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 J.J. 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
Star Trek: Discovery 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 (in name, at least), 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.
Heather Kadin, Trevor Roth, and Rod Roddenberry (Gene Roddenberry’s son) will also 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 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 him and Kurtzman.
- The first hour of the show was written by Fuller and Kurtzman. Hour two was 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.
- A new behind-the-scenes trailer has been released (above).
- The budget for each episode 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.
The series will be live-action, feature a new cast, and be available in the U.S. 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 odds are it will 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 broadcast TV as a “special preview broadcast,” then 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 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 was delayed yet again. CBS eventually settled on September 24 as the official release date, and new episodes will be released on CBA All Access each Sunday.
“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.”
The first season of 15 episodes will be broken into two “chapters.” The first will consist of eight episodes and run from September 24 through November 5. The remaining seven episodes will then debut in January 2018.
- 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 U.S. and Canada. CBS’s streaming service is currently only available in the U.S., so this deal will make the 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.
- CBS increased the series order from 13 to 15 episodes.
- When Discovery debuts, a companion show titled Talking Trek will debut along with it.
- Discovery will debut in Canada on Space Channel on September 24 at 8:30 pm. New episodes will then be available on the Space GO app.
- For those outside the U.S. and Canada, Discovery will debut on Netflix on Monday, September 25, with new episodes premiering each Monday through November 6. The second chapter will then begin in January 2018.
- A new poster has been released (above right).
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 claimed 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 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 are 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”).
- The Klingons will be starring characters, with their own plotlines.
- Michelle Yeoh was the first major casting announcement for Star Trek: Discovery. She plays Captain Georgiou, commanding the starship Shenzhou. Yeoh will appear as a recurring character.
- Maulik Pancholy (of 30 Rock fame) appears as the medical officer, Dr. Nambue, on the Shenzhou.
- Doug Jones joined the cast as Lt. Saru, a Starfleet science officer. Saru is a member of an alien species that has never been seen on Star Trek before.
- Anthony Rapp appears as Lt. Stamets, an astromycologist (a fungus expert) stationed aboard the Discovery as a science officer.
- The lead character of Commander Micahel Burnham is played by Sonequa Martin-Green. She is a human raised to by Vulcan as the ward of Sarek.
- James Frain will appear as Sarek, Spock’s father, and Burnham’s surrogate father.
- Rainn Wilson appears as Harry Mudd, a con man who appeared in Star Trek: TOS. He will appear in several episodes.
- Rekha Sharma plays the Discovery’s security officer, Commander Landry.
- Jason Isaacs is 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, but 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, is loosely 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.
- The image to the right breaks down the details of the new uniform.
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. Fuller initially said that the series will take place in the “Prime” Star Trek universe as opposed to J.J. Abrams “Kelvin” timeline, but with him gone, 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 will highlight 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.
- The character of L’Rell will be the most developed female Klingon character ever seen in Star Trek.
- The Klingons will be plagued with in-fighting, with 24 separate houses. The show will, in part, focus on the effort to unite them.
- The first four episode titles are (in order):
- “The Vulcan Hello”
- “Battle at the Binary Stars”
- “Context Is for Kings”
- “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry”
- The conflict with the Klingons will have parallels with the current political climate in the world.
- The Discovery is specifically a science vessel, making it the first time Star Trek has focused on a ship of that type.
- There will be a “Mirror Universe” episode at some point.
- Tribbles will make their triumphant return.
- It will be explained why Burnham plays a huge part in the role of two major Star Trek characters (Sarek and Spock), and yet you’ve never heard of her.
- Given the focus on the commander rather than the captain, you’ll get to see more of the life on a starship from the bottom up approach.
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.
- McFarlane Toys is introducing a series of Star Trek figures. The first batch will include Kirk and Picard, but more figures are planned, including figures for Discovery.
- Quentin Tarantino said he would be interested in directing a Star Trek movie, but it was just an off-handed remark.
- With J.J. Abrams agreeing to write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX, he will have very little time to produce a Star Trek film – plus, Paramount is reportedly not happy about his move. That may just means Abrams is less involved on a fourth Star Trek film than he may otherwise have been, but it could also cause some serious shakeups for the films.