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While the upcoming series Star Trek Discovery hasn't yet fully taken control of public consciousness, diehard fans are paying attention to every little detail that comes out about the franchise's highly anticipated return to the small screen. Creator Bryan Fuller, whose involvement makes this show twice as exciting, has unleashed a lot of new details to earn that attention, particularly the lead character's name: Number One, a moniker that will ring a bell to those familiar with the history of Star Trek: The Original Series. ()
If you've only given a passing eye to the first Star Trek series - and haven't paid attention to the non-canon expanded universe - maybe you won't recognize the name Number One, as this was the female second-in-command in the original pilot that was turned down by NBC. As played by Majel Barrett in that initial Star Trek entry, Number One was the First Officer to Sean Kenney's Commander Christopher Pike, and it's a character that would have gone far in this franchise had the network not decided audiences would balk at a show with a female lead and an alien lead. (She later appeared in the meta episode "The Menagerie" through the use of archive footage.)
It wasn't made clear that this is meant to be the exact same character, but it seems like that has to be the case. Here's how Bryan Fuller dropped the knowledge to the radio show Nerd World Report, who inquired about rumors that Number One was the female lead.
When we introduce our protagonist, she is called Number One for that very reason, in honor of Majel Barrett's character in the original pilot. And as we were first talking about the series and first talking to CBS, we said initially we're only going to call this character Number One.
There's something about Bryan Fuller saying how she's "called" Number One that has me curious, but we know Discovery exists within the same pre-reboot timeline, in the years before any Star Trek show or movie has been set. So it stands to reason that she would be the same Number One, even if Pike and Spock (and maybe Kirk?) are in her future. Perhaps she's just "called" Number One because these are the days before she earned that distinction as a First Officer. Strengthening that conjecture is the fact that Fuller says fans will get to learn the character's name in Season 1. I cannot wait to see who gets cast for this now.
Star Trek Discovery has no release window set just yet, but expect it to hit CBS All Access on a weekly basis in 2017 for its 13-episode first season. To see what's coming up this year that is sadly free from Bryan Fuller, check out our fall TV schedule.