Star Trek: Discovery – it’s another prequel

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    Steve W
    Steve W
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    I’m not surprised, with as little info as they’ve put out about the production, it felt like they were a bit behind. Maybe Fuller doesn’t comprehend how difficult it is to put on a science-fiction show, especially one with such a lineage to it. You can’t make it look like a SyFy Channel program, you’ll have to spend a few more bucks and a few more hours to make it look right.

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    All together now…. SUMMER SERIES!

    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz


    @Steve W wrote:

    Maybe Fuller doesn’t comprehend how difficult it is to put on a science-fiction show, especially one with such a lineage to it. You can’t make it look like a SyFy Channel program, you’ll have to spend a few more bucks and a few more hours to make it look right.

    Oh, the impression I get from the article linked above is that he does get that…but had to convince CBS of the merits of approaching it that way. Which, you know, good for him – we can’t afford for this to be the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie of Star Trek (i.e. “It’s been away for a decade, and now this! And…now it’s going away for another decade!”).


    What?? NO. Security, close emergency bulkheads, all decks – don’t let him leave the ship! [LINK]

    Bryan Fuller is stepping back from the showrunner role of CBS’ “Star Trek: Discovery” as he juggles production responsibilities on two other series, Variety has learned exclusively.

    The decision was made late last week to hand the day-to-day showrunning reins to “Star Trek” exec producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts as “Discovery” gears up for the start of filming next month and a May 2017 premiere date. Fuller, who will remain an executive producer, will still be involved in breaking stories, and the show will continue to follow his vision for the universe that this latest “Trek” series will inhabit. Writer-director Akiva Goldsman is also expected to join “Discovery” in a top creative role. He’s envisioned as serving as producing support for Berg and Harberts, Fuller and exec producer Alex Kurtzman as they juggle the demands of the series that CBS is counting on to be the marquee selling point for subscriptions to its CBS All Access SVOD service.

    Sources said there had been some strain between “Star Trek” producer CBS Television Studios and Fuller over the progress of production on the show, as Fuller is also juggling the final weeks of shooting and post-production duties on Starz’s upcoming drama “American Gods” and prepping a reboot of “Amazing Stories” for NBC. Fuller has penned the first two scripts for “Discovery” and has hammered out the broader story arc and mythology for the new “Trek” realm. But it became clear that he couldn’t devote the amount of time needed for “Discovery” to make its premiere date and with production scheduled to start in Toronto next month.

    Sources emphasized that CBS execs have been happy with the material that Fuller has developed to date but became increasingly concerned that he had too much on his plate and there was no willingness to delay the premiere date once more. Given that “Star Trek” is one of the Eye’s crown-jewel franchises, there’s no question that CBS has a lot at stake with “Discovery.” The show’s budget is said to be approaching the $6-7 million per episode range.

    I’m starting to feel like Discovery is the next Phase II. Not as in the fan series, but as in the vaporware ’70s TV series.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    Oh, I think it’ll come out, hell or high water. CBS has apparently licensed it through HULU for everyplace that isn’t the US, and that alone has paid for the show’s production. So I have to believe that they can’t really back out at this point.

    I’ve been hearing about Fuller being involved with a couple or three other shows, and wondering how he was going to pull it all off. I guess he couldn’t. He’s got to sleep at some point. But it seems like he’s surrounded himself with good people who can carry on without him being on set every day.

    I’m still curious as to what they are going to do with the ship design. That preview footage was quickly thrown together in five days, and in the face of the terrible backlash against the (frankly ugly) McQuarrie design, they said they’d be altering it. I don’t think it was too bad myself, although they could at least recolor the ship to more of a battleship grey color rather than the bronze look they gave it. The nacelles need reworking too.


    Well, this really opens a can of worms where the current TV production landscape is:

    If US television is adopting a “UK” model of more compact seasons, how many shows does one producer need to run in the course of a year to make a living? How many more times are we going to run into this problem?

