Bryan Fuller gives details for Star Trek: Discovery New series will have female lead, take place in Prime timeline

Starsinthesky by European Space Agency, Star Trek Discovery logo via CBS

Things are coming together for Star Trek Discovery. While the series will not air for some time, showrunner Bryan Fuller revealed some details on August 10 during the Television Critics Association summer tour.

During his interviews on Wednesday, he revealed some key details about the new series. Discovery will be a 13-episode self-contained story. The individual episodes will also have distinctly complete stories within them as well. As far as the plot goes, Fuller only revealed a few tidbits. “There’s an incident, an event in the history of Starfleet that’s been talked about [in previous Star Trek shows] but never really explored,” he said. Discovery will take place in the Prime timeline of the other Star Trek properties, roughly 10 years before Kirk’s five-year mission and a century after the events of Enterprise. Fuller says that one of the reasons they chose this timeframe was to “utilize the iconography of the original [series] ships and uniforms”.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Bryan Fuller at San Diego Comic Con in 2014.

Fuller did not rule out that franchise characters like Spock’s mother Amanda Grayson would appear when questioned, but did not confirm. Similarly, he said that the clandestine Section 31 organization that first appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was not behind the plot incident, but that they could appear.

After a few days of speculation from news outlets, Fuller confirmed that the lead in the Discovery will be a woman. In a unique twist, she will not be the captain, but a “Lieutenant Commander – with caveats” according to Fuller. “We’ve seen six characters from the captain’s point of view,” he said. He also noted that part of the journey for the character in the first season will be coming to understand herself. All of the casting for the series is still in progress.

Along with the female lead, Fuller says the team will be continuing the Star Trek franchise legacy of diversity. It will be the first Star Trek series to feature a gay character in its canon. Discovery will also include more alien cast members in it’s rotation. This will include “new, exciting aliens and also re-imaginings of existing aliens,” according to Fuller.

Discovery will be the first Star Trek series to feature a gay character in its canon

According to CBS Interactive President Marc DeBevoise, Star Trek Discovery will be the first of three shows to air on the CBS All Access streaming service. He also indicated that while the company may release subscriber data, they will not be releasing traditional ratings information. The original content on All Access will also have commercials, but at a lighter load. Variety reports this will be roughly 12 minutes for every hour of programming. “We’re toying with the idea of a commercial free option,” said DeBevoise.

Before Fuller’s comments there had been little information available for Star Trek Discovery. While it was confirmed that he would act as showrunner and that Rod Roddenberry (son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) would act as executive producer, little else was known before now. It was unknown if the Discovery would take place where Star Trek Voyager had left off. Before it’s reveal at San Diego Comic Con in July, some outlets questioned if it could take place in the “Kelvin” timeline of J.J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek reboot.

Star Trek Discovery will air its first episode on TV in January 2017. Meanwhile the rest of the series airing on the CBS All Access streaming service for $6 a month.

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R.C. Beiler

Robert Beiler is a journalist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania who serves as Editor-in-Chief for CommonGeek. He is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Live Wire Lancaster. He can sleep when he's dead.