As the calendar moves ever-closer to 2017, more and more information about the next Star Trek television series starts to become public knowledge. CBS and the show’s creative team, of course, took full advantage of the media blitz at last week’s San Diego Comic Con to work on promoting the show; while a few details were given, much about the project is still a mystery, but during the ‘Star Trek’ panel held at the convention, we may have been given a few clues as to how the characters that comprise the ship’s crew may emerge.
The show itself will be called ‘Star Trek: Discovery,‘ using the name of the primary starship to be featured in the series as the secondary title. A short teaser video was also shown at SDCC that presents the Discovery herself, a previously-unseen class of starship that bears striking resemblances to concept art from a 1970s scrapped idea for the first ‘Star Trek’ motion picture. While the quality of the video has been derided by fans online (it is clearly 100% CGI, and not exactly cutting-edge animation at that), it was the centerpiece of the portion of the panel dedicated to the new series (the panel on the whole was more of a tribute to the franchise, celebrating its 50th year of existence).
During the panel, showrunner Bryan Fuller and Executive Producer Heather Kadin did answer – vaguely – a few questions about who and what the crew of the Discovery may look like. While speaking about the diversity and inclusivity that has long been a mainstay of ‘Star Trek,’ Kadin had this to say:
“I take it really seriously. Fortunately, so does Bryan. Yes, I think as a female you’ll see – when you start to hear more about the series – that’s a big part of it.”
Fuller elaborated on the point as well:
“I think that ‘Star Trek’ is a show of firsts. And in researching the characters for this new iteration of Star Trek I’ve been talking to Mae Jemison, who’s the first black woman in space, and who saw ‘Star Trek’ in the ‘60s and who saw Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of a ship and said ‘I see myself in space.’ So there’s something wonderful about the legacy that Nichelle Nichols represents, as giving a gift to people who weren’t previously able to see themselves in the future. We are going to be continuing that tradition of progressive casting and progressive character work to be an inclusive world.”
Other websites have speculated that these quotes mean that Fuller and company are targeting either a female captain, a captain of non-White ethnicity, or both. While I wouldn’t read quite that extent into these quotes – after all, ‘Star Trek’ already has a long history of putting characters of all gender, race, and even species in positions of command in their stories – it does certainly sound like the team behind the show are casting their net wide for whom they will hire to play their characters, and that’s always a good thing.
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