Bryan Fuller is Gone – Star Trek Discovery
So it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of disappointment and negativity spreading about the show. How can the show proceed without it’s captain?
Fuller’s Historic Star Trek Discovery Role
Bryan Fuller has been a Star Trek fan for a long time, and has wanted to create a new series for years. Back in 2013 he was quoted as saying he’d love to have Angela Bassett and Rosario Dawson on a new series. “I want Angela Bassett to be the captain, that’s who I would love to have, you know Captain Angela Bassett and First Officer Rosario Dawson”. Atop of quotes like that, he really knows his stuff. Fuller worked on Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Deep Space Nine. He has a unique understanding of the progressive and optimistic themes behind the shows and intended to carry those traditions.
Okay, we need to step aside here for a moment. To emphasize the importance that last sentence, it’s time for a quick Star Trek 101 lesson. Trekkies can skip the next overly-large paragraph.
Star Trek 101 Tangent
In this Trekkie’s opinion, there are two major factors that have contributed to the success of Star Trek as an ongoing tv series. The first is that it presents a diverse set of characters, both in personality and in ethnicity. When it first aired in 1966, Star Trek found itself among tv shows that, frankly, centered around Caucasians. We’d sometimes see Black characters, but they were almost always the maid service. Star Trek had a Black character on the bridge of the Federation’s flag ship USS Enterprise. Not only progressive but risky given the era. Southern tv stations threatened not to carry a show with a Black person carrying such an important role. And she was a woman to boot! Lieutenant Ohura and Captain Kirk made television history with the first televised inter-racial kiss. Also at that time in the 20th century, there was a lot of fear over the USSR’s military might and the cold war was heating up. Star Trek, rather than promote that fear, gave a Russian character a supporting role and place on the bridge. Pavel Chekov. In the 1960s, this kind of diversity and progressiveness had never been seen before on television. What’s more – the helmsman of the USS Enterprise is of Asian heritage, and a second in command that wasn’t even human! No matter who you are, you can find someone in the show to relate to. Star Trek has been about cultural, ethnic and gender progressivism, and every new series has furthered these ideals. The second thing that I think has made it such a success on tv is that it promotes an optimistic future. We’re being constantly bombarded with negativity in news, television, and people around us. One would believe the world is becoming a worse and scarier place – not just that fear means easy money and so coverage has increased. There’s something exciting and enticing about an optimistic future where peace prevails, individuals strive to better themselves AND humanity, and where equality is more than lip service. Star Trek can tell difficult stories about current day issues from a progressive and optimistic standpoint in a way that makes sense to us all, thanks to its diverse characters, alien species and use of the “science fiction” label. All that said, Byan Fuller fully understood of all of this and had a desire to improve and take it further. So it’s understandable that fans were elate that he was creating and producing Star Trek Discovery.
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) October 27, 2016
Here we are, just over a month after the announcement, and now it’s reported that Bryan Fuller is out. He’s no longer involved in Star Trek Discovery in any way. Where does this leave the show and its fans? To most, little is known about the new show runners.
Discovery Doomed? Not By a Long Shot, and Here’s Why
All of this news and negativity makes me wonder; is the new Star Trek series and the crew of the USS Discovery doomed? Then I think about everything it has going for it and realize that this is just an evolution in its course. The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise never had this much going for them. With the exception of Enterprise, all those shows lasted 7 seasons.
Season Arc and Written Episodes
In case you didn’t know, the first season’s arc has mostly been written already, lead by Bryan Fuller. That means the plot of the first season was already determined before Fuller even took a back seat on the show. In the past, he told us that the first few episodes have been written in full. That’s right, they’re done. The story’s direction, character traits, and many other factors have already been penned. Bryan’s influence on these things has had its impact. And given the timeline that Discovery occupies, the new show runners would likely need to work within certain confines of Star Trek cannon.
New Showrunners’ History
Berg and Harberts have also previously collaborated with Bryan Fuller on tv productions, so they know and understands Fuller’s desires for Discovery. Gretchen has gone on the record assuring Bryan Fuller that they will make Fuller proud.
Bryan, you're my brother, mentor & friend. We will continue what we started & make you proud. I love your gorgeous heart & soul. Thx. xxoo https://t.co/V4tOpxVauy
— Gretchen J. Berg (@GretchenJBerg) October 28, 2016
The duo has produced a number of television shows and episodes, including some science fiction. They worked on the tv series Roswell and John Doe, and worked with Bryan Fuller on Pushing Daisies and on Wonderfalls.
Star Trek Discovery is Already Profitable
That’s right. The tv series hasn’t even aired yet and it’s already profitable. How can that be explained? One word: Netflix. In the USA, Star Trek Discovery will be airing on CBS’ online streaming service, All Access. In Canada, it was purchased by Bell’s CraveTV. In the rest of the world, the rights were purchased by Netflix. With these massive distribution deals already done, unless Discovery comes in WAY over budget, we know that it’s profitable.
Science fiction is one of the more expensive genres to produce on television. With Discovery being profitable, the money needed is there to produce decent sets and visual effects of the USS Discovery, other ships, space battles, you name it. They can also afford to pay a few key actors.. which brings me to my next point.
Great Actors – Need I Say More?
More than just being about Michelle Yeoh, it makes a statement that CBS and the crew behind the series are serious about making it a success.
Then there’s Anthony Rapp, recently cast as Lieutenant Stamets of the USS Discovery. Rapp is mostly known for his role in Roadtrip, but like Patrick Stewart, his list of theatre work is more than impressive. Rapp is currently in the process of catching up on Star Trek lore.
— Anthony Rapp (@albinokid) November 30, 2016
The addition of Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Rapp, and Doug Jones tells us the show is casting actors that deliver depths of emotion and character that it needs.
All things considered, I’m more than optimistic about the new shows direction. While I would have loved to see Bryan Fuller stay with the series, it’s understood that he has other commitments. Star Trek deserves the full attention of the writers, producers and actors.