Michelle Yeoh Star Trek CBS

What the details about Michelle Yeoh’s Star Trek Section 31 spinoff show tell us already

Contributed by
Jan 15, 2019

After crossing dimensions in Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, Michelle Yeoh's Philippa Georgiou will star in her own TV series specifically chronicling her machinations with the clandestine organization, Section 31. On Monday, news broke that the long-rumored spinoff series has been greenlit. CBS released an official image of Georgiou wielding a newish phaser, and Yeoh said she was "so excited to keep telling these rich Star Trek stories."

So, what will these stories actually be about?

Considering what we know about Star Trek, this version of Philippa Georgiou and Section 31, here’s what fans might see in the new, as yet untitled, Trek spinoff.

Buck Rogers spy episode

A science fiction spy show set in outer space

First introduced in the Deep Space Nine episode "Inquisition," Section 31 is an amoral spy organization that is a secret part of Starfleet. It's called "Section 31" because in section 31 of the Starfleet charter, there’s something written about “extraordinary measures to be taken in times of extreme threat.” This means these folks are above any kind of outer space law, which means, the show will be a full-on spy show set in space.

Weirdly, in the history of sci-fi TV, this has not been done successfully. The first season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 1979 comes close, but, hardly counts since Buck broke his cover so often. However, there are two similarities between the new Michelle Yeoh Trek show and '70s Buck Rogers. Like Buck, Georgiou is a fish-out-of-water since she comes from another dimension, and Buck Rogers came from the past.

Also, there was a really good undercover space spy episode of Buck Rogers ("A Plot to Kill a City") where he went undercover and wore a lot of leather. And it seems like Section 31 Georgiou has a similar fashion sense.

michelle yeoh star trek discovery

Mirror Georgiou starts to actually respect the Federation

If you haven't seen Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery, get ready for a huge spoiler: Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is dead! Meaning the Philippa Georgiou this show will be all about is her Mirror Universe counterpart who was once literally the Emperor of the Terran Empire. When Mirror Georgiou figures out Michael Burnham comes from the benevolent dimension ruled by the Federation, she sneers. But after Burnham rescues her, and brings Georgiou into the Prime Universe, it seems likely she starts to soften on the Federation.

Plus, because Section 31 literally works for Starfleet, and Starfleet protects the Federation, it would be pretty weird if Georgiou remained totally aloof about the interstellar government she was working for. Then again, if she's still interested in power, it's possible Georgiou will remain morally ambiguous.

Mirror Georgiou Star Trek

Advanced technology beyond normal Star Trek

The very first photo released by CBS includes a mild Easter egg: The phaser Georgiou is rocking is much closer to a classic original series phaser than the Discovery models. In fact, it almost looks too advanced, like the kinds used in the original series movies. This isn’t a continuity error though. It actually makes sense that Section 31 would have technology that is more advanced than what the rest of Starfleet has access, too. In fact, because it's a top-secret organization, Section 31 could do all sorts of stuff that "violates canon," because it’s all 100 percent top secret. This is actually awesome. Georgiou could meet the Borg and fight the Dominion and it wouldn’t mess with the continuity at all.

kor kirk tos

Original series retcon

There’s a lot about the politics of the original series Trek that doesn’t make a lot of sense. If the Enterprise was supposed to be on a five-year-mission in deep space, how come they were so often called upon to do other, mundane space chores? How did the Klingon treaty work? What’s up with that secret mission Kirk and Spock went on to steal a Romulan cloaking device in "The Enterprise Incident." Because Section 31 is lurking in the shadows, a lot of this stuff can be subtly amended, and in some cases, even explained.

Prime Georgiou Star Trek Michelle Yeoh

The return of Prime Georgiou?

The showrunners of this new series are writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt, who, most recently penned the Short Treks episode "The Brightest Star." This episode featured a flashback depicting a younger Prime Georgiou, rescuing Saru from his home planet. So, because Kim and Lippoldt will helm the new Georgiou series are more flashbacks on the way? When SYFY WIRE spoke to the pair about "The Brightest Star," they said they couldn’t tell us who the Captain of USS Shenzhou was before Georgiou? Is that because we will find out in new flashbacks? In an attempt to understand the Prime Universe, it seems very possible that Mirror Georgiou will do as much research as she can about her "other self." This doesn't mean Prime Georgiou will literally come back to life in real time, but, we could learn a lot more about her in the new series.

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