Star Trek: Discovery inspired by Game of Thrones to kill off characters

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Jun 30, 2017

It seems that not every member of the crew of the new Star Trek series will make it out alive.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Star Trek: Discovery showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg revealed that they are ready, willing and able to kill off major characters on the show, with at least one demise already in the works.

And what is the inspiration for this potential and rather un-Trek-like carnage? Why, Game of Thrones, of course. Here's Berg:

"Game of Thrones changed television. They almost made it difficult to fall in love with people because you didn’t know if they were going to be taken away from you. That show’s had an influence on all TV dramas that have come after it."

Harberts added, however, that any major deaths on the show won't be done just for the hell of it:

"Death isn’t treated gratuitously on this show. It’s not for shock value. But when it happens we want to make sure that people really feel it."

On one hand, this makes sense: TV has changed. Programs like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and others have made the deaths of major characters not just part of their storylines but almost expected. The thing is, you have to care about the character first to make his, her or its end emotional and powerful, something that not every show can pull off.

No members of the regular crew died permanently on the original Star Trek, although Kirk, McCoy and Scotty were all killed and resurrected in the course of individual episodes (and Spock died and returned in the movies). Of course, that was the 1960s, and TV was a lot different. Only one regular perished on each of the next four shows (Tasha on The Next Generation, Dax -- sort of -- on Deep Space Nine, Kes on Voyager and Trip Tucker on Enterprise), but all those shows aired long before Game of Thrones came along and upped the casualty count.

Even with those, at least two of them (Tasha and Dax) were knocked off because the actresses quit the show, not necessarily for story reasons. Berg and Harberts seem to suggest that the storyline on Star Trek: Discovery may dictate a bloodbath or two -- and considering that it's unrealistic to expect human beings exploring deep space to emerge completely unscathed, the idea makes sense.

Still, with this and the recent news that interpersonal conflicts among Starfleet members will be a part of this show, it's more clear every day that Star Trek: Discovery will be going where no Trek show has gone before. Are you down with killing off major characters, or does it smack of a gimmick to you?

Star Trek: Discovery will debut on CBS on Sunday, September 24, before moving to CBS All Access.

(via Screencrush)