Star Trek TV Preview: All New and Upcoming CBS Shows
Here's a guide to the many and various Star Trek spin-offs and new TV shows CBS is sending our way...
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Warning: contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, up to and including the season finale.
In June 2018, it was announced that CBS had hired Alex Kurtzman in a five-year deal to oversee the development of a host of new shows set in the Star Trek universe. Kurtzman co-wrote 2010’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness with his writing partner Roberto Orci. He joined Star Trek: Discovery as an executive producer early on and has stayed with the show through numerous changes in showrunner, taking on the role solo during the second season, and sharing show-running duties with Michelle Paradise for the upcoming third season.
CBS has hired Kurtzman to develop an inter-connected Star Trek universe, in the hope of attracting more subscribers to the CBS All-Access streaming channel. Fans who miss the heady days when there were two Star Trek series and a movie (Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Star Trek: First Contact) all out in the same year will feel like all their Christmases have come at once. Luckily, spanning as it does several centuries and a whole galaxy, there’s plenty of room in the Star Trek universe for a wide variety of shows, each with their own unique character.
Here’s our run-down of what we know about all the Star Trek shows currently in development.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 3
Release Date: Unknown, but probably spring 2020
Usually, as a TV series heads into season three, audiences feel like they have a handle on what the show is. There may have been a dramatic season finale, but by and large two years’ viewing have given people some idea what to expect. Star Trek: Discovery has completely thrown out the rule book on that front. We have some idea who the regular cast will be, but we don’t know who the Captain will be, what enemies they will be facing, whether the show will start a new season-long arc plot, or even exactly in what year the series will be taking place. The implication was that the crew will be arriving in the 32nd century, suggesting we may be looking at a temporal twist on the set-up of Star Trek: Voyager, though our heroes will be trying to settle in to a new life, rather than return home.
Everything we know so far about Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 can be found here.
Release Date: Expected before the end of 2019
What initially looked like a fun little Easter egg, an extra for the fans, has turned out to be surprisingly important to the on-going plot of Star Trek: Discovery. “The Brightest Star” and “Runaway” both introduced major plot elements from season two, while “Calypso” is a rough indication of where the story is eventually going. Only “The Escape Artist” has, so far, been its own independent little adventure, but since it stars a recurring character whose origins go all the way back to the original Star Trek series in the 1960s, it’s likely that may come in to play again as well.
It seems that Alex Kurtzman intends to carry on using these shorts (at least two more coming soon, in animated form, and possibly more after that) to introduce significant plot elements relating to the various current Star Trek series, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on where they take us next.
Star Trek: Picard
Release Date: Expected at the end of 2019
If Picard stays on schedule, it will be the first Star Trek series to take viewers into the future of the Prime Universe, not only going beyond the most recent Next Generation adventure (Star Trek: Nemesis) but including the collapse of the Romulan Empire seen in flashforward in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek (which, unlike most Star Trek stories, follows the “branching timelines” theory of time travel seen recently in Avengers: Endgame).
What’s most exciting about it, though, is of course the return of one of the series’ most beloved Captains in a new role. The series will follow a ten-episode arc, similar to Deep Space Nine and Discovery but within a shorter timeframe. As far as tone goes, its supporting characters include a thief and someone struggling with substance abuse, so it’s probably safe to say this is going to be more Logan than Star Trek: Generations.
We’ve assembled everything you need to know about the Picard series right here.
Section 31 series starring Michelle Yeoh
Release Date: expected in late 2020 or 2021
This spin-off from Star Trek: Discovery is in development, but won’t enter into production for some time, so we shouldn’t expect to see it for a while. The series will follow Starfleet’s Black Ops division, Section 31, and star Michelle Yeoh, reprising her role as formerly Empress, now Captain, Philippa Georgiou. However, Yeoh has to film season three of Discovery first. At the end of season two, her character was flung over 900 years into the future along with Burnham and a handful of other regulars. Presumably, Georgiou will somehow find her way back to the 23rd or 24th century by the end of season three, though it’s always possible that the plan is to set the Section 31 series, which may be a limited mini-series, in the 32nd century. We can safely assume all involved will remain tight-lipped about their plans until after Discovery season 3 has been released.
