Before writer/producer Bryan Fuller was creating such darkly imaginative shows as “Dead Like Me,” “Pushing Daisies” or “Hannibal,” he got his start penning scripts for “Star Trek” series like “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager.” This pedigree is why Trekkies around the planet were utterly elated when Fuller was set to launch the new show, “Star Trek: Discovery.” Not only was Fuller counted as a co-creator alongside Alex Kurtzman — one of the key creative forces behind the franchise’s ongoing film franchise — he was also announced as the ambitious series’ showrunner. That is until last October, when other projects like his new Starz series “American Gods” pulled Fuller out of that demanding position.
While he won’t be involved in the day-to-day creation of this new launch, Fuller will have some say as “Star Trek: Discovery’s” executive producer. So when we sat down to talk to him about “American Gods,” we inquired about this Fuller fan concern. As he’d publicly promised a female captain on the new series, some worried his stepping away could hurt the likelihood of inclusive casting aboard the titular ship. But Fuller was quick to assure us that “Star Trek” would continue to be a franchise that celebrated diversity, citing some groundbreaking examples from the upcoming show.
“We were very adamant early on about that cast, not just in terms of race but also in terms of gender,” Fuller explained. “Janeway (of “Star Trek: Voyager”) carved a nice path as did Majel Barrett (Nurse Christine Chapel in the original “Star Trek” series) in 1966, in the original pilot. So it was important for ethnic inclusivity and gender inclusivity (to be upheld in casting). I was very excited to cast Michelle Yeoh before I left. I was pushing very hard for Sonequa Martin-Green to be cast before I left. So I feel like there’s a lot of wonderful diversity represented in the show, and I’m excited to see how it turns out.”
Best-known for her stunning performance in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Yeoh will portray Captain Georgiou, Starfleet Captain aboard the Starship Shenzhou. “Harry Potter” baddie Jason Isaacs will star as Captain Lorca, of the USS Discovery. Joining them will be “The Walking Dead”s Sonequa Martin-Green, “Penny Dreadful”s Shazad Latif, “30 Rock”s Maulik Pancholy, “Basttlestar Galatica”s Rekha Sharma, “Longmire”s Mary Wiseman, “The Office”s Rain Wilson, and famed creature-feature performer Doug Jones, whose appeared in films like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy,” “Crimson Peak,” and “Hocus Pocus.”
Set a decade before the events of the original series, “Star Trek: Discovery’s” 13-episode first season is expected to premiere in late summer or early fall on CBS before moving to the network’s streaming platform CBS All Access. “Star Trek: Discovery” will be available on Space in Canada and on Netflix in the rest of the world.