If you’d never seen a Star Trek series before Discovery, you may have assumed that the season 2 finale opened a wormhole for the exit of the titular starship, while opening a door for a new show about Captain Pike, Spock, Number One and the crew of the USS Enterprise circa 2257. Because the original Star Trek doesn’t happen for another eight years in the established timeline, the idea that we could see the adventures of the Enterprise before Captain Kirk took over isn’t that all that crazy. Even before the season 2 finale of Discovery, fans began petitioning for a new spin-off series featuring Spock and Pike aboard the classic Enterprise with Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn reprising their roles from Discovery.
Here are five reasons why this retro-spinoff is a great idea, and three reasons why this starship needs to stay in spacedock.
Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Parts 1 and 2.”
On the one hand…
1. Pike’s fixed destiny creates great storylines.
Because Captain Pike is now aware that he’s destined for an accident aboard a Starfleet cadet vessel sometime before 2266, his character in the relative “present” of 2257 becomes a little more interesting. If a series depicted Pike’s second five-year-mission on the USS Enterprise, it would be centered around a captain who on the one hand, was temporarily invincible, but on the other hand, was living on borrowed time.
2. CBS already has the sets.
As confirmed by Star Trek: Discovery designer Tamara Deverell, the sets for the USS Enterprise are totally new, and not redresses of any of the Discovery sets. That’s a lot of effort for only two episodes! If a series set aboard Pike’s Enterprise did happen, everything is ready to go.
3. Ethan Peck, Anson Mount, and Rebecca Romijn are all perfectly cast.
This almost goes without saying, but part of why fans are so down with an Enterprise show set right after Discovery’s second season is because the cast members are already beloved. Anson Mount’s Captain Pike set a fantastic tone for Discovery while Ethan Peck’s Spock brought a dimension to the character that didn’t even seem possible. And though she was only in three episodes, Rebecca Romijn’s Number One is hilarious, heroic and excellent.
4. The transition to Kirk’s era would be clearer.
Part of the puzzle of Star Trek: Discovery has always been figuring out how the world of “The Cage” connected to what we saw in “The Vulcan Hello,” and then, eventually morphed into “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and the rest of TOS. The second season of Discovery certainly made great pains to connect those dots, but a spin-off with Spock, Pike and Number One on the USS Enterprise could make all of that a little clearer. Even if it wasn’t an ongoing show like Discovery, even a limited series, set perhaps a few years after what we just saw could be a treat for longtime fans.
5. It allows for more original series cameos.
Though some might consider the Talos IV episode or the old school Klingon ships in season 2 to be overzealous fan service, the idea of an ongoing series reimagining the classic era still feels like it has potential. While Discovery’s first season gave us a great new version of Harry Mudd played by Rainn Wilson, there are a ton of interesting concepts from TOS that could be given similar treatment. From Gary Mitchell to the Klingon commander Kor, to the Gorn, there all sorts of interesting aspects of the original series that could be revisited in surprising ways.
1. Discovery needs canon breathing room.
Part of the reason why the finale of Discovery season 2 works is because it does let the Enterprise go one way and the Discovery to go another. At this point, season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery is pretty much a blank slate in terms of canon. This is a good thing for creativity and originality, which could be undercut by the existence of a Pike–Spock show. If season 3 of Discovery goes forward, boldly into the future, while a Pike–Spock looks backward, it feels like the confidence of Discovery season 2 will suddenly look misplaced.
2. Sixties Trek canon is going to start to get…uncomfortable.
Dipping a toe into TOS canon is one thing, but wading waist-deep into the regressive Trek of the 1960s probably isn’t a good look. Sure, TOS was diverse and progressive for its time, but for modern audiences a lot of its “diversity” can scan as tokenism. And while TOS was forward-thinking in terms of racial diversity, many aspects of the series are uncomfortably sexist. After the diversity and gender parity Discovery, do we really want a new Trek series where all the lead characters are white and only one of them is a woman?
3. It doesn’t seem like CBS is going to do it anyway.
There’s pretty much nothing to indicate a Pike–Spock series is going to happen. CBS hasn’t made any announcements, and there aren’t even any lowkey rumors about the series. (Even undeveloped projects like that perpetually-delayed Nicholas Meyer Khan miniseries are based in some facts.) Anson Mount has also publicly said that in order for him to come back to Trek, “creative conversations,” would have to happen. This means there aren’t plans for it to happen, and if we read between the lines, it seems like CBS bringing back Mount, Peck, and Romijn right now might not be logistically possible. If these actors really had limited projects, then it seems likely they’ve already got work lined-up. This doesn’t mean Pike, Spock, Number One or any of the crew of the USS Enterprise couldn’t show up in flashbacks on Discovery, or, somehow, on the Picard series, but for now, the idea that this version of the classic Enterprise will have its own series seems to be more of a Trekkie wish, than an order coming from Starfleet Command.
Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery arrives sometime in 2020.
The next confirmed Trek series is the as-yet-untitled Picard series, debuting sometime late in 2019.