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This past week a number of little bits of information about the upcoming Picard TV show have come out and the Shuttle Pod crew is excited to discuss them. We also talk about the news that Star Trek: Discovery’s second season was extended by an episode for a total of 14, plus look at the future Kelvin universe movies, which still seem stuck in limbo. We’re excited for the new Twilight Zone coming to CBS All Access next year too. Last but certainly not least, Brian, Kayla, Jared, and Matt weigh in on the latest installment of Short Treks, “The Brightest Star,” in which we see a pivotal point in Saru’s early life.
In the past, the producers behind the expanding Star Trek television universe have told us that each of the shows will have its “own voice” and “tonal vision.” In the new interview with EW, Alex Kurtzman gets into more detail on what that means for the Picard show in particular:
“It’s an extremely different rhythm than Discovery, Discovery is a bullet. Picard is a very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was, but I believe it will have its own rhythm.”
EW also quotes Kurtzman giving a bit more detail in contrasting the new Picard show with the second season of Discovery, saying:
“‘More grounded’ is not the right way to put it, because season 2 of Discovery is also grounded. It will feel more … real world? If that’s the right way to put it.”
Writers have been busy
In August when the show was first announced, details were still being worked out and no scripts had yet been written. The writers’ room first assembled in September, but they have apparently been very busy. Kurtzman told EW:
“The writers’ room has broken about eight episodes and we’re moving quickly, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.”
There is no word yet on how many episodes will be in the first season of the ongoing series, but Kurtzman’s comment implies more than eight. Production on the first season is set to start in April of 2019. The show will be produced in California and not in Canada like Star Trek: Discovery.
Patrick Stewart and the Picard show writers’ room in September (Photo: Twitter/Patrick Stewart)
Answers questions about Picard’s last 20 Years
When the show was first announced at Star Trek Las Vegas, Sir Patrick Stewart revealed it would take place 20 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, putting the show in the year 2399. He also noted that Picard “may be a very different individual” who has been “changed by his experiences” over those twenty years. In the new interview with EW, Kurtzman discussed how the new show will reveal what Picard had been up to during that period, saying:
“Without revealing too much about it, people have so many questions about Picard and what happened to him, and the idea we get to take time to answer those questions in the wake of the many, many things he’s had to deal with in Next Gen is really exciting.”
What happened to Picard after Nemesis? We’ll find out more in 2019.
The upcoming CBS All Access Star Trek series featuring the return of Sir Patrick Stewart as the iconic Jean-Luc Picard continues to move forward, with news today that the series will not follow Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks into Canada.
Picard series to film in California, with big tax incentives
Today the California Film Commission revealed details on tax credits for a number of television projects to be produced in the state in 2019, one of which was the upcoming but still untitled Star Trek series featuring the return of Jean-Luc Picard. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, CBS will receive a $15.6 million in state tax credits for the Picard show alone. This was the second highest amount in credits for the shows revealed today, with the highest going to The Orville, indicating Fox is already set to move forward on a third season of Seth McFarlane’s homage to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Producing the Picard series in California, and presumably in the Los Angeles area, is a return home for the franchise. Five Star Trek series were all produced in Hollywood, starting with The Original Series at Desilu (which later became Paramount), and then on to The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, all on the Paramount lot.
Patrick Stewart with director Stuart Baird, shooting Star Trek: Nemesis on the Paramount lot in Hollywood, CA in 2002
Star Trek: Discovery broke the cycle when it began production at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, Canada in 2017. The spin-off series Star Trek: Short Treks has also been shot in Toronto. Canada has become home to more and more film and TV production, with studios drawn in by lower costs and incentives.
While the majority of CBS’ scripted shows still film in the USA, a good number of their productions have been produced in Canada. The studio recently acquired a new 260,000 square foot location in Ontario, which is set to start up in mid-2019. There is no word yet on where in California the Picard show will be produced, but it is possible they could use the Paramount lot in Hollywood, which CBS Studios has continued to use even following the Viacom/CBS split in 2006.
The tax credit for the Picard show is significant, however it may not be the sole driver for the choice to shoot in California. It’s possible that star and executive producer Sir Patrick Stewart preferred to work in Los Angeles, where has worked on a number of films and TV projects including his most recent series Blunt Talk. TrekMovie was the first to reveal that the new Star Trek show is planned as an ongoing series, and it is possible that Stewart, at age 78, doesn’t want to commit to spending that much time in Ontario. Production on the new show is set to start in April, with a planned debut later in 2019.
