What Star Trek Discovery Could Have Been Like, Had Bryan Fuller Stayed

Michael Burnham Sonequa Martin-Green Star Trek: Discovery CBS

When it came to Star Trek: Discovery, Bryan Fuller was attempting to boldly go where no showrunner had ever gone before with the Star Trek franchise. Co-showrunner Aaron Harberts discusses what the series could've been like, had Fuller stayed.

What Bryan's hope was was to try to find -- to try to Marvel-ize the Star Trek universe, in success. Have a writer on Star Trek: Discovery do a three-episode arc on a sliver of Next Gen that maybe you haven't seen before. Or a little runner about what happened to [Discovery's main character] Michael Burnham in her teenage years on Vulcan. Just trying to find opportunities to fill out the universe as it were, bring in writers who might not be on staff at the show, and just start kind of plotting different storylines.

As IGN notes, CBS at the time of hearing the pitch didn't reject the idea, but instead suggested Bryan Fuller start with the single serialized show concept for Star Trek: Discovery and go from there. Fuller agreed to the compromise, but as those who have been following the situation know, ultimately ended up being dropped from the series. Fuller's idea of an anthology series set within the Star Trek universe is very interesting, although it sounds as though it would be a challenge to make without breaking the bank.

For example, Fuller's original plan was to begin with Star Trek: Discovery and then jump ahead to tell another story after its conclusion. Given how long the Star Trek timeline stretches, this could mean recastings, new sets, and essentially starting over from scratch on a show that requires a lot of costume work and alien design. While definitely a cool concept that surely many Star Trek fans would get behind, as a whole the project sounds like a huge undertaking when compared to just sticking with the original concept the series started with.

That said, it's not as though CBS completely rejected the idea, so there must have been something there that made it feasible enough for executives to table the pitch for a later discussion. Unfortunately, with Fuller exiting Star Trek: Discovery and Aaron Harberts saying that as of now the show is planned to be a "single-serialized series", that could be the end of the line for the anthology idea. Who knows though, it's always possible CBS could be playing their cards close to the chest and still have that concept in mind if Star Trek: Discovery's story doesn't connect with fans or if they just want to shake things up.

Star Trek: Discovery is set to premiere September 24th on CBS and CBS All Access. For more on the show, be sure to read up on how Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham will be different than other first officers, or why the series decided to go with a serialized story over episodic. For a look at all the new shows that will be premiering or returning in the next couple of months, be sure to visit our fall premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.