×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Boss Talks Tig Notaro, Picard Limited Series and Season 3

There are many mysteries in the “Star Trek” universe. One of them was explained on Thursday night at the season two premiere party for “Star Trek: Discovery” in New York when showrunner Alex Kurtzman revealed the backstory of how Tig Notaro found her way onto a spaceship in the role of brilliant engineer Jet Reno.

Turns out, Kurtzman and Notaro have worked together before — more than 20 years ago when both were employed as assistants for filmmakers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert at the duo’s Renaissance Pictures banner in Los Angeles.

“She answered phones and I answered phones,” Kurtzman told Variety during the after-party at the Conrad Hotel.

The two stayed friends over the years and he had her in mind when the Reno character was crafted for season two.

“I thought, ‘It has to be Tig,’ ” he said. He’s gratified to see her performance — a departure for the comedian — generate such buzz in the early reviews for “Discovery’s” sophomore session.

“Discovery” went through a big behind-the-scenes transition between seasons one and two. Kurtzman took on showrunning duties after Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts exited amid allegations of abusive behavior and other concerns. Kurtzman co-created “Discovery” and is charged with steering the entire “Star Trek” universe at a high level. But he hadn’t planned to take the day-to-day reins until duty called.

“The intensity of the adjustment was mitigated by the love that was there for everybody” on the show, Kurtzman said. “I had a tremendous responsibility to live up to that.”

Given the show’s importance to CBS All Access, a third season renewal for “Discovery” is a fait accompli. Kurtzman said he intends to stick around as showrunner but he will also recruit a co-leader to help him manage the load as he also juggles other “Star Trek” projects.

“I feel such a debt to the cast and drew of this show — I don’t feel like I can leave it,” Kurtzman said. With post-production of season 2 of “Discovery” nearly complete, Kurtzman is turning his immediate focus to the limited series that will revisit the character of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart.

“The writers’ room has spent a lot of time giving really deep thought to how do we meet fans’ expectations and how do we defy them entirely,” Kurtzman said. “That’s a really tough thing to do.”

“Discovery” star Sonequa Martin-Green echoed Kurtzman’s sentiment about feeling the weight of “Star Trek’s” long and proud legacy in her work. A show that presents a hopeful vision of a multicultural future is an important message, in any era.

“That is enervating to me. It makes me want to do better as a human being,” Martin-Green told Variety. “It causes me to want to rise up and be better because I feel like I need to live up to the story that we’re telling.”

More TV

  • Ariana Grande Olivia Munn Michael Che

    Celebrities vs. Critics: Why This Battle Has No Winners (Column)

    When actor Olivia Munn tweeted a “short essay on…ugly behaviors” late Wednesday night, she insisted that a blog had been unfairly maligning her for years. She wrote that she wanted to confront the idea that baseless critiques, particularly those aimed at women, are never okay no matter how famous the target may be. On the [...]

  • ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game in

    ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game Will Pitch Players Into the Action

    “Peaky Blinders” fans will be able to join the gang – virtually – in a new VR game that will allow players to interact with characters from the hit series. Start-up immersive studio Maze Theory teamed with the show’s producers and is making the game, which will launch in 2020. Artificial intelligence technology means characters [...]

  • TV News Roundup: HBO's 'Deadwood: The

    TV News Roundup: HBO Releases 'Deadwood: The Movie' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO released the trailer for the “Deadwood” film, and CNN announced a premiere date for “Apollo 11.”  DATES The documentary “Apollo 11” from director/producer Todd Douglas Miller will premiere on CNN Sunday, June 23 at 9 p.m. Using only archival sources, the film captures NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission. FIRST [...]

  • shannon ryan

    Shannon Ryan Joins Disney TV, ABC as Marketing Chief

    Former Fox Television chief marketing officer Shannon Ryan has been tapped as the new president of marketing for ABC Entertainment and Disney Television Studios. The announcement was made by Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, and Craig Hunegs, president of Disney Television Studios, to whom she will report. Rumours had been circling for a while [...]

  • Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce Writers

    Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce First Class of Writers and Mentors for TV Incubator

    Rideback, Dan Lin’s production company, and MRC have announced the inaugural class of writers and mentors for their TV incubator.  The new TV writers residency program, which was launched in February, offers a paid, eight-month residency program to a group of writers who have each previously been staffed on series and want to create their [...]

  • CBS Viacom

    CBS and Viacom Move Closer to Merger Talks

    The CBS Corp. board of directors is moving closer to initiating acquisition discussions with Viacom, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The move has been expected for months, although there may still be obstacles on the road to a reunion for the two sides of the Redstone media empire. Price could still be [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content