CANON FODDER: “Star Trek: Discovery” breaks a TON of Roddenberry canon

From the very beginning, I was worried. When CBS announced “Star Trek: Discovery” a year ago, something just smacked of “money grab”. I was worried that people who had not worked with Gene Roddenberry, either on the original series or on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, would not give a rats you-know-what about classic Trek canon.

Right from the get-go, we’re proven right.

CBS released the full trailer for the series, which will air on their internet CBS AllAccess channel beginning this fall, at their advertiser UpFront session today. It’s already been pushed back twice. And though it has a stellar cast…wow…one of the biggest taboos (and as Roddenberry later admitted, ill-conceived for the time) in Classic Trek canon has been tossed out the window.

The new series is set ten years before the original series according to show production notes. And yet, we get the always awesome Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou of the Federation starship Shenzou. All well and good…except there were NO female captains as yet at the time Kirk and Spock were in charge of the Enterprise. Soooo…there shouldn’t be one ten years BEFORE they’re out gallivanting around the stars…

In the last aired episode of the original series, “Turnabout Intruder”, Dr. Janice Lester’s whole motivation for taking over Kirk’s body was that, as a woman, she was unable to become a starship captain.

The exact quote is as follows:

Janice Lester — “Your world of starship captains doesn’t admit women. It isn’t fair.”

Kirk — “No, it isn’t.”

Some Trek sites and books have tried to rewrite Roddenberry’s error by revising history a bit, saying it was implied that Janice was turned down for a captaincy, but that’s not true. Kirk admits that it’s wrong that Starfleet does not, at that time, allow women to become captains. It was a mistake that Gene Roddenberry admitted to, and later rectified for the classic Trek film series and in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, where a number of female captains were visible. And Rick Berman went further when he launched “Star Trek:Voyager” in the mid-1990’s featuring Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway. Berman — and the new JJ Abrams-produced film canon as well — also pushed women to even higher ranks, to Commodore and Admiral.

So when it comes down to Trek Canon, this show is already incorrect. And there are plenty of other issues as well, such as that of Lt Commander Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Greene; if she was raised on Vulcan as implied in the trailer, and her mentor was the legendary Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, why has her presence there never been mentioned before? If Sarek had such a large interest in her upbringing, surely Sarek’s son Spock would have mentioned her at some point, wouldn’t he? But then again, he never made mention of his half-brother Sybok or the fact that his mother Amanda was his father’s SECOND wife until “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” and as we all know, the less said about that horrendous debacle the better…

Don’t get me wrong — I would SOOOO love the show to succeed, to be good — there are A LOT of great people in it — in addition to Yeoh, there’s Jason Isaacs, Anthony Rapp, Doug Jones, Damon Runyon, and Rainn Wilson in the cast (and I think Wilson’s casting as Harry Mudd completely defies logic, but that’s another topic for another time). I so want it to do well, I suppose, especially since Rod Roddenberry, Gene and wife Majel Barrett’s son, is an executive producer. But they need to stop messing with classic Trek canon…or they’ll end up about as well with classic Trek fans that the show’s unfortunate initials — S.T. D. — might imply (did ANYONE even THINK of this? Hmmmm?).

Here’s the trailer — make up your own mind. And let us know what you think!

Originally published at eCinemaOne.

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