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Film

The story behind Star Trek's legendary success

New crew, new starship, new adventures: "Star Trek: Discovery" comes more than 50 years after the original series debuted on TV. Here's a look back at how it became so successful.

"Star Trek: Discovery" may be the latest installment of the sci-fi franchise, but its story is set in the past. It takes place 10 years before the events of the original series, which saw the crew of the starship Enterprise on their five-year-long mission to explore new worlds and meet new civilizations.

The episodes focus mainly on the trio of protagonists: Captain James T. Kirk, half-Vulcan half-human Commander Spock and Chief engineer Montgomery Scott.   

New Star Trek breaks stereotypes

Following the example of the previous spin-offs and feature movies, the spaceship "Discovery" also travels to unknown worlds and explores new forms of life in the infinite vastness of the universe.

Read more: Trekkies celebrate 50 years of Star Trek

Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery (picture-alliance/J.Thijs)

Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou in "Star Trek: Discovery"

Philippa Georgiou, portrayed by Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," 2000) commands the ship. The story however centers on First Officer Michael Burnham, portrayed by American actress Sonequa Martin-Green, known from other TV shows such as "The Walking Dead" or "New Girl." 

The trailer revealed that Burnham plays a key role in ending "a war that would shape the future of the Federation" and that "in order to understand all things strange and unknown, she would have to understand herself in the first place."

Yeoh and Martin-Green continue the line of strong female characters that have appeared throughout the history of Star Trek, namely Captain Kathryn Janeway from "Star Trek: Voyager" and Nyota Uhura, who appeared in the original series.

The first openly gay character

American actor Anthony Rapp from Star Trek: Discovery (picture-alliance/AP Images/C.Pizzello)

American actor Anthony Rapp from "Star Trek: Discovery"

But "Star Trek: Discovery" goes one step further and features the first openly homosexual character in the history of the franchise, Lt. Paul Stamets, portrayed by American actor Anthony Rapp.

Read more: 'Star Wars IX' to be directed by J.J. Abrams

"I've always been a nerd and fan of 'Star Trek' and all sorts of science fiction," the actor said to press agency AP, "but I never conceived of myself as being inside of it as an actor. This is like a childhood fantasy gone wild, actually doing it in real life."

"It's about culture clash. I think that's a theme that's pretty relevant these days. But 'Star Trek' has always been grounded in philosophical and ethical questions, exploring what it means to be human and what do you do when you encounter another culture," Rapp added.

The new "Star Trek" premieres on CBS in the US; each episode is made available a day later on Netflix for the rest of the world, debuting on September 25.

jhi/so/jt/eg (dpa/ap)

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