Shooting in Los Angeles has additional benefits as well, with easier access to the larger pool of talent of both actors and behind the scenes professionals in the area. In addition, offices for the writers and producers are in Los Angeles, giving them easier access to the set on a day to day basis.
Details on the show are still unavailable, beyond the fact that it will be set 20 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.
Sir Patrick Stewart announcing new Picard Show at Star Trek Las Vegas, August 2018
Another actor from the Star Trek movie franchise is expressing optimism that the stalled project will move forward.
After movement on the fourth Kelvin-universe Star Trek feature film ramped up in the spring of this year (including the hiring of director S.J. Clarkson), things seemed to come to a halt in August after Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth reportedly walked away from the negotiating table, unwilling to cut a new deal as Paramount sought to reduce costs for the follow-up to Star Trek Beyond. Since that time there have been no indications that work has progressed on the project, but a number of actors have expressed hope the project will move forward, including Pine himself.
The latest to weigh in is John Cho (Sulu), who was asked about it in a new interview with The Playlist promoting his film Searching. Cho told Playlist:
I sadly don’t have any news for you. I wish I [had] more for you there though. I don’t know what the ins and outs at the studio are but I am optimistic there will be another one because I’m optimistic about what “Star Trek” says and its place in our culture and I think it will come back around. I think it’s an important part of American popular culture that speaks to America’s best impulses and I think that there will always be a place for “Star Trek” films and I just hope to be in it and there isn’t another totally different group of people! I’m bullish about it, and honestly, for personal reasons I suppose the last film has a cloud over it, losing Anton [Yelchin] after the last one and for me it would be important personally to make one more at least. I think it would alleviate that part of us a little bit to make at least one more.
Based on reports and comments from the cast from earlier in the year, plans were for the film to begin production in early 2019, possibly even in January. Clearly, that is no longer going to happen. While the August reports regarding negotiations with Pine and Hemsworth indicated that Paramount planned to move forward with the project with or without either Chris, at this point a 2020 release of any Star Trek film still seems unlikely.
John Cho as Sulu in Star Trek Beyond
Abrams’ Paramount deal likely to end by 2020
Another wrinkle in the future of Star Trek feature films is that it looks like J.J. Abrams’ relationship with Paramount could be coming to an end, or at least changing. The Hollywood trades are reporting that Abrams is seeking a new “megadeal” that would “encompass films, television series, digital content, music, games, consumer products, and theme park opportunities.” Contenders seem to be limited to Warner Brothers, Universal and Disney–notably not Paramount. The current deal between Paramount and Abrams and his Bad Robot production company ends in March 2020.
Abrams directed and produced the first two Kelvin-verse Star Trek films and produced the third. Currently, Bad Robot has two Star Trek projects in development: Star Trek 4 and the Quentin Tarantino pitch. It is unclear what impact an end of the Paramount/Bad Robot deal would have on those projects. Paramount owns all Star Trek assets associated with anything both made and in development, so they could continue on with new producers and production partners. It is also possible for Abrams/Bad Robot to continue to work on Star Trek through 2020 and beyond, the way he has worked with Disney on Star Wars projects while still under his Paramount deal.
J.J. Abrams at Star Trek Beyond fan event at Paramount Studios in May 2016
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery arrives in just over a month and there are some new developments for the show’s sophomore to report. We also have some reactions to this week’s Short Treks episode and more in our latest roundup of Disco Bits.
Mount says season 2 has been extended
The new Captain Pike, Anson Mount, is visiting the official Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour, in Ticonderoga, NY this weekend. During his Q&A this afternoon, TrekCore has reported that Mount announced to the crowd that season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery has been expanded to include an additional episode.
Production on the second season was originally set to wrap in early November, however it has continued, picking up again after the (USA) Thanksgiving holiday and the local Toronto TV and film production union website confirmed Discovery (under the codename “Green Harvest”) has been extended by nearly a month, to December 21. With the schedule slippage, CBS already needed to extend their time at Pinewood Studios, so tacking on another episode would allow CBS to amortize the cost of production over more episodes. Discovery season 1 was expanded mid-production by two episodes for similar reasons.
