Star Trek Discovery Trailer Analysis & Review

Possibly the USS Shenzhou under Captain Georgiou
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New Discovery Teaser

CBS released a 60-second teaser trailer for Star Trek: Discovery on January 31, 2017.  In it we get a number of goodies to drool over, including: <click any link below to jump>

Klingon set design and construction, props, a Starfleet uniform, video display screen including an apparent new class of starship, the USS Shenzhou bridge, something that’s potentially VR, alien, or robot, what may be a diagram of the USS Discovery’s bridge, a possible re-write of Trek history, what may be Klingon uniforms, and other random show components.  We’re going to dissect the video, give your our thoughts on it.

If you haven’t seen the Star Trek Discovery January 2017 Teaser Trailer yet, we recommend that you watch it after reading this article.

Klingon Ship Interior is Featured in the Teaser

Some of you may remember when a series of Star Trek Discovery concept art images were accidentally released onto the Internet.  (A Google image search brings some up)  Those images are the creation of Mark Worthington, set designer.  The renderings first surfaced around summer of 2016 so it’s likely changes to the sets they represent have happened.  However there’s at least one thing that appears to have undergone few modifications since then.

We believe the below image from the teaser was taken during construction of a Klingon ship.  We can see three dark curved beams.  Then just slightly left of center we see a brown wooden curved beam in an opposite direction.

Star Trek Discovery - Set Design. Klingon Ship Bridge based on Mark Worthington's designs?
Star Trek Discovery – Set Design. Klingon Ship Bridge based on Mark Worthington’s designs?

Also above, we also see a series of unfinished stairs.  It’s important to note that there is design to these stairs.  They’re not purely utilitarian for construction purposes.  There’s also a large area open to the section below, which can easily be filled in during post-production using green-screen.

Now compare that to the below image by Mark Worthington.  It depicts the Klingon ship.  We’ve animated and highlighted curved areas that we believe represent the aforementioned pillars in the image above.  The two thinner inner curves are the brown wooden curves pictured above.  The thicker outer curves are the darker curved beams.

Also note the stylized stair cases which nearly match up with the image above.  We’re highly confident that the above image is set construction based on the rendering depicted below of a Klingon ship interior.

Star Trek Discovery - Highlighting the curved pillars
Star Trek Discovery – Highlighting the curved pillars

In case we need even further proof, here’s another picture of the same set but from a different angle and time of construction.  We can see that the three darker pillars on the left and three on the right form a mirrored view, just like in the rendering above.

Star Trek Discovery Klingon Ship Set Design
Star Trek Discovery Klingon Ship Set Design
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Here’s that same set, further along in the construction phase.  It’s more enclosed here and likely nearing its completion.  We tried touching up the image to get a better look at the interior, but there wasn’t enough information within the video to get a clear shot.

Star Trek Discovery - Klingon Bridge Set Construction Nearing Completion
Star Trek Discovery – Klingon Bridge Set Construction Nearing Completion

Starfleet Uniforms

We get a slight look at the new uniforms for Starfleet members aboard the USS Discovery and presumably the USS Shenzhou.

In our first image, we can see that this specific uniform appears to feature gold colour atop of blue.  The blue used is very Star Trek Enterprise-esque.  Of note is the collar at the top – much more formal than Enterprise uniforms, more in line with Star Trek movies.  We can only see one collar here.  Gold trimming encircles the arms and zipper, and the chevron is also gold plated.

The chevron takes on the same design as the newly-updated Star Trek Discovery logo, however with a detail addition at its center.  This specific insignia design is for Operations, so it’s possibly an engineer’s uniform we’re looking at here, though it could also be either security or tactical.

Star Trek Discovery Starfleet uniform of an Operations personnel.
Star Trek Discovery Starfleet uniform of an Operations personnel.
Starfleet Insignia Divisions - Credit: memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Operations_division
Starfleet Insignia Divisions – Credit: memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Operations_division
Star Trek Discovery - Starfleet uniform collar. Does the right side of the collar exist?
Star Trek Discovery – Starfleet uniform collar. Does the right side of the collar exist?

Here’s a closer view of the collar on the new uniforms for Star Trek Discovery.  Once again, we only get to see the collar on the officer’s left side – the right isn’t visible or doesn’t exist.

