We’re currently living in a bold new world of Star Trek shows. Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks are already on the air, and lots of new series like Strange New Worlds are on the way. Producer Akiva Goldsman talked to The Hollywood Reporter about what to expect, starting with the new kid on the block.
“[Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is] unlike the other shows in that it’s really episodic,” Goldsman said. “If you think back to The Original Series, it was a tonally more liberal — I don’t mean in terms of politics, but it could sort of be more fluid. Like sometimes Robert Bloch would write a horror episode. Or Harlan Ellison would have ‘City on the Edge of Forever,’ which is hard sci-fi. Then there would be comedic episodes, like ‘Shore Leave’ or ‘The Trouble With Tribbles.’ So [co-showrunner] Henry Alonso Myers and myself are trying to serve that. We’ve all become very enamored, myself included, with serialized storytelling. And I’m talking to you from behind the stage where we’re shooting Picard, which is deeply serialized. But Strange New Worlds is very much adventure-of-the-week but with serialized character arcs.”
True to that Original Series spirit, the show will be about Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Spoke (Ethan Peck), the stars of the original Star Trek pilot before NBC replaced Pike with Captain Kirk. The trio showed up in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery aboard the iconic starship Enterprise, and now they’re getting their own show.
“There are a few more reach-backs (to The Original Series),” Goldsman continued, “and the uniforms have been adjusted slightly, the sets are slightly different. Remember the Enterprise existed as a little piece of [the show Discovery], but now it’s its own object. When you close your eyes and think of the key sets and situations that you think of The Original Series, that’s what we’re looking to do.
Filming on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has begun, but we don’t have a release date yet.
When does Star Trek: Picard season 2 start?
As Goldsman said, while Strange New Worlds is adventure-of-the-week, Star Trek: Picard is very serialized, picking up with storied starship captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) decades after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
One of the biggest recent headlines about Star Trek: Picard is that it’ll feature the return of Q, the extra-dimensional being who spent time annoying Picard in TNG, again played by John de Lancie. But like Picard, he’s mellowed a bit with age.
“[Co-showrunner] Terry Matalas and I don’t pretend that the interstitial years didn’t happen,” Goldsman explained. “No, obviously, chronological time is less relevant to Q. The time between shows is probably not even the blink of an eye in Q time — if you even have Q time. But we definitely chose to follow suit when it came to him. So as we tried to evolve the other characters, the same is true of Q. This is a show of a different time with actors of a different age. We’re now talking about the issues that come up in the last [stage] of your life. We wanted a Q that could play in that arena with Picard.”
There are a lot of people who think of Q as trickster God, right? And he is. But he’s also a profoundly significant relationship in Picard’s life. There’s a lot of discussion in Picard Season 2 about the nature of connectedness. Q’s kind of a great lightning rod for that, because in some ways he’s one of Picard’s deepest — not deep in the same way that Riker is or Beverly crusher was — but in its own uniquely, profoundly deep relationship.
Season 2 of Picard is expected to premiere in 2022.
Are there too many Star Trek shows?
So there’s a lot of Star Trek stuff in the air at the moment…possibly too much? Goldsman took up that question, too:
Look, we all do the same thing, which is to look at the example that really works — like, you cannot have enough Marvel shows. I’m waiting for Falcon and the Winter Soldier tomorrow, and I watched the Loki trailer 19,000 times. So with that as the example, you can never have enough Star Trek shows. — but we’ve all seen the other side where it doesn’t work. Star Trek has that heart-space for some people, especially now, after the world was revealed for being worse than we thought it was, I’m a big believer in hard-won happy endings. It doesn’t mean it’s not hard getting there, but I’m just going to choose to believe that there can be good outcomes.
So Goldsman admits what we basically all knew: that everyone in Hollywood is trying to ape the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; see also all the Star Wars series in development, and all the Game of Thrones spin-offs. Time will tell whether we “cannot have enough” of this stuff.
Will Paramount continue the Star Trek movies with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto?
Finally, let’s not forget that there are Star Trek movies in the offing, too. Just the other day we finally heard of a new one getting the green light, due out in 2023.
Unfortunately, we don’t know anything else. Is this a new idea, or a continuation of the Star Trek movies starring Chris Pine (Captain Kirk), Zoe Saldana (Uhura) and Zachary Quinto (Spock)? Again, we don’t know, and neither do those people. “Honestly, I have no real idea what’s going on with Star Trek,” Quinto told Pop Culture. “[But] we all love each other and we all love that experience and I’m sure if it comes back around and we’re all available, I’m sure we’d be happy to jump back on board. No pun intended. But I don’t know — that’s in other people’s hands and I know I, for one, have had sort of moved on in terms of any kind of expectations, but you never know things come back in surprising ways and it’s surprising times, and it could be fun if it happens.”
I mean, there’s already 30 different Star Trek things in the hopper. What’s one more?