How Fuller’s ‘Star Trek’ will approach future technology that’s very close to our present

Star Trek's big 50th anniversary got an early celebration this weekend at the Star Trek: Mission New York convention in Manhattan. It gave fans the opportunity to see their favorite actors from the franchise but also gave us a few new clues as to what we'll see from Bryan Fuller's Star Trek: Discovery.

Fuller's CBS All Access series, set to debut in January 2017, is still quite mysterious. We know who's working behind-the-scenes, found out the official name not too long ago and got our first teaser (with fun Easter Eggs). Fuller has said the cast would continue in the progressive tradition of the show (it will feature a female lead called “Number One” who will not be the captain) and we got an alien tease but we're still wondering who will actually be in the new series. Sadly the convention this weekend did not divulge that information.

While Fuller wasn't at the show, writer/producers Nicholas Meyer and Kristen Beyer were and fed fans a few morsels of information. As you might be aware, Star Trek: Enterprise took place during the years 2121-2155 while the original series took place 2265–2269. Since Discovery is meant to take place chronologically between those two, where does that leave their “future” technology? As reported by Yahoo:

“It was about finding a space in the chronology to maneuver and create stuff,” Meyer says of the decision to pick that particular ten year gap. “Bryan didn”t want to use the same characters from other series, and a 10-year pre-Kirk thing seemed perfect.” That setting also allows them to employ and expand upon established Trek technology that once seemed fanciful, but is now commonplace. The notion of a portable communicator, for example, seems less futuristic in an age when everyone”s carrying an iPhone. “We want to remain faithful to [the technology] we know, but there”s stuff we can do now that goes so far beyond what they did,” Beyer remarked. “Star Trek was part of creating or inspiring some of the [devices] we enjoy now, and we want to do that as well.”

As a life-long Trek fan I admit I was a bit disappointed to learn the new show would take place when it does and not go further into the future, if for no other reason than I love to see new, fictional technology. Besides the Star Trek: Nemesis film, Star Trek: Voyager went the farthest into the future of any Trek series (not counting any time travel business).

It seems strange to me they'd stress about where to shoehorn themselves in rather than just moving forward. I feel like they're limiting themselves in terms of the technology they can believably use (as in, believable for a future we've yet to see while not do something ridiculous like show a crew member using an iPad), or will be forced to change things from what's been established in previous Trek creations. As they said, the franchise, like most sci-fi stories, has been inspirational to real-world tech we use every day now. I'd love to see what interesting advancements they'd invent and, tech aside, I also just really want to see what the Federation and its enemies and allies are up to “now.” Boldly go, as they say, where no one has gone before.

Anyway, although he wasn't there, Fuller did leave the convention a video message for fans about the general concept of the new show:

“[Discovery is] an opportunity to reinvent, re-explore and re-introduce alien races you may be familiar with, but also introduce brand new aliens, planets and ships you haven”t seen before,” Fuller continued. And we”ll be seeing these new aliens and planets from a different perspective; where past Trek shows have all revolved around a starship captain, Discovery will feature a supporting crew member as the point of view character. “We”ll be looking at life aboard a starship from a whole different dynamic.”

During the panel it was also revealed that Beyer, a Star Trek novelist, would be overseeing a Star Trek: Discovery novel and comic book series set to support the show in real time. Simon & Schuster will publish the book by David Mack while IDW will publish the comic from Mike Johnson and artist Tony Shasteen.