Ted Sullivan Dishes On Discovery Drama, Star Trek Villains, Kirk’s Death, And More

Today Star Trek: Discovery writer and supervising producer Ted Sullivan found himself in an airport lounge in Toronto headed back to the writers room in LA and just like he did on his flight to Toronto, he took to Twitter to answer some fan questions.

This time Ted was on his own as he was leaving Kirsten Beyer behind in Toronto to keep an eye on the episode she wrote which is currently in production. As always, he wouldn’t talk spoilers but he did share some information from Discovery while answering questions, including some from TrekMovie and TrekMovie team members. We have curated and organized the highlights from this latest ‘Ted Trek Talk’ below.

Discovery carving its own path and taking on Game of Thrones

Morality, drama, and some laughs

Can they top Dukat?

Jason Isaacs was intimidating (at first)

Guess which Trek series Ted thinks was “troublesome”

Showing Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Scotty some love

Kirk’s death sucked

Hopes and fears

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

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Taking on Game of Thrones ? Ha Ha! ,sure lets alienate half the population with dumb CBS access.That will do it ha ha !!

I know plenty of people who subscribe to HBO just to watch Thrones. For CBS, it’s going to be a matter of awareness and hype. Make a great show, the audience shows up.

Agreed, Thomas. Very ballsy to compare it to GOT.

which half of the population is alienated by All Access which is available to anyone with Internet and $9?

Really, this nonsense is transparently exposing a less than intelligent sub-group. lol

I have a buddy who only subscribes to HBO when GOT is on, I get it. Now in my opinion, HBO is something I would subscribe to (and I do) all day long before subscribing to CBS AA, for a number of reasons. Just saying, to compare Discovery to Game of Thrones seems to me a tall order, indeed, on a number of levels.

Well the question was asked. Should he have said “well, GoT is really really good and we wont be that good. Maybe we’ll try to be as good OINTB but not as good as GoT”.

Of course he pounced on the question. I dont know if they will be that good. Surely they wont be as popular. But if they have the desire to create a world as visionary and well written/acted/produced as GoT, then it doesnt really matter if they fall short because falling short of GoT’s likely means a pretty damn good show anyway!

Agreed. Doubt very much that they’ll clear that bar (or come anywhere close to it), but it’s nice that they’re even shooting for it.

I dont have internet at home, and im sure not going to get it for one television series of 15 episodes. I will wait until they’re on dvd awhile.

The question is can they do it? Netflix tried it with that Marico Polo show and though I did like the show it clearly could not compete with GoT. Now if ST: Discovery has the same level or writing/acting and production value as GoT and is still very clearly Star Trek we all win and they can go to town with me $9 a month. The thing is it needs to be that good especially since the rest of the world gets it on Netflix (minus Canada).

Some good erudite replies ! Why bury Kirk under rocks ? (I get what Ted is saying . Starfleet’s legendary Captain can’t be allowed to reappear?) . But , Bill Shatner wrote some of the most earth-shattering and climactic Sequels of Star Trek out of his own feeble finale !

Wow this guy knows his Trek. I love everything he’s saying. And I never even considered we would get a villain in this season for some reason. When he suggested they could have one as cunning and complex as Gul Dukat thats music to my ears. I know he didn’t EXACTLY say that but I’m just hopeful if we do get one we get someone like that. Oh and please not another guy who wants revenge on the Federation because he think they did him wrong. That ground has been (well) covered.

And yes agreed with him, Kirks death shouldn’t have ended with his body being buried on some foreign planet. I get they wanted to have a ‘moment’ but take the guy back to Earth at least.

Shatner invoking his favored nations clause? “Well Leonard’s character’s body got left on an alien planet, ergo…” Seriously, I always thought they did it in a misguided attempt to create a “dramatic” visual because the death itself was so anticlimactic. They knew they needed SOMEthing…

Definitely it was to create that visual. And I suppose Picard didnt know the fate of the Enterprise or when he might be rescued. So he wasnt going to hang out on a hot rock with the corpse of Kirk.

Either way, Star Fleet would have to retrieve his body anyway. When I was younger I occasionally wrote Trek fiction to amuse friends and I did a sequel to Generations where the ship containing Kirk’s body returns to Earth and dozens of star ships were lined up for the body-ship to pass by. Would have been a cool visual.

