'Star Trek': Patrick Stewart Series Taps 'Discovery' Veteran to Direct

Hanelle Culpepper-Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of CBS All Access

The forthcoming Star Trek series starring Patrick Stewart is boldly going where the franchise hasn't gone before.

The untitled CBS All Access series has tapped Hanelle Culpepper, a veteran of Star Trek: Discovery, to direct its first two episodes. She'll be the first female director to launch a Trek series or film in the franchise's 53-year history.

Women have directed numerous episodes of Star Trek shows, but, until now, every pilot or debut episode and all 13 feature films in the franchise have been helmed by men.

"Hanelle is a gifted and dynamic filmmaker whose directorial choices are always deeply rooted in character," said executive producer and franchise captain Alex Kurtzman. "I've been a huge fan of her work since she started with us on Discovery, and she's the perfect person to reintroduce the beloved character of Picard to longtime fans and new viewers alike. We’re thrilled she's joining our Trek family on this next adventure."

Culpepper directed the "Vaulting Ambition" episode in season one of Discovery and the 10th episode of the CBS All Access show's second season, which is due to premiere March 21. Her credits include How to Get Away With Murder, Gotham, Criminal Minds, USA's Shooter and the upcoming AMC series NOS4A2. She is repped by Verve, MetaMorphic Entertainment and Hirsch Wallerstein.

The Stewart-led series will reintroduce Trek devotees to Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in the next chapter of his life. Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter that the iconic character has been "radically altered" since he was last seen in the Star Trek: Nemesis feature film — which is what Stewart wanted if he were to reprise the role.

"He threw down an amazing gauntlet and said, 'If we do this, I want it to be so different, I want it to be both what people remember but also not what they're expecting at all, otherwise why do it?'" Kurtzman recalled.

The Stewart series is part of an expansion plan for Trek that includes animated series on CBS All Access and potentially Nickelodeon, additional episodes of Short Treks, a possible Discovery spinoff led by Michelle Yeoh and a Starfleet Academy series in development from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.