While Bryan Fuller has generally done a good job of keeping the finer details of new series Star Trek: Discovery under wraps, we’re gradually starting to find out more about the first Trek series since Enterprise finished in 2005. Here are all the latest factoids…
1) It will be set before The Original Series (but after Enterprise)
Although this is very much a brave new world, Star Trek: Discovery will take inspiration from the past, being set in the ‘Prime’ universe rather than the ‘Kelvin’ universe (as they have apparently been designated). “We are going to be set in the Prime Universe, and we’re about ten years before Kirk,” said showrunner Bryan Fuller. “So that gives us an opportunity to bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series and also to really help us redefine the visual style of Star Trek.”
2) It’s going to be like a novel
We’d already heard that the series was going to be more serialised in structure rather than the standalone episodes that The Original Series and The Next Generation characterised, but here Fuller was able to expand on this: “it’s really telling it as though it’s a novel, with each episode being a chapter of that novel. And within that chapter is a beginning, middle, and an end to that segment of the story. So we will have episodes that exist by themselves, but are a piece in a much bigger story.”
3) The lead character will be a woman…
Fuller’s comments about there being a more diverse cast look to be bearing fruit, with it being confirmed that the lead character will be female. Elaborating, Fuller said, “Our lead of the show is going to be subject to that same level of who’s the best actor and also what can we say with diversity in every role that we represent on the show. And we’ll probably have a few more aliens than you normally do in a Star Trek cast, because usually you’ve got one person with a bumpy forehead…”
4) …but she won’t be a captain
In a break from Star Trek lore, the lead character this season will not be a captain, so for once we won’t be getting the perspective of the Discovery’s head honcho. “We’ve seen six series now from captains’ points of view,” points out Fuller, “and to see a character from a different perspective on a starship, who has a different dynamic relationship with the captain, with subordinates, felt like it was going to give us richer context to have different types of stories with that character.”
5) There will be an alien character called Saru
It wouldn’t be Star Trek without alien characters, and you can be sure that there will be plenty in Discovery. While no main cast members have been confirmed yet, Fuller did reveal the name of one of them: an alien called Saru. Sounds suspiciously Vulcan to us, although Fuller’s curtailed description of someone who “has a wide…” doesn’t quite fit with this.
6) Spock’s mum could feature
Okay, this one’s perhaps a bit since tenuous since Fuller didn’t outright confirm or deny this, although he did speak at length about his affection for Amanda Grayson, raising hopes that she could be included somewhere down the line: “I love that character. I loved Winona Ryder’s portrayal of her. And it’s a great character. It would be fun, in some iteration of this show, to incorporate her and her storyline. She’s not a central part of the show, but we love that character.
7) The Original Series cast might make cameos
As this is set just ten years before, we would be extremely surprised not to see at least a few out of Kirk, Spocky, Bones et al – although probably not until Season 2. “There’s so much about the history that we get through this first season, and establish our own Star Trek universe with a crew that is going to be reimagining a lot of Star Trek elements, and we’ll be looking in the second season to open up to more familiar characters and how they can feed into the weave, but first and foremost I think we really want to establish the greatness of the characters that are going to be introduced.”
8) We’ll probably see some Bryan Fuller regulars
Fuller has become renowned for casting the same actors in his shows, with the likes of Caroline Dhavernas, Molly Shannon, Beth Grant and Lee Pace becoming regular fixtures. Although his comment would appear to indicate that none of them will be main cast members, he does raise hope of them showing up at some point: “There’s a lot of folks that we’re trying to figure out if their schedules are going to permit their participation.”
9) There will be seven main cast members
Following on in Star Trek casting tradition, Fuller confirmed that there will be seven main cast members – one of which will be the female liutenant commander, at least one alien, and quite possibly an LGBTQ character.
10) There’ll likely be more violence
Although we can’t imagine a Star Trek that isn’t family-friendly, Discovery will have more of a free rein when it comes to swearing and depictions of sex and violence. “We’re going to have a broader spectrum to explore those issues,” confirmed Fuller, “but it is still Star Trek. And we are not subject to broadcast standards and practices, but neither – you know, Hannibal was, and we got away with murder.”
Star Trek: Discovery will air on Netflix from January 2017. You can download Star Trek: The Complete Manual digital edition from GreatDigitalMags.com now. For all the latest TV news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.