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Star Trek: Discovery – What We Know So Far

by Dave Elliott

Last night, US network CBS held their Television Critics Association summer press tour panel, and dropped a number of new bits of info about Star Trek: Discovery, which sees the franchise return to the small screen. So, we thought it might be useful to do a little rundown of everything we know about the show so far…

Who’s In Charge Of It?

That man would be the brilliant Bryan Fuller. He’s the person responsible for Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, & Dead Like Me, but also started his career writing on Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He’s now been tapped as showrunner for the new Star Trek series. The first episode is being directed by David Semel, who’s credit’s include Madam Secretary, No Ordinary Family, and House.

Where & When Is It Set?

Star Trek: Discovery will be set in the ‘prime’ universe – i.e. the original tv universe, not JJ Abrams new movie alternate timeline. It takes place “about 10 years before Kirk” according to Fuller, and is designed to “bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series”. He confirmed it’s based around an event mentioned, but not shown, in the original series, exclaiming some fans “should be very happy.” As a big Trek fan himself, he continued “It’s something I want to see.” If that has your brain thinking, he ruled out the Romulan War, Kobayashi Maru & Axanar. He also mentioned Section 31 (the ‘black ops’ arm of Starfleet) may come into play at some point.

Setting it 10 years before ST:TOS gives the production designers a very interesting job, as they are going to have to figure out a way to believably sync a precursor to those original 60’s set designs into a modern tv series. They managed it with Enterprise by making things look more mechanical and submarine-like, but there was around a 100yr gap between Enterprise and ST:TOS. This is far closer to the Original Series end of that spectrum.

This setting also allows for some young versions of the TOS crew to pop up at some point, but Fuller stated that, if that happened, it wouldn’t be till much later, as they would want to establish the show in it’s own right.

Who Are The Crew?

There’s no actual casting yet, however they did confirm the lead character in the show would be human, and female. A lot of sites have leapt on this as her being ‘in charge’, but it’s possible that’s not the case… She could be the focus of the story, but not in charge of the ship. She is a member of Starfleet, and her rank will be a “Lieutenant Commander – with caveats…” He then apparently went on to say that the role of Captain on the Discovery could be male or female, as the script doesn’t currently specify the need for a specific gender in that role. So that would seem to imply that the lead character, at least at the start of the show, isn’t in charge, which is an interesting shift.

There are around 7 main cast members, and they are promising a few more aliens than you would usually get on a Trek series. Fuller also noted he intends to add in a gay character. This isn’t some token gesture, but rather more ‘flipping the bird’ to the people that sent him hate mail whilst he worked on Voyager, when rumours surfaced that the character Seven of Nine (played by Jeri Ryan) might be written as gay. They also mentioned “there will be robots”, but it’s not clear if they would be crew or villains.

What Is The Tone & Structure Of The Show?

Darker and gritty. Or at least darker than we’ve come to expect from Star Trek. He clarified, that tv is generally darker in tone than it was when Trek was last on TV, and the show will reflect that, but don’t expect it to go full Game Of Thrones on you! “There will probably be slightly more graphic content”, said Fuller, who also mentioned the language might also be a little more graphic… “We discuss every day about language… Is it appropriate to have a bridge blow up and have somebody say, ‘Oh, s*%t!'”

The first season will have 13 episodes, and will be more serialised than previous Treks. Fuller compared it to being like a novel, with each episode being a chapter.

Where & When Can I See Star Trek: Discovery?

Star Trek: Discovery starts shooting in October, and lands in January MAY 2017 (pushed back at Bryan Fuller’s request). If you’re in the US, you can catch it on CBS All Access, however, in the UK, you can watch it weekly on Netflix.

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