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Thomas Sanchez
Thomas Sanchez

Star Trek: Discovery



Star Trek: Discovery is an American television series created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman for the streaming service CBS All Access (later rebranded as Paramount+). It is the seventh Star Trek series and debuted in 2017 as the first since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded in 2005. The series follows the crew of the starship Discovery beginning a decade before Star Trek: The Original Series in the 23rd century. At the end of the second season, Discovery travels to the 32nd century, which is the setting for subsequent seasons.




Star Trek: Discovery


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Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, a science specialist on Discovery who eventually becomes captain. Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs, Wilson Cruz, Anson Mount, David Ajala, Rachael Ancheril, Blu del Barrio, and Tig Notaro also have starring roles.


The series begins around ten years before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series,[1] when Commander Michael Burnham's actions start a war between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire. She is court-martialed, stripped of rank, and reassigned to the USS Discovery, which has a unique means of propulsion called the "Spore Drive". After an adventure in the Mirror Universe, Discovery helps end the Klingon war. In the second season they investigate seven mysterious signals and a strange figure known as the "Red Angel", and fight off a rogue artificial intelligence. This conflict ends with the Discovery traveling to the 32nd century, more than 900 years into their future.


The series' writers room is based at Kurtzman's Secret Hideout offices in Santa Monica.[98] The titular ship was named after Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey, NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery, and "the sense of discovery... what [that] means to Star Trek audiences who have been promised a future by Gene Roddenberry where we come together as a planet and seek new worlds and new alien races to explore and understand".[99]


By June 2016, Fuller had met with several actors and said the series would "carry on what Star Trek does best" by hiring a progressive, diverse cast,[66] with Kadin confirming that the series would feature minority, female, and LGBTQ characters.[111] In August, Fuller said the series would star a lieutenant commander, to be played by a non-white actress, rather than a captain like previous Star Trek series. He also said Discovery would include more alien characters than other Star Trek series, and would feature at least one openly gay character. Fuller, who is gay himself, had been determined to see this happen since receiving hate mail while working on Voyager when a character on that show was rumored to be coming out as gay.[1] Fuller discussed the series' casting with Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space who made a cameo appearance in an episode of The Next Generation.[1][112] He anticipated casting announcements in October,[67] but none had been made by the end of that month. The majority of the series main characters were believed to have been cast by then, but no actress had been cast for the series' lead role. This was a source of "internal stress" at CBS.[71] Several African American and Latina actresses were being looked at for the role, with CBS preferring a "fresh face" over an established star.[113] The cast was believed to include a female admiral, a male Klingon captain, a male admiral, a male adviser, and a British male doctor, with one of those male leads played by an openly gay actor.[114]


Rapp revealed in July 2017 that Wilson Cruz, whom Rapp had previously worked with on the musical Rent, would portray Stamets' love interest Hugh Culber.[34] The character is killed off during the first season, which was criticized by some as following the "bury your gays" trope, but the executive producers immediately released a statement with Cruz and LGBTQ media monitoring organization GLAAD saying the relationship between Culber and Stamets would continue to be explored.[119] Cruz was subsequently promoted from his recurring guest role to the series' main cast for the second season, in which Culber is brought back to life.[36] After the first season concluded with the Discovery receiving a distress call from the USS Enterprise, specifically from Captain Christopher Pike, Harberts expressed interest in exploring that character;[7] Anson Mount was cast in the role in April 2018,[120] and stars for the second season.[38][121]


Casting had begun by June 2019 for the new role of Adira, a non-binary character described as "incredibly intelligent and self-confident" with the potential to become a recurring guest throughout the third season.[122] The next month, David Ajala joined the cast as new series regular Cleveland "Book" Booker for the third season.[40] Rachael Ancheril is also credited as starring for her appearances in the season, reprising her recurring guest role as Nhan from the second season.[123] She is written out of the series in the third season's fifth episode.[46] In September 2020, non-binary newcomer Blu del Barrio was revealed to be portraying Adira, the first explicitly non-binary character within the Star Trek franchise.[47] They reprised their role for the fourth season, and del Barrio was promoted to the series' main cast along with recurring guest star Tig Notaro as Jett Reno.[48][51]


