Bryan Fuller will remain an executive producer of Discovery, but will hand off the day-to-day showrunning responsibilities to executive producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, with Akiva Goldsman joining the production in a “top creative role”. We’ve also learned more details about casting, which is nearly complete.
UPDATE, 10/26 4:40pm: Bryan’s reasons for stepping down and CBS’s official press release
UPDATE, 10/26 5:33pm: Bryan Fuller endorses Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts on twitter
UPDATE, 10/26 7:00pm: Clarifications from sources close to the production on episode budget and confirmation of Fuller’s promised openly gay character
Fuller Steps Back
The decision for Fuller to step down as showrunner was reportedly made late last week, according to Variety. DSC Executive Producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts will take over day-to-day showrunning duties as Discovery prepares to begin shooting in November. Fuller will remain an executive producer and still be involved in breaking stories, but he will no longer run the show on a daily basis as he juggles American Gods and preps a reboot of Amazing Stories for NBC.
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) October 27, 2016
Variety’s sources reported an alleged strain between CBS and Fuller over the production of the show, particularly Fuller’s ability to devote his full attention to the new series:
Fuller has penned the first two scripts for “Discovery” and has hammered out the broader story arc and mythology for the new “Trek” realm. But it became clear that he couldn’t devote the amount of time needed for “Discovery” to make its premiere date and with production scheduled to start in Toronto next month. In September, CBS pushed the Discovery premiere from January in order to give the team more time to work out stories and ensure sufficient time for production of visual effects.
Sources emphasized that CBS execs have been happy with the material that Fuller has developed to date but became increasingly concerned that he had too much on his plate and there was no willingness to delay the premiere date once more. Given that “Star Trek” is one of the Eye’s crown-jewel franchises, there’s no question that CBS has a lot at stake with “Discovery.” The show’s budget is said to be approaching the $9 million $6–7 million per episode range.
(in Variety‘s original article, they quoted a $9 million episode budget, but TrekMovie has confirmed with sources close to the production that the number is actually $6–7 million per episode)
CBS confirmed the news in a press release:
We are extremely happy with the creative direction of Star Trek: Discovery and the strong foundation that Bryan Fuller has helped us create for the series,” producers CBS Television Studios said in a statement. “Due to Bryan’s other projects, he is no longer able to oversee the day-to-day of Star Trek, but he remains an executive producer, and will continue to map out the story arc for the entire season. Alex Kurtzman, co-creator and executive producer, along with Fuller’s producing partners and longtime collaborators, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, will also continue to oversee the show with the existing writing and producing team. Bryan is a brilliant creative talent and passionate Star Trek fan, who has helped us chart an exciting course for the series. We are all committed to seeing this vision through and look forward to premiering Star Trek: Discovery this coming May 2017.
Akiva Goldsman Joins the Team
Variety is also reporting that writer-director Akiva Goldsman, who is most known for his feature film screenwriting work and his producer role on Fringe, will join Discovery in a “top creative role”. Goldsman is also expected to assist Berg and Harberts in producing Discovery as Fuller and Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman are busy with other obligations:
The new structure was worked out quickly over the weekend in an effort to allow Fuller to remain actively involved albeit not on the day-to-day production level as originally envisioned.
Casting Nearly Complete, Save Lead Role
Variety’s sources report that most of Discovery’s roles have been cast, except that of the lead female lieutenant commander.
There’s also some internal stress at the studio that the lead character, described by Fuller as a female lieutenant commander, has yet to be cast…Although no casting has been announced, sources say most of the other roles on the show have been filled. The lead character has proven a far tougher assignment.
In additional casting news, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that the following characters will make up part of the U.S.S. Discovery’s crew:
Sources tell THR the rest of the cast also will feature an openly gay actor as one of the male leads (which Fuller confirmed), a female admiral, a male Klingon captain, a male admiral, a male adviser and a British male doctor.
While THR originally reported that the cast of Discovery will feature an openly gay actor, we have confirmed with sources close to the show that one of the male leads will be an openly gay character (the sexual orientation of the actor himself is not known) as confirmed earlier by Bryan Fuller. The other characters listed here are not all entirely confirmed.
We will update this story as we learn more.