In about a month (or less), Star Trek: Discovery will begin production in the Toronto area, marking the first time in almost 12 years that a Star Trek series has been in production. Surprisingly, much of the specs of Discovery remain a mystery, in fact it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that we knew the show was named Discovery. In that clip released at San Diego Comic Con, showrunner Bryan Fuller said there was a clue about when the show took place, an all-important detail for continuity obsessed fans. Well that, and other information about the new series was revealed yesterday at the Television Critics Association press tour as Fuller took an info-dump on those in attendance.
First of all, the timing. It was confirmed that the design of Discovery was inspired by Ralph McQuarrie designs for the first Star Trek movie in the 1970s, and as Fuller implied with the registry of Discovery, NCC-1031, the series is set before the Original Series and is set in the “prime” universe (AKA: not the world the movies are set in). “It’s set 10 years before Kirk, and will bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series,” Fuller said. “We’re most closer to Kirk’s mission and get to play with that iconography.”
In terms of casting, nothing’s been nailed down yet, but Fuller said that the series’ lead will be a female “lieutenant commander with caveats.” He added, “We haven’t cast her yet and we don’t know what level of diversity, she will be. The story that’s fascinating for me is that we’ve seen six series from captain’s point of view and to see one from another point of view gives us a richer context.”
Diversity is foremost on the mind of Fuller and his team, said the producer. “We’re absolutely about continuing that tradition,” he said. “It’s about who’s the best actor, what can we say about diversity in every role. We’ll have more aliens than you have on a Star Trek cast.” And yes, sexual orientation is also included in that expanded diversity. “Absolutely, we’re having a gay character,” said Fuller, “Alex Kurtzman, the straight man in the team was telling me we would need a gay character.”
As for the format, Fuller backed off slightly from his Comic Con comments about the inter-connectivity of the show saying that “We will have episodes that stand alone, but are also part of a bigger story.” And speaking of the freedom that comes with airing on a streaming site, Fuller joked that “There’s a reason why we call it ‘STD’.” He added, “It’s still Star Trek and we’re not subject to broadcast standards and practices. Hannibal was, and we got away with murder. There will be slightly more graphic content.”
Other details Fuller revealed included that the show would have an alien character named Saru, his fondness for the character Amanda Grayson AKA: Spock’s mother who “possibly” might appear in season one of Discovery, and yes, “There will be robots.”
Star Trek Discovery launches this January on CBS before moving to CBS All Access.