So let’s start with a caveat: This isn’t a hit piece against Star Trek: Discovery. You won’t find the phrase “Alex Kurtzman ruined…” or some kind of takedown of the character of Michael Burnham here.
That being said, it’s not exactly a secret that Star Trek: Discovery’s journey to television screens wasn’t easy. And even when the USS Discovery finally took flight on CBS All Access in September of 2017, she hit more than few snags on her way becoming the streamer’s flagship.
Every show has its growing pains and out of that misery have come some fascinating stories about all the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to bring something like a Star Trek series to life. From the constant delays getting the show off the ground, in-fighting among the staff, strange behind-the-scenes decisions, and the dismissal of the series’ creator, Bryan Fuller, the good ship Discovery has weathered more than its fair share of real world drama, to say nothing of wars with the Klingons, Control, or Osyraa.
We hope all that drama is safely behind Discovery, now firing on full thrusters going into season four, but we’re going to look back at the show’s formative years and examine some of the intriguing and dramatic episodes that occurred entirely off screen. And yeah, we’re going to talk about those Klingons too.
Bryan Fuller is well known in Hollywood for creating critical darlings like Pushing Daisies and Hannibal, but the writer producer actually got his start in the Star Trek Universe, penning two episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and an impressive twenty-one episodes of Star Trek: Voyager.
Following the release of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek in 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013, Fuller publicly expressed his interest in producing his own take on the franchise. Just a few years later, he got his wish and CBS announced on February 9, 2016 that it would create its own streaming service to rival Netflix and Hulu, anchored by a brand new, big budget Star Trek spin-off produced by Alex Kurtzman and helmed by Fuller.
However, less than a year after that announcement, CBS fired Bryan Fuller in October of 2016.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly a few months later, Fuller revealed that his working relationship with CBS had soured during the development of Star Trek: Discovery. Fuller battled the network over the hiring of David Semel to direct the pilot episode and “squabbled” over the budget, while CBS objected to Fuller splitting his time between Discovery and Starz’s American Gods; according to an August 29, 2017 article in Variety, “Fuller failed to deliver scripts months after they were due.”
Following his dismissal, Fuller remained mostly silent in the run up to Discovery’s release, keeping his comments short upon seeing the teaser trailer released in July of 2017:
What I can say is…my reaction was that I was happy to see a black woman and an Asian woman in command of a Starship.