After 50 years of voyaging through the cosmos, Star Trek is set to head out on another major mission. The franchise will finally return to the small screen, and the Prime timeline, with Star Trek: Discovery. As the new series prepares for production this fall, scant few details have emerged, aside from errant hints about the crew and mission of the latest Trek. One of the biggest curiosities about the new show, though, is the time period when the USS Discovery embarks upon its journey.
Showrunner Bryan Fuller recently teased that the ship's registry (NCC-1031) offered clues as to its temporal placement. As a result, fervent debate has erupted online as to whether the new series would occur before Star Trek: The Original Series or be wedged somewhere between it and The Next Generation.
Today, Fuller revealed a great deal more during the CBS panel at the Television Critics’ Association Summer Press Tour (via CBR). The producer answered a number of burning questions about Discovery, including its location in the timeline, officially announcing that Star Trek: Discovery will be set 10 years prior to the events of TOS, filling in some of the gap between Enterprise and classic TOS. In addition, Fuller clarified points about the leadership on the show, explaining that there would be a shift in perspective from the traditional captain-oriented format to one that follows the show's lieutenant commander – the female lead currently being cast. Fuller discussed his choice to diverge from standard Trek protocol:
“We’ve seen six shows from a Captain’s point of view — ‘Star Trek Discovery’ will show the bridge from a different perspective.”
With regards to the hotly-contested design of the USS Discovery, Fuller says the starship will be similar to the original Enterprise seen during the classic series. Star Trek: Discovery will feature more aliens on board but Fuller did deny rumors that the Romulan-Federation War would be the defining conflict on the show. The showrunner also denied rumors that Spock’s mother, Amanda Grayson, (played by Winona Ryder) from the 2009 reboot would reprise her role, although he’s very open to returning Trek cast members – once the primary crew of Star Trek: Discovery have made their mark. Additionally, Fuller noted that Discovery will feature more adult content due to airing on a streaming service (CBS All Access), but exactly how adult the content will be is undetermined.
As details finally emerge about Star Trek's long-awaited return to the small-screen, the announcements may come as a mixed bag for some fans. The new series will provide a fresh angle on one of the classic periods in Federation history. Placing a woman in (sort of) command will also provide a well-balanced look at the otherwise male-dominated era explored during TOS. And while Fuller did discount any major tie-in to the Romulan War, it's still possible the Klingon-Federation conflict, which took place during that era, could play a major role in the series. It's also exciting to hear that alien species, which have become a hallmark of the Star Trek, will have more bridge time on the Discovery.
Despite the excitement of having another Star Trek series on the air, not everyone will be pleased with Fuller's announcements. Some fans aren't fond of the serialized versus episodic format, while others don't care for the new show's broadcast format (and having to pay for it). Others have expressed frustration over the move to set the story early in the timeline, after the prequel series Enterprise, rather than continuing the timeline after Voyager and the Next Generation films' conclusion.
Another interesting wrinkle is the addition of more graphic content. While Star Trek has classically been a family-friendly program, even the classic series tackled some very adult issues. Hopefully, the new Trek will use its edgier venue to delve deeper into complex issues, rather than using gratuitous sexual situations and course language to drum up All Access customers. Whether or not you're a fan of the concept, the setting, the ship, or the crew (thus far), it's truly an interesting time to be a Trekkie.
Should the latest Star Trek include edgier content and language? Let us know what you think of the new show in the comments.
Star Trek: Discovery debuts on CBS in January 2017 and stream exclusively through CBS All Access thereafter.