Podcast: All Access Star Trek Revisits ‘Strange New Worlds’ With Producing Director Chris Fisher

TrekMovie

Laurie and Tony have a lengthy, engaging conversation with Chris Fisher, producing director and co-executive producer on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. His enthusiasm for the job and the show is infectious as he talks about hiring and working with directors, working with Paul Wesley, collaborating with the creative teams, using the AR wall, combining practical with virtual effects for the Gorn, what he knows (and doesn’t) about the Section 31 movie, and much more. He also gives his take on the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes (and how long it would take to get production rolling again once they’re over) and talks about being mentored by Star Trek behind-the-scenes vets Merri Howard and Marvin Rush.

No news or bits this week, due to the length of the interview. Enjoy!

Links:

Amy Berg on Twitter/X

David Slack on Twitter/X

Paul Wesley on Instagram

Star Trek TV Productions To Add AR Wall To Create Virtual Sets, Like ‘The Mandalorian’

On The Walls: Virtual Production for Series Shooting [American Cinematographer]

Interview: Director Eduardo Sanchez On Going From ‘Blair Witch’ To Bringing TOS Style To ‘Strange New Worlds’

Interview: ‘Strange New Worlds’ Director Jeff Byrd On Exploring The Dark Soul Of Star Trek At War

Interview: Director Dermott Downs On Keeping The ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Musical Grounded

Interview: ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Effects Supervisor J. Alan Scott On Reimagining The Gorn

Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and should you be so inclined, please review us on Apple.


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Great interview! Though I could imagine the collective gasp at the enthusiastic mention of maybe redoing TOS.

Love it. Old = bad, new = good!

Haven’t listened to the interview yet, but I’d agree with the sentiment – season 2 of SNW’s is some of the best Trek I’ve seen in years…

It’s a very interesting interview. You get a real sense of how the AR wall is used to make the show, not just for planets but for basic sets like engineering and sick bay also.

It’s just a matter of greater flexibility when using the LED wall. A similar kind of directorial gain was in place with how nuBSG used greenscreen to extend their hangar deck in an invisible fashion. And it might have been better used there, because they couldn’t run out a lot of unnecessary circling camera moves that amount to showing off without often help tell the story.

Then again, nuBSG had such an obnoxious visual style — it might be the only series I can think of where the under-and-over-exposed look is so annoying that it cuts down rewatchability by at least 70% — that it might not be the ideal example.

Great interview! One the most extensive TrekMovie has done, and way more detailed/interesting than many Trek interviews out there. Reminds me of the equally great interview TrekMovie did with Aaron Waltke. I can’t wait for part two, provided it happens, as I too had a lot of questions based on the fun, interesting, and amazing stuff Chris was saying.

The single point that most sticks with me right now is when Chris said the show creators (and writers?) were interested/confident in exploring the existing characters from TOS. He made it sound like that was a powerful driver behind the creation (or maybe the ongoing direction of the show?). This is interesting to me for a few reasons: 1) could this have been an actually driver for the show’s pitch and development? if so, that would explain the maybe larger-than-expected percentage of “legacy” characters in the initial crew, 2) this kind of explains why Kirk and now Scotty have shown up in this series already, and 3) I can understand that people would want to write and develop young Spock and young Uhura, but I can’t really see Chapel or M’Benga being homeruns for characters to develop that ‘the fans already love’. Pike and Una are kind of in-between characters – they have more prominence/development in Trek lore and fan interest than Chapel or M’Benga but still I don’t think they could have been considered beloved characters prior to SNW (unless you want to consider their status after DIS season 2, then yeah, they were probably homeruns by then).

Great stuff!

Thanks! We still had a lot of questions when we wrapped it up… could’ve talked to Chris all day. You make some good points, although I always think there’s MORE potential with characters who weren’t as developed on TOS, because it gives you more room to play. But yes, I felt like he gave us some insight into the showrunners’ intentions and how they think about the show for sure!

