It had a rocky beginning, but Star Trek: Discovery ended its first season as a critical and commercial success for streaming platform CBS All Access. To the delight of fans, the show received an official “Make it so” on season 2, ensuring that the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery will have more adventures among the stars.
The most recent update on the second season of Star Trek: Discovery is a major casting announcement, with actor Ethan Peck taking on the iconic role of Vulcan science officer Spock in the series. This follows the debut of the first full trailer for season 2, which promised a mix of classic Star Trek characters with the compelling ensemble introduced in Discovery.
There’s no official premiere date for the second season yet, but here’s everything we know about Star Trek: Discovery season 2 so far.
The return of Spock
Star Trek: Discovery is getting an extra dose of logic in season 2 with the addition of beloved franchise character Spock.
The half-human, half-Vulcan science officer of the USS Enterprise will be played by actor Ethan Peck in Discovery, with the character expected to play a key role in the events of the second season.
Thanks to the Nimoy family for your open arms, warm welcome, smiling curiosity and support, for making me feel worthy, as I embrace and take into my heart the iconic half alien we know as Mr. Spock. It is an incomparable honor. ???????? #StarTrekDiscovery #LLAP pic.twitter.com/jEXG1T253Z
— Ethan Peck (@ethangpeck) August 14, 2018
The grandson of celebrated actor Gregory Peck, Ethan Peck follows in the footsteps of actor Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Spock for the majority of his on-screen appearances, and actor Zachary Quinto, who later took over the role in the rebooted movie franchise.
“Through 52 years of television and film, a parallel universe and a mirror universe, Mr. Spock remains the only member of the original bridge crew to span every era of Star Trek,” said Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman in a statement. “The great Leonard Nimoy, then the brilliant Zachary Quinto, brought incomparable humanity to a character forever torn between logic and emotion. We searched for months for an actor who would … effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: Empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning.”
Crews combine in the season 2 trailer
The first trailer for season 2 (see above) appeared at Comic-Con 2018, showing Captain Christopher Pike taking control of the Discovery, using a special rule to commandeer the ship due to some kind of imminent threat. It appears that Pike’s ship and crew will combine with characters viewers already know from season 1, aiming to quell the apparent threat they face together.
First contact … with season 2 photos
CBS released a pair of photos from season 2 ahead of the Star Trek: Discovery panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
The photos feature returning series lead Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, as well as a new, alien character reportedly named Linus.
A new leader
The troubles for Discovery didn’t end with the first season it seems, as the series made some big moves behind the scenes in mid-June 2018.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have exited the show, and executive producer Alex Kurtzman — who helped guide the series from the start and has been involved with the franchise for several years now — has replaced them. The report indicates that Berg and Harberts, who replaced previous showrunner Bryan Fuller, had trouble keeping the series under budget and were the subjects of complaints regarding abusive behavior toward the show’s writing staff.
Kurtzman is expected to take over the series with the sixth episode and will oversee the writers’ room. The production schedule isn’t expected to be affected by the change in showrunners.
“We’ve made some producer changes at Star Trek: Discovery. The series continues under the creative vision and leadership of executive producer and co-creator Alex Kurtzman,” reads a statement from CBS Television Studios to THR. “Discovery remains on course for season two in 2019 with new and continuing stories that build on its successful premiere season.”
That alien feeling
The aliens of the Star Trek universe got special attention in a Facebook Live event with Discovery creature designer Neville Page and makeup designer Glenn Hetrick. The 30-minute video featured some behind-the-scenes video from the show and discussion of the various aliens past, recent, and future appearing on the series.
Among the highlights was a peek at the original design for Saru, the Kelpien Starfleet officer portrayed by Doug Jones in the series.
The video also touches on the pair’s plans — official and simply hopeful — for various other alien races in the Star Trek universe.
“If you think about the cultural patina that is the human species that is on this planet for a relatively short amount of time and how different our cultures look … the Klingon Empire, having of course not all grown up on Qo’noS, but all these different planets, the Houses would look incredibly different,” Hetrick said of the show’s plans for the Klingons in the upcoming season. “And we are really just starting, wait until you see season two. We are really just starting down that road and there is so much more we have developed that hasn’t been unpacked yet.”
The pair also teased the return of a classic alien race glimpsed in some of the promotional material, as well as mysterious races like the Breen, and possibly something involving the Borg, too.
