'Star Trek: Discovery' Lead Is 'Number One' from 'The Cage'

Realizes the show's original vision for a strong woman in a lead role.


This article has been updated.

The next iteration of Star Trek is boldly going more old-school than any previous Trek has before. We already knew Star Trek: Discovery would take place about a decade before the original series, and now Bryan Fuller has confirmed the much-discussed female lead of the show will be named “Number One” in “honor” of the very first Star Trek pilot episode “The Cage.”

Fuller told Ain’t it Cool News that the character will be referred to primarily by the name “Number One” (as she was in “The Cage”) but that her full name will be revealed before the end of the season. This seems like a confirmation that we’re dealing with the same character from “The Cage,” but that’s not been totally confirmed.

Fuller also mentioned that he split the writing duties of the pilot episode with Alex Kurtzman and Nicholas Meyer, who write the first and second hours, respectively. Fuller has also added his former Pushing Daisies colleagues Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts as co-showrunners of Discovery.

“The Cage,” was the original pilot episode for all of Star Trek and contained a certain elements that NBC thought were too much for viewers of the time. One such element the studio asked Gene Roddenberry to remove? The second-in-command of the Enterprise being a cool, rational woman known only as “Number One.” Played by Roddenberry’s wife Majel Barrett, the character has long been a fan favorite and thanks to limited screen time, a goldmine for speculation. Now that she’ll feature as the lead character in Star Trek: Discovery the number of connections the show will have to the original series are ridiculously interwoven. Number One serves with Spock on the Enterprise and Spock is pretty long-lived. Could Spock show up on Discovery? And would he be played by Zachary Quinto?

Number One fires up a phaser canon in "The Cage"


And what do we make of this name? Originally, Number One seemed to be a nickname Starfleet Captains gave to their First Officers; Pike calls Number One “number one,” and Picard called Riker “number one,” on The Next Generation. But, what if it’s not nickname, but instead, a code name? Right now, Fuller seems to be offering an in-universe reason as to why the character has that moniker, beyond a friendly sign of camaraderie. Many Trekkies have wondered if the clandestine organization of Section 31 might be involved in Discovery, and with a lead character whose name sounds like secret agent, that rumor is looking more and more likely.

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In any case, Trekkies have a reason to rejoice: a Star Trek show will soon be back on the air, and tons of people will have to be saying the words “number one” out loud all the time. Oh, Fuller, make it so!

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