Hollywood veteran Alex Kurtzman (Fringe, Star Trek Into Darkness) has been making the rounds in recent weeks, promoting Universal’s big new Mummy remake, which he directed. While The Mummy itself has proven to be a critical and box-office flop — at least here in the States — the good news for Star Trek fans is that Kurtzman has also been talking about the long-awaited Trek prequel series, Star Trek: Discovery.
Discovery is due to premiere on CBS this fall, then shift to the CBS All Access streaming service for the remainder of its first season. That’s a hell of a gamble for CBS. If it pays off and people are willing to crack open their wallets for All Access subscriptions, the service could blow up in a big way. On the other hand, it seems likely that many people will either pirate the show to sample it, or adopt a “wait and see what the buzz says” attitude. Something that definitely hasn’t helped on the anticipation front has been the show’s multiple delays. After the departure of original showrunner Bryan Fuller, Discovery just kept getting booted further downfield. Kurtzman addressed those delays in an interview with Collider, saying:
We postponed our schedule because the truth is we did not want to put out something that was subpar, and as the vision expanded we started feeling like we weren’t gonna be able to deliver the scope and the scale that was on the page. And CBS was extremely supportive in saying, ‘Okay you know what, this is streaming, it’s not like we have to beat out right away, let’s do the best version of this, Trek is too important for all of us.
Granted, that’s pretty much exactly the sort of thing you’d say if you were trying to put a positive spin on a chaotic and mismanaged production. But, in the spirit of Star Trek‘s optimism, we’ll give Kurtzman the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully, Discovery‘s early hiccups will prove to be just that, and the show will be in good hands with current showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberg. And if not…well, Trek has a long history of rising from the ashes of defeat, so just wait a few years.
Regardless, one thing we’ll never get to see is the Discovery that original showrunner Bryan Fuller wanted to show us. Fuller’s involvement was one of the things that first got many Trek fans excited about Discovery. From his work on Dead Like Me to Pushing Daisies to Hannibal and now American Gods, Fuller is one of the most creative and unique talents working in the industry, so the thought of him tackling Star Trek was intriguing, to say the least. But while the Discovery we get won’t be exactly what Fuller would have delivered, Kurtzman reassured Collider that the bones of Fuller’s creation are still girding up the finished product.
Bryan was very involved in American Gods and I think that the scope and scale of what Trek has become made it so that Bryan elected to say, ‘I don’t wanna short-change either of these two things,’ they’re both sort of beloved to him, so we sat down and we figured out how are we going to take what we can have of you and continue that through not only this season of Trek but hopefully set up things that are coming next season. So much of what’s there in terms of story and certainly in terms of set-up, character, big ideas, the big movement of the season, that’s all stuff that Bryan and I talked about.
Star Trek: Discovery will premiere this fall on CBS and CBS All Access. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green, James Frain, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, and more. You can find more news and updates about the show right here.