That chat included some details on how far along the writers have got: At the moment they have the first three scripts written, outlines for episodes four and five, and a clear idea of the overall shape of the rest of the series (so far there are no time travel stories it was noted). The first episode is a two-parter, with the first hour written by Alex Kurtzman and Fuller, and the second half from Nicholas Meyer.
Fuller is expecting there will be some casting announcements in October, and is hoping to work with actors from previous projects.
Our character, when we introduce our protagonist, she is called Number One, for that very reason, in honour of Majel Barrett’s character in the original pilot. And as we were first talking about the series, and talking to CBS, we said, initially we will only call the character Number One, because in the 60s, in the first pilot, Gene Roddenberry was very progressive and had a female first officer.There was some discussion about the timelines, noting that the series could have gone either way:
Really when we developed this story, it could take place in either prime or the Kelvin. So the timeline was relatively inconsequential, but there was the cleanliness of keeping our series independent of the films. That way, we don’t have to track anything they’re doing, they don’t have to track anything we’re doing, and you can have two distinct universes.
I remember Alex and I talking about it very early on, about where it should be, and we felt like there was something nice about the prime universe, because there are so many aspects of The Original Series that would be fun to explore with updated production values.Those production values will be bringing us distinctive look for the series:
...we are going to try to achieve a new look for Star Trek, that is very much Star Trek, but also very much our interpretation of Star Trek. I love each of the shows that I get work on to have a distinct aesthetic. So being able to apply the colour palette of some of these, whether it's Hannibal or Pushing Daises, and going in different direction with science fiction, it just felt like it was a good place to start our signature look for the Star Trek universe and work our way forward as we tell the stories.And so, despite being contemporaneous with The Cage, the uniforms are going to be quite different:
It's really something completely different. I think when you see it, I can tell you specifically what the influences are, and the styles that we were creating a transporter accident of in our approach - A happy transporter accident - I think when you see the design I'll say, it’s a little bit of this, it's a little bit of that.
We were having a wardrobe test a couple of days ago, and it was interesting to think, ok, now we need to take these colours, and we have to put them up against the bulkhead that has the ship's colours, and see what's going to be the best looking aesthetic for the show. So taking in the sets, and wardrobe, and lighting style.
|Our first hint at a new look alien|
One of the very cool things that we get to do on this show is we get to re-imagine all of the alien species that we’ve seen before in the series, and do something a little unique with that.There was much talk about the music: Apparently the series theme is currently under discussion; whether it will be something new or familiar (although they think they are limited to music from Star Trek TV productions rather than being able to call back to any of the movie themes). And talking of familiar they have been pondering recalling music from previous shows more generally:
So, we were looking at a specific species costume on Friday, and Jesse Alexander, who is one of the writers, was commenting on the cosplay aspects of it, and how it has kind of gone a quantum leap forward, and what were the people who do cosplay going to do? And Aron Coleite, another one of our writers was like, “They are going to rise to the occasion!”. So for all of us who have fetishised the look of all of the various species over the years of watching Star Trek, it’s fun for us to put a new spin on old favourites.
We’ve talked about the musical approach to this show, because music is so important to Star Trek, and it is its voice in many ways. We all remember the Spock versus Kirk fight, and the score for that, so it would be great to homage to some of those things. I don’t think we would use them specifically, but it’s certainly something that we have had discussions about, and I don’t yet know whether or not we’re going to commit to that.Also raised was whether the show will use orchestral or synth music:
So orchestral versus synthetic: I think there’s a lot of very interesting things happening here musically - We absolutely have to have orchestral elements of the show, and a live orchestra. We've talked about that; if we don’t have a live orchestra for the show, we would be the first Star Trek television series not to have a live orchestra.The general shape of the series was discussed, and perhaps most interestingly the idea that it might not simply play out as an in-universe year per season as all previous Trek has:
But you look at how some interesting hybridisations of synth and orchestral scores have serviced Star Trek very well: Jerry Goldsmith’s score for First Contact had some fantastic mixed pieces. And I look at what Hans Zimmer does, and I love his score for Interstellar. So it’s interesting to take a bit of a mix with our approach, and we’ll see when we get to that level of the production. But I’m very excited about the music, the music is incredibly important.
With the exception of Deep Space Nine when it got into the Dominion War, when it was very serialised, Star Trek has primarily been episodic. So I feel like we're going to be different in that regard, in that we'll be serialized. But time is something that I think we'll have the opportunity to play with in uncharacteristic ways.Finally there was some talk about the format of the series, and whether more episodes might happen in future seasons. But Fuller would rather go the other way:
I would strongly recommend that we never do twenty-six episodes; I think it would fatigue the show. Ideally, I would love to do ten episodes, I think that’s a tighter story.Which led to this interesting and cryptic note on the potential for other ways CBS All Access might bring more Trek. I wonder if this means some sort of making-of show, or other spin-offs!
We’re talking about all sorts of things that we can do to keep Star Trek interesting for subscribers to CBS All Access. But right now we’re working on thirteen episodes and they’re going to order more when they’re ready… or not!You can listen to the full discussion with Fuller on Nerd World Report. And credit to TrekCore for there eternally useful screencap collection providing the image of Number One above.
UPDATE: One extra bit of good news today for American readers. Until today to watch Star Trek: Discovery in the US you had not just to sign up to the CBS All Access subscription streaming service, but also to endure watching the show with adverts on that service. But no more! Today CBS All Access has launched a commercial-free option, which for $9.99 a month means you can watch Star Trek, and everything else offered on All Access uninterrupted. The regular $5.99 a month option will also continue if you don't mind the adverts.
Star Trek: Discovery is due to start in January next year, it will be distributed almost everywhere in the world on Netflix, except for the US where is will be available on CBS All Access, and Canada where it will be on Bell Media channels and services. To keep track of all the latest details from the new show, visit my Star Trek: Discovery guide page.