‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Writers Answer Fan Questions On Way To Set

Kirsten Beyer and Ted Sullivan of Star Trek: Discovery

On Friday, Star Trek: Discovery writer and supervising producer Ted Sullivan announced that he (along with fellow writer Kirsten Beyer) was headed back to Toronto to oversee production on an episode. He added that he and Kirsten would hold a spoiler-free Twitter Q&A while they waited for their flight. Here are the highlights.

First script for Discovery‘s ‘keeper of the flame’

TrekMovie asked Kirsten (who has written a number of Star Trek novels but never written for TV before) what it felt like to be gearing up to see her first script produced.

Ted talked about Kirsten’s role within the Discovery writer’s room.

Beyer also fielded a question about her role as a novelist (noting the one already written by David Mack).

Sullivan on how Discovery is a ‘rich and deep’ show

One thing was clear, they’re still working under strict rules about divulging anything specific about Discovery:

But in a question about the Memory Alpha wiki, Ted did have this to say in general about Discovery.

They also talked about some of their favorite performances from the Discovery cast.

Sullivan on Kirk’s cowboy diplomacy

Ted was asked about Star Trek’s prime directive.

Star Trek memories, moments, ships and favorites

One thing the pair wasn’t shy about was their shared love for Star Trek.

First contact with Star Trek?

Favorite ship classes?

Trek fans take note: Sam Witwer, who asked the ships question, has some high-end sci-fi cred with appearances & voicework on Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica.

TNG or DS9?

Favorite characters?

Favorite Federation-defining scene?

Favorite Voyager episodes?

Favorite species?

Star Trek planet to visit?

Favorite Star Trek speech?

And then it came time to board their plane and the Q&A came to an end, but with a promise of more to come.

Even within the rules on secrecy, it is good to see Ted continue to evangelize Star Trek: Discovery and interact with the fan base as much as he does. To keep up with Ted follow him on Twitter at @karterhol.

Klingons on a plane

Ted and Kirsten aren’t the only ones flying into Toronto to shoot another episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Yesterday Mary Chieffo who plays Klingon Commander L’Rell and Kenneth Mitchell, who plays the Klingon Kol were also flying in, as noted by the below tweet from Mary. So it appears that the Klingons continue to be part of the story for Star Trek: Discovery even halfway through the first season.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

What is Jason Gorn?

That little Gorn figurine that has appeared in a variety of set and cast photos.

The Star Trek equivalent of Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne.

But Jason Gorn is a little bit of a diva ;)

This was actually cool. No specifics on the show but you really do get a ‘worldview’ from them about Star Trek. They seem to love it all and thats great because it really expands their outlook on possible stories.

I’m really curious about Kirsten Bayer too because her Voyager novels sound really popular and its interesting to know she’s the keeper of the flame all things Star Trek. I’m really looking forward to this show more and more.

I’ve read her first 4 post-Voyager novels , and she is a good writer . She tends towards dramatic solutions as opposed to technical resolution , Tiger2 !

Nice, great to hear! I have actually never read a Star Trek novel in my life. But maybe I will see if I can find hers online and order the first one. Never too late to try something.

Interesting, now i need to look them up. I’m not a big Novel reader, do i miss a lot? Are the novels canon?

Awesomesauce , the Franchise contracted her to write them as a continuation of the Voyager story and crew . Christie Golden wrote the first 4 , then Kirsten Beyer continued with 9+ Novels . It seems that when most Fans talk of Canon , they’re referring to the Movies , then some the the Series , and then come the book-reading Fans who consider that Canon as well . The post-Voyager Book Series is very good and detailed . I haven’t finished the post-Voyager Book Series , because it was only a pasttime , and they were getting so deep , and I really didn’t have time to spare to get that involved . If you are wanting to get into Star Trek reading , I would start with the TOS books which are easier to read to start with . Or if you are a Voyager fan , start with the Series based set , because most of the post-Series books , from any of the Series , tend to be more detailed and deeper , and harder to read and follow , with much longer and more complex stories .

Defender of canon – lol, we’ll see!

Kirsten Beyer will most likely remain the defender of canon among the staff of DSC no matter what fans may think of the show.

Her integrity is not the concern here. It’s her ability to actually defend anything against the demands of CBS execs. Because canon was never foremost on their mind, so to say.

Surely Kirk is a more nuanced character than to be easily dismissed as as exhibiting “Cowboy diplomacy.” All the captains had their moments of that.

Well, Picard is the one who described it as cowboy diplomacy.

