The newest Star Trek series, Star Trek Discovery, hits CBS All Access in January, and last night, executive producer Bryan Fuller revealed some key details about what we can expect to see.
The big news? This is going to be the most diverse series yet. Set 10 years before Captain Kirk's time—we're talking original series here, not the J.J. Abrams movies—the show will star a female lieutenant commander, a lot of aliens and at least one gay character. No one has been cast yet, but there will absolutely be diversity on the bridge, within the human race as well as aliens.
“Absolutely we’re having a gay character,” Fuller said, adding that when he was working on Star Trek Voyager, he got a lot of hate mail after a rumor circulated saying there was going to be a gay character on the show. He apparently kept it all, promising himself that if he ever got his own Star Trek show, he'd definitely include one.
“We’ve come a long way since then." he said. "I feel like actually gay rights have come a lot further in that time that race issues and women’s issues.”
“Star Trek started with wonderful expression of diversity in its cast: a Russian, a black woman, an Asian, a Vulcan… we’re continuing that tradition and our lead of the show is going to be subject of that same level of who is the best actor and what can we say about diversity in every role we’ll have on the show,” he added. “We wanted to paint a picture of Starfleet that’s indicative of encountering people who are much more different than we are.”
The first season will have 13 episodes and have a serialized storyline as well as self-contained ones that will get resolved each week, sort of the way The X-Files worked. The pilot will air on CBS, and subsequent episodes, for U.S. viewers, will be part of CBS' paid video-on-demand service, All Access. There will be ads, unfortunately, but CBS is promising a "limited commercial load," adding up to about 12 minutes of ad time per hour.
The second season, according to Fuller, is when they can start to think about seeing some familiar faces on the show. Our money's on Whoopi Goldberg, whose character, Guinan, is over 600 years old. Plus, she pretty much looks the same as she did back when she was doing Star Trek: The Next Generation in the late 1980s.
At the end of the Television Critics Association panel yesterday, he asked all the fans to "...make a promise to leave this room with love, to leave this room with hope, to leave this room and take responsibility to craft a path to Gene Roddenberry’s vision." Amen.
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