The Star Trek Las Vegas convention isn’t the only big event generating Star Trek news this week. Another is the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, held in Beverly Hills. During a couple of panels with CBS executives and producers working on Star Trek, a few new details about what they have planned for the Star Trek Universe and the CBS All Access platform were revealed.
Discovery crew not looking to come back, will get a captain
After the season two finale, Star Trek: Discovery executive producer and co-showrunner Michelle Paradise told TrekMovie the USS Discovery’s crew saw the jump forward 930 years as a one-way trip. At a panel at TCA Paradise confirmed the show is staying in the 32nd century, saying (via Slashfilm): “Correct, we’re there and we’re living there.”
Paradise also confirmed they will address the hanging issue of who is the captain of the USS Discovery:
I will remind that in our finale, as Pike was leaving, he said, ‘We are going to need to choose a new captain…’ Saru said, ‘Let’s put a pin in that and see what happens.’ Discovery will need a captain. The pin will need to come out. We will need to address that in story.
How Picard is a Discovery/TNG hybrid
At an executive session at TCA with CBS EVP of Original Content Julie McNamara, the subject of Trek came up again. Slashfilm asked McNamara to compare and contrast the upcoming Star Trek: Picard show with Discovery and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
In the past, much has been said about how Picard is different than Discovery, but McNamara did point to one similarity:
I would say that it is in production, sort of size and scope, [Picard is] probably more similar to Discovery.
But she also noted how the show is similar to TNG:
In terms of the characters and the nature of the storytelling, [Picard is] probably more like Next Generation. But of course, we’re a number of years later now so there are some shifts in the storytelling style but I think it’s a really nice hybrid of the two.
Coordinating the timeline of the expanding Star Trek Universe
During the CBS All Access executive session, it was confirmed that Star Trek: Picard will premiere in the first quarter of 2020. As for the third season of Discovery, CBS President and COO of CBS Interactive Marc DeBevoise said it will premiere “later” in 2020. For the other shows in development, DeBevoise said there was “no timeline at this moment.”
At her earlier TCA panel, Discovery co-showrunner Michelle Paradise reconfirmed that production on the previously announced Section 31 series is tied into Discovery, pointing to how that’s the only way it can work with Michelle Yeoh, who will lead the Section 31 show, but is also part of the third season of Discovery, adding: “After [Discovery] wraps, she could go into production [on the Section 31 show].”
With the expanding Star Trek universe, there are shows set all over Trek’s prime timeline, including Discovery in the 32nd century, Lower Decks and Picard at different points of the 24th, and Short Treks back in the 23rd century and a bit of the 24th as well. And that’s before you even get into some of the other shows in development, such as the Section 31 show and the Nickelodeon animated series.
At her TCA panel, Paradise noted how Alex Kurtzman—who is her Discovery co-showrunner and is in charge of the Star Trek Universe—is ensuring the various shows mesh:
I would say every iteration of Star Trek we want to be aware of and we want to honor. It’s important to us to do that. Alex [Kurtzman], as he works on that and works on our show, he lets us know if there’s anything that we need to be aware of in terms of history… We’re also aware that all of the iterations of Star Trek, so we really want to make sure that we’re not doing anything in [Discovery] that directly contradicts something that we’ve seen established or that is being established on another spin-off,” she said.
CBS All Access expanding, execs see more potential in Star Trek
As reported by Variety, the executives from CBS say they are committed to having a total of 12 original series by 2020, “…with additional plans to expand programming into sports, movies and nonfiction titles, and series acquisitions.” This expansion includes World Series of Poker events, an original documentary titled Console Wars about Nintendo and Sega, and the acquisition of off-network streaming rights to Nancy Drew, which debuts on the CW in the fall.
With so many subscribers attracted to All Access via Star Trek, the streamer continues to lean into genre programming. To that end, CBS also announced a series order for The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the original 1963 science-fiction novel (which was previously adapted into the 1976 movie starring David Bowie). Star Trek honcho Alex Kurtzman is developing the series along with Discovery and Short Treks writer Jenny Lumet.
Speaking to Variety, Julie McNamara talked about the growing Star Trek Universe as part of All Access:
We feel like any show that we add to that franchise needs to carve out a unique niche in the world of ‘Star Trek,’ and needs to be a very good, high-level execution. I think we will collectively know when it feels like we actually should take our foot off the gas a little bit…We love the upside of this franchise [and] we feel like there’s kind of a limitless interest and appetite. That said, we have to curate carefully and only put the shows on when it feels right.
Keep up with all the news on the Picard show and other upcoming Star Trek TV shows here at TrekMovie.com.