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    I don’t have a problem with the shorter schedule, like they said, with a full 24 or 26 episode season, there’s a lot of “bottle episodes” and filler. I’d rather have a half-length season with all quality stories than a traditional full season with a bunch of The Next Generation-style crap (holodeck breaking down yet again, Data being taken over by an outside influence, blah blah blah).

    I think Bryan Fuller over-extended himself with working on two other shows, then jumping on board a new Trek show. I can understand his enthusiasm, him being a Trek fan and being able to build a production system without the pre-existing Paramount baggage of Brannon/Braga and interfering studio executives that drive good people away from a show like Voyager (I recently came across the Ron Moore Q&A from some website I saved from the early 2000s, and talking at length about how horrible his time on Voyager was because of the poison atmosphere that had been created behind the scenes). Being able to set up a production just to do Trek his way must have been pretty alluring to make him take on a third show. I imagine that once American Gods and the other show he’s doing that I can’t remember the name of get launched, he’ll devote more time to Discovery. Or at least I hope that’s what happens.


    And we have some casting news. [LINK]

    Star Trek: Discovery has found its first star! Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon‘s Michelle Yeoh is set to headline the CBS All Access series, Nicholas Meyer just confirmed to CS. Meyer, who helmed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, is serving as a consulting producer on Discovery. Although it is unconfirmed at this time, Michelle Yeoh’s role is potentially the series’ lead, a female Lieutenant Commander.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    It’s about time we get a tiny bit of casting info. It would have been strange if they kept silent on every aspect of the show up until the premiere date. Maybe they don’t want a repeat of Voyager’s rocky start, with the lead actor dropping out after a week.

    In my last post I was talking about filler episodes… so, I’ve just bought Amazon Prime, which has streaming episodes of DS9 amongst other things. So I’ve been watching the last season… and I didn’t remember how many unessential episodes there were in that last year. The Dominion War episodes are surprisingly few, there’s way more filler episodes than I recall. I guess I was just happy to have any DS9 episode back in the ’90s. Now I have the chance to bingewatch them, and… yeesh. Skip that one, skip that one, skip that one… Star Trek: Discovery having only 13 episodes sounds like a better idea to me now, if they stick to a storyline and don’t throw in filler episodes themselves.


    As Zen (the ship’s computer on Blake’s 7) used to blurt, “Additional!” [LINK]

    However, before you start mapping out the deck of the Discovery, sources close to the production tell us exclusively that Yeoh actually will be the leader of another ship. We hear that Yeoh has been cast as Han Bo and her ship is the Shenzhou. The Yeoh-run spacecraft is set to play a big role in Discovery‘s first season.

    Asked for comment, Star Trek: Discovery producer CBS TV Studios declined to confirm Yeoh’s casting,

    Yeoh is the first revealed cast member on the series, which marks the return of Star Trek to scripted television for the first time since Star Trek Enterprise ended its run in 2005.

    Casting Yeoh, one of Asia’s biggest stars of the past three decades, underscores the global appeal the producers of Star Trek: Discovery are going for with the new series, which is being distributed by Netflix in 188 countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.

    Shenzhou is, of course, the name of China’s Soyuz-derived manned spacecraft – there’s a whole section on it here.

    And yes, this is totally one of those little collisions that makes me happy to be the guy who runs this site.


    Additional additional! CBS finally makes an official announcement:

    BREAKING: Star Trek Discovery beams up its first three cast members! Welcome Doug Jones, Michelle Yeoh and Anthony Rapp to the Star Trek universe!

    Says [LINK]…

    CBS is officially confirming the announcement of two new crew members who will board the USS Discovery this May: Doug Jones and Anthony Rapp. They are also confirming that Michelle Yeoh has been cast as Captain Georgiou of the Starship Shenzhou.

    Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) will play Lt. Saru, a Starfleet science officer and a member of an alien species unseen before in the Star Trek universe.