Filming Episode 1 of Season 2
More from Mount in Ticonderoga
Mount also shared some new tidbits. Including the surprising anecdote that he had been in the running to play Gabriel Lorca in Season 1.
A central theme to season 2 will be the mentoring relationship of Pike and Burnham.
Mount also praised Jonathan Frakes, saying meeting him was his “geekiest moment” on set.
Writers promise answers about Saru and Kelpiens following “The Brightest Star”
This week’s episode of Star Trek: Short Treks gave us Saru’s backstory with lots of new information about him and the Kelpiens, but it also raised a number of questions, as noted in TrekMovie’s review. Fans have also been talking about these questions on social media and the writers have made it clear they are aware, and also are promising answers. Co-writer Bo Yeon Kim assured fans that these questions “will not go unanswered” and the official Star Trek: Discovery writers’ room account promised they will be “answered in time.”
It is likely these answers are coming in an upcoming episode of the second season of Discovery which will revisit Kaminar. In an interview with TrekMovie at NYCC Saru actor Doug Jones said that “The Brightest Star” had “breadcrumbs that you’ll find in season 2” noting that there was a “direct tie with hints” between that full season two episode and the Short Treks mini-episode.
In an interview with Syfy, Kim also offered some insight into Saru’s thought process following leaving his homeworld and showing why it is such a big deal for him to return in Discovery season two, saying:
“In the first few years of joining Starfleet, Saru had always intended on learning everything he could and returning to Kaminar to help his people,” Kim says. “But over the years, he realized that the Prime Directive exists for a reason, and breaking it would bring about serious repercussions, not just to his Starfleet career but to his people. So that is the weight of Saru’s burden.”
Speaking of “The Brightest Star,” Kim’s co-writing partner Erika Lippoldt also shared two fun behind-the-scenes photos from the location shoot. One featuring Doug Jones and his Kelpien co-stars Hannah Spear and Robert Verlaque, and another with Kim trying her hand at being a Kelpien priest.
The second season of Discovery arrives on January 17th and CBS will be holding a red carpet premiere in New York City to mark the occasion. In addition, they are now running a contest for a trip for two to attend the premiere. To enter you must be a subscriber of CBS All Access and get your entry in by this coming Friday, December 14th. More info on entering at CBS.com.
Fan art of the day: “The Brightest Star” poster
Popular artist J.J. Lendl has come up with another Discovery poster, this time for the latest episode of Short Treks.
Star Trek: Short Treks Episode 3 – Debuted Thursday, December 6th
Written by Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt
Directed by Doug Aarniokoski
The third installment of Short Treks explores a Star Trek: Discovery character, this time giving us insight into Saru. In an all-too-brief outing, we finally learn more about why he is the first and only Kelpien in Starfleet. Given the stage to himself, actor Doug Jones carries the mini with the intense quiet dignity that has become his trademark on Trek and beyond. With a story that finally took place off the ship, “The Brightest Star” is the most visually interesting of the Short Treks so far. The fan-friendly writing team of Bo Yeon Kim and Erkia Lippoldt try to cram as much lore into the format that it can take, answering some questions while raising many others.
Doug Jones as Saru in “The Brightest Star”
In a welcome change of scenery, “The Brightest Star” opens on an alien planet, specifically Kaminar, home of Saru and the Kelpien species. We arrive in the episode in a lovely tropical environment with happy aliens doing a bit of coastal horticulture, collecting kelp, which may be a bit too on the nose. But we quickly get the sense that the Kelpiens are not a high-tech society, giving us our first hint as to why Saru was the first one known in Star Trek.
Another new thing for this episode is a voiceover by Saru himself, telling his story. While narrated logs are common in Star Trek, this voiceover seems to indicate that Saru is telling some unknown listener a personal story of his past.
They are kelp farmers…kelp…Kelpiens…get it?
In the pilot of Star Trek: Discovery, Saru was introduced as someone motivated by fear, telling Michael Burnham how on his homeworld you were “either predator or prey.” Through scenes early on and via Saru’s narration, this new mini-episode shows us how his people willingly sacrifice themselves to the (sadly unseen) predators, to preserve what is called the “Great Balance” of the planet. In what seems on the surface like an idyllic ceremony full of light and religious tradition, we see Kelpiens “called” to this “harvest,” and whisked away to unknown – but almost certainly unsavory – fates.
