Star Trek Discovery Blog
5.1 months to go
New Castings and Recastings Announced
More news about Discovery castings comes from startrek.com. Shazad Latif will appear as Starfleet Lieutenant Tyler. He was previously announced to play the Klingon Kol. The role of Kol, a commanding officer in the Klingon Empire, goes to Kenneth Mitchell. Clare McConnell will portray Dennas, a leader in the Klingon Empire. Ujilli, another Klingon leader, will be played by Damon Runyan. Finally, and perhaps most notably for science fiction fans, we have Rekha Sharma of Battlestar Galactica fame as Commander Landry. She recently appeared in the Star Trek Continues episode "Still Treads the Shadow".
Sonequa Martin-Green Confirmed as First Officer
As startrek.com reports, Sonequa Martin-Green will appear on Star Trek Discovery. Her character is the first officer of the Discovery. Her name, however, is not "Rainsford" as previously rumored but actually "Michael Burnham".
Rainn Wilson Cast as Harry Mudd
Emmy Award-nominated actor Rainn Wilson has been cast in the role of Harcourt Fenton Mudd, the con artist who appeared in two TOS episodes, "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd".
USS Discovery Gets a Captain
Jason Isaacs has been cast as Captain Lorca of the USS Discovery. Mary Wiseman will appear as Tilly, a Starfleet Academy Cadet aboard the same ship "in her final year of study."
The new air date for the pilot will be in early fall, according to an earlier statement by Lee Moonves, CEO of CBS. Further details are still unknown.
Discovery Beams Aboard Three More Cast Members
CBS announces three more actors for Star Trek Discovery: Terry Serpico ("Army Wives"), Maulik Pancholy ("30 Rock") and Sam Vartholomeos ("The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"). All three are set to play Starfleet officers. Terry will portray Starfleet official Admiral Anderson. Maulik will appear as Dr. Nambue, the CMO of the Starship Shenzhou. Sam will play Ensign Connor, a junior officer assigned to the same ship.
Totally New Klingons?
Regarding the alleged Klingons on the leaked photo from the Star Trek Discovery set, I will further comment on it once I have an official confirmation.
Star Trek Discovery Production Teaser, New Logo, Launch Date Still Unknown
As the new Star Trek series begins production in Toronto, CBS Television releases a teaser video and reveals a new logo for Discovery. The new logo still consists of a "split Starfleet arrowhead", but with a more rounded shape and without the Borg-like texture. The video allows us to glimpse a large (bridge?) set under construction, alien body armor, blue Starfleet uniforms, sketches of the USS Discovery and of another ship that was obviously inspired by Enterprise NX-01, a set floorplan and the captain's chair.
The launch date of the series is still unknown after it had been postponed one more time.
It is great to know that they finally started filming, and that they obviously went into great lengths creating the world of the 23rd century anew. It was clear that the series wouldn't show Pike-era uniforms as in "The Cage", and I won't comment on it or jump to conclusions before we can see more of the series. The currently most important open question is when they eventually plan to go live.
Sarek Returns in Discovery and Possible Further Delay
CBS reports that James Frain will play Spock's father Sarek on Star Trek Discovery. The actor is known from many film and TV roles, such as recently Azrael in "Gotham". He will be the third actor to portray the famous Vulcan, after Mark Lenard (TOS, TOS movies, TNG) and Ben Cross (Kelvin Timeline).
The shooting for Discovery will begin on January 24. The release date in May, however, appears to be uncertain. CBS announced that "if it's best for the show", the launch date will be "flexible".
I look forward to seeing Sarek on the show, and I hope that his inclusion is not gratuitous in a way that it could be used to insinuate continuity where otherwise none exists. It seems unlikely though that he may become a permanent character.
Regarding CBS's statement on the launch date, this most likely means a further delay. If it's best for the show, I will be flexible.
Discovery Lead Role for Sonequa Martin-Green
According to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, Sonequa Martin-Green has been cast in the lead role of Star Trek Discovery. Martin-Green is best known for "The Walking Dead". Her character in Discovery is going to be that of "Number One", the still somewhat mysterious Lt. Cmdr. Rainsford.
Klingon Roles of Discovery Revealed
Chris Obi, Shazad Latif and Mary Chieffo are set to play three Klingons on Star Trek Discovery. Obi will appear as T'Kuvma, the Klingon leader seeking to unite the Klingon houses. Latif portrays Kol, commanding officer of the Klingons and protégé of T'Kuvma. Chieffo plays the role of L'Rell, the battle deck commander of the yet unnamed Klingon ship.
