Before ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ premiered last fall, there was a fair amount of nervousness mixed in with the expected enthusiasm surrounding the franchise’s long awaited return to television. Whether or not that was fair to the show (and in some circles, that particular jury is still out), it was understandable. After all, in the decade-plus since ‘Star Trek: Enterprise‘ ended its run, the franchise’s screen presence consisted entirely of a trio of films that were nothing if not divisive. And of course, ‘Enterprise’ itself didn’t exactly go out on a high note. Some of those concerns, though, were allayed when the announcements came that a number of ‘Trek’ alumni – from novelists to illustrators – were involved with the production. Among the earliest and most notable of those alumni was the one and only Nicholas Meyer.
Meyer, of course, is best known among ‘Trek fans for directing and co-writing both ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’ and the seminal ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’, as well as co-writing ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’. As such, his early involvement with ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ helped lend the show a measure of ‘Star Trek’ “street cred,” for want of a better phrase. And indeed, whether or not they came as a result of his involvement with the show, there are a number of elements ranging from alert graphics to the relatively militaristic treatment, and even communicator designs (look at the pattern on the grille) that make clear the influence that Meyer’s prior ‘Trek’ work has had on the show. In a new interview with the YouTube channel Midnight’s Edge, however, Meyer revealed that his time on ‘Discovery’ has come to an end, at least for the time being. In the course of a discussion of his history with ‘Star Trek’, Meyer told them simply that “I was involved with it for the first year, and I worked on it, I wrote things on it, and then I was not invited for the second year. I don’t know why.”
While Meyer’s departure may be disappointing news, it’s hardly surprising given the show’s rather dubious reputation for high-level turnover. Co-creator and original showrunner Bryan Fuller left the show (Or was he fired? Educated guesses aside, the full story has yet to emerge publicly.) after well over a year of work months of production delays. His successors, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, were dismissed in turn earlier this year amid reports of bad behavior behind the scenes.
Of course, Meyer’s work on ‘Discovery’ wasn’t the entirety of his involvement with ‘Star Trek’. For much of the last year, there has been persistent talk of Meyer returning to his ‘Star Trek’ roots in the form of a spinoff series dealing with Khan Noonien Singh. But while talk of the project itself has been fairly consistent, details have been few and far between. In the course of the interview, Meyer gave an update on the elusive project, including its structure, title, and current status:
“I was commissioned to write a three hour or three night event, and that’s what I did. It’s called ‘Ceti Alpha V’, and I don’t know the current status. It’s been up in the air. Partially, there was a lot of confusion between CBS and… there were big upheavals at CBS, and while they sort of didn’t know who was in charge, they also didn’t know what they were gonna do with ‘Ceti Alpha V’. I’m not exactly sure what happened. I haven’t heard from them in some time. It’s very good, it’s a terrific trilogy. I think one of the things that happened is they’re not sure that a trilogy is long enough to warrant the cost of doing it. Maybe it should be something longer, or… I don’t know the details of their thinking because I haven’t heard from them “
The “upheavals” that Meyer mentioned were taking place at CBS are likely an allusion to the recent firing of longtime CBS/Viacom executive Les Moonves, who was dismissed in September after a number of sexual harassment allegations were made public. That sort of power vacuum combined with the other concerns Meyer describes would be more than enough to stall any project, particularly one as early in development as ‘Ceti Alpha V’ seems to be. In any case, that project would seem to be in limbo for the time being. Of course, given the slate of ‘Star Trek’ spinoffs that CBS has announced over the last several months – including a series centering on Captain Picard, the animated ‘Lower Decks‘, and a potential ‘Discovery’ spinoff fronted by Michelle Yeoh – it’s far too soon to write this one off.
For more on ‘Ceti Alpha V’, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, and other ‘Trek’ projects as it becomes available, be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com!