Bryan Fuller Talks About His Original Mirror Universe Plan For ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Since he stepped away from his role as showrunner almost a year before the series premiere, Star Trek: Discovery co-creator Bryan Fuller has mostly kept silent about the series. But in a new interview, he opens up a bit on how he initially approached a key part of the first season.

Fuller talks Discovery

Bryan Fuller was a special guest for the 400th episode of Robert Meyer Burnett’s web series Robservations. The 90-minute discussion mostly focused on horror television and cinema, including Fuller’s approach to adapting author Thomas Harris’ work for Fuller’s NBC series Hannibal. Burnett pivoted from Hannibal to ask Fuller if he was initially interested in a more abstract approach when adapting Star Trek for Star Trek: Discovery. At first Fuller indicated it was, saying, “Yes, in some ways. It was in some ways an abstraction.”

Fuller then went on to talk about his views for incorporating the Mirror Universe, specifically, in Star Trek: Discovery:

The thing that really fascinated me in sitting down and crafting the story for Discovery was the human condition. I thought that there are elements in the Mirror Universe that we have seen that have sort of boiled to the broadest ends of the spectrum and everything felt really binary. And what I really wanted to do in setting out was looking at the minutiae of simple decisions that have a cascade effect on our lives. So, it’s not about gold lamé sashes and goatees versus no sash and clean-shaven. It is more about we are at forks in the road every moment of our lives and we either go left or right.

It makes me think of Joe Menosky’s speech in [VOY “Latent Image”], where The Doctor has a Sophie’s choice, he can only save one life. And he chose Ensign Harry Kim versus this other ensign and it is a split-decision and it causes his entire program to unravel because he can’t handle how his choice was always going to cost a life. It was his Kobayashi Maru.

So, there was something in the mistakes made by Burnham in “Battle of the Binary Stars” that had this ripple, but the Mirror Universe was always meant to be an exploration of a small step in a different direction. So, it wasn’t necessarily the Mirror Universe we know from all of the other series. It was something that was closer to our timeline and experience, so you can still recognize the human being and go, “What did I do? How did that seem like a good decision for me in that moment and how do I continue with my life forward?” And everything was a sort of an extrapolation out on that. So, there were things that I wanted the Mirror Universe to function in a narrative exploration of like “Oh fuck, if I just didn’t do that one thing, everything would be better.” As opposed to, “I don’t recognize that person, I don’t know who that person is, because they are a diametric opposite of who I am.”

So, that is kind of what the goal was.

Bryan Fuller talking Star Trek: Discovery at San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Fuller’s Mirror Universe was more familiar

The Mirror Universe—with its trademark gold lamé sashes—was first introduced in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Mirror Mirror.” It was visited again for multiple episodes of both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise. Through all the depictions of the Mirror Universe, the versions of characters that inhabited that darker timeline were often quite different and generally portrayed as “evil” versions of the prime universe counterparts, with some exceptions.

From TOS “Mirror, Mirror”

The way Fuller immediately jumps to talking about the Mirror Universe when asked about how he originally approached Star Trek: Discovery indicates he saw it as an important part of the show, or at least the first season. There were a number of changes made to the show after his departure, but the Mirror Universe still was a significant part of season one; the U.S.S. Discovery visited the Mirror Universe for a four-episode arc starting with episode ten. And it was revealed that Captain Lorca, introduced in episode three, was from the Mirror Universe.

Fuller’s planned approach to the Mirror Universe—and in particular with Star Trek: Discovery’s lead character, Michael Burnham—seems to have been more nuanced. We never actually met the mirror version of Burnham, as the character had died before the U.S.S. Discovery even arrived. It’s possible that the Mirror Universe could have originally been intended to play a bigger role in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, either in number of episodes spent there, or in the way that the characters were depicted.

Star Trek: Discovery visits the Mirror Universe in “The Wolf Inside”

Watch Bryan Fuller talk horror, and a bit of Trek

The Robservations chat with Bryan Fuller can be seen below, cued up to the part when they start talking about Discovery.

 


Keep up with all the news, previews, reviews, and analysis of Star Trek: Discovery at TrekMovie.com.

146
Leave a Reply

28 Comment threads
118 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
53 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify me of
Cmd.Bremmon

See DC Comics Mirror Universe Saga for how to do the mirror universe, set between Star Trek III and IV – Kirk and the Excelsior face the Mirror Universe invasion of our galaxy… the whole fun of the mirror universe is that it is mirror you with no ethics trying to take over you with ethics.
That being said I liked how Discovery did the mirror universe.
I was more upset with how they missed out on the Klingon War.. why finally show a Klingon War but then have no D-7 battlecrusiers, no Connies, major battles, Axanar, etc. Instead it was unrecognizable in all ways with the exception of Klingon prison worlds.

Captain Slow

Get ready for all the comments about how he doesn’t know anything about Star Trek because he got the episode name wrong.

Chris

Well your the first to do it so i guess you got the ball rolling on that one my friend.

Cian

Latent image! Outrageous 😄

Tiger2

If that’s all it took then I definitely know nothing about Star Trek since I get them wrong all the time too. ;) Honestly fans throw out a lot of episode titles here and a lot of times I find myself googling some of them to remember what they were even about, especially episodes I haven’t watched forever.

And when you have literally over 700 episode titles (and counting), only the most hardcore fan is going to remember all of those names and what each story entailed outside of the most famous ones.

Sully

He doesn’t even know what a Klingon ought to look like. Cut the guy some slack!

I have to look up episode names all the time, and I’ve been watching since the mid seventies. Then again, I’m not a ‘true’ fan because I’ve not memorized all the scripts, and the bios of every single supporting actor who had ten seconds of screen time, and one line to cement their ‘iconic’ status….

ML31

I know all the TOS episode titles. But I only know a handful of TNG titles and even fewer Voyager & DS9 ones. And I think DS9 is the best of the spinoff shows. I do know a number of the 3rd and 4th season Enterprise episodes however. Go figure.

Tiger2

Well TOS has the fewest, so its a bit easier. ;)

For me I know TNG the most but that’s probably around 50. DS9 after that one.