Saru sums things up, lamenting “this is the life of a Kelpien.” Bottom line: life sucks for the Kelpiens, but it seems Saru is the only one who isn’t cool with it. In just a couple of minutes, we have learned a lot about Saru’s species, and while voiceovers are a bit of a shortcut to convey exposition in the limited time allotted, Jones does an excellent job of making his story compelling and drawing in the audience to understand how he was no ordinary Kelpien.
This is one harvest festival you don’t want to go to
We soon learn more about Saru’s family, meeting his sister Siranna and his father. As the priest of the village, Saru’s dad has bought into mythology built around these harvests in a big way. He teaches others to accept and even welcome the sacrifices to the predators, known as the Ba’ul. The horrific regular culling of this sentient race is hidden under layers of mythology.
Like any good adolescent, Saru is questioning everything, including their place in the universal pecking order. We can already see the hints of how Saru is a born explorer, foreshadowing his destiny in Starfleet. Of course, priest dad is having none of this, assuring that if the Great Balance had meant for Kelpiens to fly, they would have been given wings.
The Kelpiens are wrapped up in this notion of “balance” and apparently the only way to maintain it is to assure that the Ba’ul are “sustained.” Saru’s father has no issues with what appears to be the systematic slaughter of his people and even seems to relish it, telling his son he should be “honored” if chosen for sacrifice. One could almost imagine him meeting these overlords and offering up his own braised threat ganglia as a delicious appetizer, reminiscent of the sentient “Dish of the Day” the Ameglian Major Cow from Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe— and his father’s acceptance of the idea that his son could be next to go seems to be what ultimately pushes Saru to consider other options.
You will get eaten by the Ba’ul and you will like it!
But these Ba’ul are not gods, or at least not perfect, as a piece of tech fell off their ship, which seems to be a regular thing. Ignoring Papa Buzzkill’s rules to destroy the forbidden tech, Saru – apparently without any actual training – uses Kaminar’s equivalent of stone knives and bearskins to get the device working and even sends out a message.
Saru has a future in Ba’ul tech support
Saru begins his wait for a reply to his plea to the skies, with the tension of his situation punctuated by an evocatively alien score by Jeff Russo, who continues to impress by giving each of these Short Treks its own appropriate theme. We see now Saru’s pivot, as he fights all of these instincts and tradition. Showing how he sees himself as apart, he asks “How could this life be enough for them, to simply wait to be taken?”
“All his life has he looked away…to the future, to the horizon.”
As this is Short Treks, we don’t have to wait too long for Saru to get a “hello” reply to his hail and he plans his removal from the menu. While leaving his father behind seems to be no big deal, we feel the heartbreak as Saru says goodbye to his sister, who seems unaware that there is far more to his late-night hike than stargazing. Once again Doug Jones shows how he is unmatched in conveying emotion even under layers of prosthetic makeup. His final words to her are “stay safe,” which seems to be the Kelpien equivalent to “Aloha.”
Sure, leave me behind Saru, no problem
Seemingly far enough away from the village for privacy, Saru awaits a Starfleet shuttle from the USS Shenzhou. After getting his threat ganglia under control, Saru greets his future captain — Michelle Yeoh in a welcome cameo as a younger Lieutenant Phillipa Georgiou. She has convinced Starfleet to bend the rules of the prime directive and first contact due to what she says are the extraordinary circumstances Saru has introduced by reaching out with his stolen tech.
But Starfleet’s General Order One can only be bent so far, and so Saru is faced with a terrible choice. Go with this woman from the skies to get answers to all those burning questions and avoid the fate of the harvest, but with the price of never returning to help the rest of his people. Breaking through the last of his instincts to flee, Saru says goodbye to Kaminar noting “my place is no longer here,” and steps into his future, accompanied by the appropriate Star Trek musical sting.
Welcome to the world of tomorrow!