Yeah, I’m reminded of “Bread and Circuses,” when Kirk was willing to let himself be killed AND willing to let both Spock and McCoy be killed, rather than break the Prime Directive.

I’ve always held that Kirk wasn’t a cowboy , but his impulsiveness was part of his brilliance !

The “cowboy diplomacy” quip was a reference to Picard, Data & Spock in “Unification,” just as the comments about how Kirk’s command style wouldn’t fly was a quote from Janeway.

The dismissive nature of Captain Kirk and what they think, “Not sure his kind of leadership would fly today”, about his leadership when this show is 10yrs prior to Kirk is troublesome to me. Makes me think again back to when Fuller was still overseeing this show and was making all his very left leaning comments. I hope that just because he doesn’t agree with Kirk’s way of handling business he doesn’t let some of that roguish ways from seeping into the show. That was one thing I didn’t always like about Picard and TNG he was too much of a by the books type of character.

I said “Doesn’t” when I meant “Does” let some of the roguish ways Kirk is known for to seep into the show. I mean it was his way that led him to beating the Kobayashi Maru something I’m sure Picard would of failed.

Well Picard and Kirk were two very different characters, and that was by design. Picard was the older, wiser, more diplomatic leader, rather than the young, brash commander.

It remains to be seen what kind of character the captains in Discovery are. But there is no “right” or “wrong” just different choices in character.

Yeah but even Picard considered it a time period thing. That during Kirks time that was how it was. Was there even a Prime Directive during TOS?

Yes, specifically mentioned in “Bread and Circuses”.

The Prime Directive was created partway through the first season of TOS. So when Kirk seemed to break it in some of the very early episodes, it’s because they hadn’t made it up yet.

And in that “Bread and Circuses” episode that Thorny mentioned, Kirk was willing to let himself be killed AND willing to let both Spock and McCoy be killed, rather than break the Prime Directive. So he’s not as uncaring about it as people portray him as!

Of course there was. It was invented in TOS. Kirk just skirted around it a bit more than Picard and others did. And people have to remember we ARE talking a century difference of ideas. I mean how people did things in 1917, even with many of the same laws are more refined in 2017.

That was a quote from Janeway are: Kirk.

Yeah, in reading their answers TOS doesn’t seem high on their list of favorites. Kind of weird to have a show set 10 years before TOS written by people who’s sensibilities seem closer to the 24th century shows. Whatever. We’ll see how it turns out.

I sure hope there is more Horatio Hornblower and deep space adventure than sipping tea and talking about how wrong the adventure would be. THis is 10 years prior to Kirk and they will be truly exploring the wild perils of the final frontier…this attitude towards Kirk’s way of commanding concerns me as well.

I’ll admit: I had to google to find out what the heck a Vesta-class starship was.

Chats like this fill me with enthusiasm for the show. They’re obviously having fun, and obviously at least considering questions about ‘canon’ – both great signs. Can’t wait for this fall!

“Not sure his kind of leadership would fly today”
OK, I’m out. If they don’t get that Kirk’s American swagger *IS* Star Trek, then they should go back to writing socialist TNG fanfiction.


And they are 100% right. Its no way the stuff did then would even fly TODAY in the 21st century. That was the swinging 60s, this show is being made for today. Can’t understand that, move on.

“Today”. Who cares about “today”? If I wanted “today”, I wouldn’t be watching a TV show about 23rd century, would I?

Exactly. Entertain me in an enjoyable fun fashion. Don’t preach to me.

Kirk is played by a Quebecer, the most socialist people in North America.

Star Trek has always leaned socialist. Besides, Star Trek is and never was defined by one character, nor should it be.

That’s a quote from Janeway…

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

You know that William Shatner is Canadian, right? So Kirk’s swagger is actually NOT American. :-)

That is a Janeway quote from Voyager.
I will judge Discovery when I see it.

There are at least two younger women writers on the show that I am excited about. I do care about cannon – But I would like to see starting drama. No techno solutions!!!!!!!!

We Old Fans always hope for drama as opposed to a quick technical solution , Trek In A Cafe ! We Will See !

Agreed. TNG was the absolute worst about pulling a techno solution out of a hat in the last 5 minutes. No thank you.

Hopefully the actual writer knows how to spell Picard, unlike the producer.

