The Episode “Balance of Terror” is Touchstone for Star Trek: Discovery

Bryan Fuller is treating us to more hints again for Star Trek: Discovery. Interestingly, this little tidbit might contradict his earlier hints. (He lied to us? *gasp*)

Yesterday, for the 50th anniversary of Trek, Fuller left this Tweet up for the masses to peruse:

Bryan Fuller, Star Trek tweet

Now, this is a bit confusing because Fuller has already stated that Discovery will not be using the Earth-Romulan War as a springboard for plot ideas (nor could it technically use the war itself, as it occurred 100 years before the Original Series). If Fuller does intend to use “Balance of Terror” in direct sense, it’s possible that this will involve some form of dispute where the Neutral Zone is concerned, or a skirmish over debated territories for the Federation. But there’s another possibility….

It could be that Fuller means other aspects of the episode will be used. Another clue might lie in a second tweet he gave earlier the same day:

Bryan Fuller, Star Trek tweet

Using the #StarTrekDiscovery hashtag there might mean that “Devil in the Dark” is also being considered as a launching point for Discovery storylines. There are certain thematic similarities between the two episodes as well; encountering an alien face-to-face for the first time, overcoming prejudices and respecting those with different motivations from our own, a sense of mystery and a slow burn premise. Perhaps Fuller is simply suggesting that the “spirit” of these two episodes will heavily influence the overall tone of Star Trek: Discovery.

If “Balance of Terror” is the more heavily favored of the two, it’s possible that we’ll see some space battling. (Bryan Fuller has stated that the opening scenes of STD will not take place on Earth or another planet, so that could hint toward a space-bound season.) It is also possible that we will spend far more time with whatever new species the Discovery encounters, similarly to how the Romulan Commander received a great deal of screentime. Then there’s the chance that the entire first season of STD will be a prolonged first contact scenario, allowing the crew to handle a situation similar to both of these episodes in far greater detail. That could be a fascination direction to take the show in, particularly if its format is largely serialized.

Both of these episodes are considered to be some of the greatest that Star Trek has to offer. They are excellent science fiction dramas that perfectly encompass the philosophical leanings of the future that Star Trek resides in. Using stories like these to inform the direction of the new show is heartening indeed, and gives us an idea of how the show means to employ its namesake: Discovery.

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