Let the Kaminar games begin
Saru has been a standout character on Star Trek: Discovery, carrying on the tradition of “the other” as embodied by past Trek characters such as Mr. Spock, Data and Odo. Explorations of these characters and their histories are always welcome, making it a bit surprising the first visit to Kaminar was done in Short Treks. Due to the shorter format, it would be unfair to hold this episode to other character backstory-revealing episodes such as TOS “Amok Time” or TNG “Datalore.” However, “The Brightest Star” was still able to deliver quite a bit in terms of laying out the lore of the Kelpiens.
We already knew that they were prey to a predator species. We have seen Saru’s flight instinct and ability to sense the coming of death exhibited during the first season of Discovery. Saru had talked about how the Kelpiens were hunted and one could have imagined something that evoked the alien hunters featured in The Predator franchise, or their Star Trek: Voyager knock-offs, the Hirogen. However, the writing team of Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lipplodt instead leaned in to how in the pilot, Saru also talks about how Kelpiens were bred and farmed and like the “livestock of old.” The relationship with the Ba’ul seem to be less gazelle and lion and more cattle and human.
Of course, this raises new questions, with perhaps the biggest: are the Ba’ul native to Kaminar? Is this relationship something that evolved over time, or are the Ba’ul alien interlopers who took advantage of the Kelpiens? For now, it is unclear why the Ba’ul would want a domesticated herd to have flight instincts, threat ganglia, and defense mechanisms such as the “donkey kick” Saru demonstrated in “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum,” but maybe there is a story behind that as well.
By presenting Kaminar in this way we can avoid hunter/prey cliches and dive into a more interesting story about oppression, with the Kelpiens under the most brutal of occupations. We also got a nice Star Trek allegory about how the power of myth and propaganda can be used for the most sinister of purposes.
The biggest issue here is the limited time on hand. Unlike the previous two Short Treks outings, this episode is more tied into to Star Trek: Discovery and leaves you hanging. The good news is that we will be visiting Kaminar and learning the fate of Saru’s sister in Discovery’s second season, and so in a way, this mini-episode is a prequel to that forthcoming full episode.
Kaminar hotel had a nice beach, great view, but evil harvesting obelisk ruined the view. One star.
The Prime Suggestion
Another major issue “The Brightest Star” explores is Star Trek’s famed prime directive. While never cited by name, it hangs over every aspect of this episode. Dealing with pre-warp and primitive species is a recurring theme in Star Trek, and something dealt with in every iteration of Trek, so it is welcome to see it in a Discovery context.
One of the great things about the Prime Directive is the drama that arises from the moral dilemma it forces on Starfleet officers. How many times have we seen Star Trek characters wrestling with this policy of non-intervention in the face of witnessing hardship and tragedy? And what could be more tragic than the fate of Kelpiens and the Ba’ul harvest?
It is debatable that Georgiou and Starfleet broke their own rules by making contact with Saru. Star Trek: Discovery actually kicked off with a rather dubious interpretation of General Order One. In “The Vulcan Hello” Georgiou and Burham were concerned merely with getting caught interfering with the pre-warp Crepusculan homeworld, and seemed to have no qualms with the interference itself. So, one could try to make the case for a pattern of a loose interpretation of the Prime Directive, however in context Georgiou was actually quite restrained.
While she could have hidden her approach and departure from Kaminar more deftly, it was Saru who made first contact when he reached out. He showed understanding of technology also seemed to understand that others lived among the stars. We saw Picard take a much stricter view of the Prime Directive in the 24th century, such as in “Pen Pals,” an episode with some parallels to “The Brightest Star,” however, things played a bit faster and looser during the cowboy diplomacy days of the 23rd century. In fact, one could easily imagine Kirk kicking the Ba’ul out of their little Kelpien buffet with phaser banks blasting or at least giving the Kelpiens a hand, such as in “A Private Little War.”
Without knowing if the Ba’ul are alien interlopers or native to Kaminar it also makes it hard to fully understand how this all fits into the Prime Directive, however it seems clear that the writers put a lot of thought into this. And it is a good bet we will see Saru struggle with this perennial dilemma in the upcoming season, again with this episode just being a taste of what is to come.
It’s a cookbook!
A taste of what is to come
“The Brightest Star” was another enjoyable little morsel while we wait for the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Less experimental than the previous two Short Treks outings, it felt more like a truncated episode from the main series. The writing team of Kim and Lippoldt, who wrote the tight “Into the Forest I Go” which wrapped up the first chapter of the first season, continue to impress with their character development and respect for Star Trek lore.