New tease, new looks
The official Twitter feed for Star Trek: Discovery posted a behind-the-scenes video from the second season that not only offered a glimpse of some of the new aliens and ship sets appearing in season 2, but also a brief peek at what looks to be some new Starfleet crew uniforms.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) April 26, 2018
The uniform designs appear around 36 seconds into the video and are labeled “Enterprise Uniform Dress V4,” and while there’s no certainty that the designs will be used for the new season, they do appear to have a lot in common with the uniforms worn by the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise in Star Trek: The Original Series.
Given that Discovery is a prequel of sorts to that series, that would certainly make sense — and give fans a lot to speculate about between now and the show’s season premiere.
Premiering … when?
There’s no official word on when the second season of Discovery will premiere, but co-creator Alex Kurtzman has indicated that fans shouldn’t expect to see the season premiere until sometime in 2019.
Given all of the delays and other development and production troubles that plagued the show’s launch, Kurtzman and the series’ creative team are planning to take their time with season 2, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The season officially began filming in April 2018, and with another 13-episode arc planned, an early-2019 premiere does indeed seem — at the risk of sounding Vulcan — quite logical.
Captain Pike, we presume?
A character familiar to longtime fans but new to Discovery will make his debut in the second season of the series.
Hell on Wheels and Inhumans actor Anson Mount (pictured below) will portray Captain Christopher Pike in season 2, according to Variety. Franchise fans know that Pike was the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise prior to James T. Kirk, and given the events of Discovery’s first season’s finale, it seems as if the timeline of that series and that of the original Star Trek could overlap in the very near future.
Mount will be the fourth actor to portray Pike in the various live-action series and films, with actor Jeffrey Hunter first playing him in the abandoned pilot for Star Trek, then Hunter and Sean Kenney both playing him in the episode titled The Menagerie which recycled footage from the pilot. Most recently, Bruce Greenwood played Pike in the 2009 reboot movie Star Trek and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.
A familiar Enterprise
According to Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman, the U.S.S. Enterprise and its captain, Christopher Pike, will play an important role in the show’s second season, but won’t be the focus of the story arc.
“The show is called Discovery. It’s not ‘Enterprise,’” Kurtzman told Variety after the finale of the show’s first story arc. “So yes, the Enterprise will play a part of Season 2 but it will absolutely not overshadow Discovery. And I think with Enterprise’s arrival in the finale we recognize that the audience has a lot of questions about our synchronicity with the original series, which really means our synchronicity with canon.”
Lay down your weapons
Although the Federation-Klingon War dominated the narrative of the show’s first season, audiences can expect a new focus as the series heads into its sophomore storyline.
During a CBS panel at the Television Critics Association presentation in January 2018, former Discovery showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts indicated that “science vs. faith” would be a major theme in the second season of the series.
“The second season is not a war season,” said Harberts. “We have time to do things like more away missions, newer planets, stories that might fall a little bit more into a framework of allegory that people love to get from Trek. But we will always continue to have that overarching serialized thread.”
For fans hoping for a more noble version of the Federation to present itself in the second season, there could be something to look forward to there, too.
“Redemption is a huge theme,” Harberts said. “The other thing that’s a huge theme for us is taking the Federation from the darkness into the light. One of the things we do hear about is everybody wants this optimistic version of Star Trek right out of the gate. I feel that our show has a lot of hope in it from episode to episode on the character storyline that we’re tracking. By season’s end, people will see the Federation that they’ve come to know and love from [the original series] on.”
Behind the camera
Along with a mix of new and familiar faces appearing in front of the camera, there will be a few well-known characters behind the camera, too.
Kurtzman will direct the season 2 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, according to Variety, with filming already underway in Toronto.
Also confirmed to be directing two episodes of the season is veteran Star Trek actor Jonathan Frakes, who portrayed Commander William T. Riker (pictured above) in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and later directed two feature-length Star Trek movies, 1996’s Star Trek: First Contact and 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection. Frakes will helm the second and tenth episodes of the second season of Discovery.
Star Trek fans were left with more than a few big questions at the end of the first season of Discovery — particularly concerning the show’s relationship to Star Trek: The Original Series, which begins ten years after the events unfolding in Discovery. Fortunately, the show’s creators are well aware of those questions and are promising some answers in the series’ second season.
“We are wildly aware of everything that appears to be a deviation from canon,” said series co-writer Akiva Goldsman during the show’s panel at New York Comic-Con in October 2017. “We will close out each of those issues when we close out our ten-year period and hit TOS.”
Updated on August 14: Added casting news for Spock in season 2.