Star Trek: Discovery — New Trailer Breakdown & Analysis

We poured over the new Star Trek: Discovery trailer for clues about the story. Here's what we found!

CBS debuted our best look yet at Star Trek: Discovery at this weekend’s San Diego Comic Con presentation. Den of Geek has gone through the new trailer frame by frame to break down exactly what we’re looking at here and to talk about what these glimpses and this story could mean.

Before we get started, did you miss the trailer? Check it out below:

The trailer begins, as it should, in space. We get a shot of a spaceship moving across the stars. It appears to be the U.S.S. Shenzhou, the ship on which Lt. Commander Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) serves under Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh).

The trailer moves quickly to a desert setting where Burnham and Georgiou make their way across the sands. We get some gorgeous imagery, including a desert creature, but no more clues about where the two Starfleet characters may be heading. Burnham does glance behind her, presumably to make sure that she and Georgiou are correctly forging the Starfleet insignia as a way to ask for help during their away mission.

Elsewhere in the trailer, the cold war between Starfleet and the Klingon Empire seems to be simmering into a warm war. ” The Klingon Empire has been in disarray for generations,” Sarek tells Burnham. “We have enountered them,” she tells him. “We have been waiting for someone worthy of our attention,” T’Kuvma tells Georgiou in a threatening manner.

Ad – content continues below

But the Klingons are not just identity-less villains here. We see figures beating up a young Klingon in a scene that feels reminiscent of Spock’s origin story in the 2009 reboot film. Could this be the origin story of T’Kuvma, the lead Klingon character?

Later, we see a bunch of adult Klingons gathered at some sort of ceremony. The lack of explanation of what the Klingons are up to, along with some shots of a Klingon fleet jumping, Battlestar Galactica-like, to face off against the Shenzhou implies that they will be the big antagonist in Season 1 of Discovery, but I’m not buying it. There’s something else at work here…

There are clues to this other antagonist sprinkled throughout the trailer. (Also, Jason Isaacs is kind of known for playing villains… food for thought.) One of the most chilling is Burnham’s question “What the hell is going on on this ship?” followed by a scene in which she tells the others to “Run!” 

Throughout the trailer, we get glimpses of Burnham in a cage made of blue light. It appears to be a brig of sorts, but it doesn’t look like any Starfleet vessel we’ve seen before. Whatever it is, we see Burnham looking out through it do the destruction around her. Is she on the ship that sustains damage in other parts of the trailer? Does the force field save her?

We also see Burnham bursting out of it and into the vacuum of space without a suit, Killjoys-style. Presumably, this is all during the battle between the Shenzhou and the Klingon ships.

While the trailer tries to present this all as one narrative, there are clues that these scenes might take place at different times. We see Burnham with two different hairstyles. In the brig scenes and the stuff on the desert planet (which presumably comes first in the timeline, when she is on the Shenzhou), her hair is shorter and straight. 

Ad – content continues below

In the trying to figure out what is going on on the ship scenes and with Mudd (which presumably comes later, when she is on the Discovery), she has longer, curly hair. 

In another scene, we see Burnham looking strangely at what appears to be a hydroponics bay and at another sciene experiment. She seems to be intrigued and confused by both.

And why does this lady look so sketched out? Everyone on this ship seems to have some serious anxiety about something… 

Perhaps the anxiety is about Burnham herself. There is speculation that between her time on the Shenzhou and her time on the Discovery, Burnham is in prison for something she pulled while serving on the Shenzhou. Here’s Isaac’s Captain Lorca seemingly coming to visit Burnham in prison to recruit her for a mission. (This reminds me of Janeway and Paris in Voyager‘s pilot.)

“All life is born from chaos. The world doesn’t always adhere to logic. Sometimes down is up. And sometimes when you’re lost, you’re found.” This feels like part of a conversation Burnham is having with her adoptive father Sarek. 

“Logic” is the watchword here. It is the North star of the Vulcan people. But, while Burnham may have been raised on Vulcan, she is human. Could she be rebelling against part of her Vulcan upbringing with her partial dismissal of logic?

Ad – content continues below

Also, Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson) is there…

And Michelle Yeoh looks like a badass throughout the entire trailer. I really hope she doesn’t die in the first episode. Or the second episode. Or the third episode…

The trailer ends with Burnham floating along in the vacuum of space. Yikes!

All in all, the trailer was pretty great, though arguably on the action-heavy side for a Star Trek trailer. This looks less like the space workplace drama I know and love and more like the adventure-centric shenanigans of the reboot universe. I also don’t get much of a feel for how these characters relate to one another in this action-centric trailer. 

That being said, there’s a lot to like here! The cast is diverse. The visuals hold up. And there’s a hint at a much larger plot at work here. This trailer did debut at Comic Con, which tends to lean towards more action-heavy sneak peeks that will wow the crowds. Perhaps the character and philsopical stuff will come later.

What do you think of the new Star Trek trailer? Let us know in the comments below.

Ad – content continues below

Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!