On the same day CBS went on the defensive about the lack of diversity on its fall schedule, “Star Trek: Discovery” executive producer Bryan Fuller made clear that his new series will not have that problem.
Fuller announced Wednesday that the new show will feature a female lead character and honor the franchise’s history of inclusion.
“‘Star Trek’ started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast. You had a Russian with a black woman and an Asian man amongst a Vulcan, which is a different kind of diversity,” Fuller told reporters at a panel for the show at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We’re absolutely continuing that tradition.”
Fuller also said the new series will “absolutely” have a gay character.
This summer, “Star Trek: Beyond” revealed John Cho’s Sulu to be the first openly gay character in the franchise’s history.
The new TV series will be set in the “prime” universe — meaning not in the J.J. Abrams movie universe — and takes place ten years before the start of Captain Kirk’s five-year mission.
“That gives us an opportunity to bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series,” Fuller said. He added that the show would look different from the movies scenically.
Viewers can also expect to see robots, time travel and more than one alien character.
“Star Trek: Discovery” will make its debut on CBS in 2017. Subsequent episodes will be made available exclusively on paid SVOD service, CBS All Access.
CBS All Access has a lot riding on this “Star Trek” series. It will be the service’s first original series and set the bar for others to come.
CBS Interactive president Marc DeBevoise called the show a “declaration of how serious we are about building this service.” According to DeBevoise, All Access faced stiff competition acquiring the series.
CBS All Access also has a “Good Wife” spinoff in the works and recently announced a digital-only season of the reality competition show “Big Brother.”
DeBevoise hinted that the move from broadcast to streaming would allow programs to be a little more risque than what was previously possible. That prompted Fuller to field questions about how far the typically family-friendly “Star Trek” would push its boundaries.
They’re still figuring out their approach, Fuller admitted.
“They’ll probably be slightly more graphic content,” he said. “We discuss every day about language and what’s appropriate and how far should we go.”
He anticipates filming multiple versions of certain scenes and deciding “what feels authentic” in the editing room.
“Star Trek: Discovery” casting is currently underway.