Alex Kurtzman has confirmed that after Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is complete, production will begin on the previously announced Section 31 spinoff. It's an incredibly active period for the Star Trek franchise. Despite the cancellation of Star Trek 4, news continues to emerge regarding a Quentin Tarantino-directed Trek movie. On the small screen, Star Trek: Discovery is currently preparing to film its third season and a variety of new projects have been announced. These include Star Trek: Picard starring Patrick Stewart, an animated comedy series, an animated Nickelodeon series and a Section 31 spinoff starring Michelle Yeoh's Philippa Georgiou.
Section 31 are a clandestine unit of Starfleet that take on the more morally gray work of the Federation, and they recently appeared in Star Trek: Discovery's second season. Here, they recruited main characters Mirror Georgiou and Ash Tyler and soon found themselves investigating the whereabouts of Spock alongside Captain Pike and the Discovery. Typically, it was rarely clear how far viewers could trust Section 31 and while the unit weren't the primary antagonists in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, they didn't make life easy for Michael Burnham and the gang.
Late last year, it was revealed that Yeoh would star in a Section 31 spinoff series and Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman has now been discussing exactly what the Star Trek franchise's plan is with so many projects on the go. Speaking with Deadline, Kurtzman stated:
"Erika [Lippoldt] and Boey [Kim], who are two of our writers on Discovery, are breaking story on [Section 31] right now and the plan is to shoot that the second we’re done with [Discovery] season 3."
Things had become a little frantic within the Star Trek franchise over the past few months, and it's certainly reassuring to see some kind of timetable begin to take shape. Star Trek: Discovery season 2 left plenty of questions unanswered regarding both the organization themselves and Philippa Georgiou and there's plenty of fertile material for the spinoff to explore that could potentially enrich the Discovery experience and offer a more mature, espionage-based take on Gene Roddenberry's world.
On the other hand, filming the Section 31 spinoff straight after wrapping up season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery may risk the franchise's TV output running out of steam or repeating itself, especially since Kurtzman confirms that writers from Discovery are also working on the new show. If production bleeds directly from one series to another, this may mean that the spinoff will feel too much like Discovery in terms of tone and themes and fail to differentiate itself from the flagship series.
Obviously, CBS now have their own in-house streaming service to fill with content and the Star Trek universe makes up the bulk of this. Asking Kurtzman and his team to produce several Star Trek shows in such a short space of time is an ambitious feat and one that will likely either pay off massively or fail completely.
Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is currently without a release date. More news as it arrives.