But I don’t know more than a maybe a few dozen each for all the others. I mean I may remember the title themselves but I don’t know what the episode itself involves.

Only the most hardcore fan is going to remember all those episode names.

odradek

Sadly those kind of “fans” exist. Once I met a guy at FedCon in Düsseldorf who thought Kirk’s middle name was Thomas. I asked him why he would even bother to show up on a Con and I adviced all the guest stars not to sign autographs for him because he was a faux fan.

AJinMoscowinBangkokinWarsaw

Kirk’s middle name in canon is “R.”

ML31

No offense but I cannot tell if you are being clever or ignorant.

Disinvited

AJinMoscowinBangkokinWarsaw,

Re: The “R” in Kirk

Yes, but he had it legally changed to “T” when he married Miramanee. To this day, the greatest fan divide is over whether he’s the widow, Kirok, or did the death of his wife and child revert it back to Kirk.

kmart

Geez, that all sounded very good to me. Sincerely!

It seems like a very good artistic idea that demanded good writing and would have allowed some subtle acting … and all that potential was lost in time like beers in urine, left in the hands of people who would try to thread a needle with a sledgehammer. This actually does explain a lot, a WHOLE lot.

EDIT ADD-ON: I read this again, and again, I’m just thinking this whole thing must have been doomed, because Kurtzman is not the guy to get this approach at all, and he was the guy CBS went to in the beginning. So he hired Fuller, mined his idea, bided his time, and got to execute his version of this very good idea in a wholly execrable fashion. About the only obvious downside I see with Fuller’ idea is that it is probably not about ‘to boldly go’ in a traditional fashion, so people might have felt it was too B-5 and small in scale.

kmart, I can agree with his idea being cool, but then shake my head at the nerve of wanting to call it the Mirror Universe.

Star Trek has used a “Many Worlds” multiverse concept very well across the franchise. TNG’s ‘Parallels’ is probably the deepest dive, with mama Burnham’s description of her experience in ‘Perpetual Infinity’ running second since it told instead of showed. Star Trek 2009 also took us into a ‘what if?’ alternative for Prime Spock.

The Mirror Universe is just one of the alternative timelines in Trek, but it’s one that has continuity from Enterprise through to DS9. It’s specific, it’s known and it’s precisely the Mirror opposite extreme in every iteration over several centuries and has its own canonical history that’s established.

So, if Fuller wanted to do a deeper but more subtle dive into ‘What if?’ for Burnham’s choice at the Binary Stars it could have been great, but that would not have been the MU. It could be slightly different from Prime just as were the innumerable slightly different worlds we saw Worf experience in ‘Parallels’.

Frankly, I don’t care if Fuller didn’t get things like episode names, but if he didn’t get the multiverse, that’s fairly shocking in terms of not having done his homework on the Trek franchise.

kmart

Maybe you’re right. I wonder if it isn’t homework, just ignoring, like Meyer not paying attention to Trek history that didn’t work for him (Edith Keeler and Miramannee and Sam Kirk and how many others, and yet Kirk has never faced death w/o cheating his way out of it? yuh-nuh.)

You couldn’t really have done IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE or TAPESTRY (I always call lit IT’S A WONDEFUL Q) unless you use a reset button at the end, and I don’t see how that stodgy old spin would work for Fuller’s show, unless the point was to wind up in the ‘right’ universe, not knowing we were in alt or mirror unis to start. Be interested to know more, see what was on paper.

Eric Cheung

The way Fuller describes the Mirror Universe is actually how I felt when saw those episodes. So, I think his themes survived his departure. I likened it at the time to the movie Another Earth, which is really close to what happened.

tom riker

i loved the redirection into the mirror universe… i feel it gave the show some grounded cohesion ironically then season 2 was so great and just exploded… can’t wait for 3… not sure if this was intended or happenstance but it feels like each season has it’s own separate world… i’m hoping the show just doesn’t stay in season 3 mode (whatever that is) and keeps moving and changing season to season like an anthology…

Faze Ninja

The mirror universe is what I enjoyed the most about Discovery. The Klingon war was a disservice to Star Trek.

Mirror Universe is unique because its a dark reflection on the individual. Some great points from Fuller. I thought it was nice.

Boze

Yes, the second half of the first season was definitely the best part of Discovery – up until the moment when they took the most interesting, most nuanced character of the show, and turned him into a two-bit villain to make a silly political statement (which nobody will understand twenty years from now).

kmart

If you’re referring to Trump, if people 20 years hence DON’T understand what happened in 2016 and remember the fallout from what happened since, it’ll mean this isn’t the same country or world anymore, and that journalism along with personal ethics will have been dissolved by Imperial decree. The enormous lasting damage to the courts alone will probably affect everyone in this country, with about 99% of those affected being affected negatively, if my calculations are correct.

Knock the insanely terrible and inane writing, sure, but don’t try to rewrite real-world history to make your point.

The River Temarc

Do you think “A Private Little War” was a silly political statement that nobody in the 1980s (much less the 2020s) understood?

kmart

Exactly! PRIVATE is still relevant, and would be even if it didn’t explicitly cite southeast asian brush wars. I only really appreciated the strengths of the ep once I started learning more history than just batting averages and paying attention to real history, probably by fifth rerun or so around 1977, when I actually bothered to look up and notice we had lost in VietNam. Saying the lessons of Trump will be forgotten in 20 years is IMO quite honestly insane, not just shortsighted.

Disinvited

kmart,

Interesting, given that many consider Trump’s election the result of misremembering McCarthyism and Nixon riding its point, nostalgically, as when America was “great.”

kmart

Anybody who misremembers THAT part of history must be doing so intentionally, don’t you think?

Perhaps stupidly, I’ve assumed that at least some of the acolytes were thinking ‘WWII Greatest Generation’ when buying into the MAGA nonsense.

