Vanity Fair published an interview today with Trek on TV head honcho Alex Kurtzman and Julie McNamara (the executive vice president of original content for CBS All Access) where the duo discussed Trek on streaming, Picard, and briefly touched on a few other aspects of developing Trek in the streaming age.
Section 31 has a writers’ room
The Section 31 show starring Michelle Yeoh has still yet to be officially greenlit publicly, but as we’ve occasionally heard, progress is still being made on the show. Julie McNamara told Vanity Fair a writers’ room has been assembled:
We are very excited about the Section 31 show and Michelle Yeoh is excited to do it. She is in the current season of Discovery so she’s working on that right now but we have scripts getting written, and Alex has a writer’s room. We love what we’ve heard so far. It’s yet another tonality of Trek. As Alex has mapped it all out, each show has its own unique sort of voice and vision.
Section 31 is Georgiou’s Unforgiven
Alex Kurtman took an answer about the tone of the Section 31 show, where he likened it to Clint Eastwood’s 1992 western film Unforgiven. The film centers on an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job years after he had retired to farming.
What we don’t want is for you to watch one show and be like, well I don’t really need to watch that other Star Trek show cause I’ve already watched Discovery or whatever. So to me Section 31 is sort of like the black ops CIA division of Star Trek and it was established in Deep Space 9. Full credit goes to Michelle Yeoh for coming to me and saying in season one, before we even launched, “I want to do a spin off of my character!” With Michelle Yeoh, it’s very hard to say no.
This was like a year before Crazy Rich Asians came out and we had not launched Discovery yet. No one had seen it. So I was like, let’s have one show that hopefully people like and we can talk about it. Once Discovery happened, I brought it to Julie and she immediately said, great, let’s develop it. Erica [Lippoldt] and Bo Yeon [Kim], two writers on our Discovery staff, started writing a pilot and it’s really different. It occupies an area of the Trek universe that’s never really been explored geographically. It has a new mythology to it, which is very interesting. And it puts Michelle’s character to the test in a lot of ways that Discovery can’t. In some ways it will be her Unforgiven, I would say.
Stewart didn’t want to do what he had done before on Picard
Speaking to Vanity Fair about the forthcoming Star Trek: Picard, Kurtzman said that Sir Patrick Stewart had a mandate:
His constant refrain was: I don’t want to do what I’ve already done. Obviously it’s not a secret that the Borg were involved, and his first instinct was not to do the Borg. He was like, “I did that story. I don’t want to do that story.” And we couldn’t just say, “Yeah, but we loved you in it so much, we just want to do that again.” And what ended up emerging was actually as a result of that back and forth, a very unique and very different Borg story. Definitely not one that you could have told in Next Generation. And certainly not what I think anyone’s expecting.
Picard is a “modern adult drama”
Kurtzman also discussed the style of Picard saying:
The show is inspired by Next Gen, and it’s written by people who grew up loving it but it is very much not Next Gen. It feels like a modern adult drama in the world of Star Trek, which has not actually really happened before. It’s also singularly about a man in his emeritus years and there are very few franchises that would allow you to have an almost 80-year-old lead and tell his story.
Keep up with all the news on upcoming Star Trek shows here at TrekMovie.com