Jul 26, 2019
This week, we Trek Out Star Trek’s presence at San Diego Comic Con! Discovery, Short Treks, Lower Decks...Picard. All of it!
Of course, as always, before we wrap up the show, we’ll open hailing frequencies for your incoming messages!
by Jake Morgan
This is it. San Diego Comic Con. The biggest pop culture convention. In. The. World. And Star Trek was there in FULL force. On Saturday, July 20th, Star Trek’s creative teams and on-screen talent took over the vaunted “Hall H” for an hour and a half, and gave us a taste of what’s to come from our favorite franchise!
First to take the stage was the Star Trek: Discovery team, including showrunner Michelle Paradise, Star Trek Franchise Lead Alex Kurtzman, Executive Producer Heather Kadin, Series Lead Sonequa Martin-Green, and series newcomer David Ajala. Kurtzman started the season 3 discussion by saying “So there will be lots of huge changes in season three. There will be things you recognize, there will be things you don’t recognize. Part of the fun of it is that we get to honor canon but shake it up hugely. We’re not erasing anything, so please don’t worry about that. It’s all still what it was”
Kurtzman also discussed Discovery’s newest character, “Book”. “His full name is Cleveland Booker and he will be a character who isn’t exactly what you expect right away. When they get to the other side of the wormhole, they have big problems. In fact, even getting to find each other may be really difficult, because they may not have actually landed in the same place.”
After announcing the addition of SIX new Short Treks, the panel released a one minute and forty-two second trailer that featured Anson Mount’s Christopher Pike, a “Fascinating” Turbolift ride with Number One and Ensign Spock, and tribbles galore. Kurtzman explained that there will be THREE Short Trek’s that include Pike, Number One, and Spock, two animated featurettes, and a Prequel to “Star Trek: Picard” that takes about 15 years prior to the series start.
Finally, Alex Kurtzman teased a possible Pike series by saying “There’s obviously been a lot of speculation about whether Pike and Number One and Spock would get there own show. So I guess my question to you guys is, do you want them to get their own show? [FANS CHEERING] Okay, we’ll think about it.”
Next to hit the stage was the team from Star Trek’s upcoming animated-comedy - Star Trek: Lower Decks. During the panel, moderated by series regular Jerry O’Connell, Mike McMahon described the time frame of the show, saying “It takes place in 2380, so it’s right after “Nemesis”, Voyager is back.I’m a TNG guy, I really wanted to do it like that”
McMahon, with the help of panelists and series stars Tawny Newsome and Jack Quad, described the uptight Ensign Boimler and the Devil-May-Care Ensign Mariner saying “Boimler and Mariner are often given the same jobs and go about it in totally different ways.”. Of the newly-graduated-Medical Ensign Tandi, McMahon says “there’s no gross alien illness that she’s not just absolutely thrilled to be dealing with”. McMahon goes on to compare engineering Ensign Rutherford to another famous TNG engineer “like Geordie LaForge, he is amazing at engineering stuff, but unlike Geordie LaForge he DOES NOT solve the problems by the end of every episode”
Finally, McMahon discusses the California-Class U.S.S. Cerritos’ command crew “It was important to me that our ship felt like it was a real operating ship in Starfleet, and that there were characters in the ship, Senior officers, who consider it to be their show - even though it’s not”
Last, but certainly not least, the production team and cast of the upcoming “Star Trek: Picard” took the stage, and they did not disappoint. During their forty minute panel, the team discussed the highly anticipated series..
Sir Patrick Stewart and Alex Kurtzman reiterated points regarding Stewart’s return to the character and the difference in tone between Picard and Discovery, with Producer Heather Kadin referring to Picard as more “Lyrical and Grounded” than Discovery. The cast could not say much about their roles, but most agreed with Allison Pill, who plays Dr. Agnes Jurati “think the really interesting thing about this cast as a whole is everybody here is pretty broken, in terms of their character, in very interesting ways and different to a lot of what we’ve seen. There’s just a lot of lonely sad sacks.”
Then, Sir Patrick Stewart introduced the series first full-length trailer. The excitement in Hall H was so high, they had to play it twice.
In the two minute and nine second presentation, a conflicted Picard recalls the sacrifice of Commander Data and admits that, despite trying, he does not feel that he belongs on the family vineyard. A young woman -Dahj - approaches Picard in need of help, and the former Starfleet officer feels drawn to do so. We are introduced to the cast of the series with bits of action, a possible Borg experimentation facility, a Borg cube, and the ominous proclamation that “She’s the end of all, she’s the destroyer”. As the action slows, Star Trek: Voyager’s 7 of 9 - portrayed by Jeri Ryan - asks Jean-Luc Picard if he’s there to save the Galaxy. In the final scene, Picard is holding a hand of cards. He looks up and says “I don’t want the game to end”, and it is revealed that Picard is speaking to Commander Data, who replies “I can see that Captain”.
Following the trailer, Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, and “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Hugh of Borg - John Del Arco - joined the panel. In responding to a question regarding his return to the iconic role of Data, Brent Spiner replied “The possibility of standing next to Patrick on a set again was just more I could say no to. And I had to consider the fans as well. To think that this was going to happen, and there was a possibility that I might be there - there was no way I could refuse that. Of course I had to be there.”. But Stewart and Spiner will not be the only Next Gen Alumni to appear on the upcoming series. Show-Runner Michael Chabon said “The joy on Patrick’s face on the days when we’ve had returning cast members, and in particular one whose name came up earlier - but I just want to mention is a part of “Star Trek: Picard” - not only having directed 2 episodes, but will be returning along with Marina Sirtis, and that is Jonathan Frakes”
While the news that dropped on the stage of Hall H was HUGE, some of the clarifications after the panel were equally interesting. In a ten minute interview with TV Line, the cast shed some light on what we saw and heard.
John Del Arco, the actor who played the Borg “Hugh” in “Decent”, confirmed Hugh’s status. “I can confirm to you that I’m still a part Borg, and that I am a developed human version of the last time I saw [Picard]. As they’re leaving the planet [In “Decent, Part II”], I say ‘well what are we going to do now, we have no leader?’ and Picard says ‘I don’t think that’s true’. So the implication being, in TNG, I ended up with this colony of Borg. And all I can say is that he has developed further in his leadership capacities.”
Brent Spiner also cleared up any confusion about who he’ll be playing in the upcoming series. When asked if he was indeed playing Data, not B4, Spiner elaborated “Correct, although i think in that draw is B4. But Data is indeed on the show. I spoke to Alex Kutzman about this morning to be able to say that, not to lead you down a path, but he isn’t in every episode. He makes some appearances, but he is IN THE SHOW in other ways”
Sir Patrick spoke about his thoughts on more of his Star Trek: The Next Generation costars joining him on Picard. Stewart was clear that he did not want to remake TNG, and said “I know that our lovely fanbase were hoping that they would see the crew of the Enterprise all back. But no, that’s NEVER going to happen, but there are encounters - some of which have been shot, some of which are only still in the planning stage. But hopefully we will have more than one season and there will be other opportunities. And apart from the principal cast of Next Generation, there were other characters that we encountered at different times who also might show up again”Finally, Stewart teased a return to the TNG uniform, saying “I did strongly make the point that I did not want to be in a uniform. At all. And I spoke strongly about that, and I have just made myself look slightly foolish by insisting that in the end of next week’s work, I will be in a uniform [...] It’s a flashback, and I said in order for this to have the right kind of context, I need to be in a uniform.”