Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: How Section 31 Spinoff Fits In The Timeline

A Section 31 spinoff series is set to arrive on CBS All Access in the near future, but how will this project fit into the wider Star Trek timeline? Time travel episodes not withstanding, the chronology of Star Trek was fairly straightforward once upon a time. The Original Series and first six movies span a period of approximately 50 years, and after another half century, Star Trek: The Next Generationbegins, with Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager taking place in that same era. J.J. Abrams upturned that neat timeline with the creation of a brand new continuity in 2009's Star Trek reboot movie, but it's the recent glut of CBS All Access shows that have properly scattered the Star Trek timeline.

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Star Trek: Discoverybegins a decade prior to the original series, but has now rocketed 900 years into the future, seemingly for good. Star Trek: Lower Decks puts a comedic spin on The Next Generation's era, running parallel to Jean-Luc Picard's adventures, and speaking of Sir Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: Picardis set 20 years after the Star Trek: Nemesis movie. There are a further trio of Star Trek shows currently in the pipeline too, with Star Trek: Strange New Worldspicking up from the end of Star Trek: Discovery season 2, and no word yet on when Star Trek: Prodigy will be set. Finally, a spinoff series focused on the morally ambiguous exploits of Section 31 is confirmed, but when could this series take place in the fictional Star Trek timeline?

Most signs indicate that the Section 31 spinoff will follow in the aftermath of Star Trek: Discovery's second season, in which Starfleet's shadowy black ops division went rogue thanks to an AI program known as Control. Deeming its human colleagues surplus to requirements, Control decimated Section 31 and threatened to zero-handedly take over the entirety of Starfleet. The Discovery and the Enterprise teamed up to defeat Control, and Discovery's Ash Tyler was put in charge of the Section 31 rebuild as its new commander. Ash takes this job in 2258, and Star Trek: The Original Series begins in 2266, giving the Section 31 spinoff a potential 8 year window in which to tell its story. Characters such as Ash Tyler and L'Rell were left with unfinished arcs when Star Trek: Discovery season 3 moved into the future, so the Section 31 spinoff seems like a great outlet for this pair to continue in the franchise, and Ash actor, Shazad Latif, has confirmed his involvement.

With that said, Star Trek's Section 31 series will also star Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou. Hailing from the Mirror Universe, Emperor Georgiou traveled to the Prime world and became embroiled in the activities of Starfleet. Curiously, Georgiou was aboard the Discovery when it lurched 900 years into the future, which muddies her presence in the Section 31 spinoff. On one hand, it's possible that by the end of Star Trek: Discovery season 3, the ship and her crew will return to their usual timeline. However, Georgiou did briefly work for Section 31 in the gap between Star Trek: Discovery seasons 1 and 2. The spinoff may be set during this period, charting Georgiou's missions before her trip to the future. This seems unlikely, as fans would be anticipating both Georgiou's departure and the destruction of Section 31, leaving the spin-off with no stakes and a very slim area of the Star Trek timeline to operate within.

Intriguingly, Alex Kurtzman has claimed that the setting of his Section 31 spinoff will come as a surprise to many Star Trek fans, which suggests that the new series will be set in a completely different era, far removed from Star Trek: Discovery and its contemporaries. With this in mind, perhaps Georgiou retrofits Burnham's Red Angel suit to travel back to the early years of Starfleet and becomes the one responsible for setting up Section 31 in the first place, while a parallel storyline picks up Ash Tyler's arc and the two somehow intertwine. The future of Star Trek contains many mysteries, and the setting of the Section 31 spinoff is certainly one of them.

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