Under the captaincy of writer/producer Alex Kurtzman, CBS is building out the iconic world of Star Trek in unprecedented ways. From animation and live-action to drama and comedy, Gene Roddenberry's science fiction mythos is expanding almost as fast as the cosmos itself. According to Kurtzman, though, you shouldn't expect to see an end in sight.
"The key is that there are so many amazing characters to love, that, to me, that means that you can go and on forever," he told SYFY WIRE. "As long as there are different characters…every fan will give you a different set of ‘Who’s my favorite captain, who’s my favorite…’ There’s something and someone for everyone. That gives me confidence that we can tell lots of stories."
One of those stories is Star Trek: Picard, which premieres on CBS All Access next Thursday, Jan. 23. The show finds Patrick Stewart reprising his beloved Next Generation role of Jean-Luc Picard, although this version of the character has lost faith in the current moral code of Starfleet.
"This show’s very different from Discovery," said executive producer Heather Kadin, who went on to talk about female representation in Picard. "In this show, I think the difference is introducing a younger female [character] with Allison Pill’s character [Agnes Jurati]. She’s a doctor, she’s a scientist, she’s like the utmost scientist and specialist in synthetics. It’s a different thing."
"I think the thing that I love so much about doing this universe, is that it’s such a positive universe and yet, I think, in some ways, the Star Trek universe has been somewhat narrowed and defined as being one kind of thing," added Kurtzman. "I’ve had a lot of fans say, ‘That’s a bummer, I wish it could be [other stuff].’ Our mission, in a lot of ways, is to say, ‘We’re gonna expand the kinds of shows you can make in [the] Star Trek [universe] while making sure [they all feel like] Star Trek ... We keep looking for different ways to give you a different color, a different flavor while still having the viewer recognize [the brand]."
He cited the recent Tribbles-centric Short Trek as a good example of this, describing the end product as "a legitimate Star Trek story in the context of broad comedy."
Getting back to Picard, Kadin feels that while the project is very much about Stewart's character, it also sends a positive message to female fans of the Star Trek brand, which has always promoted diversity and inclusion.
"I think what’s amazing about Star Trek and what’s amazing about what the franchise has always been is there’s women on the bridge, but the topic is never about, ‘What’s it like to be a woman on the bridge?’ I think that’s important," added Kadin. "I get asked that a lot, like ‘Oh, what’s it like to be [a woman working on this show]’ and I think what’s nice is supposedly, in the future, there’ll just be women everywhere. I think that’s an important message, especially for young girls who want to be scientists, astronauts, or doctors. [This tells them] they can be whatever they wanna be."
Kadin also touched on the hire of Terry Matalas (12 Monkeys) as the new co-showrunner for Picard in Season 2 (alongside Michael Chabon, who will be moving on to work on Kavalier and Clay), explaining why he's the right voice to carry this story into its next chapter: "What Terry’s bringing is a fresh perspective because he is a massive TNG fan. We’ve actually met with him a bunch of times over the years to come on to different Star Treks and the stars finally aligned for us and for him."