“Star Trek: Discovery” is set to premiere in September — nine months after the series was originally slated to debut on CBS All Access. According to executive producer Alex Kurtzman, the delays were necessary to execute a series that is larger in scale than any previous iteration of “Star Trek.”
“In order to justify being on a premium service, it had to be huge,” Kurtzman said Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour. He added that when he and fellow EP Bryan Fuller realized that the demands of production would require the premiere of the show to be delayed, they approached CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.
“He was 100% supportive,” Kurtzman said. “He totally got it. So we set about building this massive show.”
The “Discovery” premiere ended up being pushed twice — from January to May, then from May to September. With the first delay, Fuller stepped away from his role as showrunner and from day-to-day involvement in the series.
Kurtzman said that much of the original vision that Fuller — a fan favorite who began his writing career on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — brought to “Discovery” has been preserved.
“I’m a tremendous fan of Bryan’s,” Kurtzman said. “He’s so deeply, deeply, supernaturally gifted.” After Fuller’s departure, Kurtzman and fellow executive producers Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts “set about to protect and preserve as much of the vision that he had. Gretchen and Aaron, who worked with Bryan for a long, long time, are here because we all respect Bryan’s vision and because we felt it was the best way to preserve that.”
Harberts pointed to multiple details — such as the design of the Klingon makeup and ships — that came straight from Fuller.
“Bryan’s a friend from 2003 on,” Harberts said. “He brought Gretchen and myself to ‘Star Trek.’ Carrying the torch as best we can for him, but we can never carry it the way Bryan would carry it, has been extremely important to us, and we take it very seriously.” Of the Klingons, Harberts added, “One of the things [Fuller] really, really wanted to do was shake up the design of the Klingons.”
Harberts also talked about the revelation, made at Comic-Con, that lead character Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green, was raised by Sarek and Amanda Grayson, Spock’s parents.
“Much in the way that they did with Spock and Sarek in the films and on the show, we’re able to tell father-daughter stories and particularly to drill down on a Vulcan raising a human and how that affects her,” Harberts said.
“Star Trek: Discovery” will launch Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m./7:30c on CBS, though that time is approximate due to NFL football and “60 Minutes” also airing that night. The series premiere will also be available on-demand on CBS All Access and the second episode of the series will be available on the service that same night immediately following the broadcast premiere.