ML31

The difference there is that it did not make one side the “right” side over the other. It was a terrible situation where there was no good option. Kirk had a dammed if you do damned if you don’t kind of situation. The analogy was there but it wasn’t the producers or writers or worse, the actors pushing their opinion of things. It was pretty even handed. Unlike what a lot of writers do today.

kmart

ML,
But nobody made much of a supporting argument for Hitler in PATTERNS OF FORCE, outside of the ‘most efficient’ line, which Spock acknowledges as valid, but is immediately offset by Kirk decrying it as monstrously inhumane.

I haven’t read the b-t-s on PRIVATE LITTLE in awhile, but I think the drafts evolved from an establishment view of Vietnam to a more balanced one, which still must have been pushing things on a Network level at the time, if you look at how NBC was going out of its way to clobber Jim Garrison.

ML31

No one did that I know of, either. As you admitted even that episode had the “efficient” line. Today I cannot imagine that line even making it though to shooting. At any rate, even in spite of that line I consider that episode to be one of the more “in your face” episodes with a very obvious message that pretty much everyone could get behind. And those episodes tended to be sub par at best anyway.

kmart

Yeah, but I gotta love it for the Spock standing on Kirk’s back stuff.

Disinvited

kmart,

I haven’t heard anyone muse on the the “efficency” of the Nazi fascist state on this side of the millennium, but they’ve never stopped droning about the trains running on time, which I suppose is a metaphor for it, since I was knee-high.

And I also suppose Trump’s economic “money train” keeps that one track locomotive metaphor rolling along.

kmart

I’ve been guilty of using the ‘trains on time’ regarding Berman, which I have to admit is serious overkill … in Harlan Ellison terms, like using a Howitzer on a gnat, or HE deciding to lay off on Mark Hamill with a throwaway about not wanting to kick cripples.

FASAfan

Wow, Kmart. You know all of that cuts both ways. Until you got to the courts part. Then I could tell what side of the aisle you’re on…

kmart

Cuts both ways?! One side of that blade is dull, and the other is wielded by a sadist. You might as well say there are good people on both sides of the My Lai Massacre, because Calley could be accused of just looking out for American interests.

ML31

I disagree. It was the MU that totally destroyed the first season. Everything in the MU was groan inducing. But we are on the same page when it came to destroying the most interesting character in the show. And yes, injecting the political statement the way they did it sure didn’t help.

The Collector

Like it or not, approx. one half of the voters in 2016 voted for President Trump and about a half will do so in November. If the writers/showrunners had anything about them, they would write a balanced story that doesn’t alienate or heavy handedly insult a chunk of the US viewership.

Unfortunately they can’t write about 2016 because they simply aren’t intelligent enough to do it in a clever (and commercially sensitive) way.

Jefferies Tuber

Less than half voted for Trump. 2M more Americans voted for Clinton.

Marja

Approximately 3 million actually.

It was the goofy US Electoral College system which varies from state to state [some are winner-take-all, alas] that got us into the mess we’re in now.

ML31

The electoral college system is a very good one. Consider this… Clinton won the popular vote nationwide by 3 million. She won California by 4.3 million. Remove California from the equation and Trump wins by over 1 million. So you have the situation where one state decides the President for the 49 others. I guess that is fine with some but not with me. I think the entire country needs to have a say. Not just one or two states with large populations. I say that even when someone I don’t like wins as a result.

DIGINON

@ML31: Let me first say that I’m not from the US so I have no direct stake in this.
It’s not California that decides the president against the other states as you. If you take out 10% of the total votes (California’s share of the US) of course you can swing the vote. Also take out Alabama and Kentucky (just 3% of the total votes) and the popular vote swings back to Clinton.
In a democracy every person should have the same vote no matter their background (ethnicity, religion, etc.) nor where they live.
Why should one vote cast in Wyoming be “worth” as much as 4 votes cast in California (that seems to be the rate based on number of population per electoral vote)? Then again, why should one vote cast in Wyoming be worth as much as 4 votes cast in Texas?
The electoral college completely inflates the impact of small states in determining the presidential race. By the way, that goes both ways.

ML31

Digimon, the USA is not a democracy. It’s a representative republic. The electoral college was a compromise dreamed up by the founding fathers who had the same arguments then that we have now regarding a straight presidential election. The idea was that if you went straight popular vote the places with the largest population would be the places the politicians would cater to. The potential to ignore the rest of the county was too great even in the 1780’s. The larger populated states still have the bulk of the electoral votes. The difference is just not as great. Under this system the rest of the country is still represented. Is it perfect? No. I don’t think the perfect system exists. But this seems to be nearly as good a system as we can get.

BTW… I am of the opinion that for some states they ought to elect their Governors in the same fashion. But it is what it is at the moment.

The Collector

Why do I get the feeling that the electoral college system won’t be dismissed as “goofy” if Biden were to win by it alone in November lol.

DIGINON

@The Collector: If Biden wins by electoral college but not by popular vote you can be sure that Trump and his supporters will go nuts and rally against it. They will completely ignore the fact that it worked in their favor 4 years earlier.
But yes, Democrats would probably accept the victory and not bow to popular vote.

ML31

Collector, there certainly is some of that, too. Personally I would NEVER complain about the system regardless of who wins it under any legal circumstances.

kmart

How about complaining about a system that lets a biased supreme court decide a presidential election w/o having all the facts (or votes) in hand, like back in 2000? I think THAT, more than 9/11 or anything since, has charted the course for this awful ‘new american century.’ And the rash of incompetent and/or biased judges appointed in recent years will quite likely wreak havoc and destruction for the next fifty years. They systems were not put in place with the idea of such gleeful deliberate misrepresentation of fact and truth, verging on outright evil (not a word I invoke lightly when it comes to actual human beings, only for drama-entertainment), at the top of the country’s command structure.

ML31

Wow… Get a grip. Jeez… You are acting like this is the end of civilization as we know it. When it gets down to it, pretty much ALL judges, supreme or otherwise, rule with their own personal biases. If they didn’t they would be robots. Not human. The system we have is built to overcome bad leaders on the national level. Whatever damage might be done can be fixed. Just like any damage lefties do can get fixed. Even the Supreme Court can fix their own rulings. Further, the New York Times themselves months after the fact went and performed their own recount. They found, much to their dismay, that Bush did indeed win Florida.

kmart

Try getting a grip on this. Without genuine oversight, none of the checks and balances you think are such mainstays amount to a hill of beans. We’re seeing executive power run rampant over all these checks and balances on a daily basis. He’s running the country the way he ran his businesses, incompetently and selfishly, amassing huge debt numbers that others will have to clean up — no accountability, no sense of responsibility (presumably out of the zero-empathy thing.)