First Discovery Cast Members Announced
CBS has officially announced the first three cast members for the upcoming series Star Trek Discovery. As already known since last week, we will see Michelle Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") in the role of a starship captain. She is set to play Captain Georgiou of the starship Shenzhou. The second confirmed cast member is Anthony Rapp as Lt. Stamets, an astromycologist aboard the Discovery. Finally, there is Doug Jones as Lt. Saru, an alien Starfleet science officer of a new species yet to be named.
Bryan Fuller No Longer Showrunner
As reported by Variety and confirmed by CBS, Bryan Fuller will no longer tend to the daily business of the new show Star Trek: Discovery. Fuller will remain executive producer, but Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts will take over his day-to-day duties.
Some more information on the progress that has been reported in the course of this news:
- Akiva Goldsman, who wrote or co-wrote several feature films and worked as a consulting producer on Fringe, will join Discovery in a "top creative role".
- "Fuller has penned the first two scripts for 'Discovery' and has hammered out the broader story arc and mythology for the new 'Trek' realm."
- Most roles, aside from the female lead character, have been cast by now.
- Shooting is scheduled to start in November.
- The cost for each episode approaches the $6-7 million range.
Discovery Premiere Postponed to May 2017
The premiere of Star Trek Discovery has been moved from January 2017 to May 2017 as startrek.com reports. Executive producers Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman stated: "We aim to dream big and deliver, and that means making sure the demands of physical and post-production for a show that takes place entirely in space, and the need to meet an air date, don't result in compromised quality. Before heading into production, we evaluated these realities with our partners at CBS and they agreed: Star Trek deserves the very best, and these extra few months will help us achieve a vision we can all be proud of."
Fuller Provides More Details On Discovery
In an interview with Nerd World Report Bryan Fuller revealed some more details on Star Trek Discovery. He said that setting the series in the Prime Universe, rather than in the Abramsverse, was more or less a practical decision: "That way, we don't have to track anything they're doing; they don't have to track anything we're doing - and you can have two distinct universes."
Without being specific, Fuller stated that his team would "re-imagine all of the alien species" and design new uniforms that would have "a little bit of this and a little bit of that". Regarding the female lead character, he said that she would be called "'Number One' in honor of Majel Barrett's character in the original pilot" but is not the same person.
Discovery Details Revealed
Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller revealed that the new series is "set ten years before Kirk, and will bridge the gap between Enterprise and The Original Series... We can play with all the iconography of those ships and those uniforms." As he had already announced on previous occasions, Fuller said Discovery will be like a "novel over thirteen episodes." Fuller's hint about the storyline is rather cryptical: "There's an incident and an event in Star Trek history, that's been talked about but never been explored. To do this series, we're telling a much more serialized story, to dig deep into a very tantalizing [storyline]. And we have a character who's on a journey, and in order to understand something that is alien she first has to understand herself." The event he alluded to is not the Kobayashi Maru, not the Battle of Axanar and not the Earth-Romulan War.
The lead character according to Fuller will be a female lieutenant commander (not a captain). But the rank comes with "some caveats". She may be "diverse". Fuller said: "We haven't cast her yet, so we don't know what level of diversity she will be." He also confirmed, "Absolutely we're having a gay character." Familiar characters won't appear for the time being. Fuller will "be looking in the second season to open up to more familiar characters and how they can feed into the [show]. First and foremost, I think we really want to convince you and establish the greatness of the [new] characters that are going to be introduced."
"We'll probably have a few more aliens than you normally do in a Star Trek cast," said Fuller. One of these aliens will be named Saru. A teaser image published by Fuller shows a make-up test, which is apparently for an Andorian.
The show will be more graphic than previous Star Trek incarnations. Fuller: "It will probably be slightly more graphic content. We discuss language every day. Is it appropriate for somebody to see a bridge blow up and say 'Oh shit.' I imagine we're going to shoot scenes a couple of ways and see what feels more authentic in the editing room."
This all sounds very good. I like the idea of having a lead character who is not on the top of the ship's rank structure. My only concern is that the series may establish even more alien races, phenomena and technology (in addition to what could be seen on Enterprise) that will fall into oblivion until the 24th century.
Now the guessing game has begun which incident in Star Trek history Fuller may have alluded to. My guess is that it's an event we only know from a passing remark and we wouldn't really think of.
