Following the panel for the second season of “Star Trek: Discovery” at New York Comic Con this weekend, Trek Movie sat down with executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin and managed to get a few questions in about the other upcoming “Star Trek” series in the works for CBS All Access.
In August, Kurtzman and Sir Patrick Stewart shocked fans with the announcement that Stewart would reprise his most iconic role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in an upcoming series continuing the character’s story. At the time it was indicated the deal had only just been made so many details hadn’t yet been hammered out, but from all indications it looked likely to be a limited series.
That’s not the case according to Kurtzman who says the writers’ room has been fully up and running for four weeks now and production is aiming for an April 2019 start which would suggest either a late 2019 or more likely early 2020 premiere. That would likely put it before the third season of ‘Discovery’ which, if it goes forward, wouldn’t air until mid-2020.
Kadin then confirmed that the plan is for the Picard series to be ongoing with plans being laid out for “multiple seasons”. Kurtzman confirms ‘Discovery’ and the Picard series will be very much their own things and there are currently no plans for a crossover.
Kadin confirms that even if more “Star Trek” shows are greenlit and made beyond these two, the plan is not to have the shows overlap in terms of airing and in fact to have breaks between the various series to build up fan anticipation.
Pulitzer-prize winning author Michael Chabon (“Wonder Boys,” “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”) makes his television-writing debut this week with “Short Treks: Calypso,” one of four short films tied into the “Star Trek: Discovery” series on CBS All Access.
The most standalone of the four, the story is set a millennia post-Discovery when a soldier (Aldis Hodge) awakens on an abandoned starship run by the ship’s computer which has evolved after centuries of isolation into a unique personality.
That marks Chabon’s first foray into ‘Trek,’ and he’ll be expanding his involvement in the franchise with work on the upcoming TV series which marks the return of Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard. Speaking with CNET, Chabon spoke about his approach to the show’s canon:
“Any Star Trek writer, any writing room on any Star Trek show after, let’s say, The Original Series had a responsibility to consider canon, to know your canon. Just speaking for me, that’s an incredible pleasure – to have a legitimate excuse, and get paid, to nerd out completely.
At the same time, and this is true when you’re dealing with any kind of canon, there’s always gaps. There are cracks. There are contradictions. There are mysteries that we never got to hear the explanation of, when people allude to things in canon and don’t give any further explanation. Maybe the greatest example in all canon ever is the giant rat of Sumatra from Sherlock Holmes. Fans and writers ever since have tried to come up with possible explanations for that.
So I think it’s important not just to view canon as a barrier, as a perimeter beyond which you can’t go, a kind of a grid that you’re trapped on. You try to find the loopholes. You find the empty areas. You find the things the canon doesn’t seem to have anything to say, and you say it. And if you’re really lucky and you get to be working on a Star Trek show then what you say becomes canon itself.
He also discussed sticking to the ideals of “Star Trek” including diversity, overcoming baser instincts, and offering a hopeful outlook for the future:
“Now that I’m working on the show and now that I’m part of Star Trek, I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure that the current model is true to the ideals of the original show, the ideas of tolerance and egalitarianism. Obviously, you look at the way women are represented on The Original Series, and that show fell far short of its stated ideals of egalitarianism, although at least they did have women in some positions of responsibility.
But I think we have this responsibility to continue to articulate a hopeful, positive vision of the future. I think if anything that’s more important now than it was when The Original Series came out. It was really important then, and it had a profound impact, socially, with Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise, and this message that we can think our way out of our most primitive violent instincts.
To me, dystopia has lost its bite. A, we’re living in it, and B, it’s such a complete crushing series of cliches at this point. The tropes have all been worked and reworked so many times. There was a period where a positive, optimistic, techno-future where mankind learns to live in harmony and goes out into the stars just to discover and not to conquer, that was an overworked trope. But that is no longer the case. A positive vision of the future articulated through principles of tolerance and egalitarianism and optimism and the quest for scientific knowledge, to me that’s feels fresh nowadays.
Captain Picard is the hero we need right now. He exemplifies in some ways even more then James Kirk — and I’m not gonna get into the Kirk vs Picard argument because I love Captain Kirk, he was my first captain — but Picard is even more of an exemplar of everything that is best about Star Trek’s vision for the future.… And he wasn’t such a hound dog as Captain Kirk.
