'Star Trek: Discovery' Spinoff 'Short Treks' Set at CBS All Access

Rainn Wilson Star Trek Discovery - Publicity - H 2018
Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS

CBS All Access is not wasting any time in expanding its Star Trek universe.

The platform used its time Friday in front of die-hard fans at San Diego Comic-Con to announce a short-order spinoff of Star Trek: Discovery. Called Star Trek: Short Treks, each of the four-episode series will run between 10-15 minutes and feature deeper storytelling surrounding the characters and themes from Discovery and the expanding Star Trek universe. The series will launch in the fall and roll out monthly, helping to keep awareness of Discovery high before its return in January 2019.

Rainn Wilson will reprise his role as Harry Mudd in a short he will direct. Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures, Showtime's upcoming City on a Hill) will star in another installment as Craft, a man who finds himself the only human on board a deserted ship. Additional episodes will explore Saru's (Doug Jones) backstory as the first Kelpien to join Starfleet and Tilly's (Mary Wiseman) journey aboard the USS Discovery and her friendship with an unlikely partner.

"There is no shortage of compelling stories to tell in the Star Trek universe that inspire, entertain and either challenge our preconceived ideas or affirm long-held beliefs, and we are excited to broaden the universe already with Short Treks," Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman said. "Each episode will deliver closed-ended stories while revealing clues about what's to come in future Star Trek: Discovery episodes. They'll also introduce audiences to new characters who may inhabit the larger world of Star Trek."

The news comes as Kurtzman is fresh off a new $25 million overall deal extension with Star Trek: Discovery producers CBS Television Studios that includes expanding the beloved franchise with new series. (A Patrick Stewart series with the actor reprising his role from Star Trek: The Next Generation is said to be among the new series being considered, sources say.)

Star Trek: Discovery, meanwhile, has proven to be a success for subscription platform CBS All Access, even after two showrunner changes. (Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts took over for Bryan Fuller. Kurtzman — who launched the small-screen series — recently replaced Berg and Harberts.)

In announcing its season two renewal, CBS All Access — which does not release viewership information — said Star Trek: Discovery helped drive subscriber growth to the new platform. Production on season two started in April, and the series is expected to return in early 2019.

Producers and stars, including Sonequa Martin-Green, also previewed season two of Discovery and unspooled a first look at the sophomore run. Kurtzman confirmed that Spock will be part of season two of Discovery

"Everyone is asking, how are we staying true to canon? And I can tell you, yes, we will be seeing Spock this season," he said during the panel. "We know we owe you a lot of answers about how this season connects to canon, and you're going to get them. You're just not going to get them the way you expect them." Season two is all about family. Mysterious signals "form the investigative trail of why the Enterprise is here."  

Season one star Wilson Cruz also confirmed that he will return for season two of Discovery, after the freshman voyage ended with his character's fate hanging in the balance. "We talked about this early on, after Tyler and I had a moment in sickbay. We knew this was a chapter in a very long story, and in any epic love story, we have ups and downs and bumps in the road. This was just a bump — in my neck. I'll be back. I won't be telling you how. We're still reveling in the fact that this gay love saved the world, the universes, all of the universe. You're welcome."

New season two star Anson Mount also revealed that Rebecca Romijn (X-Men) will guest-star as Number One, who was played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry in the original, as Discovery leans harder into canon. As for season one star Jason Isaacs' future with Discovery, Kurtzman would only offer a "maybe" after Lorca's apparent death.