Alex Kurtzman & Akiva Goldsman on Making DISCOVERY Contemporary

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Thanks to all of you for hanging with us this past week as we’ve been covering all things Star Trek: Discovery at San Diego Comic-Con! Today we’ve got our final interview from the Discovery press event, with series executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman.

TrekCore contributor Sam Darragh of the Trekkie Girls was our roving reporter at Saturday’s press junket, and she met up with the pair of producers to get their take on staying true to Star Trek‘s legacy but updating the series for modern times.

TREKCORE: My question is, how much of producing “Star Trek: Discovery” has been a balancing act between the desire of fans, the network requirements — and the perceived will its creator, Gene Roddenberry?

KURTZMAN: I think we’re very in sync about staying consistent with Roddenberry’s vision, and I think everyone also recognizes that in order to make show relevant, it has to exist in a world in which television and film, the line between the two has become very blurred.

So, from a production point of view, the demands of the network have been, ‘Let’s make it worth the money.’ And I mean, the money I mean, worth the [subscription] money that people spend to watch the show. And no one has ever questioned the core of what “Trek” needs to be.

So it’s not like we got some notes that the studio is asking us to do that is fundamentally changing the nature of what “Star Trek” is.

So, we are, in a weird way, our own biggest police – and the debates that we have in the room and with each other about what’s right for “Trek” and what “Trek” means is… in a way, we’re harsher on each other, probably, than anybody else.

GOLDSMAN: I think what Alex said is entirely true. We are constantly alive in our process, our ability to tell stories that are REALLY “Star Trek” and also do it in a way that is contemporary and reflective of what we’re going through today – both culturally and politically.

It’s a great opportunity for us, as we’re big fans, and we delight in the chance not to screw it up! (Laughs)

Keep coming back to TrekCore as we approach Star Trek: Discovery‘s debut September 24.

  • FightingMongooses

    I find Kurtzman’s appearance so off-putting. It’s illogical to think such things I know, but seeing pictures of him annoys me.

    • TUP

      Not unreasonable. His resume is chalk full of shallow crap. More concerning is his resume contains previously solid projects that were made worse by his involvement.

      Whenever I look at his list, Im always so perplexed by Watchmen which I friggen love and think is one of the great films of all time. I find it so hard to believe a story like epic and well done could have been written by him.

      But to be fair, his credit is “uncredited script polish”. Which lends itself to my theory that he (and more so Orci) are good idea men but simply not good enough to create something from scratch.

      So hopefully with Discovery, Kurtzman’s skills as an idea guy are being utilized in a positive way. Suggest a general idea that others can create? Sure. Punch up some dialogue or suggest positive alterations? Sure. Create? Nope.

      • M33

        As long as it isn’t anything like those horrible Transformers films… we might have a chance.

        • TrekRules

          Isn’t that the problem though? His career is full of movies like Transformers and he keep being given more work. Transformers, Cowboys & Aliens, Amazing Spiderman 2, The Mummy, ST Into Darkness – he hasn’t really has one big success but sure has a lot of bad movies to his credit so it makes you wonder why anyone would think of him as being the right choice to run a successful series.

          • M33

            Wow… yeah, that list…
            ID I enjoyed, but there rest were so lacking the ability to be “interesting”.
            The conversational banter in Amazing Spiderman 2 was completely cringe-worthy, with no one saying anything except an occasional cliche.
            They all seem to have the mark of “cool idea–terrible execution”.

            Maybe we can turn a new space-leaf…

          • Pedro Ferreira

            Maybe he was better at writing Xena?

  • David Lund

    I’m looking forward to a different kind of storytelling. There have been 700 star trek stories told so far, Dicsovery is just one more. To me it looks like an exciting contemporary take on what has gone before, and the care and attention put into it is very noticeable. Hopefully it will be as good as it looks, will placate some of the more horrified reactions of some ‘fans’, and more importantly appeal to a new generation of viewers who will enjoy not just this series, but the 6 others they can dip into afterwards. And if it doesn’t live up to expectations, I’ve still got those 700 stories to enjoy for years to come!

    • Barak Aslani

      Nobody would argue about the need for a new style of story telling in Trek. The style grew stagnant and was, in my humble opinion, the main reason the franchise ended up sadly being rebooted with JJ-shite. However, why invest all this talent and production value into another unwanted prequel? I’ll tell you why… because this series isn’t about the fans. It’s about making money from the average Joe on the street. They stupidly think they have the fans money no matter what… as long as they plaster the name ‘Star Trek’, that we will be content. They think ‘let’s place is in the Kirk and Spock time so more people get it…’. They can’t use a young Shatner or young Nimoy (RIP), doesn’t look like the JJ-cast would cameo, judging by ‘Pouty Lips’ Quinto’s comments. Why say this is 10 years before before TOS but it looks like it’s post-Nemesis? Because they don’t care. And they read these comments. And they know we’re unhappy with the direction they’ve taken. And now they panic. “Please watch it. It is Trek. Honest”. Sure, and my anus is a vagina.

  • pittrek

    Translated to common English “Please watch us, please watch us, please watch us, we really are Star Trek, we swear, please watch us”

    • TUP

      Let me get my Irrelevant, Irrational Negative 8 Ball out and give it a good shake:

      “This Is Crap”.

      There, saved a lot of time.

    • DC Forever

      Like they would ever say “we aren’t Star Trek, please don’t watch us?”

      Seriously??? Give me a break. Lol

    • Barak Aslani

      Their desperation is laughable. How about you created a production that actually looked like it fit into canon? Or are you going to SHAME fans for caring about continuity and their emotional investment? Create something that doesn’t disrespect what came before. You are not reinventing the wheel, and if you want to, don’t call it Star Trek and ask for our money.

      • Pedro Ferreira

        It’s Star Trek Jim but not as we know it.

  • Locutus

    I really appreciate Trekcore’s outstanding coverage of the new series and exclusive interviews from SDCC.

    • Thanks Locutus!

    • DC Forever

      Agreed!!!!!

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  • Barak Aslani

    I think what happened (and with Enterprise before it) is the studio or producer wants to capture a new audience and they (misguided as they are) think setting a new series close to ‘Kirk and Spock time’ will make the show more relatable for the average Joe on the street. The STUPID thing is, the average Joe on the street doesn’t give two figs as to who Harry Mudd is. The studios underestimate Star Trek fans, think they have our loyalty no matter what they churn out… This series looks like it should be set post Voyager. I am sick to my stomach by how they insult continuity and insult our community. There is nothing wrong with caring about all the multiple series and admitting we have an emotional commitment to our prime universe. I bregrudge we even have to call it that now. Don’t let the trolls shame you. We have a right to feel cheated… again.

    • Pedro Ferreira

      I am perplexed by the decision to do a Harry Mudd prequel story.

  • Robbins

    don’t believe any of this.they need to just admit this is eather prequel to kelvin films or is tv reboot of trek.it isn’t the prime universe.i haven’t seen one thing that makes me think prequel to star trek.and they actuly expect trekkers to sign up for new streaming service when they give the finger.good luck with that.enterprise when it ended no matter any issues with first 2 seasons was end of star trek i knew and love.

    • Pedro Ferreira

      See the problem is they’ve been so lured by the reboot movies style they have great difficulty trying to match any canon because it’s now considered by the studio as outdated.