‘Star Trek: Discovery’: Everything We Know About the New TV Series

In the midst of Hollywood’s frantic race for franchises, we’ve seen reboots for just about every major property under the sun. As one such property, Star Trek has seen a massive resurgence following J.J. Abrams’ three films. Now, the iconic sci-fi franchise will head back to television, with the announcement from CBS that the network will bring Star Trek back as a full-on series.

It comes as an interesting turn of events, given that the original TV series has already gone through a whole host of reboots over the last half-century of its existence. Already we’ve seen Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, in addition to the original 1966 iteration. This makes CBS’ planned show the sixth TV series in the franchise’s history (if you discount Star Trek: The Animated Series, which Gene Roddenberry considered non-canon).

So what can we expect moving forward? Here’s what we know (and don’t know) so far.

1. The new Star Trek will air in the fall of 2017

The new CBS All Access logo
CBS All Access | CBS

It figures that CBS,  the only network still going all-in on four-camera sitcoms, would be the one to get in on the streaming industry well after the rest of the TV-verse. That being so, kicking things off with a new Star Trek show is about as good as it gets for any video-on-demand platform.

The show was originally slated for a January 2017 release, but was later pushed to May 2017, before getting delayed once again to the fall of 2017. The show is now officially scheduled to premiere on September 24.

After the first episode airs on CBS, all the episodes following the pilot will then air exclusively on CBS All Access, an on-demand service that will run users $5.99 a month. CBS All Access is currently live now, and features past episodes of every Star Trek series.

Fortunately, Trekkies who don’t have a CBS All Access subscription will still be able to see the new series. Netflix announced that, “Each episode of the new series will be available globally within 24 hours of its U.S. premiere.”

2. Alex Kurtzman will head up the new series

Alex Kurtzman wearing glasses and a tie, looking slightly down and to his left
Alex Kurtzman | Frederick M. Brown/Stringer/Getty Images

Having already partnered on the Star Trek films with J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman will step in as executive producer for the CBS show. He’ll tackle the project without his usual collaborator, Roberto Orci, instead partnering up with Heather Kadin (the development head at Kurtzman’s production company, Secret Hideout).

Per sources cited by Variety, original co-showrunner, Bryan Fuller, has turned over his duties to executive producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts. Fuller will remain on as an executive producer.

3. CBS’ series will introduce new characters

The crew of the Discovery, going about their business on the bridge, all wearing blue jumpsuits
The crew of the Discovery | CBS

Set 10 years before the journey of the original starship Enterprise, the show “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” (per The Hollywood Reporter).

4. For the first time ever, the lead character won’t be a captain

Sonequa Martin-Green stands with her hands behind her back, in a blue Starfleet jumpsuit
Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery | CBS

Unlike the original series or Star Wars: The Next Generation, the lead character won’t be a starship captain. Instead, the star of the show will be a female lieutenant commander, played by The Walking Dead alum, Sonequa Martin-Green.

“We’ve seen six series from the captain’s point of view; to see a character from a different perspective on the starship — one who has a different dynamic relationships with a captain, with subordinates, it gave us richer context,” said Fuller, to Entertainment Weekly.

5. A Star Trek veteran is on board as a writer

Picard and Worf, both looking to the right of the frame on the bridge of the Enterprise
Star Trek: The Next Generation | Paramount Television

More good news for fans of the original Star Trek movie franchise! Per a tweet from Fuller, Nicholas Meyer has joined the show as a “consulting producer/writer.” Meyer not only directed two Star Trek feature films — Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country — but he also helped write the screenplays for both of those movies, as well as Star Trek: The Voyage Home.

There’s even a chance that Roddenberry will have some input on the new series. Although the legendary creator of Star Trek passed away in 1991, data from 200 floppy disks he owned were recently recovered, as announced by DriveSavers. While it’s not yet clear exactly what was found on the disks, the company hinted that it could contain story ideas or even scripts for the upcoming show.

“2016 just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek, anything could happen, the world will have to wait and see,” said DriveSavers director of engineering, Mike Cobb. 

6. It wasn’t allowed to air until at least six months after Star Trek Beyond 

Captain Picard with his head in his hand, sitting in a large brown leather chair
Captain Picard played by Patrick Stewart | CBS

Since the TV and movie rights for the Star Trek franchise are held by CBS and Viacom, respectively, the two companies wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any confusion between the two platforms. As reported by TrekCore, CBS president Leslie Moonves revealed how this situation will impact the debut of the new TV series:

When [CBS] split from Viacom ten years ago, January 1, 2006, one of the big sticking points, as you can imagine, was “Star Trek.” You know, we both wanted it.

They said “It’s a movie!” and I said, “No, no, no, it’s a TV show.” Actually, we’re both right. So they kept the feature film rights, we kept the television rights; they have [“Star Trek Beyond”] coming out July 22.

Our deal with them is that we had to wait six months after their film is launched so there wouldn’t be a confusion in the marketplace.

7. The story behind the rebooted series

A person in a space suit, looking out over a sun surrounded by asteroids
Star Trek: Discovery | CBS

Some deep investigation from fans revealed that the series is set to take place before the events of the original Star Trek series, based on the lower call sign number of Discovery (1031, versus 1701 for the Enterprise).

The lower number indicates that the Discovery is a ship manufactured years before the Enterprise ever took flight, putting our new characters a full decade before Captain Kirk’s crew started their own adventures. According to Entertainment Weekly, Fuller revealed that Star Trek: Discovery will be set in the “Prime Universe” (not the J.J. Abrams rebooted universe).

8. Jason Isaacs will star as a Starfleet captain

Jason Isaacs wearing glasses with his arms folded, leaning against a wall and looking down
Jason Isaacs in The OA | Netflix

Star Trek: Discovery represents the first Trek series to not focus on the captain of the titular ship as the main character. That doesn’t mean CBS didn’t land a big name to play the captain anyway, bringing on The OA and Harry Potter star, Jason Isaacs.

Isaacs will star as Captain Lorca, although it’s unclear as of now whether he’s the captain of the Discovery, or another ship entirely.

9. Original series characters may show up

Spock and Kirk in Star Trek, looking slightly up
Spock and Kirk in Star Trek | Paramount

Since the show is set approximately 10 years before the time of the original series, there is a possibility that iconic characters like Kirk or Spock could show up. However, Fuller noted that this likely wouldn’t happen until the second season of the show, after the new characters have been introduced and established.

However, one of the original series’ most iconic characters has recently been cast. Per Entertainment Weeekly, actor James Frain has been cast as Sarek, the Vulcan father of Spock. Frain is perhaps best known for his roles on TV shows such as Orphan Black, Gotham, and True Detective. He also had a minor role in the 2013 movie, The Lone Ranger.

10. The first trailer dishes on tons of new details

There’s been a good deal of confusion surrounding many details in and around Star Trek: Discovery. Characters have been recast and shuffled around, actors have been added to the cast, and the premiere date has been pushed at least twice. That’s left many wondering what exactly the final product will look like, and thanks to the first official trailer, we finally have a sense of the film.

The trailer focuses on Martin-Green’s character, her connection to the Vulcan race, and her role on the Discovery, serving under Captain Georgiou, played by Michelle Yeoh. Conspicuously absent is series star Jason Isaacs, although we imagine he’ll show up at some point in the run-up to Discovery’s fall 2017 debut.

We’ll update this article with more details on the planned series as they arrive, so stay tuned!

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