Yes, that would have been a cool visual. As a matter of fact, ANY closure as to what ceremony they would have had for Kirk would have been great.

even better, not having that horrible story where both Kirk and Picard look like idiots.

And to have Kirk and never have him on the bridge of the Enterprise…what a crime (I heard there was a treatment that saw him take command of the E-D at one point) or use his tactical prowess.

It really showed that the writers either didnt understand Kirk or didnt care (I know Berman was all about TNG but still, do some research, have some respect). They had Kirk “beat up” Soren. What a great use of Kirk.

Amen to that. Such wasted opportunities.

Of the Guls, I liked Damar the best: good soldier, accepting of Dukat’s turning to the Dominion to be rid of Klingon invaders,turned drunk & disillusioned with Dominion’s arrogant Changelings and their toady servants, turned resentful at Dominion’s berating & betrayal of Cardassians in favor of untrustworthy Breen, Dominion’s new #1 allies, turned loyal guerrilla fighter for Cardassia and Alpha/Beta Quadrant denizens (Feds, Klingons, Romulans) fighting against the Dominion invaders, died a hero of The Resistance.

But my favorite Cardassian is Garak; “In The Pale Moonlight” is tops for Garak AND Capt. Sisko.

Oh yeah Damar was great. I loved his arc and the turn from evil to almost the hero. Thats why DS9 is so great, there are very few Damar’s in the franchise unfortunately.

Yeah, Damar’s character arc was great – and one that I didn’t see coming. The plotting of the last season of DS9 was epic. Of all the ST series, I think that one ended the best, going out at the peak of their creativity.

Agreed on Damar, kitbash. I liked his arc as well. A good solder in all the senses of the phrase.

And I loved how Gul Dukat, a good character with moments where you almost like him to moments where you totally despise him, but ever and always puffed up with his own importance, took himself down with his grandiosity.

I am really looking forward to Jason Isaacs performance. He’s great in everything he’s in. Also, the tag team action with the writers shuttling in and out is fascinating. I like that the writers are so heavily involved even after finishing their scripts.

If you guys have any interesting questions for Ted Sullivan you can write them below as i alweys seem to go to sleap right be4 Ted has a Q&A. I can ask him the next time.

Loved the question on Shat. Kind of dodged if he would put him on show

Would like to hear any detail about the series’ cinematographers. I have seen THREE credited thus far, and am wondering if they had one for pilot, then are alternating between other two, or if this is again more GoT-like and requiring so much prep that DPs only do a few each season. Also any info about when they are going to start doing tech interviews — I’ve got a magazine assignment to cover the show’s VFX that I’m waiting to get started on, but also would be interested in pursuing a more general cinematography/workflow piece.

Someone please tell Ted that it’s spelled “Picard” not “Piccard”!

How could he make such an egregious error!?

Not a terrible error. I’ve met people who spell it Picard, Piccard, and Pickard.

I liked Q’s line: “telegram for a Mr. Jack Pickerd”.

Why is this so funny to me? LMAO…

Ok, no fans over 50 and fans of the original series post any opinions after this article. That seems to be the attitude on here.

Well, that’s ‘double dumb a** on them’ Jack. 51 this year and a TOS fan (and TNG, DS9, Voyager), and I’ll be posting.

So he says Adonais is his favorite villain… even though Adonais isn’t even the character’s name. It’s Apollo.

He said Nomad was his favorite villain, he said Adonais was #5. It’s okay to mislabel your fifth favorite.

“Enterprise” as “troublesome?” I am a big fan of that underrated series — it deserved another three seasons. However, if I have to analyze the “troublesome” remark, I would not consider it a criticism of show quality. Likely, I believe that adjective would reference the effect the show had on ST canon — it established aspects of Trek lore that the Discovery writers are likely experiencing difficulty in surmounting. The biggest and most obvious example is perhaps the Klingons. As we know, “Enterprise,” provided us with an explanation for the lack of cranial ridges at the time of TOS. How Mr. Sullivan and the other Discovery writers address this issue — and likely others raised by “Enterprise” storytelling — is likely a troubling challenge. Indeed, we fans of the original five series are always carefully looking to see how the new show will defy the canonical aspects imposed by the previous shows.

