What would Star Trek: Discovery look like if Bryan Fuller had stayed on to run it? Apparently the show might have gone where no Star Trek series had gone before.
In a new Entertainment Weekly story on the show (excerpted by TrekMovie), it's revealed that the vision of the show put forth by Fuller -- who was taken off the series by CBS last year because of conflicts with his other commitments to American Gods -- was a drastically different and, dare we say, possibly far more groundbreaking one than what it looks like we're getting.
For one thing, Fuller wanted this iteration of Star Trek to be something that no other series in the franchise had ever been: an anthology series in the mold of American Horror Story or Fargo. His pitch included a first season set in the time of Discovery (around a decade or so before The Original Series), but future seasons would have featured different casts and would take place in the TOS and Next Generation eras -- and then beyond, into never-before-seen eons to come.
A risk-averse CBS nixed that idea, going instead for a serialized show set during one time period instead of anything more expansive -- at least until the network saw whether the show was a success or not.
But Fuller had other ideas that were beamed into deep space as well: He wanted to develop what was described as a "a more heavily allegorical and complex story line,” while his concept for Starfleet's uniforms was “a subdued spin on the original series’ trio of primary colors" instead of the bland blue jumpsuits we're seeing now.
Fuller and CBS also fought over the show's budget of $6 million per episode, and over the choice of a director for the pilot: CBS wanted veteran Emmy-nominated TV helmer David Semel -- known for handling pilots -- while Fuller wanted somebody more "visionary," and had even considered hiring Edgar Wright.
CBS won that battle, although Semel and Fuller reportedly "clashed" while prepping the pilot. In the end, however, that didn't matter either: With CBS jonesing to meet a January 2017 premiere date for Discovery (which it missed), the network became concerned about Fuller splitting his time between their show and Starz' American Gods, so he was given his walking papers last October.
So where does that leave us? As a lifelong Star Trek fan, I have not been impressed so far by what I've seen from Discovery; it seems like Fuller's "allegorical and complex" tale has been sacrificed for war and soap opera (in other words, Game of Thrones in space). Of course, we don't know whether Fuller's vision would have worked either, but it sounds like CBS took the cheaper, easier, and faster route rather than find out. We'll see in September.