NEW YORK — Trekkies at New York Comic Con got their first glimpse at two new trailers, one for “Star Trek: Picard” and one for “Star Trek: Discovery” Season 3, on Saturday (Oct. 5).
The teasers sent absolutely bonkers waves of excitement through the huge crowd gathered in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden here. The panel drew more than 5,600 attendees and included producers and cast members from the returning TV show “Discovery” and the forthcoming show “Picard.”
For “Star Trek: Discovery” fans, there was a lot to unpack in our first glimpse of what the year 3186 — or thereabouts — looks like, 930 years ahead of where last season left off. We already know from San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) in July that the USS Discovery doesn’t quite complete its time jump as planned, and indeed, everything looked pretty alien.
Star Trek: Discovery in the Future
The trailer shows a lot of different looking Michael Burnhams, some angry-looking Andorians, Cardassians and Lurians, plus a Federation flag with just six stars on it. “I’ve spent a year … searching for that domino … that tipped over and started all of this,” Burnham says in the voiceover.
All the regular cast members were in attendance at the panel, including Sonequa Martin-Green (Cmdr. Michael Burnham), Doug Jones (Cmdr. Saru), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Cmdr. Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Ensign Sylvia Tilly) and Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber). Joining them was David Ajala, who plays a new character called Cleveland Booker, together with executive producers Heather Kadin and Alex Kurtzman and writer Michelle Paradise. CBS News national correspondent Vladimir Duthiers moderator, and he did an excellent job.
Kurtzman doubled down on how important the team considers “Star Trek” history. “Canon is wildly important to us,” he said. “We’re not changing it.” Last season, fans were concerned by the inclusion of Section 31 and the Control AI, which could have proved problematic in the unfolding of events.
Kurtzman talked a lot about what “Star Trek” means to people.
“‘Trek’ is the ultimate beacon of hope,” he said. “‘Trek’ is always the anchor that brings you back to the best; that reminds people what’s possible and what hope means.”
After the “Star Trek” Universe event, the cast and crew attended the PaleyFest New York, where Kurtzman confirmed that the third season of “Discovery” will include future versions of “Star Trek” aliens that we’re already familiar with, including one homeworld. “We are going to Trill this year,” he said.
The Trill were first introduced in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Host” (S04, E23), but their story was explored in much greater detail in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” The popular character Dax (a sentient symbiotic organism who joined first with the Trill Jadzia, played by Terry Farrell and then with Ezri, played by Nicole de Boer).
In addition, Kurtzman said that USS Discovery’s spore drive for instantaneous travel will remain a big part of the story, verifying that because the ship is still the only one that possesses the technology— even 930 years in the future — other people are going to want it.
No air date for “Star Trek: Discovery” was given at the event, although we do know now that Season 3 will consist of 13 episodes.
Kurtzman did announce that the first of the new “Star Trek: Short Treks,” dubbed “Q&A,” is available to watch now on CBS All Access. It focuses primarily on Ensign Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn). “Q&A” was written by now-regular “Trek” writer Michael Chabon, who also wrote last year’s excellent “Short Trek” episode “Calypso,” which may or may not tie in with Season 3 of “Discovery.”
This season will include six “Short Treks,” two more than last year. From SDCC over the summer, we know that two of these shorts will be animated and one will feature tribbles, those adorable but ravenous critters from “Trek” lore.
One “Short Trek” will be linked to “Star Trek: Picard” and provide some background information on the life of Jean-Luc Picard between the events of that new series and “The Next Generation.”
And speaking of Jean-Luc, there was, of course, the “Star Trek: Picard” panel.
Star Trek: Picard
Joining Sir Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) were Isa Briones (Dahj), Santiago Cabrera (Cristobal “Chris” Rios), Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker), Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati), Harry Treadaway (Narek) and Evan Evagora (Elnor). Executive producers Kurtzman and Kadin were joined by Chabon, Akiva Goldsman, Hanelle Culpepper and supervising producer Kirsten Beyer.
Stewart took the stage to a standing ovation and introduced a brand new trailer for the “Star Trek: Picard” spin-off, sending the crowd into another frenzy.
Much as in the “Discovery” trailer, there was a lot to unpack. We knew Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner were reprising their roles as Will Riker, Deanna Troi and Data respectively, but this is the first time we’ve seen them in a trailer. We have already seen what clearly looks to be a Dr. Noonien Soong-designed android, which we had assumed was B4 from “Star Trek: Nemesis” in a previous trailer. The new trailer actually shows Data in what appears to a flashback or dream sequence.
The “Picard” trailer also shows off Starfleet HQ and San Francisco in the 23rd century, as well as some extremely cool-looking VFX starship navigation controls. California’s Vasquez Rocks, a favorite among “Star Trek” location scouts, makes a cameo, too.
The trailer even includes a Romulan Bird-of-Prey from “Star Trek: The Original Series.” This couldn’t be the Bloodwing, could it?!
(The Bloodwing was a legendary Romulan warship captained by Commander Ael t’Rllaillieu in the time of “Star Trek: The Original Series” and appeared in the “Rihannsu” series of novels that dealt with the split between the Vulcans and the Romulans.)
We only see a glimpse of Jonathan Del Arco, who played the memorable Borg drone Third of Five/Hugh in “The Next Generation” episodes “I Borg” (S05, E23) and “Decent” (S07, E01) in the new trailer. But, we did get to see Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine from “Star Trek: Voyager”) kicking some ass, much to the delight of the NYCC audience.
Knowing that Kurtzman likes very much to link plot elements together, it will be interesting to see whether there’s some connection between Season 3 of “Star Trek: Discovery” and Season 1 of “Star Trek: Picard.” (A second season has all but been officially confirmed, with Stewart telling the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, “I am clearing the decks for that and then there is also the possibility of a second Picard series filming in March next year.”)
For example, it looks and sounds like the United Federation of Planets flag from the “Discovery” trailer is an ancient piece of history, so the downfall of the Federation evidently takes place at some point in time after “Picard” and before “Discovery.”
Sadly, there was no news about the animated “Lower Decks” comedy series, which CBS All Access announced last year, nor another animated Trek series for kids to air on Nickelodeon.
The 10-episode “Star Trek: Picard” series will premiere on Jan. 23, 2020 on CBS All Access in the U.S., and in Canada on Bell Media’s Space and OTT service Crave.
CBS and Amazon Studios have announced that the new show will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries worldwide within 24 hours of its premiere on CBS All Access and Space in the US and Canada, respectively.
This new arrangement won’t affect the deal CBS has internationally with Netflix, where every other “Star Trek” TV series, including “Star Trek: Discovery” currently resides. With one of the new animated series going exclusively to Nickelodeon, the future seems to feature more streaming subscriptions if “Trek” fans want to keep up with everything.