And re: NYT, did their recount include addressing the hanging chads? No, didn’t think so.

ML31

It does go both ways. Unfortunately it seems that the use of the executive order has grown rapidly over the last 12 years. This is worrisome to me no matter which party is doing it. Also, the same argument was made about his predecessor through his use of executive orders. I have faith in the system. The system is capable of making errors but it is also perfectly capable of correcting them. Although mistakes are more difficult to erase, I grant you.

I also trust the NYT made their personal recount in such a way that would favor the guy on the side they most assuredly lean towards and endorsed. They would not have done it any other way. And even with their spin on the chads it still came out in favor of W.

Disinvited

Marja,

More specifically, it is the electors in the college who keep pretending the unconstitutional states’ laws, that mandate that they NOT vote their consciences but only robotically, bind their hands who are at fault.

The Collector

Hence the use of the word “approx”. It’s not worth splitting hairs over in the context of my point – even if the Trump vote was only one third, to alienate that percentage of your potential viewership is moronic. However, I suppose the showrunners couldn’t see that being on their high horse.

Why did they even set out to make it allegorical… just make a good unique story in the Star Trek universe and use the odd episode to make a political point if you must. It so frustrating… particularly to a viewer outside the US.

Marja

Boze, I agree about Lorca. What a waste. How much better it would have been if he actually did have PTSD from the destruction of the Buran. If he hadn’t blown them up, &c. I wish Lorca could still be a part of Discovery. I hope someday they #FindPrimeLorca but my hope is growing dimmer :^(

I’ll ignore the thing about the “silly political statement”

FASAfan

Agree! Klingon War… blech.

So wrong.

Disinvited

Re: The Electoral College

Whatever Democratic weakness the EC may have, it pales in comparision to the lack of Democratic popular votes determinibg the nominee of either party, historically and to this day. It’s a state by state hodgepodge of power plays.

ML31

The reason for that is because the Constitution does not spell out out the individual political parties determine their candidates. That has always pretty much been up to them.

Disinvited

ML31,

And yet, in the past and to this day both parties misrepresent their state run nominees elections calling them “Democratic.” Worse, fair, as if somehow the process is more fair than the supposedly broken electoral college.

ML31

I cannot speak for how the parties themselves are run. I mean look at 4 years ago… Bernie was garnering massive support and his own party threw the rug out from under him. That’s just the latest fiasco in politics. So you will not see me defend the party’s process. But I will defend the electoral college.

Disinvited

ML31,

Re:defending the Electoral College

As was I, the Electoral College is a constitutionally created institution and the various state legislatures have no legal right to require loyalty oaths of its electors, nor can they legally enforce penalties for votes states define as violations of said state loyalty laws.

Tiger2

This is going to be a fun thread to come back to soon lol.

And I didn’t have a big issue with how the Mirror Universe was done in Discovery because they all been done that way prior. But yes, I think his idea is a bit more interesting where the characters would just be more appalled to see not only the person they are in the MU but then to see how devastating a decision they made caused so many problems and tragedy. I have always said the MU is not some ‘special’ universe, it’s just another parallel universe like all the others such as the Kelvin universe, the only difference is human beings took on a different ideology much earlier in their development in this one and just went a darker path. Enterprise basically confirmed this too.

But I think Fuller’s idea would’ve been much more interesting. And maybe we wouldn’t have Space Hitler running around the prime universe as a cartoon character, but that’s for another topic.

And I’m shocked it took so long to get Fuller to finally talk about Discovery at all, but he may have been under a NDA to not talk about the show when he left for awhile.

Faze Ninja

Tiger2 yeah space Hitler should have stayed dead in the Mirror Universe. I don’t want space Stalin or any other dictator either on Star Trek.

Mirror Universe could have been special but a missed opportunity.

ML31

The main problem with the MU in Trek is that it has never been taken very seriously. The one TOS episode was when it was probably taken the most serious. The rest have been more “fun” episodes.

Admittedly I was never a big fan of them and felt they grounded DS9 to a complete halt. I admit I enjoyed Mirror Darkly on Enterprise but I think that was mostly for nostalgia reasons. Discovery’s MU did seem different from all the rest. But it was never presented as an alternate MU. I just felt that once that first season went there the entire show came to a complete stop. Nothing in the Discovery’s MU worked. Not one thing. It was part of why the show was so dreadful. And even if Fuller’s version was fulfilled I doubt the show would have been received any better than it was.

PPpp

ML31, I disagree. The MU in Discovery was the best thing in Season 1. It worked much better then the klingon war.

Interesting ideas from Fuller, but I have my doubts it would have worked. The fun of the MU, at least for me, was the evil reckless starfleet and the evil humans. It was just a fun thing, not a thing about nuances. I do not see why we would need a MU for some stories with extended moral problems.

ML31

I agree the Klingon war was laid far too much into the background. But the MU side didn’t work either. Less so that what little attention they gave the war. For one thing they lingered in the MU WAY too long. It got monumentally tiresome. We can take the zaniness of the MU only for so long. But we can also agree that if Fuller’s version was fulfilled it probably wouldn’t have worked either unless certain changes were also incorporated.

FASAfan

I think the DS9 MU episodes are abysmal.

ML31

Forced to agree. I love DS9 overall but they had their share of mistakes. The MU episodes (really returning to them too many times), Section 31 and Vic’s.

Tiger2

I really love the first DS9 MU episodes, but hated the last few, especially the one with Quark and Rom which was the final one. Just awful.

Garth Lorca

The Emperor’s New Cloak was aweful but the first ones were super fine to me back then. In many, many ways, Indendant Kira was sort of a prelude to Georgiou though…

Tiger2

I LOVE Intendant Kira. Now that’s someone who should’ve been given her own show. ;)

I generally love most of the MU DS9 episodes, but the last two were really bad. I still can’t believe the last episode to wrap it all up was a Quark-centric one. I still have no idea what they were thinking?

