Star Trek news and rumors: Star Trek Discovery, the next movie, and more
This article focuses on Star Trek news and rumors for upcoming Star Trek projects, especially the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery TV show, and some hints on the future of the films. Star Trek: Discovery will be coming to CBS’ new streaming platform and we will update this post often as new information is provided. Once the new show debuts, we’ll keep at it too.
The original plan for Star Trek: Discovery was to have it debut in 2016 along with the film Star Trek Beyond, in part to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series. That proved to be a little too ambitious, however, and Discovery was targeted for a January 2017 release. And then a February 2017 release to coincide with the Super Bowl. And then May. And then… well you get the idea. There have been a lot of delays.
There is also a fourth movie rumored to be on the way existing in Abrams’ “Kelvin” timeline, but to many, Star Trek belongs on TV. Gene Roddenberry’s dream was to create a futuristic show with a humanist philosophy. It works on the big screen to a degree, but the format of television works better to explore that ideology. In two hours you need to entertain and titillate, while in 10-20+ hours per season over multiple seasons, you can go much deeper.
Whatever your preference, we’ll continue to update this post with all manner of Star Trek news, so check back often and let us know if we missed anything!
Originally posted: 2/25/16
Star Trek: Discovery news and rumors
Behind the lens
The show was originally set to be overseen by Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller, who is also currently the showrunner for the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and NBC’s reboot of Amazing Stories. Fuller co-created the show alongside Star Trek alum Alex Kurtzman, but given those other commitments, Fuller was forced to step back.
He remains an executive producer, but the day-to-day showrunning operations will now be handled by Fuller’s Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls collaborators, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts. Akiva Goldsman has also been brought on in an unnamed creative role.
The showrunners will also be joined by Heather Kadin, Trevor Roth, and Rod Rodenberry (Gene Roddenberry’s son). All three will serve as producers.
Fuller has a lot of experience with Star Trek, and his absence is notable. He began his career as a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and from there he went on to be a writer, story editor, and a producer on Star Trek: Voyager. Despite his departure, he has already had a huge impact. Before leaving, Fuller wrote at least two scripts, helped shape the look of the show, and oversaw the development of the first season’s story arc.
- Kurtzman will likely contribute one or more scripts.
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer has joined the show as a consulting producer and a writer.
- Fuller confirmed that CBS didn’t have a firm idea for the new show, which means the studio left it to Fuller and Kurtzman.
- The first hour of the show will be written by Fuller and Kurtzman. Hour two will be scripted by Meyer and Fuller.
- All reports seem to confirm that while CBS was very happy with the direction of the show under Fuller, the studio was increasingly concerned with his demanding schedule. That was a big factor in delaying the show the first time from January to May.
- Fuller confirmed that he is not just stepping back from the show, but stepping away. He is not involved in the production process in any way. He may return for the second season, but at the moment he is focusing on American Gods. His Discovery scripts, however, are still being used.
- Production has officially begun.
- A new behind-the-scenes trailer has been released (above).
- The budget for each show will be $6-7 million.
There are still a lot of questions regarding exactly what format the TV show will take, but we know a few things courtesy of Bryan Fuller.
What we do know is that the new series will be live-action, feature a new cast, and be available exclusively online via CBS’ All-Access platform. The CBS service is currently available for $5.99 per month, and the new Star Trek was meant to be the platform’s first original program (before it was delayed).
Given that the show is meant for a streaming platform, its length isn’t as firm as it would be on broadcast TV. There are still limits, but Discovery will be around an hour long (anywhere between the traditional 42 minutes and just over 60 minutes). It may vary by episode, but it may also conform to the traditional broadcast standards in order to air it on traditional TV at some point.
The first episode will debut on CBS on TV as a “special preview broadcast,” and that pilot and all subsequent episodes will appear online.
The original plan was for the series to premiere January 2017, with the possibility of it being held to premerie until after the Super Bowl in February. On September 14, 2016, however, it was confirmed that Star Trek: Discovery was delayed until May 2017. No specific reason was given for this, other than a general statement claiming that the showrunners and the studio wanted to ensure the best possible show.
With production set to begin, CBS announced that Star Trek: Discovery has been delayed yet again, this time indefinitely. Production is still moving forward, but there is no longer a release date, month, or even window. No specific reason was given for the delay. It is still expected to debut in 2017, but even that is uncertain.
