Riker himself, actor/director Jonathan Frakes, has been revealed as a director of an upcoming episode of CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery”. Frakes has directed plenty of “Star Trek” episodes in the past, along with two films (“Star Trek: First Contact,” “Star Trek: Insurrection”), as well as plenty of non-Trek shows.
Showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg confirmed the hiring in a new piece in EW which has also revealed more details about the storyline for the new series. They say that Sonequa Martin-Green’s character of Michael Burnham is the first human to attend the Vulcan Science Academy and a decision she makes impacts not just the show but the whole “Star Trek” universe. Harberts says:
“Burnham [has] spent a lot of time on Vulcan, but she’s human. Sarek [Spock’s father, played by James Frain] plays an important role in her life, which has been completely planned until she makes a very difficult choice that sends her life on a very different path.
When we meet her, she’s the First Officer on the Starship Shenzhou [captained by Philippa Georgiou, played by Michelle Yeoh]. And Burnham’s choice that we’re alluding to is most difficult choice you can make – it affects her, affects Starfleet, affects the Federation, it affects the entire universe.
That choice leads her to a different ship, the Discovery [helmed by Captain Lorca, played by Jason Isaacs] and there we begin what Gretchen and I call our ‘second pilot.'”
Berg says the advantage of following Burnham is that you get to see a different point-of-view to this story than you might otherwise see:
“The joy is in the journey. The advantage to her not being in charge of the bridge right now is we get to tell stories from a very different point of view. It’s a fresh feeling because we’re not on the bridge all the time. We get access to more parts of the ship.”
The pair also discussed some of the influences on their version of “Star Trek” ranging from Nicholas Meyer to J.J. Abrams’ influences:
“I think Nicholas Myers’ [sic] film are [sic] a touchstone, and not just because he’s been on staff with us. His storytelling is complex and intellectual and yet there’s a lot of room for character voices and character work, he’s done such an incredible job with the franchise.
In terms of scope and scale, there’s something about Star Trek: The Motion Picture that really speaks to us as well. CBS has allowed us to find a cinematic language that’s wider in scope — our aspect ratio is 2:1 — and it just lends itself to a very lyrical way of telling the story. And just visually speaking, there’s also a little hint in terms of what J.J. Abrams did, a little bit, in terms of some of the visuals.”
“Star Trek: Discovery” will debut on Sunday, September 24th on CBS. New episodes will be available weekly on CBS All Access in the United States and on Netflix outside North America.