Star Trek Discovery - New Series Gets a Name and a Ship
On today's Star Trek panel at Comic-Con Bryan Fuller unveiled the name of the new series - it's Star Trek Discovery! The teaser trailer posted on the Star Trek Discovery Twitter account shows us the lead ship, the USS Discovery NCC-1031, leaving an asteroid base. The ship design is clearly based on the Enterprise design by Ralph McQuarrie for the never produced film "Planet of the Titans". Judging from the ship design and its registry, it appears that the series may take place in the early 23rd century.
Fuller corroborated his previous statement that Star Trek Discovery will not be episodic: "We will be telling stories like a novel on the new series. Chapter by chapter by chapter." He also said that his intention is to allow Star Trek to "continue to be progressive. Continue to push boundaries".
Also in today's news, David Semel will direct the pilot episode of the series. The Emmy-nominated director previously worked on the pilots of Heroes, Person of Interest, The Man in the High Castle, Legends and Code Black.
The revelation of the series title and the new ship is great news. Because we can assume the name "Discovery" was not chosen by mere chance. It sounds like it is supposed to reflect the plot and maybe even the philosophy of the new series.
I am also pleased that the series does not take place in the desolate Kelvin timeline, but in an "unspoiled" era of the Star Trek Universe. And while I was never a big fan of the Ralph McQuarrie design, I think that with the tweaks that went into the design of the Discovery (and perhaps some more to come) it has the right style for the early 23rd century. It all looks like 2017 will be a great year for fans who want to see genuine Star Trek.
Netflix to Stream New Star Trek Series to the Rest of the World
As announced by CBS and Netflix today, Netflix will bring the new Star Trek series to 188 countries, excluding The United States and Canada. The episodes will usually be available within 24 hours of the U.S. premiere. Additionally, Netflix will offer all previous Star Trek TV episodes for streaming.
This is good news because fans in other countries don't have to wait forever (for a free TV broadcast or DVD release) to view the new series. I don't have a streaming account and would normally never get one. But as long as the new Star Trek series is running (and I hope it will be for a long time) the money for Netflix is well invested.
Fuller Debunks Rumors About New Series
Speaking to Moviefone at the Saturn Awards, Bryan Fuller debunked some of the common internet rumors about the series.
- It is not an anthology show.
- It is not set in the early 24th century.
- He thinks "we will be seeing lots of crews in the story."
- There is no indication whether established characters will appear. Fuller said it may happen "eventually".
The idea that the new series could be set in the time after "The Undiscovered Country" was never more than wishful thinking, nourished only by the participation of Nicholas Meyer. I think every time will be fine, as long as it's the Prime Universe.
Fuller Reveals Format and Philosophy of New Series
In an interview with Collider at the Saturn Awards event, showrunner Bryan Fuller revealed more details about the new series. The first season consists of thirteen episodes, which form an arc of essentially one single story. The run time of the episodes may be flexible within certain parameters that Fuller didn't explicitly mention. There is no indication yet in which time frame and which universe the series is set.
Regarding the casting choices and the possibility of having a gay character, Fuller said that he'd "look at all of these roles through a colorblind prism and a gender-blind prism" and that "the progressive audience that loves Star Trek will be happy".
The announcement that the first season will be one single story (arc) over thirteen episodes is a major letdown. I have a strong dislike for serialized television series. Actually, I don't remember following any serial until the finale in the past ten years or so. I used to give up watching either because I lacked the time, or because after a long work week it was too difficult for me to find my way back into the story.
While this may be different with the new Star Trek series (I will definitely follow it attentively), it puts me off for still another reason. I want to see the crew boldly go where no one has gone before, for which the traditional self-contained format of Star Trek episodes was perfect. A serial, on the other hand, is predetermined to show ongoing conflicts (personal, political or military). Star Trek switched to a serialized format in DS9's sixth and seventh seasons (Dominion War), and in Enterprise's third season (Xindi Arc). Each of those seasons did have a couple of episodes that took a break from the respective arc, and that felt out of place. I don't want a whole series to focus on generic character conflicts (or on an Abramsverse-style villain hunt) and to include Star Trek themes only in the form of added value.
I'm open-minded about the possible inclusion of a gay character, and I'm confident that it will be done in a decent fashion, by looking at the roles through a "gender-blind prism", just as Fuller mentioned it. It should be and will be a character that happens to be gay, and not one that is defined by being gay. I am only a bit worried that the mere existence of a gay character will distract from more important issues of the new series. We should ignore those who will hate it just because someone is gay. But I also hope that the "progressive" fan base understands that it is primarily supposed to be a science fiction show, and not a service to fulfill political demands.
