The end of the week brought two more interviews with executive producer Alex Kurtzman, and yesterday we posted highlights of what he had to say about season two of Star Trek: Discovery. The man in charge of expanding Star Trek on TV also talked about the Picard series, keeping the various Trek shows unique and gave some insights into why he feels more Star Trek is essential.
Picard show will be different, but respect the character
On Variety’s TV Take podcast, Alex Kurtzman discussed how the team has approached meeting Patrick Stewart’s challenge to create a different show that honors the past:
What we had done is shown [Patrick Stewart] in the writing that we at least wanted to try for something that was different and that he was coming to the table with people that not only loved him, but loved the character. From there we started building it very much together. Then began the process of saying, “What do we want to do and how is this different? How are we honoring Picard? How are we honoring the fans? How are we honoring The Next Generation?” And this kind of amazing thing has emerged and it will feel really different than Discovery, but that is to me a great thing and necessary thing.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kurtzman gave a little detail on how the Picard series will differ from Star Trek: Discovery:
It’s an extremely different rhythm than Discovery. Discovery is a bullet. Picard is a very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was, but I believe it will have its own rhythm. Without revealing too much about it, people have so many questions about Picard and what happened to him, and the idea we get to take time to answer those questions in the wake of the many, many things he’s had to deal with in Next Gen is really exciting. ‘More grounded’ is not the right way to put it, because season 2 of Discovery is also grounded. It will feel more… real-world? If that’s the right way to put it.
On the Variety podcast, Kurtzman discussed his perspective on approaching the fan expectations for the Picard show:
People will come into [the Picard] show with expectations and we will meet some of them and we will fail in other ways. Because there is no way for everybody to love everything. Part of the beauty of Star Trek is people debate it and have different points of view about it. Very rarely does every Trekkie or Trekker agree on everything and that is sort of the point. It asks its fans to engage in a debate and conversation. Because something is so meaningful to people and has endured for over 50 years, we couldn’t possibly please everybody and that’s okay. But where you really fall short and people get really angry, is if they feel you are somehow disrespecting the franchise or throwing a kind of darkness into a character that they did not feel that way about. If you are mutating the character into something that doesn’t feel like what they love, that’s hard. We are always debating where that line is.
Finally, Kurtzman gave EW an update on the status from the writers’ room:
The writers’ room has broken about eight episodes and we’re moving quickly and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
Learning lessons from Voyager and Deep Space Nine for expanding Trek universe
As has been reported, there are multiple Star Trek series in development at CBS. Kurtzman says he wants to avoid some of the issues that arose the last time the franchise went down this road of multiple series in the 90s:
I want to make sure that each show is a different and unique proposition. I think Deep Space Nine and Voyager got into a tricky spot where people were starting to feel they can’t tell the difference between the shows, even though they were very different, but “I can’t tell the difference so why would I pick one over the other?” Our job is to make sure that it feels like a very different prospect from any other Trek show that exists. In the same way in the world of Marvel or in the world of Pixar, you have multiple stories coexisting although each one feels different while there is an assumption and an understanding of what the brand identity of what that thing is.
Every time you got to a Marvel movie you kind of know what you are going to get, but one could be Ragnarok, one could be Black Panther and one could be Iron Man and all of those have a very different feel, but there is always a premium on the storytelling…And even though all their films are different, the one thing you can always expect when you go to a Pixar movie is that the story is going to be great. I want us all to elevate Trek to that place. So, when you go to watch a show, the expectation is we are going to have great storytelling. The kinds of stories are going to be different and the way they are told is going to be different, but I want to build Trek to where people assume that about it.
Star Trek without limits
As for what kinds of stories can be told in the world of Star Trek, Kurtzman told Variety he has yet to find the limit:
One of the things that is really beautiful about Star Trek is there are interesting offshoots and there are interesting areas in the world of Star Trek and points of view in the world of Star Trek that allow for tremendous variety in kinds of stories you can tell. I think it is because Trek has such a long history and tradition of honoring every character. So, being able to shift points of view radically, even when the show is about one main character, to be able to jump into another character’s point of view…It is constantly challenging me to find different ways to tell stories and not only that, but to also to come up with structural paradigms that are different…I haven’t yet found a limitation on that with Trek. I don’t thing there is a “you can’t do it this way” rule on Trek.
Star Trek as his new mission
Kurtzman also spoke at length with Variety about his experience with Star Trek from the first two Kelvin movies and then returning for Discovery. He got frank, saying that working on Discovery after have an unsatisfying experience with The Mummy changed his perspective on the franchise and the kind of projects he wants to do.
I had a really wonderful and very healing experience, because I found myself connecting to it more and more at a time when I saw the world changing. And for the first time – despite the experience I had on the films – I began to feel Star Trek was more necessary than ever. Where Star Wars is about a galaxy far, far away, Star Trek is about the best of what we can become. And right now, we need to know that. Now, more than ever, need to know as the Vulcans say, live in a world of infinite diversity and infinite combinations, and that our best selves will emerge and there is hope for a crew like Discovery and a future that hold the people on that ship to exist. And suddenly it became a mission, where I was like I don’t want to do anything that isn’t meaningful anymore. I don’t want to do anything that isn’t about putting a message into the world that is necessary and positive. And I fell love with Trek in a different way. I already loved it, but it suddenly became the only thing I wanted to do and the only story I wanted to tell. I have come to a place in my life where if it doesn’t have nutritional value, meaning if it doesn’t have something important to say and something meaningful about the state of the world and people, I don’t care. I am not going to spend my time on that anymore.
Later in the podcast, Kurtzman again picked up on this theme, saying:
It has become a mission to me. [Working on the movies] was a wonderful job that I was lucky to get with a lot of people who were so talented, and frankly knew more than I did, much more. But now, it is different. Now I feel finally I can authentically call myself – I dunno Trekkie, Trekker? – I guess you have to pick your definition of that. But now that I have so fallen in love with the world, and kind of claimed my place in it in a different way, I think it has opened up to me in a way that is different than it used to be.
Stay up to date on all the Picard show news here at TrekMovie.com.