Enterprise was a great concept with really really poor writing.

Yep. Whether it was the writers, producers, or studio influence fault, Enterprise was three seasons of missed opportunities. By the time they righted the ship, it was too late.

I cannot agree. The writing was solid; Seasons 3-4, where the writing team was helmed by Manny Coto, the writing was exceptional. Season 3, and the entire Xindi Arc was an example of some of the best writing yet for a ST series. Similarly, Season 4 really seemed to establish the overriding legacy of the series. Sadly, Paramount bailed when the series was finally hitting its stride. Now, I can agree that the series finale, which turned it into a TNG retrospective, was a travesty. I do not blame the normal writing staff for that final episode; rather, I believe it the fault of the show runners.

Notwithstanding, I stand by my earlier remarks. The “Discovery” writing staff is likely troubled by the fact that the earlier writing of canon was trumped by Enterprise and its ‘first in time’ chronological position.

I would see as a while the writing was mediocre, but there were definitely some a lot of standout episodes. I am actually one of the few who did not really care for the serialized storylines, and never understood the Manny Coto hype train.

I would say* and *a lot of standouts not some. EDIT BUTTON PLEASE — I tend to edit my own comments while writing them and forget to delete words…

I gave up on Enterprise early but when I finally came back to it a few years ago and watched the series as a whole I was actually quite surprised how much I loved it. Maybe it was just no Star Trek on for awhile and it was nice to have those stories again but I did think every season improved on the other which is a good sign they were finding their way.

The problem with Enterprise was that they didn’t really go to the heart of their premise until it was too late. It was angled as a show that would show the founding of the Federation and tie in TOS a bit and did neither of that until later. Thats what fans wanted to see. The Romulan war should’ve started in 3rd season and begin to set the seeds of the Federation. They would’ve got the fan boys on board quick. Instead they focused the temporal cold war and a lot of forgetful one off stories.

But yes now watching it I have grown to love it. I still watch an odd episode here and there every week. I’m curious to see how much Discovery will tie into its story line since they (once again) shoved another prequel down our throats.

TOS fan first, almost 50, and totally cool with these comments and curious. Is Dukat the focus of Ted’s attention in the sense that like Q, he worked throughout the series? Is Ted interested more in a moral opposition to DSC’s Michael or a strategic one? What will it say about the series? Will this choice change meanings over time?

Like the original Twin Peaks, I could never make time to see every episode of DS9 in order and found the storylines too confusing and not worth trying to catch up to. I simply had to enjoy it for what it is.

Sadly for all the great effort of the makeup artists and the actors, I could never tell the Cardassians apart. Hard to step into their dramas for a single episode and care.

Now this can be handled with better recaps and not only better character design but also consistently specific cinematography for each character’s arc.

Without recurring guest characters, TOS handled dramatic lighting in a way both exemplary and typical of the late 60s – it’s now or never for those characters. But after TOS, all Star Trek lighting is rather bland and does little or anything for the audience on an emotional level- all that’s left is camera positions and movements. This is a problem with a lot of films which deal with loads of people who are all in uniform. Presenting individuality in that circumstance has always been an existential creative problem in filmmaking.

Hopefully, with a GOT level of cinematography, we may finally see multiple antagonist characters in DSC important to the novelistic feel of the series and more specific each time we meet them. And hopefully we won’t have to wiki each character or totally geek out about it. I know what I want – Mad Men in space. They obviously wore unforims too.

Want immediate ratings and all kinds of positive press? Bring back William Shatner as Captain Kirk…Just saying!

This seems totally possible…. He should do it…

And Ted never really answered the question on Shatner

If these cats can get just in the hunt of Marc Alaimo’s Gul Dukat, we are in business. Well, at least have a shot.

And I pay for HBO Now for GoT. I watch other stuff to try and get my 14 bucks a month worth.

He’s clearly very good at writing replies to fan questions! If he can write SCRIPTS that well, we’ll be in good hands. ;-)

He definitely scores points for his thoughts on Kirk’s death; one of the low points of Trek for me. Nice to have someone who doesn’t always try to be diplomatic with answers.

would score more points if he fixed it

Discovery will be more troublesome than Enterprise.