Mark Worthington Confirmed as New Star Trek Production Designer
Mark Worthington, who previously worked on shows such as American Horror Story and Lost, will be the production designer of the new Star Trek series. Worthington confirmed this on his panel at the Eagle-Con LA but told Trekmovie.com that "there's nothing to talk about yet".
Mark Worthington will follow in the footsteps of Matt Jefferies and Herman Zimmerman, and that's quite a challenge. I'm not familiar with Worthington's previous work (among which there doesn't seem to be any science fiction), and I hope he knows how to create the right look for a Star Trek show.
Joe Menosky and Aron Coleite Join Star Trek All Access Series
As reported by Trekmovie.com, Star Trek writer Joe Menosky and Aron Coleite, who has written for Heroes, have joined the writing staff the upcoming Star Trek television series. Joe Menosky is known for his work on several fan favorites, including TNG: "Darmok", "Conundrum", "The Chase" and VOY: "Distant Origin", "Year of Hell", "Living Witness" and "Blink of an Eye". Larry Nemecek confirmed their participation to Trekmovie.com at the Phoenix Comicon.
Joe Menosky wrote some of the most thrilling and most imaginative episodes of modern Star Trek so this is definitely great news. At this point I hope that the new show doesn't only boast big names but that these people will also have a positive influence on its direction.
Kirsten Beyer Joins Writing Staff of Star Trek 2017
TrekCore reports that novelist Kirsten Beyer, known for the Voyager Relaunch novel series, will be part of the writing staff for the next Star Trek series.
It is interesting to note that another expert for the old Star Trek (the Prime Universe) joins the staff. I wouldn't overrate this observation though. Alex Kurtzman may have just been watching out for people with knowledge of previous Star Trek (story- and production-wise). Notable people with Star Trek experience are sorely missing from the production staffs of the Abramsverse movies, so even if the new series continues in this universe it may profit from Kirsten Beyer, just as from Nicholas Meyer and Bryan Fuller.
Star Trek 2017 Teaser Trailer
CBS releases a teaser trailer for the new series to debut in January 2017.
"CBS presents - A new adventure. New crews - New villains - New heroes - New worlds"
This first trailer is very generic and reveals practically nothing. Only the announcement of "new crews" may be seen as a hint that it's not about Kirk and Spock yet again. But I wouldn't go as far as taking this as a cue that the new series will be an anthology. I personally hope for original adventures that don't rewrite established history or characters. And I hope that those "new villains" won't be anything like the ones in the latest Star Trek movies.
As for the logo, I'm quite sure it isn't the final one. Teaser trailers almost never show anything that is already set in stone. Also, naming the new show just "Star Trek" would be an extremely poor choice.
Star Trek 2017 With Weekly Schedule
Beginning in January 2017, the new Star Trek series will be streamed weekly on CBS All Access, as startrek.com announced today. As already reported, the series will be available in the U.S. exclusively on All Access on its first run, and on still to be defined platforms and TV stations around the world.
It is great that a classical weekly schedule was chosen for the new Star Trek series. This brings back the weekly anticipation that I loved so much about the old TV series. It is definitely a big bummer that the access to the new Star Trek will be so restricted, quite probably outside the U.S. as well. Personally, I don't know if and how I will be able to watch the episodes in time.
Star Trek 2017 Going to Pinewood Toronto Studios
As reported by TrekCore a couple of days ago, the new Star Trek TV series will no be filmed in Los Angeles but in Toronto. It is now clear that the Star Trek production will take place in the Pinewood Toronto Studios, where CBS has booked the the facility's 46,500-square foot (4320 square meters) mega-stage.
So Star Trek is moving away from California. This could mean that alien planets in this series may look like boreal forest, rather than familiar landscapes such as Vasquez Rocks or Bronson Canyon. But we'll have to wait and see if and how location shoots will be arranged. In any case, I think the series can only profit from the availability of North America's purportedly biggest soundstage and a large backlot.
Rod Roddenberry Added to New Series
Another big name among the producers of the new series. As startrek.com reports, Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will act as executive producers of the upcoming Star Trek series. They join the already named producers Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin and Bryan Fuller. Roddenberry said: "While I will always be humbled by its legacy and the legions of fans who are its guardians, it's a genuine honor to be joining a team of imaginative and incredibly capable individuals whose endeavor it is to uphold the tenants of Star Trek's legacy while bringing it to audiences in a new era and on a contemporary platform."