Indeed Patrick Stewart’s involvement in the production is a key to making it work. He separately tells Indiewire:
“[It’s] one of the reasons it’s going to be as good as it is going to be… He’s been involved pretty much from the beginning. His voice has been a very, very important and useful voice. He’s been a great resource for us. We’re so lucky to have him and that he wanted to participate to the extent that he has.”
“Short Treks: Calypso” is now streaming on CBS All Access. The Picard series has yet to set an air date.
"I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course.
It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.
During these past years, it has been humbling to hear stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership.
I feel I'm ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times.
I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more."
CBS’ new CCO David Nevins has confirmed that the upcoming Sir Patrick Stewart-led untitled Jean-Luc Picard series is scheduled to premiere at the end of 2019 and will air exclusively on CBS All Access.
-The plan right now is for this incarnation of Picard - and the universe he inhabits - to be unlike anything seen on STAR TREK before.
-First and foremost, the series is allegedly rushed to serve as a possible replacement for STAR TREK:DISCOVERY, in the event that the series is cancelled, following it's second season.
The next on is a biggie...
-You could be forgiven for thinking that this series would be taking place in the "Prime" STAR TREK universe, twenty years after NEMESIS and a decade after a supernova destroyed the Romulan homeworld. But this is not the course of action planned. Instead of revisiting the Prime timeline, or even dropping in on the Kelvin timeline, the current plan is to merge the timelines into a new one. One where Vulcan disappears like it did in the Kelvin timeline, where Romulus disappears, like it did in the Prime timeline, but where none of the Prime timeline series played out exactly like we know them. The purpose of doing so it to wipe out the Prime timeline once and for all; never to revisit it again - or even pay lip-service to it.
- This merging of timelines into a brand new timeline is not a creative choice, but a profit-making one, as complex rights issue means that the current shareholders cannot make profits from merchandise based around familiar likenesses of the classic Prime Star Trek of old or even make as much profit as they would like to from the Kelvin timeline. So the plan is to dump it all and instead make merchandise based around a new, unique CBS/Paramount hybrid version.
I don't fully understand what I have just written, but this video lays it out better than I can, starting from the 16.25 mark.......
The new CBS All Access “Star Trek” series focusing on Patrick Stewart’s iconic Jean-Luc Picard character has been named as one of the shows that has been accepted into the latest round of California’s ongoing Film & TV Tax Credit program.
It, along with CBS All Access’ “Why Women Kill” and HBO’s “Flowers of Helvetica,” are all new shows which will be produced in California, and join six recurring series that are already filming in the state under the program as part of its fourth year.
Those six? FX’s “American Horror Story” and “Mayans, M.C.,” Freeform’s “Good Trouble,” Fox’s “The Orville,” ABC’s “The Rookie” and CBS All Access’ “Strange Angel” round out the six. The tax credits for all nine productions totals $90 million according to the California Film Commission and it is believed the chances of further renewals of these various projects increases greatly with this news.
There are reportedly twenty-one recurring TV series in various stages of production currently in the program and eligible for tax credits.
Alex Kurtzman, who has become the defacto overseer of the “Star Trek” franchise on CBS All Access, spoke with EW about the still-untitled Jean-Luc Picard series and offered some new details.
First up, the plan is to make the new show very different from “Star Trek: Discovery” with indications are this is much more a drama, more introspective and more based in the real world:
“It’s an extremely different rhythm than Discovery, Discovery is a bullet. Picard is a very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was, but I believe it will have its own rhythm. ‘More grounded’ is not the right way to put it, because season 2 of Discovery is also grounded. It will feel more … real world? If that’s the right way to put it.”
The writers room first assembled in September and they haven’t slacked off, with Kurtzman saying they’ve done the scripts for about eight episodes and are moving quickly. There is no word as yet regarding how many episodes will be in the first season of the planned ongoing series, but this would suggest at least ten.
With the action set twenty years after “Star Trek: Nemesis,” around the year 2399, Kurtzman says the show in part will deal with what Picard has been up to during that period:
“Without revealing too much about it, people have so many questions about Picard and what happened to him, and the idea we get to take time to answer those questions in the wake of the many, many things he’s had to deal with in Next Gen is really exciting.”
The show is currently targeting a late 2019 air date.
