This year marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. To celebrate there have been a slew of Trek-related projects released – most notably, the latest motion picture, Star Trek Beyond – but being that Star Trek began on a television, it’s only fitting there would be a new TV series to mark the achievement. Star Trek: Discovery is that new series, though it’s missing the golden jubilee but just a tad, releasing not this year but rather in May 2017 on CBS All Access (with the premiere also airing on CBS proper).
Production on Star Trek: Discovery has been slow to start (hence the delay of release) but practically everything we’ve learned about the series remains promising. Perhaps most promising was the news that Bryan Fuller – former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager staff writer and since celebrated creator/producer/writer of TV series such as Pushing Daisies and Hannibal – would serve as Star Trek: Discovery‘s showrunner.
But sadly, Bryan Fuller is now stepping down as showrunner for Star Trek Discovery (via Variety), which is more than a little disheartening given his passion for the project. Taking over the day-to-day showrunning duties on Discovery will be executive producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts.
Variety‘s report goes on to further clarify Fuller’s involvement with Discovery by explaining:
“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.”
So there is the silver lining to this disappointing news. Fuller has already set the stage for Star Trek: Discovery, with Variety reporting he has written the first two scripts and developed the series’ broader story arc. Still, the heavy lifting of bringing Discovery from page to screen will fall to Berg and Harbarts, two producers who have previously worked with Fuller. Writer/director Akiva Goldsman is also joining Discovery in some top creative role, likely providing support to both Berg and Harbarts.
But for those worrying that Fuller backing away from Star Trek: Discovery means the series is in trouble, there’s no cause for alarm (at least not yet). CBS has reportedly been very pleased with the material Fuller has produced, but worry that he doesn’t have the time necessary to devote to what will be an eagerly anticipated (and scrutinized) television series. And the truth is that Fuller is simply stretched too thin at the moment – what with filming about to wrap on his Starz series, American Gods, while at the same time he’s prepping an Amazing Stories reboot for NBC.
It’s all too much for one person, no matter how passionate or committed they are. And to be frank, Star Trek: Discovery will likely only benefit from having those involved in the day-to-day duties giving the series their full attention. But still, considering the excitement Fuller’s involvement as showrunner generated for Discovery, it’ll be hard for CBS to spin this development in a positive light.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres May 2017 on CBS All Access.