At yesterday’s CBS Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Day, Star Trek: Discovery producers and cast members were present to discuss various aspects of the latest Star Trek series.
Those in attendance included: Gretchen Berg, Aaron Harberts, Akiva Goldsman, Heather Kadin, and Alex Kurtzman; plus actors Mary Chieffo, James Frain, Sonequa Martin-Green and Jason Isaacs.
Some of the topics included Klingons and Bryan Fuller‘s influence on their redesign, the timeline for Discovery, serialization, the state of the Federation, and Michael Burnham’s relationship to Sarek.
Fuller left last autumn, but some of his influence on the new series will remain. “One of things that he wanted to do was shake up the design of the Klingons,” said Harberts, “that they wouldn’t be the thugs of the universe; that they’d be sexy and vital and different. There were discussions that got deep into their biology and sculpture.”
Fans are wondering about the timeline for Discovery, and Executive Producer Akiva Goldsman spoke about this, explaining how Discovery would fit into the Trekverse. “We’re mostly pretty much an object that takes its reference from the other shows,” he said. “Mostly what we’re doing is we’re trying to look at all the shows, including Enterprise, as canon, and trying to be very sensitive to all the interesting boundaries that exist. The number of things that are seen for the first time…will blow your brain. That’s sort of a great game to be able to navigate.”
As reported before, Star Trek: Discovery will tell its stories in a serialized manner. It will be “the most serialized Star Trek,” said Goldsman. “You will find this to be far more serialized than Deep Space Nine, even in its [last few] seasons…It’s long-form character storytelling.”
It’s a trying time for the Federation, added Goldsman. “It’s a time of war and we’re trying to find out who we are as a federation and a collection of people in the face of adversity.”
“It’s one thing to speak of a utopia,” said Sonequa Martin-Green. “To be able to see it in action, to see us aspiring to it, we haven’t reached this perfection yet, but we’re trying; and I think it’s going to be really compelling because you’re seeing us try and fail and try again.”
“With [our show],” said Jason Isaacs, “you can start the discussion,” drawing a contrast to other versions of Star Trek, which would often encompass the entire discussion in a single episode. “That’s the richness that you get from a long-form story.”
Speaking of Martin-Green, what about her character Michael Burnham and Burnham’s relationship to Sarek? “We don’t necessarily call her the half-sister; we tend to refer to her as Sarek’s ward or Sarek’s almost-foster adopted daughter,” explained Goldsman. “The relationship between Michael and Sarek plays a huge part in [where she was raised and what she brings to the ships she is on].”