Marja

Can’t stand them.

Garth Lorca

But Space Khan has always been a thing on Trek and He’d deserve his own Ceti Alpha show. I’m not a fan of Georgiou either but I guess she’s supposed to be a female Khan stand-in.

Disinvited

Faze

I fear you have set upon a Herculean task of questionable merit?

How are you going to purge Trek of Space dictators when its founding canon gave it Hodgkins Law of Parallel Planet Development with its Space Caesars, Starfleet Historian John Gill and his Space Fuhrer, WW III and Space Khan, etc. That genie’s smoke going to be extremely hard to shove back in the bottle.

Jai

“I have always said the MU is not some ‘special’ universe, it’s just another parallel universe like all the others such as the Kelvin universe, the only difference is human beings took on a different ideology much earlier in their development in this one and just went a darker path. Enterprise basically confirmed this too.”

Tiger2, I agree with this.

There have been hints and not-so-subtle clues (especially in TOS, ENT and now DSC) that the Roman Empire in the MU never fell but went on to eventually conquer the whole world. See the “gladius” Roman sword on the Terran Empire flag, the salutes, MU Georgiou’s full imperial title etc. I guess the sashes, silks and stereotypical “oriental despotism” clichés could be explained by the Roman Empire conquering ancient Persia, India and so on. Anyway, it would be interesting to have the historical backstory explored further in one of the new shows, or at least for an explanation of the origins to be mentioned, as long as the tone was played completely straight like ENT’s superb “Mirror, Darkly” rather than one of Trek’s sillier MU episodes.

(PS Thank you very much for your long reply to my comment on the other thread last week. I did read it. I really appreciate the response :) )

DIGINON

Haven’t seen it in a while but didn’t ENT suggest that the split happened during first contact when Cochrane suddenly shot the Vulcan or something?
Of course, you could argue that Earth had already been following a different path before that.
The problem with the whole Mirror Universe concept is that if you say the “split” happened a long time ago they should be much more different from each other. You shouldn’t have the same ships/stations looking almost the same and the same people doing very similar things in both universes.

Not necessarily DIGINON.

In the Many Worlds theory of the multiverse (which seems to be the one Trek is anchored in) there will be anchoring events (time crystals) that are the same across all universes, but more generally perturbations will bring the events back to some basic tracks.

That is, there isn’t an infinite number of different universes in an every expanding tree. Instead, at some major events, paths diverge and don’t merge back together.

Cochrane killing the Vulcan at first contact would be a major divergence, but the technology and other paths of events might not vary as far as you might think.

(Christopher L Bennett covers this well in his Temporal Investigations novels.)

odradek

No, the split did not happen at first contact. The intro of the episode suggests that Germany won WWII in the MU. My knowlege of history is limited but I don’t think that happened in our universe.

Tiger2

Wow, interesting theory but I can totally buy it because there are definitely a lot of Roman motif happening in Terran culture as you said. And of course in TOS Roman mythology seem to have influenced that show in a lot of ways, so I can buy that theory. I always loved the Mirror Universe episodes, TOS and ENT my favorites. A bit more mixed with DS9 and DIS since they went farther with them but generally liked them overall so I would love an origin story to how that universe really came to be. I do like the fact the MU has taken a life on its own and we seen it developed from the 22nd through the 24th century just like the prime universe itself.

And since we’re mentioning past posts we written, I also read a long post you responded to me about several months ago lol. I felt weird to respond because I read it so late, like weeks after you wrote it, but I did read it too. But cool you saw my other post! I love TM obviously but I do wish they had a better message board system at times like the way Disques is done to just keep better track of things although it has improved a bit last few years.

Marja

ENT’s MU episode was probably the best, except Bakula’s hammy acting as an Evil Archer. But Hoshi! So great.

Marja

What an interesting idea, Jai. If they had only shown Romulans in some positions of power in the MU, that would have been a masterful stroke.

Disinvited

FWIW I’m fairly certain 1st Trek’s BREAD AND CIRCUSES and its reference to some theory of parallel planetary development set the stage for the plausibility of the MU’s empire.

Its been awhile, but didn’t B&C’s policeforce/centurions bear weapons and helmets suggestive of some Nazi style influence?

ML31

I thought it had a Roman influence. But they were more likely something someone found from the prop department and someone else felt they looked good enough for what they were doing.

Faze Ninja

The mirror universe is what I enjoyed the most about Discovery. The Klingon war was a disservice to Star Trek.

Mirror Universe is unique because its a dark reflection on the individual. Not your typical parallel universe. Some great points from Fuller and he did a wonderful job.

Tiger2

Agreed. I always said the MU episodes is what saved season one of Discovery for me since I really hated the Klingon War story arc. I remember many fans including me were hoping they just stayed in that universe full time in fact. But season one would’ve been a total disaster for me if not for the MU episodes, which didn’t have their own problems, but were definitely a lot more fun and interesting.

And I knew the MU was always suppose to be a big component when Fuller was running it. One of the OTHER former show runners said Fuller original outline for the show was going to have them in the MU by episode 4, so it was probably going to be a much bigger deal in his version.

ML31

I feel the exact opposite, Faze. The show completely lost me when they went to the MU and we got all those horrid “reveals”. As tired as the Klingon war was at least it had the potential to hold a little interest. The MU was a huge bore and let down.

IMHO, the MU works best when it reveals the opposite side of characters. At least, the human ones. It has the potential to offer a little more insight but in such a short season where we never really got to know anyone such insights, if any, are wasted. The STD MU really didn’t offer any anyhow.

Trek in a Cafe

It reads like Fuller wanted Burnham to create the Mirror Universe.

