Alex Kurtzman on ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, Bryan Fuller’s Exit, and LGBT Representation

     June 8, 2017

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It’s been a long time since Star Trek was on television, but the franchise is returning in a big way to CBS All Access—CBS’s streaming-only service—later this year. Star Trek: Discovery has had a curious road to production, with Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller serving as co-creator before departing the series somewhat abruptly, and the initial early 2017 launch date now having been pushed back to Fall 2017. Everything’s now on track as production is underway and a trailer has been unveiled, and fans are mighty curious to see what this new Star Trek series has in store.

In the wake of Fuller’s exit, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberg were promoted to showrunners, and the show has no lack of veteran producers sheparding the series—namely Alex Kurtzman. The Fringe co-creator has been one of the writers and producers on the feature film Star Trek franchise, and he’s intimiately involved in bringing Star Trek: Discovery to life. So when Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke with Kurtzman in anticipation of the release of The Mummy, which Kurtzman directed, he asked about Star Trek: Discovery.

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Image via Universal Pictures

Specifically, with Fuller gone, are his footprints no longer noticeable on the show?

“No absolutely there are footprints left on the show. Someone once described Bryan to me as a unicorn and that’s just the truth. He’s a one of a kind writer. He’s just unbelievably brilliant and I really, really loved working with him and I loved seeing the way that his mind worked. Bryan was very involved in American Gods and I think that the scope and scale of what Trek has become made it so that Bryan elected to say, ‘I don’t wanna short-change either of these two things,’ they’re both sort of beloved to him, so we sat down and we figured out how are we going to take what we can have of you and continue that through not only this season of Trek but hopefully set up things that are coming next season. So much of what’s there in terms of story and certainly in terms of set-up, character, big ideas, the big movement of the season, that’s all stuff that Bryan and I talked about.”

Kurtzman didn’t want to talk too much about Trek this early—they’re currently shooting Episode 5 out of a total 15 for the first season—but he did note that the writers room is full of diverse Trek fandoms:

“I’m really excited for everybody to see Trek and I was extremely pleased with the reception that our trailer got. It was awesome, it was really cool. All I’m gonna say now is that you’re talking about a show that’s being written by a roomful of fans who all have very different relationships to Trek, and I think that’s a healthy thing and it’s a good thing. They love different aspects of Trek. We’re really excited with how the scripts are going; the scripts are going great.”

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Image via CBS

As for those delays, Kurtzman said as the scope of the show got bigger, CBS was amenable to ensuring they could launch with the best possible version of the series:

“We postponed our schedule because the truth is we did not want to put out something that was subpar, and as the vision expanded we started feeling like we weren’t gonna be able to deliver the scope and the scale that was on the page. And CBS was extremely supportive in saying, ’Okay you know what, this is streaming, it’s not like we have to beat out right away, let’s do the best version of this, Trek is too important for all of us.’”


Television