Only a day after the much-anticipated Star Trek: Discovery premiere, and already a load of post-airing press had arrived from the series’ creative team on the aftermath of that eventful first two-hour story, where Discovery heads from here, and when Season 2 may come to fruition.
SPOILER WARNING FOR EPISODES 1 & 2
Alex Kurtzman talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how much time goes into producing a single episode of Discovery, from filming to post-production.
It’s a very complicated, elaborate process. We’re not kidding around with the visual effects. It’s four to five months just for the visual effects, per episode. Many people are waiting with arms crossed to see if it’s going to be worth the money.
The way I always think is that no one ever complains about paying for Game of Thrones. We have to deliver that level of spectacle and experience so the audience feels that this isn’t something they could get on network television and it feels worth it [considering All Access comes with a monthly fee]. Then you go do the mix and that can usually go one or two days and we need four. We’re mixing a movie; every episode is huge.
What we recognized was that CBS had never made a show of this scale before. I say that without judgment because very few people have. If you really want to bring a film experience — with all the requisite trappings — it was going take a lot more time. I would have been very scared to do a show in less time because having had production experience, you would not have been able to deliver something that felt worth the expectation.
He also spoke a bit about the creative team’s general hopes for the second season, should it be approved…
We have a larger picture for season two — if we’re lucky to get a season two order. As you’re breaking the season you get bunch of ideas you love and realize they won’t fit in this season, so you put them on index cards and up on the board.
We have a bunch of those as well as a big idea that emerged mid- to late-season one for something we want to do for season two. That’s now become the spine of what we want to do for season two. We have an emotional compass pointing toward a big idea for a second season. But given the scope of this thing, we’re also focused on finishing strong. Hopefully we’ll get an order for season two.
I don’t know that we’ll have a tremendous amount of downtime between seasons. There have been many iterations of Trek that have run for a very long time. I only want to keep it going for as long as it feels fresh and like we have stories to tell.
…and when we may see that sophomore season, if all goes well: sometime in 2019.
There have been preliminary conversations about when and how [a second season could air] and we’ve been very consistent in our message, which is that rather than announce a date and have to push again, let’s take into consideration everything we’ve learned from this season.
Now we know what we can do and where the sand traps are, so let’s give ourselves ample time to announce a date that makes sense to everybody — both the needs of production and CBS. Breaking story is, in some ways, the easier and faster thing; it’s the ability to execute on it that’s much harder.
We want to take the right amount of time and don’t want to rush. Ideally [it could arrive] on the early side of 2019.
First, of course, is the topic of Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), and how the death of Michael Burnham’s mentor will affect the young officer going forward.
[Killing off Georgiou] was always a piece of storytelling that [former showrunner] Bryan Fuller and [executive producer] Alex Kurtzman had as the architecture for the first two episodes.
For us, it’s a very old way of telling the story. Getting people invested in these two characters, only to yank one away. It was sort of subliminally designed to say to the audience, “You think you know what kind of Star Trek you’re getting. You think you see who your Kirk and Spock are. But they’re not. This is not your everyday Star Trek.”
Not only was it important for Burnham’s emotional journey and the loss she’s going to carry the entire series but it was a really terrific way to announce that this show was going to defy certain expectations.
Casting somebody like Michelle Yeoh, we needed to make sure we had a character and an actress that, even if you don’t see her physically on the screen, you’re going to feel her absence because she leaves that kind of impact on Burnham’s life and on the audience’s life.
It’s a constant reminder for Burnham. It puts her in a very vulnerable position. There’s this character who’s so sure of herself. Every choice in her life was made with a goal in mind and it’s all been ripped away from her. Now she’s starting from nothing. She thought she knew who she was and where she was going and the people around her were going to be constants. That’s all different now, it’s all gone.
Harberts also touched upon how Burnham’s relationship with USS Discovery captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) will differ, as the series continues.
If Georgiou represents the absolute ideal version of a Starfleet captain, which is to say she has the moral authority given to her by Starfleet, Lorca represents the situational ethics that come into play during times of desperation and war.
During times where sometimes the rules don’t apply when it comes to matters of life and death. He exists in a very gray area and he’s almost a captain that could only exist in this context. And, in fact, context is a very important thing for Lorca. He believes that context is what should decide actions.
Finally, the showrunners confirmed that we’ll see plenty of James Frain’s Sarek in future flashbacks, but also that it seems we haven’t quite seen the last of Michelle Yeoh in the series.
We’ll definitely be exploring the parental relationship between Burnham and Sarek further on in the series in flashbacks. Georgiou will always be present in Burnham’s life, in her consciousness.
We won’t be doing as many flashbacks with Georgiou but we do definitely explain and explore what happened to young Burnham at the Vulcan learning center in that horrific bombing, when Sarek brings her back to life.
We explore how that event really cemented the relationship between this little human child and this Vulcan ambassador.
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Lastly, a few new production photos have arrived from the filming of the premiere episodes.
Stay tuned to TrekCore for more Star Trek: Discovery news!