“This is an ambitious project; we will be flexible on a launch date if it’s best for the show,” reps for CBS All Access said. “We’ve said from the beginning it’s more important to do this right than to do it fast.”
In some ways, the delays should come as no surprise. Star Trek has never been an inexpensive program to make, and since this is the franchise’s return to TV and one of the first original programs for the brand new CBS streaming platform, all involved will want to take their time.
- The pilot may follow Star Trek tradition with a two-hour premiere, although that is unconfirmed.
- CBS released the first teaser for the show, which you can see above. It is little more than a logo and familiar music, but it is the first clip for the show.
- Netflix has agreed to a deal with CBS to stream the show outside of the US and Canada. CBS streaming service is currently only available in the US and Canada, so this deal will make the new show available in 188 more countries.
- Despite the fee for CBS All Access, there will still be commercials.
- CBS is expecting around 15 million viewers for the pilot.
- As of May 2016, principle photography is roughly one-third complete.
- CBS has increased the series order from 13 to 15 episodes. With six episodes already completed, it’s not clear if the additional episodes will expand the current scripts or add two new ones.
- When Discovery debuts, a supplementary show titled Talking Trek will debut along with it. No details have been provided, but this show will likely follow AMC’s Talking Dead show format, which features a recap and guests from that night’s The Walking Dead episode.
Cast & characters
The show will feature a new cast and new characters. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a few familiar faces, it just means that it will follow a new setting and new leads.
According to the Star Trek website, the “brand-new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.”
- Michael Dorn has been claiming that there have been discussions about a “Captain Worf” TV show. The development of this new series seems to end that.
- The lead character will be a woman, and she will be a lieutenant commander aboard the Discovery. Fuller went on to add that she will hold many ranks, which could signify flashbacks, or she could take command at some point.
- The Discovery’s captain will be a supporting character.
- There will be a gay character as one of the male leads.
- There will be robots.
- Established Star Trek characters may appear in the show at some point, but not during the first season. The only exceptions may be the characters of Amanda Grayson (Spock’s human mother), Sarek (his father), and a few guest stars like Harry Mudd.
- There will be more aliens on the crew than in previous Star Trek shows. That’s partly to emphasize the Federation’s diversity, and because technology today makes it more practical.
- The main character will be referred to as “Number One” throughout the first season in honor of Majel Barrett’s character in the original Star Trek pilot (which eventually became the episode “The Cage”).
- A Klingon captain will be a featured character. Given the time period, this suggests that either the Discovery will work alongside a Klingon vessel, or it may tell the story from two opposing viewpoints.
- Michelle Yeoh was the first major casting announcement for Star Trek: Discovery. She will play Captain Georgiou, commanding the starship Shenzhou. Yeoh will appear as a recurring character.
- Maulik Pancholy (of 30 Rock fame) will appear as the medical officer, Dr. Nambue, on the Shenzhou.
- Doug Jones has joined the cast as Lt. Saru, a Starfleet science officer. Saru will be a member of an alien species that has never been seen on Star Trek before.
- Anthony Rapp will play Lt. Stamets, an astromycologist, a fungus expert. He will be stationed aboard the Discovery as a science officer.
- Three Klingons have been cast.
- There will be a male and a female admiral in either lead or supporting roles. The male admiral will be played by Terry Serpico.
- The lead character of Commander Micahel Burnham will be played by Sonequa Martin-Green. Assuming her character survives the seventh season of The Walking Dead, she could appear in both shows. The Walking Dead won’t start production again until summer.
- James Frain will appear as Sarek, Spock’s father.
- Rainn Wilson has been cast as Harry Mudd, a con man who appeared in Star Trek: TOS. He will appear in several episodes.
- Rekha Sharma will play the Discovery’s security officer, Commander Landry.
- Jason Isaacs has been cast as the Discovery’s captain, Captain Lorca. Given that he will not be the lead character, don’t be surprised to see Lorca appear fairly unlikable – at least at first.
- Shazad Latif was originally cast as Kol, the Klingon commander, after filming the first few episodes the showrunners decided to recast Kol in order to give Latif a larger role as a Starfleet Lieutenant named Tyler.
