Why did Star Trek: Discovery build season 5 around the Progenitors?

Star Trek: Discovery is going old-school this season.
Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in season 5 key art of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Credit: James Dimmock/Paramount+
Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in season 5 key art of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Credit: James Dimmock/Paramount+ /

Star Trek: Discovery made a bold choice with how they're going to close out their final season, opting to search for the original space civilization; the Progenitors. The Progenitors are somehow linked to every major humanoid civilization in the galaxy. We first met these beings, to an extent, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "The Chase".

In that episode, the Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans, and Federation allies arrived on a planet to discover some bit of their shared lineage. It was an interesting concept but one that could cause a lot of controversy, so it made sense that it wasn't really explored again.

Well, Discovery opted to further probe the idea, wanting to search for bigger themes, like the creation of life itself. A topic that some may not want to see explored in such a fantastical science fiction setting. Regardless, Discovery showrunner Michelle Paradise opted to pursue the idea, going on to talk about the idea at SXSW (via TrekMovie). She explained why she went with this specific concept, saying;

"“We had been talking about the Progenitors, actually, in season 4, and it wasn’t something that ended up playing out. But the episode ‘The Chase’ is an episode that had stuck with many of us because it explores such big ideas and big themes and yet at the end of the episode, they’re just done and they’re going to go on another mission. And it was it was something that felt like it was something that we could expand on when we were coming into this season… it felt like just a really interesting place to explore for the missions themselves. It felt very rich, this idea of life itself and meaning and using that as a starting point for this adventure.”"

Trying to have Star Trek answer unsolvable questions is one of those ideas they need to avoid. There are a lot of theories, both scientifically verified and not, of where human life comes from. "The Chase" didn't actually shed any light on the matter and instead was a clunky idea, in a solid episode, that tried to explain why so many aliens looked like humans, but with different parts, but instead came off as a Scientology recruitment campaign.

The concept was unnecessary to explore in the first place and deviated the show from a more realistic approach to the future, and instead semi-vanity project. It was comical, to say the least, and considering how much actual science and human history the franchise is built upon, you'd think they'd want to stay away from the bombastic notions that we're all descendants of aliens.

It's very L. Ron Hubbard-y, and anything involving that corner of reality should be avoided. Lest Star Trek turn into Battlefield Earth. Though, now I'm curious, what do you think Jean-Luc Picard's thetan level is?