A third season of Star Trek Discovery hasn’t officially been announced, but executive producer Alex Kurtzman has already started moving towards that final frontier as well as Patrick Stewart’s much anticipated return to the Gene Roddenberry franchise.
“We have a lot of big ideas we’ve already started working on, so hopefully we’ll get the pickup and we’ll be off to the races,” the Trekverse overlord said today during the TCA winter press tour session for the just-launched Season 2 of the CBS All Access series.
Onstage with fellow executive producer Heather Kadin, Discovery lead Sonequa Martin-Green, new young Spock Ethan Beck and the Anson Mount-played newly introduced Captain Christopher Pike, Kurtzman noted they are just editing the Season 2 finale and that seeds have been planted throughout the latest cycle of the show for more seasons.
As for the current season that launched January 17, the EP was circumspect about where the 14-episode season — set a decade before the original William Shatner-starring Star Trek — was going. In response to one question from the laptop-bound crowd, Kurtzman joked he wouldn’t “say anything about Romulans” – an aside that resonates for fans of the well establish and much discussed Trek canon.
The Discovery panel was preceded by presentations from CBS All Access execs Marc DeBevoise and Julie McNamara in which announcements for Season 3 of The Good Fight, the series order for Steven King’s The Stand and the launch of The Twilight Zone were dropped with some drama. However, amidst all that and in their much repeated aim to snare 8 million subscribers by the end of 2019, CBS All Access president and COO DeBevoise and EVP Original Content McNamara spent a lot of time taking Trek – especially pumping the brakes on expectation for the hard-core fan franchise.
We’re “taking a measured approach to developing and releasing shows in this universe,” McNamara cautioned assembled critics, as the Trekverse expansions recently hit hyper drive with the official confirmation of a Michelle Yeoh-led series as the fourth Trek show under Kurtzman’s purview. With that show in the early stages, the already aired Star Trek: Short Treks, Discovery looking at that third season pickup and a half-hour adult animated comedy series Star Trek: Below Decks, the next series to take flight is the Stewart-starring Picard later this year.
McNamara teased the latter series with her scripted aside that the return of the Star Trek: The Next Generation captain to the small screen would be “focusing more in the next chapter in this beloved character’s life.”
“We’re asking how do we live to the spirit and tone that Next Gen set and also make it different,” Kurtzman told Deadline after the Discovery panel Wednesday. “Patrick was very clear that he did not want to repeat what he had already done,” the EP added of the return of The Next Generation star that was first made public last August.
“Patrick didn’t want to put handcuffs on us, he wanted us to have the freedom to explore the character and he said, ‘I will always know if it’s something that he would or would not do,’ and that’s the kind of conversation that we’re having as we build it scene by scene,” Kurtzman said.
“It’s been 20 plus years so he couldn’t possibly be the same person — what has happened in that time?” Kurtzman said of the narrative thrust from Next Generation, which went off the air after seven seminal seasons in 1994 and on to several big-screen offerings. “Has there been occurrences that have forced him to reckon with choices he has made? Jow do you hold on to being the person that everyone loved when the circumstances may have changed? So those are the questions that we’re asking,” he noted of Picard, which starts shooting in Los Angeles in the spring.
TCA continued Wednesday with panels from the CBS-owned Pop TV. The Pasadena-based press tour picks up Thursday with offerings from Showtime and the CW.