    Rapp (A Beautiful Mind) will portray the role of Lt. Stamets, an astromycologist (fungus expert) and science officer. Lt. Stamets is confirmed to be the first ever openly gay character in the history of Star Trek on television (he’s second if you count Sulu in Star Trek Beyond).

    I don’t want to belabor the point a whole lot prior to the rest of the casting announcements, but the new faces we have here are…well…white guys. C’mon, Discovery, don’t screw this up. Everyone makes it into the future.


    Fascinating factoid here: CBS All Access could show Discovery for free. But won’t. [LINK]

    CBS Corp. chief executive Les Moonves said the broad-reaching international sale of his company’s new Star Trek incarnation to Netflix paid for the show’s entire production budget.

    “Netflix just took it off the table for the rest of the world,” Moonves told media investors at an annual UBS conference Monday. “Basically, Star Trek is going on CBS All Access for free.”

    CBS is producing a reboot of the venerable Star Trek franchise, as well as a spinoff of popular linear TV series The Good Wife, with the intention of presenting those original series exclusively on its All Access SVOD platform.

    “The back end is now becoming more important than the front end,” Moonves added, noting that CBS couldn’t enable this model without back-end sales of the shows to buyers like Netflix.

    While large SVOD platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu provide this back-end sales solution, they are also a big part of the problem, the CBS chief noted.

    With aggressive mandates to building up their original-series portfolios, “Netflix and Hulu have driven production costs up to astronomical levels,” Moonves said.


    Three new casting announcements, all playing Klingons:

    TrekMovie has much more detail [LINK]…

    Obi will play T’Kuvma, the Klingon leader seeking to unite the Klingon houses. His credits include State of Play, Doctor Who, Snow White and the Huntsman, and the recent Roots reboot, as well as the upcoming series American Gods and film Ghost in the Shell.

    Latif is set to portray Kol, commanding officer of the Klingons and protégé of T’Kuvma. Latif has appeared in such films and television series as MI-5, Black Mirror, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Penny Dreadful. Among his upcoming projects are Still Star-Crossed and The Commuter.

    Chieffo rounds out the latest wave of additions with her role as L’Rell, the battle deck commander of the Klingon ship. The actress’s credits include a 2015 stage production of Othello, and film and television roles in Natural Disasters, Girls!, Girls!, Girls! and Miss Dial, as well as Shelby’s Vacation, which will be released in 2017.


    And we have a star who puts to rest the notion that this is about Majel’s character from “The Cage”. [LINK]

    “The Walking Dead” actress Sonequa Martin-Green has landed the lead role on CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery.” Sources confirmed to Variety that the actress will continue as a series regular on the AMC zombie drama while tackling the lead role on CBS’ relaunch of the science-fiction television franchise.

    The casting of Martin-Green brings to a close a lengthy search for a lead on “Discovery,” which has struggled with delays since being given a greenlight by CBS last year. Original showrunner Bryan Fuller had at Comic-Con this summer indicated that he wanted to cast a woman of color in the lead role, citing inspiration from Mae Jamison, the first African-American female astronaut and Nichelle Nichols, the lone African-American and lone female cast member on the original “Star Trek” series. In August, speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, Fuller confirmed that the lead character would be a woman and that she would not hold the rank of captain, as “Star Trek” leads traditionally have.

    Other sources are saying the character’s name is Lt. Commander Rainsford.

    It’s startin’ to get real…

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    I never heard that, that the main character could be Number One from the original pilot of Trek. I guess she transferred to another ship between the pilot and Shatner’s run on the original show? That might have been an interesting road to go down.

    As often as they’ve been saying they’d like a non-Caucasian person in the main role and to diversify the cast as much as possible, I knew they wouldn’t have gone with Majel’s character. They’d been tossing Rosario Dawson’s name around for some time, but I guess she wasn’t available.

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