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  • Acting for Two: Several actors portray the Mirror Universe counterparts of their usual characters during the latter half of the first season.
  • Ascended Fanon: Although the existence of Capt. Robert April, the very first captain of the Enterprise (pre-dating Pike) was first revealed in Star Trek: The Animated Series, and later referenced in many novels and comics, for a long time the owners of the Trek franchise did not recognize April as canon, due to having originated in the animated series, which was not considered canon, either. An on-screen reference to April in an early episode of Discovery marks the first time the live-action franchise has acknowledged his existence. In the second season, another on-screen reference explicitly named him as Pike's predecessor as the captain of the Enterprise.
    • in the second part of “Such Sweet Sorrow,” Pike at one point refers to Number One as Una, a name used in the Star Trek Legacies trilogy to refer to her, given that she was no longer a first officer by the time of the novels.
  • Bad Export for You: Inverted. In all countries besides the United States and Canada, the show is available on Netflix, updating weekly. American viewers must buy a subscription to CBS All Access to watch, while Canadians have the good fortune of the show actually airing on television (on Space, soon to be rebranded as CTV Sci-Fi).
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  • Dawson Casting: As a fourth-year cadet (eventually comissioned and holding the rank of ensign in the Season 1 finale), the character of Sylvia Tilly is supposed to be in her early twenties (most likely 22 or 23 by the end of the first season), whereas the actress portraying her, Mary Wiseman, was actually 32 (the same age as Burnham-actress Sonequa Martin-Green) when the season was shot.
  • Dueling Shows: With The Orville. One is an Affectionate Parody of Star Trek that is said to be a reaction to the trend of dark and dramatic science fiction shows, and one plays it completely straight with a show that is Darker and Edgier than even Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Both feature a cast of veteran character actors (including one series regular on Orville, Penny Johnson Jerald, who was a recurrer on DS9), and both have vastly superior special effects to any previous Star Trek series.
    • For their first seasons, the two shows also debuted within a couple of weeks of each other due to Discovery's Schedule Slip, though the first season of The Orville was shorter in length than Discovery.
    • For the second season, Discovery episodes shifted to being released at 8:30 PM on Thursdays, which not-so-coincidentally is the day of the week that The Orville airs on Fox at 9:00 PM.
  • Executive Meddling: Ex-showrunner Bryan Fuller has claimed that he intended for the uniforms to be more reminiscent of the original series and wanted to make each season as some kind of anthology, but CBS pushed for a new uniform design and a serialized storyline. While Fuller has worked in Star Trek shows previously, his collaborator Aaron Harberts has since become showrunner and is relatively fresh, and has made a few misstatements (see below) about the show's history.
  • Fake American:
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    • Jason Isaacs, an Englishman, plays the American-accented Captain Lorca.
    • Similarly, British actor Shazad Latif plays Seattle-born Ash Tyler, or at least a copy of the real Ash Tyler, into whom the Klingon warrior Voq was surgically modified.
  • Fan Nickname:
  • Fun with Subtitles: The subtitle options include Klingon. (On Netflix in some countries, but not on CBS in the United States.)
  • I Knew It!:
    • A number of fan theories were proven correct throughout the first season:
      • That Discovery and her crew emerged into the Mirror Universe at the end of "Into The Forest I Go".
      • That Ash Tyler turned out to be Voq, surgically altered and turned into a Manchurian Agent.
      • That Captain Lorca was from the mirror universe all along.
      • That Captain Georgiou would return in some fashion.
      • That the Captain Pike-era U.S.S. Enterprise would appear.
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    • From the second season, that the Red Angel would turn out to be a Time Traveling Michael Burnham.
  • Killer App: Invoked. CBS are hoping to push (American) membership in their premium streaming service, "CBS All Access," by making it the only way to get at this show. In fairness, this has been an effective tactic for Netflix (House of Cards (US), Orange Is the New Black), and HBO has been doing it for years (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, etc).
  • The Other Darrin: Due to being a prequel and thus a case of Time-Shifted Actor for both roles (as well as the original actors being dead), James Frain and Rainn Wilson respectively replace Mark Lenard as Sarek and Roger C. Carmel as Harry Mudd.
    • As of season two, we can add Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn as Christopher Pike, Spock, and Number One to the list as well, whose original portrayers (Jeffery Hunter, Leonard Nimoy, and Majel Barrett, respectively) have all passed as well. Later in the season, there's an appearance by Vina, now played by Melissa George, Susan Oliver having passed away in 1990.
    • More traditionally, Hannah Cheesman replaces Sara Mitich as Lt. Cdr. Airiam for season 2.
  • Jossed:
    • One bit of generally accepted Star Trek non-canon had that the Klingons had acquired cloaking technology from the Romulans during a brief period of alliance against the Federation. Here it's clearly stated that Klingon cloaking technology is an innovation T'Kuvma was responsible for developing, even though this technology was apparently not shared among all the Houses of the Empire.
    • After it was revealed that Captain Georgiou would be seen on the show in some capacity after the character's death, a handful of fans were hoping that it meant the character would be brought back to life in some way. With the revelation in "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry" that the remaining Klingons on T'kuvma's ship ate her corpse during a food shortage, the theory was quickly shut down: her subsequent appearances are all flashbacks and a recording made before her death. Well, and her Mirror Universe counterpart, the Terran Emperor.
  • Lying Creator: Much like the whole John Harrison/Khan Noonien Singh thing in Star Trek Into Darkness, the showrunners, actors, and studio keep going to crazy lengths to obfuscate plot twists in the face of viewers' eagerness to crowdsource theories from the show's Chekhov's Armory, including creating a fake IMDb profile for Javid Iqbal as a pseudonym for Shazad Latif (Voq and Ash Tyler). So much so that they're actually starting to take flak for it from professional and semipro critics.
