At today’s CBS All Access panel for the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles, showrunner and executive producer Bryan Fuller finally made the first major reveals about next January’s new Star Trek series.
The lead character will be female Lt. Commander in Starfleet – and human – not the captain of a starship. The rank comes “with caveats,” Fuller detailed cryptically.
Fuller elaborated on the choice to not center the show about yet another captain:
The story that is fascinating for me is, we’ve seen six series from captain’s points of view… to see different characters from different perspectives, we thought it would give us different contexts.
A different dynamic and relationship to the crew. For [her] to truly understand something alien, she has to understand herself, [and her journey will] teach her how to get along with others in the galaxy.
We haven’t cast her yet, so we don’t know what level of diversity she will be.
As for you timeline targeters, the show will be set approximately ten years before James T. Kirk takes command of the Enterprise, in the Prime timeline.
Says Fuller, the show will launch from an event that has talked about in the Original Series, but never fully explored. He did specifically state that the Kobayashi Maru, the Battle of Axanar (plus the Earth-Romulan War, from the 2150’s) are not the events to which he was hinting.
We’re much closer to Kirk’s universe [than that of Archer’s], so we get to play with all of that [TOS-era] iconography of those ships and those uniforms.
In terms of other casting, Fuller stayed mum on if the captain of the USS Discovery will be portrayed by a male or female actor, but did say to expect both “robots” and “a few more aliens than usual” in the lead characters – including some “reimagining of existing alien [species]” – and he confirmed the show will “absolutely” have a gay character.
In addition, Fuller hinted that the character of Amanda Grayson – Spock’s mother – “maybe” will factor into DISCOVERY at some point; he also said that “it’s not impossible” that Section 31 may come into play. The producer would not elaborate further on either point.
As for viewship of the new series: CBS is projecting that the network broadcast of the DISCOVERY pilot will be watched by nearly 15 Million people, before the show transitions to All Access for the remainder of its release. Once on CAA, the network is not expected to release ratings – just like Netflix’s reporting – but will detail subscriber numbers.
In addition, regarding CAA’s advertising content, the current estimate is that each show will feature approximately twelve minutes of commercials per hour, which is about 25% fewer ads than a normal broadcast in the United States. As we’ve previously reported, CBS is looking at a possible ad-free pay tier, but has nothing yet announced on that front.
The streaming service will be serving up content in 1080p high definition, but will not be streaming in 4K at present – though that may change in the future.
Fuller addressed the next step of the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY information rollout, saying that the next data dump on the series is likely to come sometime in October.