Shuttle Discovery. The real Discovery marked several firsts for NASA, most notably hosting the first female shuttle pilot, Eileen Collins. On top of all that, the designation for the Space Shuttle Discovery was OV-103 whereas the ship in this series will have the rather fitting designation of NCC-1031. Fascinating.

#2: It’s Set in the Prime Universe

When “Star Trek” was rebooted in 2009, it introduced an alternate reality now known as the Kelvin Timeline. We won’t be seeing Chris Pine or Zachary Quinto in “Discovery,” though, as the story here will take place in the Prime Universe, a timeline that consists of all the previous “Star Trek” series. During the early development stages, Bryan Fuller and company designed the show so that it could function in either universe. In the end, however, the creators decided that setting “Discovery” in the Prime Timeline would provide more freedom, as they wouldn’t have to keep up with what’s going on in the movies.

#1: It’s Costing a Bundle to Produce

As far as the most expensive shows currently on TV go, “Star Trek: Discovery” is aiming to give “Game of Thrones” and “The Crown” a run for their money. Reports indicate that CBS is spending $6-7 million per episode with Season 1 consisting of 15 installments, pricing things at around $105m! While the early 21st century “Star Trek” films had even higher price tags, this is still a huge investment for a TV series. Nevertheless, the network seems confident that the show will attract more subscribers to CBS All Access and that it’ll help the streaming video on demand service... engage.