Below we’ve put together an edited image from a series of video frames to capture the uniform a bit more.  We’re really starting to wonder if this is a single-side collar uniform, or if it’s just blocked from view in all frames.  In any event, it’s a sharp collar, reminiscent of a current-day dress shirt.

Star Trek Discovery - Starfleet uniform has a current-day collar on the uniform. It may also be a single-side collar
Star Trek Discovery – Starfleet uniform has a current-day collar on the uniform. It may also be a single-side collar

Separate to the uniform, we notice the skin colour of this actor.  We do not feel that this actor is any of the announced cast so far for Discovery.  It’s either a to-be-announced cast member, or is an extra on the series.

Possible Star Trek History Rewrite

We want to take a moment and talk about the image below.  In the Discovery teaser trailer, it speaks of Gene Roddenberry’s first three written words: “STAR TREK is…” and hints that Discovery will continue that sentence.  The thing is, that sentence has already been finished – it already happened.  Star Trek has gone to air, and in many incarnations.  Trek history has been written.

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Star Trek do-over to rewrite history?
Star Trek do-over to rewrite history?

Again, we already know what Star Trek is and what it means.  But this seems to suggest that they’re about to change things so dramatically that we may be looking at a do-over.  Obviously this wouldn’t go over well for many Star Trek fans, so perhaps it’s just marketing mumbo-jumbo that we shouldn’t read too much into.

The USS Shenzhou Bridge

Next up, we get an ever-so-slight glimps of the bridge layout for the USS Shenzhou under the command of Captain Georgiou, played by Michelle Yeoh.  The letters “nzhou bridge” are just visible at the top left of the below screen capture.

There’s also a series of images of the USS Discovery here too.  We believe this to be an older design of the Discovery as Bryan Fuller said the ship’s design has been updated since the original Star Trek Discovery test footage trailer release.  These images don’t look all that different from that test footage, except the blue engine at the rear of the warp nacelles and a few other small details.

Star Trek Discovery - USS Shenzhou Bridge
Star Trek Discovery – USS Shenzhou Bridge

Unfortuately there’s not much we can gather from this very quick shot of the Shenzhou bridge design.  We can tell that, in typical Starfleet fashion, it has a circular or round design when viewed from above.  Below is the best we could clean it up.

Star Trek Discovery - USS Shenzhou bridge layout
Star Trek Discovery – USS Shenzhou bridge layout

Later in the video, we also get a visual representation of a Starfleet starship.  There’s no specific indication as to which ship this may be.  For now we will assume it is not the USS Discovery, but that it may actually be the USS Shenzhou.  Here’s a screen capture of that starship.

USS Shenzhou Schematic?
USS Shenzhou Schematic?

Here’s a closer view of whatever Starfleet starship this may be.  Again, we think it’s the USS Shenzhou, but can’t be certain.  In the image below, note that the area where a bridge would traditionally be located doesn’t protrude from the top of the ship (we’re presumably looking top down here).  Generally, Starfleet ship bridges are circular in nature because of the shape of the protruding semi-sphere atop the saucer section.  This doesn’t have that – just square and rectangular sections.

Possibly the USS Shenzhou under Captain Georgiou
Possibly the USS Shenzhou under Captain Georgiou

But on the other hand, there’s this….

The circular forward section on this ship schematic may be the bridge section shown elsehwere in the teaser for the USS Shenzhou's bridge section
The circular forward section on this ship schematic may be the bridge section shown elsehwere in the teaser for the USS Shenzhou’s bridge section

Robot – VR – Alien?

This thing below – we’ll admit that we don’t know what to make of it.  Frankly we’re really hoping that it’s not like the silly Romulan drone ship VR interface like the one seen in Star Trek Enterprise.  Given that we’re not seeing this from the front, we’re going to assume they’re hiding something from us.  Perhaps this is part of an elaborate alien helmet.  There’s also a possibility that it’s part of a robot costume, as we’ve been told by Bryan Fuller that robots will be in the show.