Star Trek: Lower Decks
release date: expected in 2021 or 2022
Named for an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (pictured above), this animated series is being developed by, among other people, the head writer of Rick and Morty (Mike McMahan) with a concept that sounds a lot like Red Dwarf – it’s a comedy series following the support crew on one of Starfleet’s least important ships.
Two animated Short Treks will be released before this series is ready, but it will represent the first full animated Star Trek series since Star Trek: The Animated Series’ short run in 1973-4. Originally considered canon until it was usurped and its continuity contradicted by the movies, The Animated Series was held back by very cheap animation, but featured some genuinely interesting ideas, several of which were later developed by 1990s Star Trek series, especially The Next Generation. We can only hope this more deliberately comic new series will be able to do the same.
You can read more about Star Trek: Lower Decks right here.
Untitled animated series
Release Date: Expected in 2020 or 2021
Star Trek animated series are like buses; you wait 45 years for one and then three come along all at once. In addition to the animated Short Treks and Star Trek: Lower Decks, CBS is teaming up with Nickelodeon to produce another animated Star Trek series, but this time aimed at children.
Until Discovery, Star Trek was always a family show, with content aimed at adults but designed to appeal to and to be suitable for children, and many fans found their love for the show at a young age. Discovery, however, features occasional gore and sex and swearing, and Lower Decks will apparently embrace a more adult humor, while the Picard series doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs and Section 31 is unlikely to be kid-friendly. That’s perhaps why this new series is needed, to continue to bring Star Trek to the younger generation.
Star Trek: Ceti Alpha V
Release Date: in development
This one seems to be stuck in development hell for the time being. Back in 2017, Nicholas Meyer (writer/director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and writer of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – he’s basically responsible for the idea that the even-numbered movies are the good ones) was commissioned to write a three-part limited series about Khan Noonien Singh, which, presumably, followed the anti-hero’s misadventures while marooned on the titular planet. The title has been trademarked but no one (including Meyer) has heard more on the series itself. On one hand, Meyer’s involvement is always an exciting thing, as he has produced some of Trek’s all-time greatest moments. On the other, after all the hype surrounding Star Trek Into Darkness, the character of Khan might be best left to lie for a while.
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
Release Date: in development
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was one of the titles trademarked by CBS in late 2018, and as early as June 2018 it was suggested that the creators of Gossip Girl would be running it. There have been rumors about a new series set at Starfleet Academy every time any new Star Trek series or film has been in development, from Voyager, to Enterprise, to the JJ Abrams movies, to Discovery – but the closest anything has come so far has been the scenes of Kirk joining the Academy in 2010’s Star Trek. Even the younger Spock of Discovery is already a Starfleet officer. With so many new series in development, it’s not surprising that Kurtzman and CBS have returned to this, presumably aiming at a more Young Adult audience. We haven’t heard much since that initial announcement, but it looks like this old idea may finally see the light of day.
The Star Trek shows we wish they’d make:
It was with a sense of crushing disappointment that we looked over the run-down of all the new Star Trek shows currently in development, and found that none of them were a prequel series following the adventures of Anson Mount’s Captain Pike as captain of the Starship Enterprise. Granted, most of the fandom is fairly sick of prequel series by now, and we’re feeling more than ready to follow Discovery and the Picard series into the future. However, we’ve also become really very fond of Mount’s excellent, extremely likeable performance as Pike, a character who quietly made a truly brave and tragic sacrifice in “Through The Valley Of Shadows.” Yes, we know his ultimate fate, but surely at least a limited mini-series following himself, Rebecca Romijn’s Number One and Ethan Peck’s Spock until the fateful day he’s invalided out of Starfleet and replaced by a cocky young risk-taker isn’t too much to ask?
Of course, we do have one other idea for a Star Trek spin-off show. CBS could always develop a series about the crew of a starship – maybe a new Enterprise, maybe an even newer and fancier ship – flying around the galaxy, exploring new worlds and new civilizations, and boldly going where no one has gone before through the medium of weekly, episodic adventures (with minimal, character-based arc plotting) that use science fiction metaphors to explore current social issues or deepen our understanding of the ensemble characters. But who are we kidding? Fox is already making The Orville.