Star Trek Confirms Michael’s Discovery Mutiny Made Starfleet History Worse
The latest Star Trek: Discovery tie-in novel confirms Michael Burnham did indeed change the Federation's history - for the worse. Star Trek has always enjoyed dabbling with the idea of the Multiverse, most profoundly in the Mirrow Universe, which is used to present twisted versions of familiar heroes.
Dave Galanter's Dead Endless exploits the concept of the Multiverse in a way never seen before. It's set in a timeline only slightly different to the one seen in Star Trek: Discovery, and as such, it shines a fascinating light upon the characters and decisions. What would have happened if, back in Star Trek: Discovery season 1, Michael Burnham had not chosen to disobey her captain's orders and ramp up tension between the Federation and the Klingon Empire?
It seems that one decision would have rewritten history. If not for Burnham's mutiny, the Federation and the Klingon Empire would have successfully avoided outright conflict at the Binary Stars, and instead would have signed an armistice. The relationship would have remained tense, but a massive amount of bloodshed would have been avoided. Meanwhile, the Federation would have still explored the potential of the spore drive, but it wouldn't have been subjected to the pressures of war, which led to sloppy experimental procedures. As a result, the USS Glenn would never have been destroyed, and Discovery would ultimately have discovered a Multiversal Federation who used the mycelial network to travel through time and space.
Burnham's mutiny in Star Trek: Discovery's season 1 premiere shook Starfleet to the core, and proved incredibly controversial for viewers as well. She appeared to have lost faith in the principles of the Federation, and her doubt served as a cancer spreading through the entire organization, leading Starfleet to lose its way and consider destroying the Klingon homeworld Qo'Nos. In this alternate, much-improved timeline, the Federation instead remained true to its principles; it sought peace rather than conflict, and a phenomenal amount of bloodshed was avoided.
Star Trek tie-ins have generally been treated as non-canon, but that has changed in recent years. The showrunners of Star Trek: Discovery worked closely with publishers IDW and Simon & Schuster, ensuring tie-ins told stories that were essential to canon; that pattern has continued for Star Trek: Picard as well, meaning novels and comics are now essential reading. As a result, this vision of an alternate Earth should be seen as a significant criticism of Burnham's actions, and an implicit acknowledgment her mutiny created a far darker timeline.