What We Know About The New "Star Trek" TV Series So Far
Star Trek: Discovery, the star is a woman, and it will premiere in May 2017. But Bryan Fuller will no longer be the showrunner.
The title is
Star Trek: Discovery. This is the logo:
The show will have a female protagonist, but she won't be a captain.
Executive producer Bryan Fuller told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Aug. 10 that after six series that followed a starship captain, he wanted to shake up the dynamic of the show.
Star Trek: Discovery is led by a female protagonist ranked lieutenant commander, but — Fuller added cryptically — "with caveats."
The character, he told the crowd in Beverly Hills, California, will have a journey that is "going to teach her how to get along with others in the galaxy," including her captain and subordinates. The role has not yet been cast.
The show is set "about 10 years" before the events of the original
Star Trek TV series, according to Fuller, and will involve "an event" from official Trek history.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
At TCA, Fuller teased that the show would revolve around "an incident, an event in
Star Trek history … that had been talked about but never really fully explored." He would not, however, reveal specifically what incident this was, only confirming that it would not be about the Romulan War, the Kobayashi Maru, Section 31, or the Battle of Axanar, the subject of the fan film currently embroiled in a lawsuit with CBS and Paramount Pictures.
Established characters from
Trek history may appear on the show, but don't hold your breath for the first season.
Star Trek: Discovery will be set during the "Prime" timeline, which means it shares a universe with all the original Trek TV shows and films — and will be separate from the "Kelvin" universe of the reboot movies produced by J.J. Abrams.
While Fuller remains open to the possibility of characters from the original
Trek series appearing on Discovery, he said that for the show's first season, he was most focused on the new cast of characters he'd established for the show.
One tantalizing exception: Spock's human mother, Amanda Grayson (pictured, above, played by Jane Wyatt). When asked if she would appear on
Discovery's first season at TCAs, Fuller smiled: "Maybe."
There might be sex! And profanity!
While the original
Star Trek season featured a fair amount of sexuality, the more recent incarnations of the show have remained relatively chaste and family-friendly.
Discovery airing on the subscription service CBS All Access (more on that below), Fuller was asked how much he would be taking advantage of the lack of network TV restrictions on content. "Well, there's a reason we call it ' STD,'" Fuller quipped, referring to the show's unfortunate acronym. "That nebulae you're flying through is a cloudy discharge."
In seriousness, Fuller said there "would probably be slightly more graphic content" on the show, including the possibility of people using profanity. He noted he and his team would likely film several options for scenes, with and without explicit material, and figure out a balance in the editing room.
The show will, at least in part, involve the voyages of its namesake, the
Here's an early version of the main ship in motion, but the ship on the show will look quite different.
Fuller debuted this first look at the panel celebrating the 50th anniversary of
Star Trek at San Diego Comic-Con on July 23. But at TCA, Fuller said that this version of the ship was still a work-in-progress, and the final version for the show could look considerably different.
The show will unfold "like a novel."
CBS / Via
"We're telling stories in a brand new way," Fuller said during the Comic-Con panel. "We're not so much episodic."
"You're not doing episodic?!" exclaimed panelist and iconic
Trek actor William Shatner. "What else is there?"
"Well, there have been 762 episodes of
Star Trek television, so we're going to be telling stories like a novel," said Fuller. "Chapter by chapter by chapter."
It will embrace
Trek's longstanding tradition of progressivism.
Ben A. Pruchnie / Getty Images
"I think that what the new series has to do is now it has to remind the audience about the message of Star Trek," Fuller said during the Comic-Con panel. "If anything, I feel like what the new series has to do is continue to be progressive, continue to push boundaries. To continue telling stories in the legacy that Gene Roddenberry promised, which is giving us hope for a future."
Later, at the press conference, Fuller was more pointed about how he sees
Star Trek: Discovery in the current political climate in the US. "The state of this country right now terrifies me and saddens me," he said. "And I feel like we need something like Star Trek to remind us that collectively as the human race we're going to get our shit together and we're going to build a better future. And we have to start working much harder on that today."
There will be a gay character.
Fuller, who is openly gay, confirmed at TCA that there will "absolutely" be a gay character on
Discovery — and that had been a priority for the show starting with his first meeting with executive producer Alex Kurtzman. (The movie Star Trek Beyond featured John Cho's Lt. Sulu as a gay man with a husband and daughter, making him the first out LGBT main character in Trek’s 50-year history.)
But Fuller will no longer be
Star Trek: Discovery's showrunner.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images
On Oct. 26, 2016, CBS announced that Fuller was stepping down from his day-to-day duties as
Discovery's showrunner. Fuller does remain an executive producer and involved in the series' creative trajectory, including writing the scripts for the first two episodes.
To run the show, Kurtzman will work with writing partners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (
Reign, Pushing Daisies, Roswell).
Star Trek: Discovery's series premiere will air in May 2017 on CBS; the subsequent 12 episodes of Season 1 will debut weekly on the subscription streaming service CBS All Access in the US, Bell Media in Canada, and on Netflix in the rest of the world.
Discovery was initially due to debut in Jan. 2017, but in a Sept. 2016 press release, the network announced that the premiere had been pushed four months in order for the effects-heavy show to be "of the highest quality."
CBS All Access, meanwhile, will be available in two tiers: The $5.99 per month service will feature roughly 12 minutes of advertising per hour. An ad-free version will cost $9.99 per month.
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