The look of the show will obviously be based on the existing Star Trek aesthetic, but it will also use completely new designs.
During the Star Trek panel at Comic-Con 2016, a brief clip of concept art was unveiled. The video gave fans a very early look at the ship (and finally gave the show a name). It was all very rough, and the designs are not final, but it does raise some interesting questions. Check it out above.
To begin with, the ship, named the Discovery, seems to be based on the Star Trek: Phase II design.
Following the cancellation of Star Trek TOS but prior to its return as a film, the plan was to bring Star Trek back as a new series titled Star Trek: Phase II. The original cast was scheduled to return, and they would be in charge of a new Enterprise. The show was eventually canceled and Phase II became Star Trek: The Motion Picture (with some significant changes).
The design for the Discovery seems heavily influenced by Academy Award winning designer Ralph McQuarrie’s proposed design for the Enterprise, which was scrapped in favor of the traditional model. You can see the test above.
- There was a brief mention of a USS Discovery in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Conspiracy.” It was simply listed as being involved in a previous mission. It may be a coincidence, but it’s the type of things fans notice.
- The costumes have been teased via video release announcing that production has begun. They seem a little reminiscent of Enterprise, but with less “submarine functional” and more semi-formal uniform.
- The Klingons will look like those briefly seen in Star Trek Into Darkness.
- Both the uniforms and a quick look at the Discovery can be seen in the trailer below.
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding this show is how – and when – it will fit into the Star Trek universe.
The show will take place roughly a decade before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series. He went on to say that the series will take place in the “Prime” Star Trek universe as opposed to J.J. Abrams “Kelvin” timeline. With Fuller gone, however, that could always have changed.
- The show will be heavily serialized and tell one complete story.
- There is another rumor that the show will actually be an anthology, with each season telling a different story. Even if that is true, that may change if the fan reaction to the new cast is strong enough.
- The streaming platform gives Discovery the freedom to step away from network standards. Fuller stated that he doesn’t necessarily want Star Trek characters constantly swearing, but it does give them more freedom.
- Fuller initially confirmed that Star Trek: Discovery will heavily feature the type of optimism that defined the original shows and movies, but following his departure, CBS Interactive CEO Jim Lanzone described it as “grittier” than any previous Star Trek series.
- When asked if the show would focus on the Romulan wars, Fuller said no, but “close.”
- Fuller later went on to confirm that one of his favorite Star Trek: TOS episodes, “Balance of Terror” (where the Enterprise hunted a cloaked Romulan ship in an analogy of WWII destroyers vs submarines), would be a “touchstone” of the season’s arc.
- Discovery may feature the Federation/Klingon conflict that took place before TOS and led to a Cold War-like setting.
- Discovery will act as a bridge between Enterprise and TOS.
- In something of a break from Star Trek shows, there won’t be a time travel episode in the first season of Discovery.
- CBS released the first full trailer (above) for Discovery.
Star Trek movies news and rumors
Star Trek IV
So far there aren’t a lot of details on the fourth film in Abrams’ new series, and given that it is in the Kelvin timeline the original series and movies aren’t a good indicator of what’s to come. We do know a few things though, and we will update this section often.
- Even before the release of Star Trek Beyond, Paramount confirmed a fourth movie in the relaunched franchise.
- The only details regarding the fourth film are that Chris Pine’s Kirk will meet his father, played by Chris Hemsworth.
- Following his death, Anton Yelchin’s Chekov will not be recast.
- Star Trek Beyond opened with $59.6 million. That is significantly lower than the opening weekends for Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, which took $75.2 million and $70.2 million respectively. It is still a decent opening, but the film earned a relatively weak $343.5 million worldwide.
- J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are writing the screenplay.
- Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard, said that he would be alright with seeing his father return to the movies using CGI. That doesn’t mean the studio will go that route, but they seem to now have the option.
- J.J. Abrams called the story pitch for the fourth Star Trek movie his “favorite Star Trek story that we’ve had.”
- Despite Paramount’s assurances, Zachary Quinto (who plays Spock) stated in April 2017 that the script was not complete and that there is no guarantee a fourth film will happen.
- Simon Pegg and Doug Jung may now be working on the script. If so, it would likely be to polish it, as the story seems to be a hit with the studio.