  • No Name Given: Uniquely for a Star Trek series, several of the ongoing regular bridge crewmembers don't get referred to by any name name until midway through the first season, and several others remain unidentified as of the end of the first season.
  • Not Screened for Critics: In mid-September 2017, CBS embargoed any reviews of the new series being released before its premiere, normally a bad sign for any production. However, early reactions turned out to be quite positive.
  • Playing Against Type: Jason Isaacs as heroic (if slightly grey and potentially PTSD-ridden) Starfleet Captain Gabriel Lorca. Subverted when it's revealed his character is actually the Mirror Universe Lorca, and as evil as they come.
  • Queer Character, Queer Actor: Stamets and Culber are gay. So are Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz, the men who play them.
    • Season Two introduces Lieutenant Commander Jet Reno, who mentions that her wife died during the war with the Klingons the previous season. Reno is played by Tig Notaro.
  • Refitted for Sequel: The Discovery's design is based on Ralph McQuarrie's concept art for the refit Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • Schedule Slip: The first episode was supposed to premiere in January 2017, but this was later pushed back to May. January 24 brought news that they had finally started filming the pilot. Les Moonves, the head of CBS, later stated that the series would start airing in the "late summer or fall" of 2017. The delays led to The Good Fight being moved up to take its place as the debut series for CBS All Access. Its official premiere date ended up on September 24, 2017, resulting in an unplanned Dueling Shows scenario with the Trek homage, The Orville.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Many viewers heartily approved that Mia Kirschner, who plays Amanda Grayson, is basically a younger version of Jane Wyatt, Amanda's original actress. She also has a similar appearance to Winona Ryder, who played Amanda in the 2009 film.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: It's widely assumed that part of the reason for the drastically redesigned Klingon makeup was the need to make actor Shazid Latif, who plays Ash Tyler, completely unrecognizable when in makeup as Voq, although many fans figured it out anyway.
  • Spoiled by the Cast List: The series unsuccessfully attempted to avert this. Voq subsequently infiltrates the Discovery crew as a human named Ash Tyler, with both "characters" played by the same actor, Shazad Latif. In the early episodes of the series, Voq was credited on-screen and in media cast lists as being played by a fictitious actor, "Javid Iqbal". Unfortunately, it didn't take long for Internet sleuths to notice that "Iqbal" had no other film or TV credits and no Internet or social media footprint, leading almost all of them to guess the twist. After the on-screen twist reveal, Latif confirmed that "Javid Iqbal" had been his father's name.
  • Trolling Creator: Jason Isaacs (Gabriel Lorca), from making fun of viewers who don't like the show on Twitter to barging into an interview with Shazad Latif (Ash Tyler) and telling the reporter everything Latif says is a lie.
  • Troubled Production: While the actual production has apparently been problem-free, at the executive level there has been considerable turmoil:
    • CBS's major idea was to use Discovery to entice viewers to sign up for the CBS All Access app. To do this, they sold the overseas distribution rights to Netflix, in return getting a price so high it practically paid for the entire production cost. However, this meant that in the US, after the first part of the pilot aired on broadcast, anyone wanting to watch the series had to subscribe to CBS All Access, alienating and angering many viewersnote  who didn't want to pay $6 a month for the privilege of watching Discovery and, for them, nothing else they weren't getting anywhere else.
    • Unsurprisingly, within weeks, new subscriptions to All Access weren't anywhere near CBS's targets. Netflix, feeling it had been had, told CBS that they would be greatly reducing their offer for the overseas rights for the next season.
    • The original showrunners had envisioned the show relying entirely on its own characters, needing little reference to the original series beyond Surak. CBS, panicking, fired them after six episodes, replacing them with Robert Orci, whose success with the rebooted Hawaii Five-0 had made the network trust his ability to revive an old show. Shortly afterwards, Rainn Wilson was written into the show as a younger Harry Mudd, along with his wife Stella.
    • Orci then lost the show's biggest supporter in the executive suite when CBS president Leslie Moonves was forced to step down after some serious sexual harassment and assault allegations. Viacom has not had much luck selling the overseas rights for the second season outside Canada, so it made a series of 20-minute shorts focusing on an individual character from the show (including one who hasn't yet otherwise been introduced) as a way of stirring interest from those buyers.
    • According to several sources, the series was going to be more in line with the Original Series' aesthetics, but rights issues put those plans in the can. For specifics, the series was made by an affiliate of Paramount under an "alternative license" (as CBS is the current owner of the Star Trek franchise), and everything made with that license has to be different enough from all Star Trek media prior to the 2009 reboot to keep both Star Trek franchises apart for merchandise licensing.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Angela Bassett was an early casting favourite, but she was busy with An American Horror Story.
    • Tony Todd expressed interest about working on the new series and even confirmed he was on a casting list of the studio.
    • Bryan Adams claims he was approached for a role. During a television appearance on The BBC with Jason Isaacs and Sonequa Martin-Green in early November 2017, he claimed that he had received a call about a month earlier whether he would come to Toronto, the series' shooting location, but "then it went away". Adams joked he looked "like a Klingon anyway."
  • You Look Familiar: Kenneth Mitchell plays three different characters over the first two seasons, all of them Klingons: General Kol in Season 1, Kol's father, Kol-Sha, in episode 2.03, "Point of Light", and Tenavik, a Timekeeper and L'Rell and Voq's son, in episode 2.12, "Through the Valley of Shadows."

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