DIGINON

I understand it that he was more interested in exploring a mirror universe, not necessarily the Mirror Universe (from TOS, DS9 and ENT). I guess in that universe Burnham reacted differently to the Klingon encounter that started the show. It would have allowed them to explore a (more realistic) what-if scenario whereas the Mirror Universe we got is just too far removed to be taken seriously.

stanlowcrickets888

Or Burnham to create another alternate universe separate from Kelvin/TOS/TNG era,,,

Trek in a Cafe

I think it could have been cool the answer was not really resolved for us, the fandom, even at the end of the first season.

The question is why come up with a series that would be changing from era to era with every season if you were going to waste time in a mirror universe. I would love to read what he wrote!

Dreamtigers

If only we could have gotten the thoughtfulness and talent of Fuller, instead of, well… what we got.

PEB

Some people are never happy. The extreme departure in Klingon design – that was Fuller. He described his thought process, not what the episodes would have been like had he stayed on as showrunner.

Harry Ballz

Here’s an idea and, no, it’s not retro. Give us a Captain Pike series (on the Enterprise) and make each episode self-contained, none of this prolonged story arc over an entire season shit. Hey, at least with every other friggin’ show pulling that garbage, the Pike version would be different.

AllenWrench

Can’t we have both? I mean, seems like there’s room now to give us multiple shows with different takes on Star Trek with different storytelling structures – serialized, episodic, anthology, short films. Try them all.

Harry Ballz

Sure, why not?

Daniel

I love the idea but doubt they will do it. It’s hard. Very hard.

Harry Ballz

The big factor is that self-contained episodes of Trek are endlessly watchable. Over and over again. Years later, again. It’s addictive. Trying to watch one episode of a year long story arc is both boring and a lesson in futility.

ML31

For a season long arc to be rewatchable it has to be good. I mean, REALLY good. I really liked the Xindi arc but I never bought season 3 or Enterprise. I finally broke down a few years ago and bought that season. And boy was I glad I did. That is a good example of how to run a season long arc in Trek. But, they had a lot more episodes to play with. Sure, there are a couple of filler eps there like Carpenter Street. But those still had an element that moved the arc along.

Now Ent S3 was certainly not gold overall. But it was still pretty good and had some of the best episodes of the series. But I honestly just cannot see Secret Hideout doing anything on par with that. I just can’t.

Dvorak

I thought the xindi arc was easily the worst content Star Treks ever produced. I had to literally force myself to continue watching, I wasn’t really rewarded because season 4 for me was just average.

ML31

Did you find Discovery well done, Dvorak?

Dvorak

Not really. I enjoyed the mirror episodes of season 1 only and thought season 2 wildly uneven. I still strangely enjoyed them for what they were, popcorn trek is what I would personally call Discovery.

ML31

Well I think the Xindi arc was a good idea. And it was executed well. No, it wasn’t gold as I said. But it worked. It worked far better than anything Discovery did. It didn’t create a fascinating character only to pull the rug out from under the audience. It didn’t spend an overly long amount of time in the MU. But it DID have some really good episodes and moments. Similitude, Azati Prime, Damage to name a few. And that is two more good episodes than Discovery has ever had.

I still haven’t been able to make myself watch S2 of Enterprise straight through.

ML31

The Xindi arc was the 3rd season. I haven’t seen shows from the first two seasons for quite some time now. Since I’m doing my first rewatch of the sequel series’ perhaps I should add the first two seasons of Enterprise to the list.

Theoden_of_ODU

Agreed ML31 and Harry. X-Files is probably a great example of stand-alone vs serialized. The alien mythology arc (at least the conspiracy part of it) is probably the first thing that most people think about with X-Files other than monsters. However, the stand alone episodes are by far the best part of the series.

Back in the mid-00s they sold DVD packs of just the “myth arc” episodes. Chris Carter had whittled down 202 to a slim 60 of just the “myth arc” episodes. I bought the first volume and quickly realized that the best X-Files episodes were largely the stand-alone episodes. I didn’t buy the rest.

There’s a lot of ways that Trek could do a soft-arc where events and characters grow episode to episode, but that viewers aren’t reliant on watching them all to understand them. There’s a plot running in the background that doesn’t directly affect most episodes of the season. Even with many Enterprise Season 3 episodes, you could jump right in and not have to understand the intricacies in the previous episode and aren’t left dangling on a cliffhanger at the end of the episode.

Ian

I do it for DS9, because I love the characters and it’s so well-done, and also I know the arcs so well, but yeah, even then I would probably watch say, “One Little Ship” over “Tacking into the Wind,” despite how good it was.

I’ve revisited Voyager a bit recently because even though they aren’t quality drama most of the time, the stories are still so self-contained and somehow uniquely watchable.

I let it keep going on Netflix and found myself halfway through Threshold. Still an awful story in the end, but I forgot about one fantastic moment with the Doctor. Paris is unconscious after his test flight and Janeway asks if the Doctor can wake him up.

“I don’t see why not.” You just assume he’ll do the typical Star Trek thing of getting a hypo out and reviving him, but instead he leans over close to Tom’s face, waits a beat, then yells, “Wake up, Lieutenant!!!” and startles him awake. Then he walks away non-chalantly as Janeway gives him a slightly incredulous look. That character was a shining beacon for the writers and the audience in those early days especially.

ML31

Interesting take but to me this would fall into a time travel story more than a mirror universe story. It reminds me of Kirk in TFF when he refused to let Sybok work his voodoo. “What? That I should have turned right when I turned left?”

I have no idea how things went down in the first season but if I was in the room where they were breaking story and this idea came out I would strongly urge that if that was the direction they wanted to take then make it time travel. It would have to be a different one. And see what changes when something is altered. Even something very small. Or at the very least make it VERY clear this is NOT the same MU we have seen before. It would have to be a different one. I’d also like to add that while the idea still has some merit, it has been used quite a bit.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Someday I hope Bryan Fuller will lay out what his original concept for Discovery was in full and how it differed from what actually made it to screen.

DIGINON

If I remember correctly he left before season 1 even started filming so I wonder how much he had fleshed out his ideas beyond the basic concept and early episodes.