We certainly can't complain about a lack of big names among the staff of the next Star Trek series, but we'll have to wait and see whether Rod Roddenberry can live up to the expectations. He is the preserver of his father's heritage, yet he has never been closely involved with an official Star Trek production. He is a filmmaker, but so far not on a such a big scale. Anyway, I keep my fingers crossed that Rod Roddenberry can positively influence the new series, in the sense of "upholding the tenants of Star Trek's legacy".
Nicholas Meyer: "'The Undiscovered Country' as a Touchstone"
In an interview with Den of Geek, Nicholas Meyer said about the new series: "I think it's going to be a different Star Trek. It will go in a different direction. And I think that is probably good. Because the thing that mainly troubles me about Star Trek is the fear of it being maybe re-treads of itself. And to the degree that I had any influence on the thing [Star Trek] at all was that at least while I was there, we were fooling around." On the question about the politics in the new series, Meyer added: "The one thing I can relate to you is that 'The Undiscovered Country' -according to Bryan [Fuller]- is a real sort of taking off point, or touchstone for how I guess he's thinking about the direction of the new show. I don't want to be misquoted and I don't want to misquote him, but he's fond of that film. Let's put it that way."
Well, the first part about the new Star Trek going into a different direction is much the same phrase that was used to describe any new series (or film) of the franchise that was released since TOS. What Meyer says about 'The Undiscovered Country' being a touchstone is a bit more revealing. It could mean that the new Star Trek will put more emphasis on the military theme than we are used to from previous series. Or it could hint at interplanetary politics as the backdrop of the new series (in which case it should be better compared to DS9 though).
Trek Veteran Nicholas Meyer Joins New Series
startrek.com reports that Nicholas Meyer will join the new Star Trek TV series, as a member of the writing staff and a consulting producer. Meyer is famous for directing the fan favorites "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" as well as writing for "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", and as such part of the myth that the even numbers are the good ones.
This is a big surprise. Nicholas Meyer has not worked on Star Trek for a very long time. Many fans seem to be very excited about Meyer's participation, but I wonder how much influence on creative decisions he will really have. Also, while I definitely like his work on three Star Trek films that are among the better ones, Nicholas Meyer stands for a departure from the style and spirit of The Original Series that I am not totally happy about. In particularly, I would love to see a TV series without the militarism that Meyer established (and that TNG abandoned again).
Bryan Fuller Named Co-Creator of New Series
According to startrek.com, Bryan Fuller is the co-creator of the new Star Trek TV series, working together with Alex Kurtzman. Fuller's credits as a teleplay writer include Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager. He has been pushing for a new Star Trek TV series for a couple of years, saying that he "would love to take it back to its origin".
Bryan Fuller's addition to the staff is good news. He has been involved with the franchise for two decades, and he seems to have a more than only commercial motivation to bring Star Trek back to the small screen. Any speculation whether or not Fuller would rather return to old-style Star Trek or would embrace the Abramsverse is definitely premature.
New Star Trek TV Series Announced for 2017
CBS Television announces that a new Star Trek TV series will be launched in January 2017. Alex Kurtzman will serve as executive producer. The announcement also points out that "the new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film 'Star Trek Beyond'". A preview broadcast will air on the CBS Television Network. The subsequent episodes will be available exclusively in the United States on CBS All Access, the Network's digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service.
It is awesome that Star Trek will return to the small screen, after an absence of as long as twelve years. Television is not only the origin of the franchise but is also the medium to relay the message much better than a multi-million dollar blockbuster movie. The Abramsverse movies may have revived the franchise in an economic sense but they failed to promote the philosophy and provide a vision of a future, of the kind it was present in all TV series (including Enterprise). So I am definitely looking forward to a new Star Trek TV series.
The fact that Alex Kurtzman will run the show is a first hint that it may be set in the Abramsverse, rather than in the Prime Universe. Well, it is said not to be related to "Star Trek Beyond" but this may merely mean that it has a different main cast. The odds that any of the highly paid actors of the Abrams films will appear in a permanent role in a TV show are slim anyway.
Rather than the perhaps premature fear that the tone of the Abramsverse may be carried over to a TV series, the fact that the new Star Trek will be shown exclusively on CBS All Access, a streaming channel that is still seeking its place in the market, is somewhat off-putting. At least for many people who either don't have the time or the money or the bandwidth to see all kinds of series on all kinds of pay channels. While being the crowd-puller for the new channel may be flattering for Star Trek, vice versa the show is also dependent on the success of the channel. And quite unlike the TV shows of the past (and the Abrams movies) it may not be laid out to become a mass phenomenon in the first place.