As we reported last week, the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike (following the end of the WGA strike in September) means that all the various Star Trek projects can now move forward. The end of the actors’ strike now allows for casting, auditions, promotion, and (most importantly) actual production. And there are already indications that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is getting set to move forward on the third season of the series set on Captain Pike’s USS Enterprise.
Back to work on Strange New Worlds
Production for the third season was “just about to start” before the WGA strike began in early May according to executive producer Alex Kurtzman. Producing director Chris Fisher told told TrekMovie they were just one day away from flying in the actors before they shut down. During the strike Fisher and producers in Toronto kept a rotating plan going so they could remain “weeks away” from being able to go into production once the strikes ended. And true to his word, over the weekend Fisher announced on Instagram that he is headed “back to Toronto for work” this week. The original plan from May had Fisher set to direct the first episode of the season.
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According to a listing today at the Directors Guild of Canada, pre-production for season 3 of Strange New Worlds (under the production name “Lily & Isaac”) restarted today, with production set to start on December 11, and running through July 2024. Much of the pre-production work had already been completed by May including building the visual effects for most of the season for the AR Wall set.
The stars of the show are also getting ready to start filming again. Actress Jess Bush (Christine Chapel) posted an Instagram Story on Friday that she was subletting her flat in Australia for six months. In a separate post celebrating the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike by sharing a behind-the-scenes video from the filming of “Subspace Rhapsody,” Strange New Worlds director of photography Benji Bakshi replied to Bush with “Can’t wait to see everyone again soon.” And today Bush posted a new Instagram Story asking if anyone in Toronto had a covered parking spot she could rent.
On Friday actress Melissa Navia showed she is ready to get back to work by posting a picture on Twitter of her character Ortegas with the message “Let’s gooooo.”
— Melissa Navia 🚀 (@melissaCnavia) November 11, 2023
Season 3 could debut in late 2024 (in theory)
The big question is when would the season debut? The double strikes will certainly have an impact on the release of Star Trek but there is still content already expected to arrive in 2024. The fifth and final season of Star Trek: Discovery has already been set for early 2024 on Paramount+ and it’s likely the fifth season of the animated comedy Lower Decks would be ready to debut by late summer or fall of 2024. The second season of Star Trek: Prodigy is set to debut on Netflix sometime in 2024.
If production on Strange New Worlds season 3 starts on time in early December, filming for one of the ten episodes could be completed before the Christmas break with the other nine episodes filmed in the first half of 2024. For the first two seasons there was around a 15-month gap from the start of production to season premiere. If this pattern continued we would expect season 3 to debut in early 2025, and this may be the most likely scenario. But it’s possible things could move along quicker this time.
For the first two seasons of the show, Paramount+ and Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout production company were juggling a lot of concurrent Star Trek projects during the post-pandemic rush back into live-action production. With Picard wrapped up and the fifth season of Discovery already complete, there is less for Secret Hideout to juggle. Do the losing 6 months of, Paramount+ is also facing a lack of live-action scripted content (Star Trek and otherwise) going into 2024 so they will be motivated to move things forward as fast as possible, especially for Strange New Worlds which is one of only a handful of their shows to rank in the streaming top 10. It’s also worth noting that the show is expected to use the AR Wall even more for the third season, and much (if not all) of the visual effects work for that has already been completed. It’s likely other visual effects work has already started, especially following the end of the WGA strike which allows the showrunners to oversee the work. Bear in mind that other post-production work, like editing, would start as soon as January after the first episode is shot.
So in theory we could see the debut of season 3 in late 2024. One way to make this happen could be to split the season into two halves to allow time for post-production to be completed on the second half of the season, as they did for the first season of Star Trek: Discovery.
The full cast of Strange New Worlds is set to return. Season 3 will also feature Scottish actor Martin Quinn as Scotty, who made his debut in the season 2 finale “Hegemony.” The showrunners have teased that more TOS characters are “inevitable,” although it’s unclear if we should expect to see them in season 3. Even though the show will remain episodic, the Gorn are set to return as a recurring villain. Co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman did confirm the series would continue to “genre hop” and attempt to once again do it “bigger and better” in season 3. After season 2 which included a crossover with the animated series Lower Decks and a musical episode, it’s hard to imagine bigger “big swings,” but hopefully we won’t have to long to wait to see them.
Section 31 and Academy?
There are two other live-action Star Trek projects in the works. The first expected to go into production is the Section 31 streaming movie event starring Michelle Yeoh, reprising her Discovery role as former Emperor (turned Section 31 operative) Philippa Georgiou. That project has a completed script (by Craig Sweeny) with Discovery producing director Olatunde Osunsanmi set to helm the project. The original plan was for that project to film in Toronto this fall, but it too was delayed due to the double strikes. In October at NYCC Alex Kurtzman confirmed the Section 31 movie “is happening” and he noted that Yeoh has remained focused on returning to Star Trek even after her career got a big jolt following her Academy Award win earlier this year. “What she did with all of the power she had accrued is make sure that Section 31 was moving forward,” said Kurtzman. There is no indication when production will start on this project, but it could be soon. Even though the Section 31 movie would share some personnel and assets with Strange New Worlds (including the AR Wall) in his August interview, Chris Fisher pointed to how the Discovery and Strange New Worlds productions often overlapped in the past. “I don’t see why everything Star Trek can’t start up and start to get going,” said Fisher. Like with Strange New Worlds, in theory, the Section 31 movie could be ready in time for a late 2024 arrival, but only assuming production can get going soon.
As for the Star Trek: Starfleet Academy series, the writers’ room for that YA-focused show restarted work in October for the first season. Even before the strikes, the series was already planned to go into production in 2024. Few details have been announced for the show including the cast or even the time setting, although it is assumed to be set after the events of Star Trek: Discovery season 5 in the 32nd century. At NYCC in October Kurtzman (who is a co-showrunner on the series along with Noga Landau) confirmed “We are officially going to start shooting next year.” Starfleet Academy will also be filmed in Toronto and while the team up there could handle two Trek projects at the same time, it almost certainly could not handle three. So production on this show would have to wait until after one or both of the other projects complete, likely the Section 31 movie. And that assumes they would have enough scripts and pre-production work ready in time. The Academy series is expected to arrive on Paramount+ in 2025.
This is a developing story so stay tuned to TrekMovie for more Star Trek production updates.
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