Star Trek Discover - Virtual reality headset, part of an alien species uniform, a robot?
Star Trek Discover – Virtual reality headset, part of an alien species uniform, a robot?
Romulan Drone Ship VR Interface from Star Trek Enterprise
Romulan Drone Ship VR Interface from Star Trek Enterprise

USS Discovery Bridge Diagram

Next up, we have a construction diagram for a bridge.  It’s likely either the layout for the USS Discovery or a closer view of the USS Shenzhou’s bridge.  We feel this is the Discovery bridge as it looks different from the Shenzhou bridge schematic shown earlier in the teaser.  There’s no reason why the Shenzhou would have an old and new construction diagram on set.

USS Discovery Bridge or USS Shenzhou Bridge? We think this is Discovery
USS Discovery Bridge or USS Shenzhou Bridge? We think this is Discovery

The construction schematic appears to also call for the ship hallways outside of the bridge to also be constructed.  In The Next Generation and Voyager, both ships had turbolifts to get to different sections of the ship, Captain’s ready-room and the meeting room aside.  Discovery doesn’t look like it’ll have a turbolift that directly exits onto the bridge unless those two sections to either side of the exit are turbolift entrances.

Starfleet Vessel Bridge

Now that we’ve looked at those bridge schematics, lets have a look at the below image take from the Discovery teaser.  In the background, we see the bridge of a ship.  From the image alone, it’s not possible to tell which ship this bridge belongs to.  Given the style, we can confidently state that it is a Starfleet vessel, so it’s likely either the USS Discovery or the USS Shenzhou.

Bridge of a Starfleet vessel
Bridge of a Starfleet vessel

There is also a member of Starfleet that can be seen in the background. It’s too difficult to make out what their uniform looks like, but it’s most likely the same design as was shown earlier in an image above.  It’s also unclear if the green surface towards the bottom-left is the ground, or if it’s something closer in the foreground obscuring the flooring of that area.

Alien Species Uniform, Likely Klingon

Here is the only good view we get throughout the teaser of what we may be seeing in terms of quality of wardrobe.

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It’s quite possible these are uniforms that will be worn by the primary Klingon cast members.  While they are a departure from what we’ve seen of the Klingons in Star Trek (with the possible exception of Into Darkness), we’d be happy to see Klingons in these.  Or some other alien species.  The quality of work looks very good.

Star Trek Discovery - Klingon wardrobe or some other alien species?
Star Trek Discovery – Klingon wardrobe or some other alien species?

Blinking Helmet

Just before we finish up, there’s this little piece that we’re trying to figure out.  It’s taken from about 32 seconds into the teaser.  There’s someone that appears to have a blinking head.  Our first impression was that this may be a robot, but they clearly have a human hand.  So it’s more likely that this is a piece of head gear technology that will appear in the series.

What the purpose of this head gear is remains a mystery.

The Captain’s Chair

Last but not least is the captain’s chair.  We won’t bother analyzing this because we figure it speaks for itself.  But it’s interesting that this is the closing shot when we know the main character of Star Trek Discovery is Lieutenant Commander Rainsford, not a Captain.  So why show the chair at all?  Perhaps this hints that Rainsford will take on a much larger role than her designation initially suggests.  A lieutenant commander “with caveats” as Bryan Fuller once put it.

USS Discovery Captain's Chair
USS Discovery Captain’s Chair

And for reference, here’s the same chair earlier in it’s construction.

USS Discovery NCC-1031 - Captain's Chair
USS Discovery NCC-1031 – Captain’s Chair

So what do you think?  Do you disagree with any of our interpretations, or have you found something we’ve missed?  Let us know in the comments section at the bottom.

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About Cassius Adams

Cassius Adams is the creator of ncc-1031.com and is a content contributor. He has been a Star Trek fan for nearly three decades. Cassius discovered his passion for the franchise early into TNG's run, and nourished that passion throughout DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and the movies. Cassius can be reached by emailing cass@ncc-1031.com or you can follow him on Twitter at @supercass

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  • I am not Herbert

    Very nice analysis! Kudos to you, NCC-1031!

    …not sure about that “klingon bridge” =P

    …but otherwise, looks pretty good!

    …sure hope Kurtzman doesn’t screw it up!! =(

  • Daniel Ireland

    Interesting analysis! I liked some of the different points you made from other videos I’ve watched about the trailer.

    I like the design of the captain’s chair but boy… it does not look very comfortable lol.

    • ncc-1031

      Thanks for the feedback, Daniel. We feel like we’ve caught a few things that other sites haven’t.