Tiger2

According to Kurtzman himself the entire outline of first season was done and the first three episodes were already written by the time Fuller left. But the new show runners basically changed a lot of the original outline and had rewrote episode 3 to fit those changes. And my guess is they rewrote a lot of that to make changes to Lorca (who WASN’T originally from the MU), added the spore drive (which according to Robert Burnett who interviewed Fuller here said in another interview over a year ago the spore drive was never part of Fuller’s original show) and to shift their new story arc.

I also mentioned somewhere else in this thread they were originally suppose to be in the MU by episode 4 but the show runners changed that to happen later to develop the characters more, so they clearly changed quite a bit. They kept all the general story elements and characters it sounds like but completely changed the plotting and some of the character beats. I think basically it was a totally different show from Fuller’s original idea after the first two episodes.

ML31

Interesting. I think I may have remembered reading somewhere that Lorca was always from the MU from day one. It was the main reason Issacs took the part. It was a single season commitment. That information stuck with me because it suggested that the show was torpedoing itself right from the start.

Tiger2

No, that’s not true. I even responded to you once and said that idea came later. I can’t remember where I read it but I went to Google to see if I can find a reference and funny enough I got a hit from Trekmovie itself:

“Harberts explained that the writers knew from the start, when creator Bryan Fuller was first planning out the show’s serialized storyline, that the inaugural season of Discovery would end up in the Mirror Universe. (Fuller eventually left the show due to creative differences with CBS, elevating Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg to showrunner status.) But at first, the writers planned for Lorca to be a hawkish captain given a chance to shine thanks to the Federation’s war with the Klingon Empire. It was only after the writers began discussing why Lorca would be so skilled with warfare that they hit upon the idea that he’d secretly be from the militaristic world of the Mirror Universe.”

https://trekmovie.com/2018/01/29/jason-isaacs-and-star-trek-discovery-producers-talk-prime-lorca-emperors-future-and-more/

So they did know Lorca was from the MU before Issacs signed on if that’s what you mean. But that wasn’t Fuller’s original idea with the character. That came after he left. In fact I remember Issacs was the one who mentioned they had rewritten episode three because they wanted to make changes to his character’s first appearance.

ML31

OK. Fair enough. That conversation slipped my mind. To be honest, a lot of convos here I do not specifically recall.

Tiger2

No worries! And we all say a LOT here so not shocked things are forgotten. ;)

DIGINON

@ Tiger2: Many things said here are better forgotten ;-)

Methusalah

He was a disorganized mess and the main reason the first season was so uneven. From the bizarre Klingon design to the original special effects company selection that stunk, he was in way over his head. Thank goodness Moonvies stepped in to at least make themes professional.

Ever watch that crap, American Gods? That was his stop after Moonvies fired him. No thanks!

Please correct me if i understood this wrong. Did Fuller imply that he created Discovery as a mirror universe show?

Andy

He’s saying he also had plans to do a mirror universe story, like what they still did after he was no longer on the show.

Ronbo

Its an interesting idea for an episode not a season long arc. And it is Not the Mirror Universe, its an alternate universe. The thing about the MU is its a mirror – everything opposite

CJA

Diane Duane’s “Dark Mirror.” Great read…

Andy

I like what he is saying here, I always feel like the Mirror Universe is too over-the top. But…given that some things I don’t care for about Disco came from him (Klingon re-design, Starfleet ships very different from the era it is set in) I’m still okay he left the show.

Despite not having much of a fondness for the Mirror Universe, I think those were probably some of the best episodes of season one. The Klingon War plot I think had a lot of potential but just didn’t come together in a satisfying way.

Personally, the first season would have been very well served had they avoided the mirror universe all together. But then, I wasn’t asked for input, either.

ML31

I think so, too. But then, at 10-13 episodes a season with a season long arc unless the season story is a MU story they probably ought to steer clear of the MU completely. Besides, the MU only works best in small doses.

Tiger2

I disagree, I think that was the best part of the season for me and frankly saved it since I really hated the Klingon stuff. But it is funny how there seems to be a deep divide over it. Reading this thread it sound like you either really loved or hated the MU episodes (but I guess that can be said about Discovery in general ;)). I wouldn’t say I loved them but easily the best part of the season.

But yes I still had tons of issues with it because how it reduced Lorca to a mustache twirling villain at the end and we spent just ONE episode to see his plan come together just to fail. And yes it also gave us MU Georgiou or Space Hitler who I really really hate as a character and really wish they kept in the MU as well. Now we are getting an entire show about her (sigh).

Wouldn’t this be another revisionism that fans would fret about? The Mirror Universe that is not really *the* Mirror Universe from ten years from then? I think Discovery kept true to Fuller’s core idea, but without the revisionist aspects of it.

Tiger2

I been saying this forever but honestly Discovery was probably nothing but a complete reboot in Fuller’s mind, with everything from the Klingons, the huge difference in Starfleet designs and Spock having a sister out of nowhere to name a few. If you watched the pilot and they told you this was a reboot I don’t think anyone would’ve questioned it. And how he describes his version of the MU confirms it more.

ML31

And again… I wouldn’t have had a problem with a Trek reboot. AT ALL!!! But I guess there are enough hard core fans who might blow up if it were.

Tiger2

Yep, same! I don’t get why people are so tied to what universe these shows take place in? Especially when you have a show like Discovery that is basically going to just ignore whatever it wants, so what’s the point? But in fairness the producers did learn their lesson with that. ;)

But the only way people will ever get another TOS show again if they rebooted it.

ML31

Yep. I never understood why Discovery producers would insist this was in the prime universe and NOT a reboot when literally everything about it just screamed “THIS IS A REBOOT!!” If they had called it it’s own thing to begin with, I personally would have gone a TON easier on them for their production design. I think the story would have still sucked but they would have been immune from the “canon” complaints.

My theory for why they just didn’t go ahead and call it a reboot was because they didn’t want to tick off the hard core fans. Just look at how Trek ’09 bent over backwards to maintain the prime universe. Myself, I had no issues whatsoever it if was just it’s own thing. A new take on Trek. A… REBOOT. I guess you and I are in the minority when it comes to Trek reboots among the fans.