Laurie, on last week’s Treksperts Podcast Mark Altman claimed that Paramount is developing a Star Trek movie set immediately after First Contact when the humans meet the Vulcans. Is this on Trek Movie’s radar? Altman seems like a reliable source usually.

We’ve heard rumors here and there for sure.

[sits up]

Personally, I love how confident he feels about Season 3 being ready to go. Amazing that they were ready to call the actors to the set. Thank you!

If I heard what he was saying correctly, it sounds like they were very deep into pre-production on the season when the strike hit. He said something about preparing the visual effects for episode seven of season three (or something like that), indicating that most or all of the episodes have been written at least.

He said that they were already working on AR assets for episode 7. But it sounded like they basically develop a list of planets they want to visit during the season and then start designing them even though the full scripts may not be completely finished.
I mean, I must admit I don’t fully understand how writers’ rooms/writing on TV shows works exactly. It seems like they “break the season” together, but then individual writers still head off to write the scripts. But I have no idea just how detailed this collaborative story break is vs. how much comes later when the actual script is written. I assume that they can do design work based on the story break.

Great interview. I´d love to get more interviews with different people behind the scenes. Both from ongoing shows and those that have ended/are ending.
It´s become clear that the leadership and execs who run Star Trek are good people. The fact that he says that everything the WGA is demanding already exists on the Trek shows confirms this.

Just finished listening to the podcast. I love how Chris sounds so passionate about the show! However, it seems he feels they have done a better job at using the AR wall than what I can see. In compared to The Mandalorian, the SNW AR wall use was lacking. Engineering looks really bad. And it always looks so flat and lifeless. The AR wall use is best when used as a window to a space scene, like on a space station. Other than that, it is lame. But I get how it decreases the cost of production, which is a Star Trek staple.

While I loved the crossover and musical episodes, I think season 1 was better overall than season 2. For me, Season 2 had a lot of misfires, especially the first and last episodes, which should be the best. I hope that their whole “big swings” approach does not mean a lack in quality for season 3.

Lastly, can we get some more strange new worlds on the Strange New Worlds show? Chris stated how they want to make great creature effects, well other than the Gorn, what else have they done? I’d like to see more episodes that reflect the neat scenes in the title sequence: exploring weird sci-fi space anomalies and alien worlds! I like show overall, but hoping for more good stuff rather than the lame.

The AR wall works best when kept out of focus. So with lots of set pieces in the foreground. I agree engineering falls apart at times, especially with wide shots.

And yes, I agree, the ‘big swings’ they are so fond of should be more Trek-ish, in the way of sci-fi, aliens, world building, anomalies, and that sort of thing. NOT genres.

I only just listened to this episode. Had to take 2 coffees to get through it (in a good way). He sure is a blabbermouth so I was hoping he would accidently spill some juicy tea. But he was very professional with his answers. I thought maybe he was gonna say that Section 31 uses their sets (and/or the Disco sets), thus confirming the timeline it’s taking place in.

I love his enthusiasm when talking about the things he loves, but hearing such confidence always makes me a bit itchy. Might be a European thing, but confidence borders on overconfidence and blindness. So I’m just hoping he WILL start listening to fan feedback in some areas. I mean, how can you say you don’t but do acknowledge that fact that ‘people love it’?

Another thing that kinda struck me, is the fact they started blocking the season by putting genres up on the board (if I heard that correctly). I think that’s kinda a weird choice in a show where he emphasises on having the charcter arcs come first.

One last thing I’m curious about: I recently found blueprints for the SNW standing sets and was kinda surprised about the fact they’re stretched out over 4 smaller soundstages (5 if you count the AR wall set), and not all that connected at all (like we are used to in previous shows). I wonder if 1: the Disco sets are taken down, and 2: if so, whether they will move the SNW sets and connect them together more in bigger sound stages, for more interesting walk and talk scenes. Maybe an interesting question for future talks.