In a new interview on Robert Meyer Burnett’s video series Robservations, Bryan Fuller has been discussing his original Mirror Universe plans for Star Trek: Discovery.
It’s a rare occurrence for the creator of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies to talk at length about his time on the flagship CBS All-Access Star Trek series. Fuller spent the early stages of his writing career on the bulk of Star Trek: Voyager, and penned a couple of Deep Space Nine instalments, so it seemed like developing a Trek show of his own might be a dream gig, but that dream soured long before Discovery‘s first season made it to our screens, with CBS asking Fuller to step down as showrunner in October 2016, almost a year ahead of Discovery‘s eventual debut.
A rejigging of the story and overall aesthetic would take place over much of season 1, including, it seems, the new team’s approach to the Mirror Universe, which ended up being heavy on the pantomime.
Fuller had a much more nuanced vision for Discovery‘s parallel reality, as he explains:
“The thing that really fascinated me in sitting down and crafting the story for Discovery was the human condition,” Fuller said (via TrekMovie). “I thought that there are elements in the Mirror Universe that we have seen that have sort of boiled to the broadest ends of the spectrum and everything felt really binary. And what I really wanted to do in setting out was looking at the minutiae of simple decisions that have a cascade effect on our lives. So, it’s not about gold lamé sashes and goatees versus no sash and clean-shaven. It is more about we are at forks in the road every moment of our lives and we either go left or right.
“It makes me think of Joe Menosky’s speech in [Voyager‘s ‘Latent Image’], where The Doctor has a Sophie’s choice, he can only save one life. And he chose Ensign Harry Kim versus this other ensign and it is a split-decision and it causes his entire program to unravel because he can’t handle how his choice was always going to cost a life. It was his Kobayashi Maru.
“So, there was something in the mistakes made by Burnham in ‘Battle of the Binary Stars’ that had this ripple, but the Mirror Universe was always meant to be an exploration of a small step in a different direction. So, it wasn’t necessarily the Mirror Universe we know from all of the other series. It was something that was closer to our timeline and experience, so you can still recognize the human being and go, ‘What did I do? How did that seem like a good decision for me in that moment and how do I continue with my life forward?’ And everything was a sort of an extrapolation out on that. So, there were things that I wanted the Mirror Universe to function in a narrative exploration of like ‘Oh fuck, if I just didn’t do that one thing, everything would be better.’ As opposed to, ‘I don’t recognize that person, I don’t know who that person is, because they are a diametric opposite of who I am.’
“So, that is kind of what the goal was.”
You can watch the entire interview with Fuller, who has embraced a quite spectacular new haircut during the current lockdown, below…
Star Trek: Discovery has not yet set a season 3 release date.