Hey i hope i could ask some interesting questions in the name of all of us :)

…I’m supposed to trust these writers when they can’t spell “Picard”? Seriously, he’s your favorite character and you don’t actually know his name? Too bad, would have saved them an extra character they could have used to drop the childish, idiotic, JJ Abrams-style secrecy about basic plot details. Is it really too much to just tell what the story is? Really?! But I can happily cope even with this stupid secrecy if they can promise to deliver on three things: 1)that the show will focus on hope, possibilities, and exploration again, 2) for this to be canon-compliant in the prime universe, and 3) for the writers to frakking spell the names of iconic characters correctly in future correspondence. (Is it a code? Are they holding you hostage? Spell “Crusher” with a ‘K’ next time to confirm and we’ll send help!)

Renee, I’m sure CBS is the one telling them to be secret about it. I’m sure sure they would love to tell you a lot of things, but they all sign NDAs for a reason.

And yes it was a typo on Twitter and you can’t edit. No biggie and everyone makes covfefe sometimes.

Once is a typo. Thrice isn’t.

I’m glad to see all their favourites are in the TNG era. I’m born in ’84, everyone I know who is younger and within about 10 years older all love TNG era, we find TOS a little too dated. I’m sure this will be fun and I’m happy about, however, there are more people that like Trek than people who watched it in the 60’s and 70’s.

And what is wrong with those who watched it in the 60s and 70s? Do their opinions not count? Give me a break. I didn’t watch it until the 80s but I still think the original series is the best of all of them.

Then there is the world wide mega box-office of the original era reboot (iMovie audiences don’t know Prime from Kelvin and they don’t care) compared to the numbers pulled in by the TNG films. Add to that the DVD sales of TOS versus the disappointing sales of TNG remastered…along with the fact that TOS /Kirk and Spock era merchandising sells much better than TNG items (that’s why there isn’t as much of it, despite having 7 seasons versus 3.) THe appeal of Kirk’s era is very real and very strong and Star Trek, at the end of the day is a business and TOS makes money where the other spinoffs do not….TOS’ influence on this new series will be strong, you can bank on it.

I am around your age and TOS is my favourite Star Trek series.

By the way nowadays TNG is just as dated as TOS, just in a different way. While you have in TOS the 60s vibe, TNG is clearly a product of the 80s, early 90s. As I think that the 60s had more style, optically I prefer TOS, too. Character wise TOS is also clearly superior in my opinion. There is a reason why they based the new big Hollywood movies on TOS characters and not on TNG characters. TOS characters are iconic.

I didn’t get the impression that they called DSC “rich and deep”, but Star Trek as a whole…

After the Q&A, I’m a little more cautiously optimistic, but still dislike the new look (and the need for it) of the Klingons (unless there’s a good plot reason that we’ll find out) or the fondness of political correctness on the show. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not homophobic or anything, I just think that it’s one thing to depict a LGBT character as a normal member of the crew, and another thing to advertise it as “look, we’ve got a gay character, aren’t we great and so 21st century? You all have to like him”…

Who is making you like the gay character? I’m pretty sure no TV show ever has dictated to its audience which characters the audience is supposed to like or not. The character happens to gay, you can like him or not.

That’s not what I meant, and whether I like that character or not depends on the character and the performance of the actor/actress, not on sexual orientation.

What I meant is that I’m sick of CBS going “look what we’ve done, we included a gay character, because it’s so 2017 of us to do, and it is expected of us” instead of not making a big deal out of it… Such things seem to happen all the time in different places over the last couple of years, and I find that if we’re all equal and sexual orientation shouldn’t matter, it also shouldn’t be headline news either…

You are right that it shouldn’t matter. But it does. For some people it matters in a positive way because they feel that Star Trek should have had a major LGBT character long ago, and now it finally does. If this had happened years ago nobody would be talking much about it now but it didn’t. For others, it does matter because they are opposed to it. I am confident that they will treat the gay character as a normal member of the crew. He has a job (mycologist or something if I remember correctly).

I just don’t understand how you can make the conclusion that the character’s sexual orientation is “a big deal” without seeing one minute of the show? Who beyond us hardcore fans are even aware that there’s a gay character on the show? Did something in the trailer make you think it would be a “big deal”? Loosen up, dude. And if you have to say “I’m not homophobic or anything”, then you might a little homophobic.

They should let people here ask questions then we might get some interesting back & forth as opposed to this.

Also, have to be concerned when they spell Picard wrong repeatedly.

No one wondered why the Klingons look like they’re from Ghostbusters? #JJTrekPart2

“make sure we get details right” Base on what I see you haven’t gotten ANY details right. This show is supposed to take place 10 years before the events of the original series. From what I see there was no attempt to make this show appear to belong to the Star Trek universe of that time period. What a joke.

If this show takes place before Kirk, Didn’t Janice Lester say there aren’t any women captains in Starfleet?