Star Trek: Discovery’s producer explains the thinking behind the MASSIVE twist in the first episodes

Set phasers to stunned – contain some spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery

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Early this morning saw the release of long-awaited sci-fi prequel Star Trek: Discovery on CBS and Netflix, and while it was unmistakably Star Trek at its core it also came with some massive surprises that series showrunner Alex Kurtzman has now taken some time to explain to the fans.

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Look away now if you haven’t watched the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery….

Still here? Then your minds must be as blown as ours by the events of The Vulcan Hello and Battle of the Binary Stars, a duo of episodes that saw lead character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) become Starfleet’s first mutineer, watch her mentor and surrogate mother Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) get killed by Klingons and then be sent to prison for life.

“There’s something very powerful about setting the audience up to believe they were going to be able to predict what was going to happen and then pull the rug out by the end of the second episode so that you’re left going, ‘I really can’t stay ahead of us, this is not what I thought it would be.’ Kurtzman told EW.

“And we weren’t trying to do that as a gimmick, we did it because Burnham is Starfleet’s first mutineer, and that’s a deeply emotional story.

“I think the debate is the fire of the idea. It’s not like she commits mutiny for the wrong reasons. She’s genuinely trying to save the crew and captain she loves.”

However, Kurtzman said that the end of the episode was left intentionally ambiguous as to the outcome of Burnham’s actions, with her actions possibly causing the Klingon/Federation war even when her original plan could have prevented it.

“One of the questions I think the audience will be asking, and Burnham is asking, is: Did I start this war or would this war had happened anyway? And what is the difference there? And would my friend and surrogate mother still be alive if I had acted differently? That’s going to be a point of debate. I’ll spoil one thing: We’re never going to answer that question for you. The audience will have to decide.”

Still, Kurtzman could confirm one thing – Georgiou is definitely dead, though it’s possible she could crop up in flashbacks again as she did in the first two episodes – while also hinting at what’s to come in next week’s third episode.

“There’s a time jump. It’s not a radical time jump,” Kurtzman said.

“In many ways we designed episode 3 to almost be a new pilot. People were set up to expect one thing, and something very different episodes. The USS Discovery doesn’t show up until the third episode, along with its crew — which is our main cast. Burnham and the audience are going to have a reset. Burnham believes she’s headed to a prison colony and is met with an unexpected surprise that has to do with the Discovery and its captain.”

We can hardly wait.

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Star Trek: Discovery releases new episodes on Mondays on Netflix UK