At the CBS All-Access panel at the TCA Press Tour, Star Trek: Discovery boss Bryan Fuller admitted that there is an anvil hanging over his head if he reveals too much about the highly anticipated series, but, he did confirm a few interesting tidbits. For one, the series will be 13 episodes to start (if it’s successful, they will order more), and will feature a female lead. Casting hasn’t started yet, but they will be shooting soon, so expect some announcements on that in the coming weeks. Diversity is also a key part of the new series, with Fuller wanting to keep closely with Gene Roddenberry‘s original vision, which also means making this Star Trek (which will take place in the Prime universe, not the Kelvin universe of the movies) into a morality play. “It’s vital, it’s at its core,” said Fuller.
As far as structure goes, Discovery was described as a novel, with each episode working as a chapter that will have its own arc, and therefore, some will be stand-alones. The (human) female lead, it’s worth noting, will likely be a woman of color, but will not be a captain (she’ll be a Lieutenant Commander). Fuller said the desire is to explore a different perspective after 6 series having already focused on a captain’s POV.
Discovery‘s timeline will take place 10 years before Captain Kirk’s 5-year mission, and will act as a bridge between Scott Bacula‘s Enterprise series and the original. Though Fuller said that it will examine a “tantalizing” event already established in Star Trek lore, he very was coy about what. He did, however, confirm that it will not be the Romulan War, though Black Ops Section 3 could come into play.
We learned that familiar characters from the original series could also make an appearance, although right now the production is happy with their new characters, and wants to focus on them. Those characters will include a lot of diversity, even in the alien realm — in other words, there won’t just be one alien character among the main cast, but several. Fuller also confirmed that there will be a gay character, saying that the writers are looking at “what can we say with diversity in every role?”
As we already knww, the series is going to be located on CBS’s subscription app, All-Access, (which is $6 a month). As far as what that means for the series (re: Standards and Practices), Fuller said that while things can (and will) be a little more graphic, it’s still going to be Star Trek, and that there have been a lot of conversations about language and more. He suggested that they will be shooting scenes a couple of different ways, and then finding out what feels the most authentic. Regarding how he plans to reimagine the series though, and the choice for the timeline, Fuller offered up that,
“Since we are doing this series in 2016, and all the other series have been produced in a timeline that isn’t as sophisticated as we are now in terms of what we can do production-wise, we’re going to be reestablishing an entire look for the series. Not only for the series, but for what we want to accomplish for Star Trek beyond the series. So we have to start early on with a touch point where people can understand and have access into it, show them how we’re reimagining Star Trek and then hold their hand as we pull them hopefully into iterations a lot of different timelines beyond what we have seen.”
Finally, when asked if we’ll see any familiar faces from Fuller’s other series in this one, he said it depends on their schedules — but agreed that Lee Pace would make one hell of a Vulcan.