Why does Discovery have two captains and ships?


Star Trek: Discovery features two captains in the cast and two starships. Will one of these captains and ships meet a grim fate? Let’s speculate.

There are some new elements to Star Trek: Discovery, but others have been seen before. Namely, the concept of having two ships and two captains. Discovery will have both, with the USS Discovery and the USS Shenzou, and Captains Gabriel Lorca and Philippa Georgiou. The previous show that did both was Star Trek: Voyager, with the merging of the Maquis vessel under Chakotay and Voyager under Captain Kathryn Janeway.

For awhile now the prevailing opinion has been that the Shenzou is quickly destroyed, perhaps in the premiere episode on September 24th. We can look back at a trailer CBS released in July for proof of that vessel’s destruction, embedded below.

Around the 50 second mark, we see a standoff between (most likely) the Shenzhou and the Klingons, and the Federation ship is massively outnumbered. The Klingon speaks and says “We have been waiting for someone worthy of our attention,” and the enemy ships open fire.

The starship is pummeled and First Officer Michael Burnham (perhaps alone?) escapes the doomed ship, which we get a better picture of in Thursday’s trailer below.

Here we can see Burnham in a spacesuit, perhaps escaping the carnage, and at exactly the 48 second mark we can see escape pods being launched en masse from what appears to be the Shenzhou.

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So, let’s firmly assume the Shenzhou is utterly doomed, and that Discovery quickly becomes the primary ship for this show. We now wonder who made it from the destroyed ship over to Discovery. Burnham is a foregone conclusion, as is Lieutenant Saru (seen below). He appears in the trailers on the Shenzhou, but we’ve seen just too much of him to believe he meets a quick end.

We can assume then that at least Burnham and Saru make the leap to Discovery. The most important question is what happens to Captain Georgiou. It’s worth noting that Michelle Yeoh is listed in IMDB as playing Georgiou in all 15 episodes, as is Jason Isaacs (who plays Captain Lorca), but the listing isn’t necessarily a dead giveaway.

She could appear in flashback scenes, dreams, hallucinations, or any other number of ways in all 15 episodes, but die in the first 10 minutes of the premiere episode. Lorca’s powerful presence, particularly in the most recent trailer, suggests that his supremacy reigns on Discovery, which is of course his ship to begin with. Could Georgiou be hospitalized or in some other way unable to be an active and contributing member of this newly formed crew?

My guess is that she’s killed or taken captive by Klingons at some point following a boarding mission. At the 1:51 mark of the first trailer, Georgiou and Burnham transport to the Klingon ship, and Burnham is about to be pounced upon by a light-skinned Klingon (perhaps Voq). Perhaps some part of the plot of the first season involves a rescue of Georgiou from her captors.

Next: Discovery trailer released featuring Burnham and Lorca

We don’t have much longer to wait to find out. Star Trek Discovery begins on September 24th.

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