Bryan Fuller has departed his prized day-to-day showrunner job at Star Trek: Discovery. But apparently he got quite a bit done before vacating his office, including writing the show’s first two episodes, and casting nearly all the major parts.
Well, except for the lead.
CBS and new showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts are seeking an actress who will play the lead in the sixth Star Trek series, described by Variety simply as a young lieutenant commander. That would be the lowest rank of a Star Trek lead character in the television franchise’s 50 years, putting her at the level of Brent Spiner’s Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation or Terry Farrell’s Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
It was Deep Space Nine, in fact, that had the lowest-ranked lead for a series as Avery Brooks’ Benjamin Sisko started as a commander (to ensure at the time only one Star Trek series had a captain, Patrick Stewart’s Picard in The Next Generation).
The fact that casting had moved along so far was news to many observers despite the fact the show is expected to go in front of the cameras beginning in just a few weeks in Toronto. Unlike the last broadcast series, Star Trek: Enterprise, where many casting decisions were leaked early, little to no information has made its way through unofficial channels about the casting in Discovery, including who might be up for the lead role.
Variety also shared how much CBS is budgeting for the show – upward of $7 million per episode. That would put Discovery in the range of Game of Thrones on HBO and the short-lived Starz series Camelot, according to Cheat Sheet. It would place it well into the top 10 of the most expensive shows ever produced, topped by NBC’s ER during the George Clooney years, spent almost entirely on casting of people like Clooney.
At the high range, that would put the cost of Discovery‘s first season at just over $90 million.
Fuller will not leave the show completely, Variety reported. He will remain as an executive producer, and continues to map out the first season. Berg and Harberts will get some help from Akiva Goldsman, however, who will join Discovery in a “top creative role.” Goldsman won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the 2001 Russell Crowe film A Beautiful Mind.
His screenwriting credits also include I, Robot in 2004, The DaVinci Code in 2006 and I Am Legend in 2007. He also has connections with both executive producer Alex Kurtzman and Star Trek reboot film producer and director J.J. Abrams, writing a dozen episodes for the Fox series Fringe.
Goldsman most recently served on the screenwriting team for the Stephen King film The Dark Tower starring Star Trek: Beyond‘s Idris Elba. That hits theaters in February.
The premiere episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on CBS during May sweeps, and move to its exclusive home the following week on CBS All Access, the media company’s subscription streaming service.
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