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5 Things We Learned from the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY TCA Panel

After so many delays and hurdles, Star Trek: Discovery is finally set to debut next month on CBS All Access, and Nerdist has some fresh new intel on what you can expect to see from the new series. After a special video of the 60-piece orchestra playing the original Star Trek: Discovery theme song/main title (which was awesome, by the way), the executive producers and cast hosted a 2017 TCA Summer Press Tour panel on the CBS lot, and ended up revealing some interesting teases about their new series. Here are six important things to know about Star Trek: Discovery before you watch the show.

The premiere was delayed so they could deliver the very best possible version of the show

Star Trek is an incredibly ambitious show,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman said. “We were really looking for a way to bring something new to Trek that both fans and people who’d never seen the show before could experience, and we also knew that, in order to justify it being on a premium cable service, it had to be huge. And I don’t mean huge just in terms of scope. I mean huge in terms of story and emotion and character, and we spent a lot of time talking about how to build this world. And it became clearer and clearer that the world was massive and that an air date was looming that was going to compromise the quality of the show.

You have to understand that we’re talking about massive sets, an approach that’s almost all practical. I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of CG augmentation, but we wanted to build sets that felt immersive and real, where the actors could move around and it didn’t feel like everything was a set extension. And we wanted the costumes to be elaborate, and we need to cast correctly, and we just wanted to do it right. And that’s the truth. So, we took our time. And, hopefully, now that you’re seeing the result of the work that everybody has done here, you understand why we delayed. And we stand by it, and we hope you guys like it.”

The stars are as psyched about a new Stark Trek story as the fans

“The honor is mine,” Sonequa Martin-Green said of playing the lead role. “The pleasure is mine. We’re bursting at the seams from the weight of it and the breadth of it. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share this journey with you because we understand its significance and we know that we’re telling a story we believe in. This is an epically grand yet microscopically tuned deeply emotional story. We don’t take it for granted, we don’t take it lightly, I certainly don’t. It’s a dream. To be able to be a part of history, it’s a dream.”

And James Frain added, “The idea of being in Star Trek was impossible for me to imagine [as a child]. I loved it. I can’t find the right words to describe it.”

Why is the female lead named Michael?

Apparently that came from the former showrunner Bryan Fuller, before he left the series to focus on American Gods. “I think he just felt that name,” executive producer Aaron Harberts explained. It’s Fuller’s “motif” to name his female leads with male names.

But just because Fuller left early on the series, that doesn’t mean he didn’t leave his mark. “We honor what he did,” Kurtzman said. “We love so much of what’s there and so much of what’s there came from his mind.”

One of those ideas left over from Fuller was to shake up the design and the aesthetic of the Klingons. Fuller wanted them to be different and sexy, rather than the thugs of the universe. He worked for a very long time on the new designs for the Klingons, and that became an important part of the series.

When does this story take place in the Star Trek canon?

“This is the Prime universe,” executive producer Akiva Goldsman said. “It’s not the JJ-verse or the Kurtzman-verse. It’s 10 years before [Star Trek: The Original Series] so we are in a section of canon that has been referred to a lot. We consider the novels not to be canon, but we are aware of them. It’s its own standalone story and its own characters of Trek.”

There won’t be standalone stories for each episode

“You will find this to be far more serialized that [Deep Space Nine],” Goldsman said. “This is by far the most serialized version of Star Trek that has ever existed. It’s long-form character storytelling.”

What are you excited to see from Star Trek: Discovery? Tweet me at @SydneyBucksbaum and let’s chat!

Image: CBS

Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m. with a special broadcast premiere on CBS. The second episode will be available immediately that night on CBS All Access, and all new episodes after that will be available on demand on CBS All Access.

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