CBS All Access is going all-in on ‘Star Trek’. After achieving major success with ‘Discovery’, the streaming service has already launched ‘Short Treks’, a series of stand-alone tales, usually lighter in tone, and is set to score another must-watch in early 2020 with ‘Picard’, in which Patrick Stewart reprises his ‘The Next Generation’ role as the beloved Jean-Luc Picard. Also on the way is ‘Lower Decks’, an irreverent animated series from ‘Rick & Morty’ writer Mike McMahan.
And CBS All Access is not stopping there. Also in the works is a spinoff starring Michelle Yeoh’s ‘Discovery’ character, Philippa Georgiou, tentatively known as ‘Section 31’.
During a profile in Vanity Fair, executive producer Alex Kurtzman stressed that tonally, each All Access ‘Star Trek’ series will be different from the others. He also stated that the idea for ‘Section 31’ came from Yeoh herself.
“What we don’t want is for you to watch one show and be like, well I don’t really need to watch that other Star Trek show cause I’ve already watched Discovery or whatever. So to me, Section 31 is sort of like the black ops CIA division of Star Trek and it was established in Deep Space 9. Full credit goes to Michelle Yeoh for coming to me and saying in Season One, before we even launched, “I want to do a spin-off of my character!” With Michelle Yeoh, it’s very hard to say no.
“This was like a year before Crazy Rich Asians came out and we had not launched Discovery yet. No one had seen it. So I was like, let’s have one show that hopefully, people like and we can talk about it. Once Discovery happened, I brought [‘Section 31’] to Julie and she immediately said, great, let’s develop it. Erica [Lippoldt] and Bo Yeon [Kim], two writers on our Discovery staff, started writing a pilot and it’s really different. It occupies an area of the Trek universe that’s never really been explored geographically. It has a new mythology to it, which is very interesting. And it puts Michelle’s character to the test in a lot of ways that Discovery can’t. In some ways it will be her Unforgiven, I would say.”
CBS All Access has not committed to ‘Section 31’ yet. It will be undergoing a traditional pilot process– a single episode will be filmed and based on that, the service will decide whether it wants to see more. Or more accurately, if the powers that be think viewers want to see more.
But executive vice president of original content, Julie McNamara, says that Kurtzman has already assembled a writers room and additional scripts are being worked on, despite not getting the official green light at this point.
Are you excited at the prospect of ‘Section 31’ series? Check back for updates as they become available.