While the fourth film in the rebooted “Star Trek” film franchise has seemingly disappeared into a black hole, the franchise is going very well on TV with CBS All Access and Netflix’s “Star Trek: Discovery” which launches its second season next week.
Conducting an extensive interview with The Live Feed, showrunner and the franchise’s current overseer Alex Kurtzman has confirmed that not one but two animated series set in the “Star Trek” universe in the works.
One will be the already announced comedic “Lower Decks” series from “Rick and Morty” writer Mike McMahan, that one dealing with the hapless support staff aboard a low-key Starfleet vessel. Kurtzman tells the trade the other will be kids-focused with an entirely different perspective and an entirely different tone. Kurtzman also confirmed that two more “Star Trek: Short Treks” minisodes are in the works, and both of these will be animated rather than live-action like the others.
Talk then turned towards the new Jean-Luc Picard series with Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role fifteen years later. Events will be set after both the failed coup of Romulus by Shinzon (Tom Hardy) in “Star Trek: Nemesis” and that planet’s destruction as mentioned in 2009’s “Star Trek”. In the time since, Kurtzman says: “Picard’s life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire”.
He goes on to say Picard is leading a whole new life in the new episodes, and Patrick Stewart only agreed to return to the role if they were going to do something drastically different:
“He threw down an amazing gauntlet and said, ‘If we do this, I want it to be so different, I want it to be both what people remember but also not what they’re expecting at all, otherwise why do it?'”
Kurtzman was asked to put together a three-page document outlining his ideas for the potential series, but the treatment ultimately went for 34 pages and Stewart liked what he read:
“He walked into the room and he had a huge smile on his face and said, ‘This is wonderful.’ What he understood at that point … was that he was with people who desperately wanted to collaborate with him; that we weren’t trying to exploit him. He knew if he was going to go back to Picard, it needed to be for the greatest reason ever.”
No official date has yet been set for the Picard-centric series which is expected to debut in late 2019. “Star Trek: Discovery” season two kicks off in the U.S. on January 17th before debuting on Netflix internationally January 18th.
Executive producer Alex Kurtzman is overseeing a new Captain Picard series for CBS All-Access, which is also home to Star Trek: Discovery, and he's been talking about where we'll find Captain Picard in the Star Trek timeline when we rejoin his story later this year.
What you're about to read may be a little confusing if you haven't been keeping up with the newer Star Trek movies, but we'll try to break it down as best we can.
In the 2009 Star Trek film, starring Chris Pine, we were taken forward in time to the year 2387 during old Spock's mind meld with the younger Kirk. Spock showed the rebellious future Captain a plan that he'd concocted to use red matter to create a black hole that would avert a forthcoming disaster - a star that was going supernova was set to destroy Romulus. Unfortunately, Spock didn't manage to carry out his plan in time, and Romulus was destroyed. Kurtzman co-wrote this story, so it kinda makes sense that he's taken this event and merged it with the new Picard series, using it to catch up with the timeline 12 years after the destruction of Romulus.
"Picard's life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire," Kurztman told THR, and the Romulan connection, featured in many stories that followed Picard through The Next Generation and into Nemesis, appears to be the hook that tempted Patrick Stewart back to the role. "What we tried to convey in [a first meeting with Stewart] was how desperately we loved him and the character and how much we wanted to see what happened to Picard. It turned into a 34-page document — with no way to shorten it. We were going on all in and he was going to read it or not read it, love it or hate it. It was our best attempt at trying to get him to say yes."
Stewart indeed went for it, to Kurtzman's delight and relief.
"He walked into the room and he had a huge smile on his face and said, 'This is wonderful'. What he understood at that point … was that he was with people who desperately wanted to collaborate with him, that we weren't trying to exploit him. He knew if he was going to go back to Picard, it needed to be for the greatest reason ever."
We expect the still untitled Captain Picard series to arrive in late 2019.
These creatives always talk about respecting the legacy of something and of how much they love the original.
Then destroy it.
I also worry that Patrick Stewart is being enticed by the idea of playing a tortured and damaged Picard, living some kind of tragic existence. Appealing to his actor's ego - just to get him on board - rather than being the Picard that was noble, the best that humanity could offer, no matter what was thrown at him - and who could cut the legs from under someone with a speech.