Not so mad (actually kind of gentle) Genius Bryan Fuller has actually talked to Entertainment Weekly, of all places, about leaving his gig as showrunner of CBS’s new version of Star Trek. We found it on the interwebs…and we also found it “fascinating.”
Bryan Fuller on his Star Trek: Discovery exit: ‘I got to dream big’
by James Hibberd
Bryan Fuller candidly discusses his exit as showrunner from Star Trek: Discoveryin this week’s Entertainment Weekly — including his original ambitious pitch to CBS All Access.
The Hannibal and Pushing Daisies showrunner initially wasn’t envisioning a single Trek series, but multiple serialized anthology shows that would begin with Star Trek: Discovery (a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series), journey through the eras of Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Jean Luc Picard, and then go beyond to a time in Trek that’s never been seen before.
“The original pitch was to do for science-fiction what American Horror Story had done for horror,” Fuller says. “It would platform a universe of Star Trek shows.”
CBS countered with the plan of creating a single serialized series and then seeing how it performed. Still, the project was a dream come true for Fuller, who worked on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager and long publicly lobbied for a return of the franchise to television — specifically with a woman of color at the helm.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about how many black people were inspired by seeing Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of a ship [as Lt. Uhura in The Original Series],” Fuller says. “I couldn’t stop thinking about how many Asian people were inspired by seeing George Takei [as Sulu] and feeling that gave them hope for their place in the future. I wanted to be part of that representation for a new era.”
Yet after starting work on the show, Fuller’s relationship with CBS became strained. He objected to the network’s choice of David Semel, a veteran of procedurals like Madam Secretary and Code Black, to direct the Discovery pilot (Baby Driver director Edgar Wright tells us he was among those Fuller approached instead).
There were also squabbles over the Discovery budget, with the production eventually going over CBS’ original plan to spend $6 million per episode (a number that’s either on high side for an original drama series, or a bit lean for an ambitious genre show, depending on who you ask). But perhaps the toughest issue was trying to launch Discovery by February 2017, a date which some felt was unrealistic given the unique world-building demands of a premium sci-fi show….