Captain Pike's here and Spock's due, so will Romulans make it to 'Star Trek: Discovery'?
PASADENA, Calif. — As "Star Trek: Discovery," a prequel set 10 years ahead of the original 1960s "Star Trek" series, moves forward in its second season, more familiar faces are showing up.
The U.S.S. Enterprise, the fabled starship piloted by Captain Kirk in the original, entered the prequel's storyline at the end of Season 1. And, Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), who was seen in a couple of original episodes, is now on board.
Spock (Ethan Peck), perhaps the most iconic character in the franchise, arrives later this season on the CBS All Access drama (new episodes, Thursdays, 8:30 ET/5:30 PT), and producers told the Television Critics Association Wednesday more timeline connections are coming.
However, producers were mum about what and when, not even confirming when Peck will make his first appearance this season as Spock, the adoptive brother of the series main character, Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green).
Executive producer Alex Kurtzman said aliens, both from the original series and new creations, will appear. However, he steered clear of a specific question about Romulans, a major "Trek" alien culture known to exist but not seen until the time of the original series, leaving that possibility open. (The Klingons, another significant species, have been present from the show's beginning.)
"You will be seeing more cultures this season," executive producer Alex Kurtzman said. "I'm not going to answer your question about Romulans."
As "Discovery" continues Season 2, more "Trek" is on the horizon on the pay streaming service, which means more possible connections to franchise mythology.
CBS All Access Wednesday said a spinoff focusing on Captain Jean-Luc Picard from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" will premiere late this year and "Star Trek: Lower Decks," an animated series, is on the way. A potential spinoff featuring Michelle Yeoh's character from "Discovery" is in development but has not been greenlit.
In a larger sense, "Discovery" writers are embracing the "Trek" canon.
"Some people call it a restriction, but we see it as an amazing opportunity. There is a wonderful gray area where we don't know what happened to Spock at this particular time in his life. We know Pike was captain of the Enterprise, but we don't really know what that meant," Kurtzman said.
"This season allows us to explore a lot of detail that hadn't been established or had only been established broadly. That being said, we certainly know that for 'Trek' and for 'Discovery' to live on, we will need to find ways to operate outside of canon and create new canon," he said.
As an actor, Peck, whose Spock already has drawn attention for his beard, feels a similar responsibility taking on the legacy of the iconic character, praising characterizations by Leonard Nimoy in the original series and Zachary Quinto in recent films.
"I spent a lot of time with Nimoy's performance, because it's part of the prime timeline, but there's 13 years of Spock (from before the original series) that are unexplored," he said.
Kurtzman said the "Trek" timeline is always part of the show, mixing in the franchise's mythology while building on it.
"It's a constant conversation and a very vocal one in the writers' room. Everyone has a favorite episode and a thing they love about 'Trek' most … and that goes into the stew of every choice, every line of dialogue, every scene, every big picture decision," he said.
Published 8:28 PM EST Jan 30, 2019