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Although there’s still much to discover about the final frontier, Star Trek fans finally know who will be captaining the new television version of the franchise forward: Bryan Fuller, veteran of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies, and showrunner of Starz’s upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
The announcement of Fuller’s role as showrunner on the new CBS All Access series (not to mention the digital service’s first original program) set off familiar alarms for Trek loyalists, and with good reason. Not only does he boast an incredibly genre-friendly resume, but Fuller also comes equipped with longtime Star cred, from his professional association with the franchise in the past, to his previously expressed desires about its future.
Here’s what we know about what Fuller brings to the holodeck, based on his past comments and work:
Boldly Going Back to Basics
Before Hannibal, before Heroes, even before Wonderfalls, Fuller had Trek. He began his career as a writer on the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, penning two episodes before shifting gears as a writer on Star Trek: Voyager. Between the two shows, Fuller wrote more than 20 episodes, sticking with Voyager until the show’s bitter end in 2001. In other words, Fuller helming the new Trek series marks a homecoming more than 15 years in the making.
Head in the Stars
Even as he pursued other creative endeavors, Fuller never strayed too far away from Trek, at least in his thoughts. Going back at least as far as 2008, Fuller has expressed his interest in spearheading a new take on the iconic science fiction saga, saying, “I want to create another Star Trek series and have an idea that I’m kicking around.” He has reiterated that sentiment from time to time over the years, and now, Fuller finally has his chance to tell his tale.
Forging a New Attitude
Klingons prefer revenge cold, but Fuller wants to warm the dish up, based on what he’s said in the past. In 2008, he told MTV that he wants Trek to “go back to the spirit and color of the original Star Trek, because somehow, it got cold over the years. I love Next Generation, but it’s a little cooler and calmer than the ones from the ‘60s, which were so dynamic and passionate.” There are many ways to slice Fuller’s style, but one thing that’s undeniable is the passion exuding from every single one of his projects; expect that warmth to flow into his new vision for Trek, as he hinted in the past.
Out With the Old
Even if Fuller wants to return to the spirit of the original 1960s series, he’s expressed a need to change the status quo. In that same MTV interview, Fuller remarked that Trek needs to reinvent itself in order to thrive, saying, “You always have a captain, a doctor, a security officer and you have the same arguments based on those perspectives. It starts to feel too familiar.” Fuller’s vision could likely boast a new set of occupational dynamics, as well as wholesale changes of scenery and characters from the familiar days of Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise. But for now, only Fuller, co-creator/co-showrunner Alex Kurtzman and CBS Television Studios execs know what that vision really is.
In With the New
In fact, even without knowing a single actor involved in Fuller’s Trek, we already know two of the names on his dream cast: Angela Bassett and Rosario Dawson. Fuller name checked both actors in an interview with Den of Geek in 2013, labeling them as Captain and First Officer, respectively. Granted, that’s far from confirmation of either player’s involvement, but it gives an idea of the types of characters Fuller was thinking about a few years ago, and might still be thinking about now — very different figures from those who have served as Starfleet leads in the past.
Expect the Unexpected
All told, it’s impossible to predict what to expect from Fuller’s Star Trek, for a number of reasons. The big one is that so much can change between a theoretical expression of interest at the start of the decade and a signed-and-sealed deal today. But there’s also Fuller’s body of work to consider. Pushing Daisies and Hannibal are markedly different animals, for example, both boasting their own inimitable stamps. Also unclear is what kind of financial budget CBS All Access is working with for Star Trek, as the digital platform is boldly going where it never has before with scripted originals. For Fuller, not only is he a creator with a proven track record for stunning visuals, his flourishes change drastically from story to story. There’s no way of telling what Fuller’s Trek will look like, beyond two inevitabilities: It will look bold, and it will look positively Fuller.
The new Star Trek series premieres in 2017 on CBS All Access; the premiere will air on CBS.
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