2016 is the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek TV show (and thus, the Star Trek franchise in general), which is why there are some major projects in the works to commemorate the occasion. Not only will the next Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, hit theaters this year, but there is also going to be the Star Trek 50th anniversary cruise taking place, a fresh Star Trek convention held in New York City (the location of the first Star Trek convention in 1972), and a Star Trek TV show that will debut in early 2017. CBS will use the new Star Trek TV series to boost viewership for its streaming service (which is called CBS All Access), with Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness writer Alex Kurtzman set as an executive producer on the project.
Plot details for the new Star Trek series are scarce to be found, though it’s been confirmed the show will follow a brand-new set of characters “seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations,” on their adventures through space. Now, however, the series has a showrunner formally in place – Bryan Fuller, to be exact.
CBS has confirmed that Fuller will serve as showrunner on the new Star Trek series, while Kurtzman has praised Fuller’s “encyclopedic” knowledge of the Star Trek property in a statement – saying it is “surpassed only by his love for Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic future, a vision that continues to guide us as we explore strange new worlds.” Here is the official statement from Fuller, regarding the news:
“My very first experience of ‘Star Trek’ is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls. Before seeing a frame of the television series, the ‘Star Trek’ universe lit my imagination on fire. It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand new iteration of ‘Star Trek’ with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no ‘Star Trek’ series has gone before.”
Fuller, for those not aware, actually got his start in television serving as a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and as a writer/producer for Star Trek: Voyager. He has since created numerous short-lived, but nevertheless critically acclaimed cult hit TV series – including, the grim reaper comedy Dead Like Me, quirky supernatural crime-solving comedy Pushing Daisies – and most recently, the often darkly surreal (and twisted) Hannibal series. Currently, Fuller is working on the Starz TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods, with filming on the show scheduled to begin in Spring 2016. However, American Gods also boasts Michael Green as co-showrunner, so presumably the latter will be stepping up to keep American Gods moving full speed ahead while Fuller turns more of his attention to getting the new Star Trek series off the ground.
That combination of experience writing for Star Trek TV shows of old – series that (as a whole) placed more of an emphasis on socially-progressive themes and science fiction allegories than the recent (and by comparison, more divisive) Star Trek movies – and proven knack for being able to serve up creative spins on well-established genres bodes well for the prospect of Fuller leading the charge with this new Star Trek TV show. Fuller has expressed an interest in making a new Star Trek TV show for years now, so there’s all the more reason to believe that he will make a good effort to deliver a Star Trek TV series that Trekkies of all shades can fully throw their support behind.
Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 22, 2016. The new Star Trek TV show pilot will premiere on CBS in January 2017 and stream exclusively through CBS All Access thereafter.