It was very welcome to finally get off the ship, coming up with new reasons why the USS Discovery was mostly or entirely empty was running thin. The production design and world-building of Kaminar was top notch, especially for this shorter format series, likely leveraging off of what was made for the full Kelpien/Saru episode we can expect in 2019.
Even though this short episode was long on character development and exposition, “The Brightest Star” doesn’t entirely feel as complete as the previous, more standalone, Short Treks outings, perhaps due to this being somewhat of a teaser for what we know is coming in season two. While those last two Short Treks were enjoyable, they are probably not essential viewing for those who want to fully prep for season two, so if you are waiting to binge Short Treks you may want to catch this one before that Saru episode rolls around.
I’ll be back
In the US, the release of this episode was delayed almost an hour, with apologies from CBS and hopefully, this was a one-time thing.
Kelpiens write from right to left
Lt. Georgiou’s shuttle is SHN 03, in Season 1 of Discovery, the mirror universe SHN 03 was used to transport Lorca and Burnham to the ISS Charon.
Way to be subtle, Lt. Georgiou
Star Trek: Discovery is available in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.
Star Trek: Short Treks will be available in the USA on CBS All Access. It will air in Canada on Space and stream on CraveTV.
The third Star Trek: Short Treks episode debuts tonight. Short Treks are four standalone mini-episodes related to Star Trek: Discovery, released one a month from October through January. This month’s short was written by Discovery writing duo Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt (who also wrote the mid-season finale for Discovery season one — “Into the Forest I Go”) and directed by Douglas Aarniokoski (“Lethe”).
Preview: “The Brightest Star”
Star Trek: Short Treks – Episode 3
Before he was the first Kelpien to join Starfleet, Saru (Doug Jones) lived a simple life on his home planet of Kaminar with his father and sister. Young Saru, full of ingenuity and a level of curiosity uncommon among his people, yearns to find out what lies beyond his village, leading him on an unexpected path.
The mini-episode will be available in the US on CBS All Access at 9:30 pm ET (6:30 pm PT). In Canada it airs on Space at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm PT), it will be available on CraveTV Friday at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm PT).
Star Trek: Short Treks - "The Brightest Star" Trailer - YouTube
This week, our friends at Bye Bye,Robot launched seven new Star Trek art prints, by returning artists Mark Brayer and J.J. Lendl.
The first five images in this release are by J.J. Lendl, and showcase a more retro art style. With one print for each of the original five Star Trek series, these five 18”x24” prints are entitled, “TOS,” “TNG,” “DS9,” “VOY” and “ENT.” The art features colors most commonly identified with that particular series, giving each piece its own distinct look.
The portraits of the main crew are prominently positioned within the design, as well as many memorable fan‐favorite returning characters for each of the series. The five posters are available individually for $25, or they may be purchased at a discount as a group for $110.
The final two images are by artist Mark Brayer, whose distinctive style is immediately noticeable with his strong use of color, graphic shapes, and illustrative linework. His first design is entitled “HMS Bounty”, and depicts the Klingon Bird‐of‐Prey that is flown by the original series crew in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. His second design is entitled “Live Long and Prosper”, and is the artist’s tribute to Leonard Nimoy and his iconic character, Mr. Spock. These two 16”x24” prints fit right into Mark Brayer’s continuing book‐cover style collection, and are available for $25 each.
Surf on over to byebyerobot.com and have a look at these and the many other unique pieces they offer.
Doug Jones’ character Saru quickly became a fan favorite. His outsider status made him intriguing to viewers–carrying on a tradition started by Spock–and we’re finally going to learn more about hi early life tomorrow in the Short Treks episode “The Brightest Star,” as well as in an upcoming Discovery season two episode that focuses on Saru. In support of his mini-episode, Jones spoke with Deadline Hollywood and Canada’s Space. Here are some highlights.
Warning: Spoilers for Short Treks and Discovery Season 2 ahead.
His Short Treks episode is a flashback
Well it is a flashback; it’s an origin story of how Saru leaves his primitive society and joins the high-tech society of Starfleet. That’s a huge jump to make, so those questions are answered on how that ever happened.
A curious Saru peers from behind the shadows in “The Brightest Star” trailer.
