A big portion of CBS’ Television Critics Association panel was devoted to the upcoming launch of “Star Trek: Discovery” with the show’s new opening titles music, crafted by a 60 piece orchestra, played for the first time to that crowd.
Producer Akiva Goldsman was on hand for the panel and revealed a bunch of new information (via Slashfilm). First up, he says the show is heavily serialised – more than even “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” was:
“You will find this to be far more than serialized than DS9 even in its last two seasons. So this is by far, let me amend it, the most serialized version of Star Trek that has ever existed, and as such, it’s longform character storytelling. Without conflict, there is no longform character storytelling.”
Obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of conflict in TOS and there’s a lot of, sort of, aspirations towards the ideals of the Federation, and then we sort of made the prime directive just to break it, apparently. So part of what we’ve tried to do is speak to how those philosophical precepts came to be.
So it is entirely the outcome role of the show to arrive at the principles, the utopian principles that I think are endemic to Star Trek and at the same time not to suggest that doing that is simple or easy. But you can’t simply be accepting and tolerant without working for it, and so this show is about that struggle. You’ll tell us whether we succeeded, but the outcome is always to earn the philosophy rather than present it as a fait accompli.”
The story is set ten years before the original series, the time of the Federation-Klingon War and Goldsman suggests that will be dealt with entirely in this first season:
“We are in a section of canon that has been referred to a lot. There is a lot of speculation about it. We are considering the novels not to be canon, but we are aware of them. And, we are going to cross paths with components that Trek fans are familiar with, but it is its own standalone story with its own characters and its own unique vision of Trek.
There’s a period where our contact with the Klingons is nebulous. We are trying to view the idea of the creation of the Neutral Zone as something that was sufficiently inexact that we can now fill in how we got there. Our story of the Klingon War is our season one.”
Showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg indicate that despite going to streaming where the content restrictions of broadcast and syndication don’t apply, they still plan to keep the show family friendly. Harberts tells EW:
“Every writer’s impulse when you get to work on the streaming shows with no parameters is to go crazy. But then you look at things like: How does nudity play on Trek? Eh, it feels weird. How does a lot of [profanity] on Trek? Not so great. Are there moments where it merits it that we’re trying to push here and there? I would say we’re trying to push more by having the type of complicated messed-up characters who aren’t necessarily embraced on broadcast.
I’m not saying we’re not doing some violent things or doing a tiny bit of language. But what’s important to the creative team is the legacy of the show… We want to make sure we’re not creating a show that fans can’t share with their families. You have to honor what the franchise is. I would say we’re not going much beyond hard PG-13.”
Harberts also confirmed the naming of Sonequa Martin-Green’s character Michael Burnham was done by previous showrunner Bryan Fuller and is a recurring motif of his to name his lead women with names normally associated with men.
Fuller also was heavily involved in the redesign of the Klingons. Herberts says:
“One of the things he really, really wanted to do was shake up the design of the Klingons. One of the first things that he ever pitched to us when we were deciding whether or not to come on the show was his aesthetic for the Klingons and how important it was that they be aesthete, that they not be the thugs of the universe, that they be sexy and vital and different from what had come before.
They drilled down in such a deep way to redundant pieces of anatomy, to the different plates on the head. We were in discussions that got so deep into biology and into sculpture. From the time that Neville [Page, creature designer] brought in the 3D printout into the writers’ room of the Klingon, that design really hasn’t changed.
The Klingon ship, the flagship of the Klingons, which you’ll see in some of the stills, that design, again, very important to Bryan, very hands-on, worked with Mark Worthington for months and months to get it right. We think that it’s unique, and we saw no reason to change his vision for those Klingons.”
“Star Trek: Discovery” premieres on CBS All Access on September 24th. Check out a bunch of new posters from the series below.