During today’s Mission: New York panel about Star Trek: Discovery, writer Kirsten Beyer revealed that the series will have a very strong cross-media element.
Beyer divulged that a book from Simon and Schuster and new comic book series from IDW will be published concurrent with the premiere of the new series in January. Beyer, known to fans for her Voyager novels, but be overseeing both projects, which are being developed at the same time as the series itself. She announced that noted Trek author David Mack will be writing the inaugural novel. The creative team for the comic was not disclosed, although she did say she’s working with writer Mike Johnson”to learn how comics work”.
Of course, that was not all that was said at today’s panel. Beyer and Discovery writer/consulting producer Nicholas Meyer talked more about the show’s development, and what we should expect come January.
The panel began with a video message from executive producers Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, and Fuller elaborated on the signifigance of the show title:
One of the biggest responsibilities of a Star Trek series is to christen the ship, and this ship is called the Discovery for a few reasons, not the least of which is Stanley Kubrick’s contribution to the Discovery in 2001: A Space Odyssey, NASA’s vessel, the Discovery, and also the sense of discovery and 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 brand new worlds and new alien races to explore and understand and collaborate with.
Kurtzman spoke of the challenges in updating Trek for a 2017 audience:
What we attempted to do with the films was to bring Trek into the modern age. Now that that has been done, we have a new bar. We now have to modernize Trek for television.
Fuller spoke of wanting to tell a Star Trek story in a different way:
We needed to look at life on a Starfleet vessel from a different perspective so we introduced a character who is not a captain, but is going to be interacting with the crew in a whole new dynamic which gives us an opportunity to tell a story about life on a Starfleet vessel.
The pair were asked about what is on their wish list for the series, and Beyer said that she hoped they would be able to integrate “the sense of optimism that has always infused Trek without painting too pretty a picture about the world we live in. Rising to that occasion is my biggest hope…it’s a shared goal by everyone working on the show.”
Setting the series 10 years before TOS has unleashed all sorts of speculation as to why that particular era was chosen. Meyer indicated that the reason was fairly simple:
I think it’s about finding a space in the chronology where there’s room to maneuver and create stuff. I think what Bryan didn’t want to do was use the same characters that had been used on other series. So he looked and found this opening.
The announcement of any new Star Trek series carries with it an enormous amount of anticipation, and Meyer wanted to temper that excitement somewhat:
Everybody should lower their expectations. If you carry on in this way not only is there inordinate pressure being put on those of us creating it but you’re also putting pressure on yourselves, which is inevitably going to lead to some sort of disappointment. You can’t please everybody, you can’t please everybody all the time. Art is not done by committee. With all due respect, fans don’t know what is best for fans. All I’m suggesting is that if you go with open minds and open hearts, you may be rewarded. Whereas if you go with a set of impossible to realize expectations, which even you cannot specifically define, then we’re bound to fail. And so I’m saying, you know, get loose.
-There will be new aliens and “interesting life forms” who will be part of the new cast.
-The show will be a combination of serialized storytelling and standalone episodes.
-Progressive values will be manifest in the storytelling.
While they didn’t reveal a great deal today, there’s definitely some things to chew on. Let the speculation commence!
More Mission NY Coverage: