The developing coronavirus pandemic is affecting people all around the globe and disrupting all industries, including the entertainment industry. The world of Star Trek is being impacted as well, from the shows to merchandise and events.
Working from home could slow Discovery season 3 post production
Most movie and television production in the USA and Canada has been shut down or put on hiatus during March due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. However, production on the third season of Star Trek: Discovery was completed before these shutdowns, having wrapped up in Canada in February. The show is currently in post-production, much of which is done in the Los Angeles area, which is on lockdown by order of the State of California. But work is still being done remotely.
This working from home was mentioned over the weekend by Discovery actor Anthony Rapp, who remotely joined Wilson Cruz in an Instagram livestream. Responding to a fan query, Rapp noted that the shift to working from home is slower:
They’re currently editing and doing visual effects for season 3 but it’s shifting to work from home so it’ll be slower than usual. No word yet on how long that will take or when it will be released.
And yesterday Discovery editor Scott Gamzon gave fans a view of his home workspace, noting he has been working remotely for two weeks now.
— Scott Gamzon, ACE (@ScottGamzon) March 23, 2020
The third season of Star Trek: Discovery was set to be released in 2020 on CBS All Access, but no official release date had been set. Earlier this year, executive producer Heather Kadin estimated it could be ready by May.
Remote work not impacting Lower Decks yet
Another anticipated Star Trek show is the animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks, also headed to CBS All Access. The series was officially announced in late 2018, but animated shows have a long development cycle. On Sunday show creator and executive producer Mike McMahan answered a fan inquiry on Twitter about development on Lower Decks (and his upcoming Hulu series Solar Opposites), where he revealed that “delivery has not been impacted” for either show with remote work.
So far both Lower Decks and Solar crews have been able to work remotely- delivery hasn’t yet been impacted. The situation changes every day, so that may not be true tomorrow, but I’m proud that we’re still working full time and that the shows are looking great. https://t.co/xI5JsRmZIN
— Mike McMahan (@MikeMcMahanTM) March 22, 2020
CBS has not set an official release date for Lower Decks, but at Comic-Con last summer it was estimated to have a 2020 release. And earlier this year Heather Kadin said the show could be ready by May.
IDW comics delayed
On Monday IDW Publishing announced that due to issues with distribution and the retail environment as a result of the pandemic, they will be reducing their upcoming comics releases through to July, including all titles to be released in May. The impact on specific Star Trek titles is not known yet, but it is likely that titles starting in April through to the summer could be affected.
Star Trek Online remains operational
The massive multiplayer online game Star Trek Online is still going and celebrating their 10th year with their latest update Star Trek Online: Legacy which launched earlier this year and features Jeri Ryan as Seven and Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham. Updates and promotions have continued in March. Earlier in the month Cryptic Studios announced they have plans in place to ensure STO along with their other titles remain operation and in development while their teams work remotely.
COVID-19 having a major impact on live events
Possibly the biggest industry impact is on conventions and large gatherings. We have already seen this with the postponement of PaleyFest Los Angeles, which was to include a star-studded Star Trek: Picard panel last week. No new date has been set but PaleyFest is “exploring options to reschedule.”
WonderCon in Anaheim, CA, which was to kick off on April 10th, has also been postponed. CBS has recently used WonderCon for Star Trek panels and reveals. No new date has been set. When Comic-Con International announced the WonderCon postponement earlier this month they also noted that San Diego Comic-Con could also be impacted, but “no decision has been made regarding the rescheduling of Comic-Con slated to take place this summer; July 23-26, 2020.”
Destination Star Trek Germany was set for the first weekend of May, but it was just announced it has been rescheduled for October 9-11 at the same venue in Dortmund, Germany. The official Star Trek Las Vegas convention is still scheduled for August 5-9. Last week Creation Entertainment noted on Twitter that they will be following all COVID-19 protocols and will postpone any of their events (including STLV) if needed.
The Nichelle Nichols Farewell Celebration originally set for the first weekend of May in Burbank, CA has been rescheduled for the first weekend of July, at the same venue. With the delay, they have also stated they are expanding the guest list, which currently includes Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones.
Another annual event that has been used to announce Star Trek news is the CBS Upfronts presentation, which traditionally takes place in New York in May. Earlier this month ViacomCBS announced they will be foregoing their live presentation at Carnegie Hall, but will conduct a “video Upfront special” which will be posted to digital platforms on May 13.
Star Trek stars make the best of it
Like many, a number of Star Trek stars are in self-isolation at home. Some are sharing home experiences via social media including William Shatner, who has taken to issuing “Captain’s Logs” on Twitter.
Captain’s Log: Stardate 6 of self imposed isolation. It’s Day 4 of #LockdownLA. Trying to maintain a semblance of order has it’s own trials & tribblatations.😏 The city, while in lockdown, still has movement. I only hope that movement is necessary & not the product of stupidity.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 23, 2020
As noted above Discovery star Wilson Cruz has been using Instagram Live to keep up with fans and today he will have Anthony Rapp as a special guest.
Hello, my LOVES! Join me for a special #MatChat on #InstagramLive with my special guest, @albinokid TOMORROW at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern for a little #SpaceBoo check in! Feel free to send questions and we’ll get to as many as possible! See you then! pic.twitter.com/cyjHOiMnl0
— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) March 23, 2020
Santiago Cabrera, who plays Rios on Star Trek: Picard, had his own soothing message:
And Sir Patrick Stewart is reading a sonnet for us every day.
TrekMovie will continue to monitor events and how they are impacting Star Trek and will post any relevant updates.