Joe

I always just prefer people’s honesty. If you want to reboot, then just tell me it is a reboot, I would appreciate that so much more than them trying to force me to believe it is set in the prime universe when it obviously doesn’t fit. As Judge Judy use to always say, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” Now all that being said, I still liked the show well enough for the most part.

ML31

I remember watching the first number of episodes and thinking “this would work a ton better if it were the KU. I think I will just consider this show a KU show until enough things happen to show it could not be.”

kmart

I’m not big on reboots, but even so, I remember nearly 20 years ago writing a treatment for a feature-length TOS reboot that was telling BALANCE OF TERROR as the Enterprise’s first mission with Kirk in command. That let the ‘is he one of them?’ thing with Spock work a bit better, and I added sequence so it allowed for some off the ship action as they try to rescue folks trapped down on the pulverized asteroid-bases. I wish I’d kept a copy, but I bet the only place there’s any detailed descrip of it is on waybackmachine, and that’s only if they have archived very very old trekbbs threads.

Jay

So glad that finally we are beginning to hear from Fuller what really happened! I have been waiting for this moment since the end of Season 1. What if he was on board all along!?

I think he wanted to go more dark, much more dark than DS9 and any previous MU. I didn’t like his exit right from the beginning, not sure what really happened, but didn’t feel right from CBS.

I enjoyed the MU episodes in Discovery Season 1. But not sure if at this point of my life, I am looking into more dark Star Trek. With so much going on right now, I prefer more positive and optimistic shows. Wish we have more episodes like the New Eden. For me, that was the perfect pitch.

Steve

Regardless of Fuller’s vision… my question is…. why are we spending FOUR episodes in the mirror universe in season 1 of a brand new show when we barely have any idea who these characters are? Even after two seasons we know nothing about Culber, except that he likes opera. Couldn’t one of those 4 eps have been better served getting to know him? Instead, he’s just a walking billboard for gay couples in Star Trek. Similarly, Airiam? Instead of that idiotic development-then-death storyline crammed into 1 episode, why not use another of those 4 on her? And apparently the Federation and the Klingons were at war, you wouldn’t know it, we barely saw it in the entire season. It’s just terrible, juvenile writing. And things didn’t get much better given the second half of season 2. It’s kind of a problem when your tv show has bad writing, AND bad characters, with an insufferable lead. There’s no foundation.

Awesomesauce

That is exactly why I heat the concept of 10 to 13 episode, there is just not enough time to develop all the characters and story arcs.

DIGINON

Of course, you’re right that doing 10 episodes per season instead of 26 provides less opportunity to develop the characters. Another problem I see is that they seem to cram a lot of plot into those episodes, especially during the second half of each season. So you have the characters chasing plot twist after plot twist with not a lot of time left to catch a breath and reflect on what is happening.
I don`t think all of those plot twists are necessary to tell the overarching story arc or the character arcs that they talk about in interviews.
It seems to be a general problem with many modern TV shows and movies where you rush from beat to beat (or action set piece to action set piece) but they aren’t always necessary for (or even supportive of) the overall arc.

DIGINON

Culber was basically dead for half of the show’s run so far. This may explain why we haven’t learned much about him. You can debate the decision to kill off his character so early and then bring him back a season later but it’s a reason his character hasn’t been explored at lot. As for the other characters, I agree to an extent. I think many people expect the crew to be an ensemble of more or less equally well developed characters who each get episodes to shine. However, each of the previous shows also had many background characters, some of them unnamed even if they kept recurring over several episodes. And even if these people had names, most of the time we didn’t really know much about them. So far, many of Discovery’s characters have been more like those background characters. Ironically, TOS also spent much of its focus on a much smaller group of central characters (Kirk, Spock, McCoy) with much less emphasis put on Sulu, Uhura, Chekov and even Scotty to an extent. They got more development over the course of the whole show and the movies but they started as not much more than background characters.

odradek

The only thing I know about Scotty is that he hates women.
Not unlike a lot of STD critics.

ML31

Amazing. Everything about that statement was wrong.

Tiger2

Or that he loves to drink! ;)

bassmaster22

It’s like Inception at this point. A mirror universe based on a reimagining of Roddenberry’s prime universe which is what Discovery and Picard are.

The last prime universe story was Nemesis. Unfortunately, it was a crappy way to leave it. But, go ahead and pretend all the current productions are part of Roddentrek.

They are to Star Trek what the Star Wars Christmas Special was to Star Wars.

Andy

“They are to Star Trek what the Star Wars Christmas Special was to Star Wars.”

Not even a little bit.

Danpaine

That comment officially brought forth my first smile of the morning, bassmaster. Nice one!

Olaf

The fact that he didn’t mention anything else of how Discovery turned out indicates to me that the way it turned out was in fact his vision for the show. That, combined with his comments, made me wish he had actually departed a whole lot earlier than he did, or never had anything to do with Discovery in the first place. Might have even had real Klingons, who knows? ;-)

Tadlon

Yeah real Klingons. Again we were stuck with the fake Klingons like TNG. They look NOTHING like the original series. /sarcasm

Mel

It was kind of stupid. They started a war with the Klingons in the pilot and then showed practically nothing of it on screeen. Instead they went for numerous episodes to the MU. The storyline of season 1 was badly planned out. Not that they learned from this mistake as season 2 had also a badly planned out story arc.

noraa

I’m actually glad Fuller wasn’t able to do this take on the Mirror Universe. The Mirror Universe has never been about nuance, which is one reason it’s so much to explore.

Really my only complaint about the MU arc in Season 1 is how Lorca really changed into just a one note mustache twirling villain. I thought it would have been a lot more interesting and compelling had he been a “good” guy in the MU.

ML31

That would then mean that Prime Lorca would be a “bad” guy.

Jefferies Tuber

Gawd, he is excruciating, but as suspected all along, his MU vision was fulfilled.

The more I hear, the more I understand why CBS parted ways with Fuller.

It’s just really unfortunate that the replacement showrunners created such a toxic work environment that S2 was fractured as well. I really liked where they were taking things, but totally support the decision to relieve them of their senior management roles once CBS verified the complaints.

Bella

binding love spells with photos that work fast leave a reply