Over the past week, we have been posting roundtable interviews with the New York Comic Con Star Trek: Discovery panelists about the show’s second season. Yesterday’s post with executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin was our final interview about Discovery.
However, we also wanted to talk to the producer pair about their capacity as the new overseers of CBS’ plans for an expanded Star Trek universe on Television. We already teased the news from NYCC that they’re planning the Picard show as an ongoing series, but we also asked about their larger plans for Star Trek on TV, including an animated series and more.
A different tone for each new Trek show
At the big Picard series announcement in August, Alex Kurtzman preceded his introduction of Patrick Stewart by telling the crowd “we are going to be delivering you new series,” using series in the plural form. He said the Picard series would be the next show, to follow Discovery and its spin-off Star Trek: Short Treks, which debuted earlier this month. Speaking to TrekMovie at New York Comic Con, Kurtzman would not confirm their plan for which shows are coming next, however, but did say “You’ll be hearing a lot about it very soon.”
The producers didn’t want to get into specifics, but Heather Kadin was willing to talk broadly about the plans for the expanded Star Trek television universe, saying:
I think the one thing we can say which is more general is that it’s been a real conscious effort that every project we do have its own voice and occupy its own space. I don’t mean its own space in canon, I mean its own tonal vision. Because you shouldn’t tune in to Discovery and wonder if you flipped the channel, that it was Picard. They should feel different, they should have different messages coming from different people.
Bringing in a variety of talent for a variety of Star Trek
Attracting a variety of new and varied talent for the expanded Star Trek universe is something that Kadin and Kurtzman first noted when speaking to TrekMovie at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, and Kurtzman also talked about it at Star Trek Las Vegas, so it is clearly an important part of their plans.
At New York Comic Con, Kadin expanded on their new stable of creatives, telling TrekMovie:
I think that’s what we’re most excited about because the writers and the caliber of people who keep coming out of the woodwork – Michael Chabon wrote the next short that’s coming, that’s ridiculous! – who are coming and raising their hands saying “Can I please be a part of Star Trek?” has been amazing.
We have already seen evidence of this expanding talent pool. As Kadin mentioned, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon wrote for Star Trek: Short Treks and is an executive producer and writer for the Picard series. And Mike McMahan, who recently picked up an Emmy for his work as a writer and producer for the hit cult animated series Rick and Morty, wrote the upcoming Harry Mudd-focused Star Trek: Short Treks episode. Variety has also reported that a Starfleet Academy series is in the works from Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, veterans of shows like The O.C., Gossip Girl and CW’s reboot of Dynasty.
Following up what Kadin had to say, Alex Kurtzman told TrekMovie how this varied group of talent fits into their vision for the expanded Star Trek universe on TV, saying “as viewers, we want to make sure you’re getting a different experience every time you watch a different Trek show.”
Not ready to talk about animated Star Trek…yet
One specific project we were looking for an update on is a possible animated Star Trek show. Speaking to TrekMovie at San Diego Comic-Con, Kurtzman and Kadin confirmed there have been discussions about an animated Trek series. We suspect that Mike McMahan is not one-and-done with Star Trek: Short Treks, but is part of this expanded pool of talent working on Trek’s future. At New York Comic Con, we asked specifically if McMahan is developing an animated Star Trek series, which solicited wry smiles from both Kadin and Kurtzman, but after a pause, all Alex would say is: “We can’t really talk about it yet.”
McMahan, who has written a licensed Star Trek parody book (Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season.) and more recently has been developing an animated sci-fi comedy for Hulu, would be a natural fit to work with CBS to create Star Trek’s first animated series since the 1970s. We will keep asking about it, so maybe by San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Kurtzman and Kadin will be ready to talk more about Trek’s animated future.
Don’t want people to burn out on Star Trek
Star Trek: Discovery is the flagship series for the CBS All Access streaming service and at SDCC Kadin confirmed with TrekMovie that all new live-action Star Trek shows will be on All Access. In August, CBS TV Studios president David Stapf told Deadline his goal for All Access was that “there should be a Star Trek something on all the time.”
TrekMovie asked the producing pair if they see a future where Star Trek is on All Access year-round with shows running one after another in succession. “It’ll never be that clean,” replied Kadin “because also I think we want people to be excited for it to come, and not burning out.”
In the 1990s the Star Trek franchise was producing over 50 episodes across two simultaneous series in most years, leading to criticism of “franchise fatigue.” We have recently seen the CEO of Disney say that the company tried to do “too much, too fast” with Star Wars movies, leading to the studio putting some of their plans on hold, so over-saturation is again top of mind in Hollywood.
At New York Comic Con, Alex Kurtzman used a food analogy when outlining how they see the scheduling of the rollout of future Star Trek shows, telling TrekMovie: “You have a good meal and then decide to take a walk before you have your dessert. That’s how to look at it.”
Keep up with all the news on the upcoming Star Trek TV shows here at TrekMovie.com.