Star Trek’s return to television was supposed to be grand. Originally scheduled to debut on the CBS All Access digital streaming service in January 2017, last month it was announced that Star Trek: Discovery was pushed back to May 2017 to give the creators more time to get it right. And now we learn that the series is hitting another significant bump, in the form of losing Bryan Fuller as showrunner.
Hannibal/Pushing Daisies showrunner Bryan Fuller is stepping back from the showrunner role on Star Trek: Discovery. According to the report, the decision was made late last week to hand the day-to-day showrunning duties over to executive producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts before Discovery begins principal photography in Toronto next month. Berg and Harberts worked with Fuller previously on ABC’s Pushing Daisies. Writer-director Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend, Fringe) is also expected to join the series in a top creative role.
The series will still follow Fuller’s initial vision for the show, and Bryan will remain on board as an executive producer and will still be involved in developing the stories. CBS is reportedly happy with the material so far, but Variety says that there had been “some strain” between Star Trek producer CBS Television Studios and Fuller over the progress of production on the show, stemming from Fuller juggling other duties on his Starz’s drama American Gods and NBC’s Amazing Stories. It was apparently clear to CBS that Fuller didn’t have enough hours in the day to devote to the series.
The new structure was worked out quickly over the weekend in an effort to allow Fuller to remain actively involved albeit not on the day-to-day production level as originally envisioned. There’s also some internal stress at the studio that the lead character, described by Fuller as a female lieutenant commander, has yet to be cast.
The network was unwilling to delay the premiere date once more. It’s unclear if Fuller will step back up as showrunner after his schedule becomes less busy.
We have already been told that Fuller wrote the first two teleplays for Discovery. Fuller’s involvement as showrunner is most of the reason fans are excited about the new series. Fuller was a writer for Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and said all the right things on the summer’s TV critics press tour as well as San Diego Comic-Con.
In September, CBS issued a press release revealing that the show’s premiere had been pushed back to May 2017 in order to give the creative team enough time to create a premium show: the decision “is driven by the belief of the creative team that this gives the show the appropriate time for delivery of the highest quality, premium edition of the first new Star Trek TV series in over a decade.”
“Bringing Star Trek back to television carries a responsibility and mission: to connect fans and newcomers alike to the series that has fed our imaginations since childhood,” said executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Bryan Fuller. “We aim to dream big and deliver, and that means making sure the demands of physical and post-production for a show that takes place entirely in space, and the need to meet an air date, don’t result in compromised quality. Before heading into production, we evaluated these realities with our partners at CBS and they agreed: Star Trek deserves the very best, and these extra few months will help us achieve a vision we can all be proud of.”
We don’t know much about the series just yet. The lead character will be a woman, although she is not the Captain of the USS Discovery, named after “Stanley Kubrick’s contribution to the Discovery [One] on 2001: A Space Odyssey, NASA’s vessel the Discovery, and also the sense of discovery.” This new crew will seek new worlds and new alien races a decade before Captain James Kirk’s five-year mission, with the story focusing more on the team this time, less on the Captain.
What are your feelings regarding the departure of Bryan Fuller as showrunner for Star Trek: Discovery? Is this a good move by CBS, or does this look like another sign of bad things to come? How do you feel about the new showrunner for this series?
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