Tuesday, May 21

Section 31’ First Look Revealed With ‘Academy’ Details, Plus Glimmer Of ‘Legacy’ Hope – TrekMovie.com

The new Star Trek Universe of streaming TV launched in 2017 with the first season of Discovery. As that series is winding down with the fifth and final season arriving next week, it’s a good time to look to the future of the franchise. And that is exactly what Variety has done with an in-depth cover story sporting a weighty title: “The Future of ‘Star Trek’: From ‘Starfleet Academy’ to New Movies and Michelle Yeoh, How the 58-Year-Old Franchise Is Planning for the Next Generation of Fans.”

This includes a first-look image and details (and spoilers) for Section 31 and the upcoming Academy series. There is also a tiny bit of hope for Star Trek: Legacy.

First look, and a surprising character for Section 31

The piece in Variety is a comprehensive look at the Star Trek franchise covering a lot of ground, and that includes some insights into the upcoming Star Trek: Section 31 streaming movie, starring Academy Award-winner Michelle Yeoh, reprising her role as Emperor Phillipa Georgiou from Discovery. The piece includes this first look image from Section 31

Michelle Yeoh in Section 31 (Jan Thijs/Paramount+)

There was no context added to the image. Yeoh’s Georgiou can be seen wearing her familiar Section 31 black leather and she appears to be whispering to a character with a significant amount of technology fused to their head, giving off a particularly cyperpunk-ish Borg-ish feeling.

Yeoh has characterized the Section 31 movie as “Mission: Impossible in space,” and screenwriter Craig Sweeny talks about his approach, telling Variety: “It was always my goal to deliver an entertaining experience that is true to the universe but appeals to newcomers. I wanted a low barrier of entry so that anybody could enjoy it.” Sweeny also acknowledges how the dark world of Section 31 is “almost antagonistic to some of the values of ‘Star Trek,’” but explains:

“Famously, there’s a spot for everybody in Roddenberry’s utopia, so I was like, ‘Well, who would be the people who don’t quite fit in?’ I didn’t want to make the John le Carré version, where you’re in the headquarters and it’s backbiting and shades of gray. I wanted to do the people who were at the edges, out in the field. These are not people who necessarily work together the way you would see on a ‘Star Trek’ bridge.”

Before the Section 31 streaming movie wrapped last week, Variety was invited to watch some of the filming in Toronto and writer Adam B. Vary describes one of the sets as “an opulent nightclub with a view of a brilliant, swirling nebula.” He then then drops a big spoiler about a character not previously known to be part of the movie:

A few minutes later, dozens of extras in all manner of outlandish eveningwear file into the club, several of them made up as classic “Star Trek” aliens that fans might be surprised to see in this kind of swanky establishment. But I’m far more distracted by a different discovery: Georgiou is standing with a young Rachel Garrett (Kacey Rohl), a character first introduced on “Next Generation” as the older fearless captain of the USS Enterprise-C.

Rohl was announced to be part of the cast in January along with six other actors, but it was not known she would be playing a young Rachel Garrett, a memorable character played by Tricia O’Neill from the classic TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”  Garrett also got a notable mention in season 3 of Picard — a statue of the famous captain (aka “the red lady”) was a clue to a terrorist attack in the 25th century.

The inclusion of Garrett is our first indication of when the Section 31 movie is set, as the character was active in the mid-24th century. This could mean the movie is set between the TOS movie and TNG eras. However, it’s also possible there could be more time travel elements involved as Georgiou was last seen jumping back in time (via the Guardian of Forever) from the 32nd century.

(L) Kacey Rohl in The Wedding Veil Inspiration (Hallmark) and (R) Tricia O’Neill as Rachel Garrett in TNG “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (Paramount)

Glimmer of hope for Legacy

Executive producer Alex Kurtzman acknowledges adding a character like Rachel Garrett is the kind of connection primarily aimed at Trek fans, saying: “You cannot create new fans to the exclusion of old fans. You must serve your primary fan base first and you must keep them happy. That is one of the most important steps to building new fans.”

Variety also confirms that Paramount+ and Kurtzman are still looking at follow-up streaming movies:

Should “Section 31” prove successful, Yeoh says she’s game for a sequel. And Kurtzman is already eyeing more opportunities for TV movies, including a possible follow-up to “Picard.”

Of course much has been reported about the idea of a “Star Trek: Legacy” followup to Picard which would include characters from season 3 and more “legacy” characters from the franchise. One way to test that concept would be to do a streaming TV movie, which could work as a backdoor pilot for a series. Speaking to TrekMovie last month, Picard season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas said he was open to the idea: “For me, I would just need this crew, I would need this cast, and as long as that was a possibility, we would figure something out…”

Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut as Ensign Sidney La Forge, Mica Burton as Alandra La Forge and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine in “The Last Generation” (Paramount+)

Setting confirmed and new Academy details

The new Variety piece also has a couple of tidbits about the upcoming Starfleet Academy series, which is set to start filming later this summer. One thing is that it officially confirms that will be set in the 32nd century, established by Star Trek: Discovery. Academy co-showrunner Noga Landau says this setting is helpful as it offers more freedom as the target young adult audience (like the characters) are new to this world, explaining:

“These are kids who’ve never had a red alert before. They never had to operate a transporter or be in a phaser fight.”

32nd century Federation HQ in Discovery “Die Trying” (Paramount+)

The Variety piece takes us into the Academy writers’ room at Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout offices in Los Angeles, where he also serves as executive producer and co-showrunner for the series…

Kurtzman tells the staff — a mix of “Star Trek” die-hards, part-time fans and total newbies — that he wants to take a 30,000-foot view for a moment. “I think we need to ground in science more throughout the show,” he says, a giant framed photograph of Spock ears just over his shoulder. “The kids need to use science more to solve problems.”

Immediately, one of the writers brightens. “Are you saying we can amp up the techno-babble?” she says. “I’m just excited I get to use my computer science degree.”

Section 31 was shot on the same stages used for five seasons of Star Trek: Discovery and now Paramount+ and CBS Studios are gearing up to use the same stages for the Academy show. According to the Variety article, this will include the largest single set ever created for Star Trek. Here is how it is described:

“In one of Kurtzman’s several production offices in Toronto, he and production designer Matthew Davies are scrutinizing a series of concept drawings for the newest “Star Trek” show, “Starfleet Academy.” A bit earlier, they showed me their plans for the series’ central academic atrium, a sprawling, two-story structure that will include a mess hall, amphitheater, trees, catwalks, multiple classrooms and a striking view of the Golden Gate Bridge in a single, contiguous space. To fit it all, they plan to use every inch of Pinewood Toronto’s 45,900 square foot soundstage, the largest in Canada.”

Starfleet Academy in the TNG episode “Time’s Arrow” (Paramount)

This tidbit also confirms that the series will be set on Earth, back at Starfleet Academy’s traditional San Francisco setting. In season 4 of Discovery, Starfleet Academy was still part of the space-based Starfleet HQ, but Earth was seen to be rejoining the Federation in the season finale. The Variety piece also reveals that the Academy show will not just be based in San Francisco, with Kurtzman and Davies refining the 32nd century starship design language. Looking at some ship concepts, Kurtzman is quoted as saying: “For me, this design is almost too Klingon. I want to see the outline and instinctively, on a blink, recognize it as a Federation ship.”

There is much more to check out in the cover story about Star Trek at Variety.com.

Neil Jamieson for Variety

Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

source: trekmovie.com