The longest-running science fiction series has been off TV screens for 11 years, but that will change in 2017 thanks to Star Trek Discovery.
JJ Abrams may have swiped Star Trek and rebooted it on the big screen, but everyone knows these space adventures belong on TV. From William Shatner’s original series to the Patrick Stewart-led Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Trek has always fired on all cylinders when it’s had an entire TV series to play out its smart sci-fi ideas and develop memorable characters.
A new series – from Paramount, CBS and original creator Gene Roddenberry’s production company Roddenberry Entertainment – is about to fire up its warp drive. In preparation for that, here’s everything we know so far about Star Trek Discovery.
Who’s making the series?
The brains behind the operation is Bryan Fuller, creator of Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies and Hannibal. Fuller is a certified sci-fi nerd and actually wrote episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine back in the day, so his Trekkie qualifications are there for all to see.
“My very first experience of Star Trek is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls,” Fuller said. “Before seeing a frame of the television series, the Star Trek universe lit my imagination on fire.”
Alongside him on the producing staff are Alex Kurtzman, who was instrumental in the JJ Abrams movie reboot of Trek, and Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country writer/director Nicholas Meyer. A ‘safe hands’ team if ever you needed one.
Who will be the new Captain in Star Trek Discovery?
Following on from Kirk, Picard, Janeway et al will be a new captain in Star Trek Discovery – but they won’t be the lead character in the show.
Fuller revealed that Discovery will break from tradition and centre on a female character who’s a Lieutenant Commander.
“There have been six different Star Trek series, all told from the captains’ perspective,” he said. “For this new iteration of Star Trek, we wanted to look at life on a Starfleet vessel from a different perspective, so we introduce a character who’s not a captain, but is going to be interacting with the crew in a whole new dynamic that gave us the opportunity to tell an original and complicated story about life on a Starfleet vessel.”
The show will have a crew of seven, with one of them openly gay. This will be Star Trek’s most diverse cast yet, and quotes from Fuller’s 2013 interview with Den Of Geek suggest a tantalising potential cast.
“I want Angela Bassett to be the captain, that’s who I would love to have, you know Captain Angela Bassett and First Officer Rosario Dawson,” he said of his dream Trek cast.
Why is it called Star Trek Discovery?
The show’s title comes from the name of the space vessel at the heart of the story. Fuller has said that a sci-fi movie classic also provided inspiration.
“This ship is called the Discovery for a few reasons. Not the least of which is Stanley Kubrick’s contribution to the Discovery on 2001: A Space Odyssey, NASA’s vessel the Discovery, and also the sense of discovery.” he explained to io9.
He added that the name also derives from “what the word ‘discovery’ means to Star Trek audiences who have been promised a future by Gene Roddenberry where we come together as a planet and seek new worlds and new alien races to explore and understand and collaborate with”.
What will the ship look like?
NCC-1031 is the designation of the titular ship for the series, and a couple of early CGI-heavy promos have been released giving a glimpse of what the vessel will look like. Get a glimpse of it below…
Which Star Trek timeline will Discovery take place on?
The events of Fuller’s show are set before the adventures of Captain Kirk and Spock, something writer-producer Nicholas Meyer reckons gives the production team more “room to maneuver”.
“It was about finding a space in the chronology to maneuver and create stuff. Bryan didn’t want to use the same characters from other series, and a 10-year pre-Kirk thing seemed perfect,” he said.
As well as the decade-before-Kirk setting, the show will be within original continuity, not the Kelvin Timeline created by the time travel shenanigans of JJ Abrams’ 2009 movie.
Star Trek Discovery’s enigmatic official synopsis reads:
“The brand-new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.”
Are there any Star Trek Discovery trailers?
Yes, two very quick-fire teasers have been released to get fans fired up. Watch them both below…
When and where can I watch Star Trek Discovery?
In a sign of times changing, streaming platform subscribers will be getting the show first. Though CBS will broadcast the season premiere in May 2017 (the original release date was set at January 2017), episodes after that will debut on the CBS All Action VOD service. Netflix will then show new episodes within 24 hours of their CBS broadcast.
Star Trek Discovery’s first season will tell one complete story over 13 episodes, making it different from the self-contained approach of previous Trek series.