Star Trek: Discovery is entering production on its fourth season in early November. It isn't the only Star Trek series getting ready to start shooting. The franchise, like all others, has had to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. That meant delaying production on the second season of Star Trek: Picard. But now it seems Alex Kurtzman, his Secret Hideout colleagues, and CBS Television Studios have figured out to get Star Trek filming again amid the pandemic. That means the second season of Star Trek: Picard and the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the Star Trek: Discovery spinoff about the Enterprise, can soon start filming.
"Things are just starting to shoot again," Kurtzman tells SFX Magazine. "We would have been in production already on Picard, but we couldn't be because of COVID. It's pushed our Discovery and Strange New Worlds dates just a little bit, but I think we're actually planning on staying on track for those. By the time they shoot, we will have innovated with a couple shows, and we will know where we are. And we will be a little bit more down with a process.
"So I'm hopeful… it's a very systemized, militarised operation now, that's really rigorously being constructed around making sure that everybody is safe and that the sets function in pods so that if one person is sick it does not necessarily infect the entire group."
Echoing fellow Star Trek producer Akiva Goldsman, Kurtzman sees a bright side in Strange New Worlds' production delay. It means they got to spend that much more time on the show's scripts.
"The silver linings are that Akiva [Goldsman] and Henry [Alonso Myers] are ready to show up and able to really get ahead with scripts," he says. "By the time we go back into production, we will have a lot of scripts ready to go, which is not usually how it is for us. We're always running ahead of the freight train that is production and trying not to get flattened, but this time we actually have some advance warning with a lot of prep time."
Even these three shows are the tip of the iceberg. The Star Trek universe is expanding, and Kurtzman and his team have plans to continue through 2027. "Heather Kaden and Aaron Baiers, who work with me at Secret Hideout — we literally just got off a call with the network mapping out with us through 2027," Kurtzman said during a podcast appearance. "Now when I say that, it's not like it's set in stone. It's just, 'Here's a plan. Here's what we're looking at. Here's how the different shows are going to drop.' Consider the fact that it takes a year from inception — from starting production — to airing, you have to plan way, way, way in advance to get these things done, and you have to stay on top of the zeitgeists and make sure that what you're doing is relevant. So you have to plan so far in advance now in different kinds of ways [like safety and budget] to seem loose and improvisational, but there's nothing loose and improvisational about it."
Star Trek: Discovery streams new episodes Thursdays on CBS All Access.