Fuller wanted to take advantage of modern effects, production design, and makeup to establish a new look for the series and franchise that previous Star Trek media was unable to achieve.[1] Mark Worthington and Todd Cherniawsky served as initial production designers for the series,[124] and Suttirat Anne Larlarb was hired as costume designer.[125] Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page of Alchemy Studios provided prosthetics and armor,[126][127] with Page having previously designed for the rebooted Star Trek films.[128] Mario Moreira served as prop master for the series,[129] with seven art directors, over nine illustrators, more than thirty-five set designers, and over four hundred and fifty painters, carpenters, sculptors, model makers, welders, set dressers, and prop builders all hired for the first season.[130] The designers consulted with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for scientific accuracy.[129] Tamara Deverell took over as production designer during production on the first season,[131] but left after the second.[132] She was replaced by Phillip Barker, who was able to approach the third season as a fresh start due to the new time period. Barker helped develop the new 32nd century technology as part of his design process.[133] Doug McCullough took over as production designer for the fourth season.[134]


Fuller had wanted the series' uniforms to reflect the primary colors of The Original Series, but this was discarded after his departure,[65] when Larlarb also left the series. Gersha Phillips took over as costume designer.[125] Fabric for the series' Starfleet uniforms was custom-dyed in Switzerland, and was a navy blue specifically mixed for the production. Gold or silver embellishments denoted divisions, while medical officers wear a "hospital white" variant of the uniform. The captain's uniform is the standard navy blue but with additional gold piping on the shoulders.[135] Phillips attempted to create costumes with no seams using "No Sew" bonding techniques such as glue and tape, but the producers rejected this because they wanted to see more details in the costumes.[42] Starfleet insignia badges were molded from silicon bronze, and then polished and plated by a jeweler to create custom colors for the series: gold for command, silver for sciences and medical, and copper for operations.[135] Phillips was able to revisit the colorful uniforms from The Original Series with the introduction of the USS Enterprise in the second season, applying the colors of those original costumes to the design of Discovery's uniforms.[125] She was also able to revisit her "No Sew" approach for the future Starfleet uniforms in the third season. These are mostly gray, with divisions represented by a colored stripe,[136] but once the crew of Discovery started wearing these costumes the producers realised that they clashed with the Discovery's existing gray hallway sets. Phillips designed new uniforms for the fourth season that use the same primary colors as The Next Generation, with red for command, gold for operations, and blue for science. Medical officers still wear white uniforms.[137]


Visual effects producers were hired to begin work on the series during the initial writing period, with Fuller explaining that they wanted to develop distinct looks for classic Star Trek effects such as digitally-augmented alien species and transporter beams.[66] Pixomondo is the primary visual effects vendor for the series,[160] with other vendors including Spin VFX,[161] Ghost VFX, Mackevision, Crafty Apes, DNEG, The Mill, and FX3X, as well as visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman's in-house team at CBS Studios.[162] Visual effects shots for each episode on Discovery typically take eight-to-ten months to complete,[107] and include fully digital environments such as the shuttle bay of Discovery,[97][163] digital extensions of sets,[162] shots of the Discovery and other starships,[140] digital creatures,[164] holograms,[162] and 32nd century technology such as programmable matter.[140][141]


In September 2016, Discovery writer Kirsten Beyer announced that CBS was working with IDW Publishing and Simon & Schuster to produce more content revolving around the setting of the series, starting with at least one novel and a comic book. Beyer, the writer of many Star Trek: Voyager novels, explained that she would work with fellow Star Trek novelist David Mack and Star Trek comic writer Mike Johnson to ensure that all media "are coming from the same place". The release of the books and comics was set to coincide with the series' premiere.[257] Mack described writing around the continuity of Discovery as "tricky to get right", as the time period is "light on detail and almost unique within the Star Trek continuity. That made it a challenge to represent that era faithfully while also staying true to the new elements being introduced" in the series.[258] Beyer explained in August 2017 that the novels and comics would tell stories that the series did not have time to address but that enhanced the overall story for fans, though they would not be required reading to understand the series. She said the writers of the tie-in works and the series' writers room would work together to not contradict each other, but if an idea was developed for the series that did not work with something established in a tie-in then the series would take priority.[259] 041b061a72


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