Kelpiens are long-lived but their numbers are culled periodically
My people are prey on our planet and I think that denotes that there must be a predator species. How does that play out? What’s that relationship? Well, this short film will answer those questions, you’ll get to see all that. This is going back in time to see my roots and my start. So you’ll get to see a younger Saru, maybe in my teenage years. I look very much the same because Kelpien’s live a long time. You’ll see the beauty of my home planet. It looks like a vacation spot. But there’s the dichotomy of this whole situation and it’s slightly disturbing. There’s the beautiful brochure-looking place but at the same time there’s the horrific thing of the culling of our people. When a certain time comes along ever so often, our predator species will collect a few of us. That’s where it’s our time. They take us away to our death. So that’s very disturbing and why does that happen? And does it need to happen? Why is it necessary?
Saru and his fellow Kelpiens farm the seas of Kaminar in “The Brightest Star”
Saru is unique in asking what’s out there
Saru as a teenager is the only Kelpien that seems to have a curiosity that goes beyond everyone else in his village. He’s the one who wants to ask, “Why?” and wants to look at the sky and wonder what else is beyond out there. And ask the question: “There has to be a purpose that’s more than just this? Just farming kelp from the sea and surviving and waiting for our time to die?” There has to be more. So I think that type of question is one that’s relevant to everybody. Whether it’s young teenagers out there that’s wondering what’s ahead for them in this world, we’ve all been through that.
Saru looks to the sky in the trailer for “The Brightest Star”
We’ll meet Saru’s father and sister
The presence of Saru’s sister, Serana, had been teased back in October at New York Comic Con, but it turns out we’re going to see his father too.
Dad is played by a wonderful actor, Robert Villacki, and my sister is played by Hannah Spear, who is a very tall, lanky supermodel-type actress who did a fantastic job. So there’s a family dynamic there that you’ll see. A father/son relationship and a brother/sister relationship that kind of carries over as to why I’ve connected with Sonequa Martin-Green’s character, Michael Burnham, on the regular series as a sister figure because of the world I left behind and how she represents family to me from the starship.
Michael Burnham and Saru share a moment in the Discovery season two trailer.
Saru will be learning a lot from Pike on Discovery
…as you’ve seen in previews for Season 2, Captain Pike from the Enterprise will join us for a time. What’s good about that is that Saru, I feel, has an awful lot to learn. And I would like to learn that from a nurturing captain, one like Captain Georgiou that we lost early on. That was unfortunate, and he misses her, and he wanted to be a first officer under a captain like that. Unfortunately he got Lorca instead. So now, with Captain Pike, he has a chance to find a strong leader in him and a nurturer with a gentle hand and a good sense of humour.
A flustered Saru shakes Captain Pike’s hand in the Discovery season two “first look” trailer
Star Trek: Discovery is available in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.
Star Trek: Short Treks is available in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV.
A non-Trek project at CBS All Access that many of us have our eyes on is the upcoming new take on The Twilight Zone, being executive produced by Jordan Peele, Simon Kinberg, and Marco Ramirez. The series began production in October in Vancouver and ever since, CBS has periodically released new information about the titles and the stars of the episodes.
Start of Production Announcement Video
Principal photography began Monday, Oct. 1 in Vancouver, British Columbia, 59 years after the premiere of the original series. The Twilight Zone will premiere on CBS All Access in 2019. As previously announced, Jordan Peele will host and narrate the new iteration, a role made famous by creator Rod Serling.
The Twilight Zone - Start of Production Announcement | CBS All Access - YouTube
Episode Titles and Stars Announced So Far
In August it was revealed that there would be 10 episodes in the first season of the new Twilight Zone. Thus far, CBS has released the titles of three of them, and disclosed the writer and star of a fourth. Here’s what we know so far:
Cast: Sanaa Lathan (Nip/Tuck, Shots Fired).
Title: “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet” — an update to the classic episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”
Cast: Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), in the role played by William Shatner in the original
Title: “The Wunderkind”
Cast: John Cho (Sulu, Kelvin universe Star Trek movies), Allison Tolman (Fargo), Jacob Tremblay (Wonder, The Predator)
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley)
Writer: Alex Rubens (Key and Peele, Rick and Morty).
The Twilight Zone will premiere in 2019 on CBS All Access