Bryan Fuller, showrunner for the upcoming CBS All Access streaming series Star Trek: Discovery, has provided new details likely to upset a lot of fans already wary of Star Trek: Discovery. When Fuller announced Discovery would be set 10 years before The Original Series in the timeline (and take place in the original Trek series’ “Prime” universe), many Trek fans complained about the backward step. Following in the wake of the divisive reboot movies, Star Trek was taking yet another step into the “past.” With the new Star Trek’s ship — USS Discovery NCC-1031 — jaunting about in the 2250s, the continuity of Trek ’s fictional future timeline won’t have substantially developed since the end Deep Space Nine 17 years ago, which pushed the series into a new galactic order after the end of the Dominion War in 2375.
Will the timeline of Star Trek: Discovery force a “retro science fiction show” aesthetic that fails Trek ’s themes of “moving forward, not backward,” as some fans on different social media sites have worried?
On radio show Nerd World Report with Hop and Herc Fuller described how Discovery would be substantially different from the feel of Star Trek: The Original Series. In fact, it sounds like fans may have the opposite problem: DSC is getting ready to make some major changes to the alien races of Star Trek.
According to Fuller, the timeline “came pretty organically, because we are going to try to achieve a new look for Star Trek that is very much Star Trek, but also our interpretation of Star Trek.”
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) August 8, 2016
Fuller had previously mentioned searching out new aesthetic influences for ship designs in Star Trek: Discovery, but it looks like that same redesign mentality could alter a lot more than just nacelle shapes:
“One of the very cool things that we get to do on this show is – we get to re-imagine all of the alien species that we’ve seen before in the series, and do something a little unique with that.
We were looking at a specific species’ costume on Friday, and Jesse Alexander, who is one of the writers, was commenting on the cosplay aspects of it, and how [the design] has gone a kind of quantum leap forward – and what were the people who do cosplay going to do?
Another one of our writers was like, “They are going to rise to the occasion!” So for all of us who have fetishized the look of all of the various species over the years of watching Star Trek, it’s fun for us to put a new spin on old favorites.”
Fuller was asked specifically about Klingons, but didn’t reveal whether or not they’d feature the signature cranial ridges (absent from Star Trek episodes set around this timeline).
Despite being set in the same era as the original Star Trek, Discovery won’t be beholden to the TOS designs, even when it comes to Starfleet uniforms. Fuller described the new uniforms as “something completely different.”
So despite concerns that Star Trek: Discovery would be locked into an old aesthetic and old continuity, it looks as if the show has found ways to innovate.
Ten years, the time between Discovery and the original Star Trek, is a significant chunk of time in human affairs. Aesthetics and even politics could be quite different from the time of Kirk’s captaincy of the Enterprise.
Familiar aliens will look completely different in Star Trek: Discovery. Fuller almost makes it sound like it’s his explicit intention to retcon old Trek material in Discovery ’s new aesthetic and storytelling environment. “There are so many aspects of the original series that would be fun to explore with updated production values,” Fuller told Hop and Herc. It now sounds possible fan anger might settle on too many changes, rather than too little, as its main target of criticism.
Does all of this talk about re-designing aliens in Star Trek: Discovery make you wary of what the show may do, or do you simply acknowledge it as the show finally doing what Gene Roddenberry had probably wanted to do all along, but couldn’t do it due to the expense? Have your feelings changed towards the All Access show?
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