Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller revealed today that the new series will be set ten years before The Original Series, essentially bridging the gap between Enterprise and TOS. The show will focus on an event in Federation history that has been talked about but never explored. Fuller also confirmed that the show will feature a human female lead (a lieutenant commander, not a captain), a gay character, and lots of aliens.
Fuller speaks to the room at #TCA16 (Photo: @StarTrekRoom)
In a panel presented today at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Bryan Fuller announced that DSC will bridge the gap between Enterprise and The Original Series, with the new show set ten years before Kirk’s five-year mission. Fuller teased that there was an event in the history of the Federation that had been discussed, but not explored. When asked if it was set during the Romulan War, Fuller said “close, but no cigar.” Fuller also denied that the show will revolve around the battle of Axanar or Section 31, but he hinted that the clandestine Starfleet organization will pop up in DSC.
As we’ve known for some time, the first season will be serialized. Fuller confirmed again that the 13-episode season will feature self-contained stories that contribute to the larger arc but wrap themselves up by the end of the episode.
First gay character for Trek on TV
Fuller confirmed that DSC would feature a gay character, more aliens than any other Star Trek series, and robots.
“Absolutely we’re having a gay character,” said Fuller.
Fuller remembered working on Star Trek Voyager and noted that he kept a file full of hate mail that he received after it had been rumored that Voyager would have Star Trek’s first gay character.
“We’ve come a long way since then. I feel like actually gay rights have come a lot further in that time that race issues and women’s issues.”
Discovery to have female and male leads
Fuller announced that DSC will have a female lead who has yet to be cast. Fuller hopes to cast a minority actor for the role. Commenting on the female lead, Fuller said that DSC will, “explore a woman’s journey that will teach her to get along with others in the galaxy.” Fuller believes that for a protagonist to truly understand something alien, she has to first understand herself. However, Fuller noted that the female lead would not be the captain of the U.S.S. Discovery.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the female lead will have the rank of lieutenant commander but with “some caveats”.
“We’ve seen six series from the captain’s point of view,” Fuller told the audience. “To see a character from a different perspective on the starship… it gave us richer context.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Discovery will feature 7 lead characters as diverse as we have come to expect from Trek since The Original Series.
“Star Trek started with wonderful expression of diversity in its cast: a Russian, a black woman, an Asian, a Vulcan… we’re continuing that tradition and our lead of the show is going to be subject of that same level of who is the best actor and what can we say about diversity in every role we’ll have on the show,” he said, noting there would be a few more aliens in its fleet than previous incarnations of the franchise. “We wanted to paint a picture of Starfleet that’s indicative of encountering people who are much more different than we are.”
TVLine is reporting that one of Discovery‘s original alien characters will be named Saru.
Discovery on CBS All Access
Commenting further on DSC, Marc DeBevoise, president and COO of CBS Interactive points out that he expects Star Trek: Discovery to get about 15 million viewers for its series premiere on CBS. He noted that Star Trek TV shows tend to average 2-to-5 million viewers for their first two years as reruns on Netflix. “We think this is a pretty good bet for us to make to grow our subscriber base next year,” he said.
CBS confirmed that All Access will have advertisements, but those ads will constitute a “limited commercial load”, which equates to roughly 25% less that what is seen on broadcast television (or about 12 minutes of ads per hour of show). When asked why viewers have to pay for CBS All Access when there are advertisements, DeBevoise said “the value is the depth and breath of the service that you can’t get anywhere else.”