Kurtzman on bringing back TOS style for SNW
On Sunday Alex Kurtzman participated in a Deadline Contenders panel, promoting his Emmy nomination for Star Trek: Short Treks. While most of the panel focused on the latest season of Short Treks, Kurtzman also gave an update on Strange New Worlds, the recently announced series set on the USS Enterprise featuring Anson Mount as Captain Pike, Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock, and Rebecca Romijn as Number One, all reprising their roles from the second season of Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks.
The executive producer in charge of the Star Trek Universe gave an overview of how Strange New Worlds would have a different style and tone from Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard:
I think Strange New Worlds, under the guidance of Henry Myers and Akiva Goldsman, it’s going to be a return in a way to TOS [Star Trek: The Original Series]. We are going to do stand-alone episodes. There will be emotional serialization. There will be two-parters. There will be larger plot arcs. But it really is back to the model of alien-of-the-week, planet-of-the-week, challenge-on-the-ship-of-the-week. With these characters pre-Kirk’s Enterprise. I think what people responded so much to in all three characters is this kind of relentless optimism that they have. And that they are at the young phase of their careers.
Pike keeps his optimism, despite knowing his fate
Kurtzman also spoke about how Pike learning of his fate will be informing the character in Strange New Worlds:
That Pike, who has experienced this extraordinary trauma, which he is famous for. It is how he knows how he is going to die. The idea is, how does a character who knows how he is going to die live optimistically from that point on and lead a ship? It’s a great question. I have never seen a show where a character knew that already. You have to have an inherent optimism in your world view in order to say, “I am going to get up every morning knowing how it is going to end for me.” And still lead everybody to be the best versions of themselves.
In the season two episode of Star Trek: Discovery “Through the Valley of Shadows,” a time crystal showed Captain Pike a vision of his future, where – while not actually killed as Kurtzman describes – he will be horribly maimed, and fated to exist in a motorized chair, only able to communicate via beeps. Pike’s destiny was first seen in the TOS episode “The Menagerie,” which established that in the year 2266, one year after handing command of the USS Enterprise over to James T. Kirk, Pike will be crippled after exposure to Delta radiation during a training exercise. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will likely start off shortly after the events of the second season of Star Trek: Discovery which was set in the year 2257.
During the Deadline event, there was no update on the status for Strange New Worlds, but in other recent panels, Kurtzman has revealed that a writers’ room is already at work on the new show. As of July, they had already broken the stories for ten episodes, indicating the first season would have ten episodes. And last week Kurtzman stated that the show is expected to go into production in 2021.
Short Treks may experiment with musical and black & white formats
Currently no future episodes of Star Trek: Short Treks have been announced, but during the panel Kurtzman again expressed hope that the series will continue, and will find new things to try:
The thing that we definitely discovered is that these shows are as challenging as making the full shows. There is really no difference in terms of time commitment and energy spent. But I think there are so many forms that these shows can take. And because they are really an experimentation tool for what we can do on Star Trek, I have said I would love to do a musical. We have talked about doing them in black and white. But you have to do that for a reason. You can’t just do it to do it. There has to be a story reason to do it that way. Obviously there has been stuff in black and white in Trek before. But I don’t know man. I would love to keep experimenting and seeing how far we can push it. And I am incredibly grateful for the nomination, because I think it has emboldened everybody to keep going.
Kurtzman’s mention of Star Trek using black & white in the past is likely a reference to the Captain Proton holodeck stories featured in Star Trek: Voyager. Star Trek has never done a full-on musical, but some members of the Star Trek: Discovery cast participated in an episode of Carpool Karaoke. Check out the musical promo below, which features Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Repp, and Mary Wiseman singing in costume and makeup on the Discovery set and has clips from the episode.
Keep up with the Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.