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The main character of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is a callback to the original’s pilot episode

Fuller made some critical revelations.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


The protagonist of Star Trek: Discovery is an homage to a character from Star Trek‘s early history, according to a new interview with showrunner Bryan Fuller.

So far, we only know a few things about the upcoming show: It’s set 10 years before the original 1960s series, it involves an unspecified “incident” from Star Trek‘s canon timeline, and the main character is a human female lieutenant commander. Speaking to the radio show Nerd World Report, Fuller shared an intriguing new hint about that character’s identity—she’s known as Number One.

This name calls back to the unaired pilot for the original series, when the main cast featured Christopher Pike as the captain, Spock as the science officer, and a woman known only as Number One as the first officer. The cast changed significantly for the “real” show, but the pilot crew was eventually incorporated into Star Trek canon. The episode officially takes place about 11 years before the original series—hence why some fans were already wondering if she might appear in Discovery.

Speaking to Nerd World Report, Fuller said the Discovery character is named “in honor of” the pilot character played by Majel Barrett, implying that she probably isn’t the same person. After all, “Number One” is a common nickname for a ship’s first officer in the Star Trek universe, inspired by a real naval tradition.

Even if Discovery doesn’t include the original Number One, it’s still a fun nod to Star Trek‘s legacy. Number One was cut from the original series because NBC believed audiences wouldn’t accept a woman character in this kind of role: a coolly rational commanding officer. She’s symbolic of Star Trek‘s troubled quest to include more diverse casting and progressive themes, brought full circle by Discovery, which will be the first series to feature queer characters in the main cast—and is reputedly auditioning women of color for its lead role.

Elsewhere in the interview, Fuller dropped a few more hints about the upcoming show, mostly speaking in general terms:

  • Discovery will have a distinct aesthetic from the other Star Trek series, including new Starfleet uniforms.
  • Some of the alien species will get a makeover, following the tradition of Klingons changing radically in appearance between the 1960s series and The Next Generation.
  • There won’t be any time travel episodes in season 1, implicitly ruling out a cameo from most of the previous Star Trek characters.

Fuller also said we’d hear some casting news in October, although we’re still keeping our eyes and ears peeled for more news during the 50th anniversary celebrations and convention next week.

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The Daily Dot