Star Trek: Discovery season 3’s new trailer is a direct response to fan criticism, restoring themes of optimism and exploration.
Star Trek: Discovery’s season 3 trailer directly addresses the complaints fans had made over the first two seasons. Star Trek: Discovery has been a hit for CBS All-Access, but it has also been the subject of a great deal of controversy. Its protagonist, Michael Burnham, was Starfleet’s first traitor, betraying her captain and triggering a brutal war with the Klingons. The Federation were portrayed as morally corrupt, turning a blind eye to some of the horrific acts of Section 31. In Star Trek: Discovery season 2, Section 31’s extreme measures came close to wiping out all life in the galaxy.
Many fans complained Star Trek had lost what made it great. The problems went beyond Discovery, though, because Star Trek: Picard told a story of nostalgia very different to the series envisioned by Gene Roddenberry. It viewed a corrupted Federation as villains at worst, antagonists at best. Even when Picard finally did take to the stars again, he did so out of a desire to do one last good thing rather than out of a surge of idealism. In philosophical terms, it just didn’t feel like Star Trek.
The new Star Trek: Discovery trailer feels like a direct response to these criticisms, right from the opening call to “show them who we are.” The USS Discovery may have traveled to a dystopian future where the Federation has failed, but the trailer is redolent with joyous optimism; Burnham screams with delight when she detects life-signs, and Saru gives a stirring speech in which he celebrates the truth they are still together. The trailer positions of the crew of the USS Discovery as a beacon of hope in a ruined future, a group who stand for something greater than themselves. The same point is stressed in the official Star Trek: Discovery season 3 poster, which shows the crew holding aloft the flag of the Federation.
“Their fight begins,” the trailer teases, and in so doing, it suggests season 3 should be seen as something of a relaunch. Everything that has gone before should now essentially be seen as an extended prologue, the story of how the crew of the USS Discovery traveled to the strange new world that is the future. Notice the theme of exploration finally coming to the fore once again as well; the USS Discovery must travel through an unfamiliar galaxy, encountering races they were previously unfamiliar with. No longer is Star Trek: Discovery occupied with a Federation-Klingon War, or focused on critical self-evaluation of the Federation’s ideals. Now, it is the story of how those ideals shine bright in a whole new context.
In truth, Star Trek: Discovery had begun a course-correct in season 2, when the writer and showrunners brought in Anson Mount’s Captain Pike. He proved so popular he’ll be starring in the spinoff series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and evidently the reaction to Pike’s optimism has inspired the creative team to double down on that theme. The timing really couldn’t be better, because with everything going on right now, the real world needs the optimism of Star Trek. It will be so good to have it back.
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