“Star Trek: Discovery” producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts appeared on a CBS panel about politics and social issues on television at the Television Critics Association presentation this weekend.
Following that, they spoke with reporters including Slashfilm about the future of CBS All Access and Netflix series which returns with the second half of its first season tonight and has already been renewed for a second season run. It’s the latter people wanted to discuss, and Harberts touched upon topics to be explored:
“We are very interested in tackling themes of faith next year, science vs. faith. We’re interested in different points of view on that and we’re still hashing out what we want to tell. The second season is not a war season. We’re in this interesting pocket of time, ten years, now nine years before TOS. There are a lot of things in terms of TOS canon that we want to do some nods to and we’re still figuring it out. This next season is going to be jam-packed with stuff that we wanted to do [the first season].”
The writing staff got to work on the second season last month and are currently three episodes into development – certainly it’s going to be a far more stable year production wise than the first year which proved rather rocky. It also means the return of more classic “Star Trek” elements:
“We have time this year, so we have time to do things like more away missions, newer planets, stories that might fall a little bit more into a framework of allegory that people love to get from Trek. But we will always continue to have that overarching serialized thread.”
The remaining episodes of season one are also going to see a push more towards the original series tone of optimism and light as it wraps up the ‘war’ arc:
“Redemption is a huge theme. The other thing that’s a huge theme for us is taking the Federation from the darkness into the light. One of the things we do hear about is everybody wants this optimistic version of Star Trek right out of the gate. I feel that our show has a lot of hope in it from episode to episode on the character storyline that we’re tracking. By season’s end, people will see the Federation that they’ve come to know and love from [the original series] on.
[Tonight] we’re introducing a huge new development. It’ll be fun for Trek fans. It’s a nice nod to some stuff from TOS but what happens [tonight] firmly anchors the back half of the season. The back half of our season is definitely, again, a war story and how the war is going to play out, but our characters find themselves in a place where their very identities are challenged. It’s an emotionally wrought back half of the season.”
“Star Trek” veteran Jonathan Frakes helms the new episode and Harberts said he provided a huge morale booster on set during the middle of the season where things tend to drag: “He came in at just the right moment and electrified the room. When he left it was a triumph for him. People’s spirits were just through the roof.”