Principal photography has begun on the much-anticipated premiere season of "Strange New Worlds," according to Variety (opens in new tab).
This latest spin-off series will follow the adventures of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) on the USS Enterprise and is set, in essence, as a prequel to "The Original Series" before James T. Kirk took command of the Constitution-class starship.
You may recall, that while the crew of the USS Discovery defeated the evil A.I. called Control, saved the sphere data and used the tortuous red signal time travel technology to jump 950 years into the future in the disappointing second season finale of "Discovery," the crew of the USS Enterprise all stayed behind in the 23rd Century. Well, they kind of had to.
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Fans had been campaigning for a Pike-focused spin-off ever since the second season of "Discovery" and Mount himself told Space.com, "I'm not going to grouse around and be aloof about it. I'd love to [play Pike again]. Then on May 15th, 2020, it was officially confirmed on social media by Mount, Peck, Romijn and executive producer Alex Kurtzman.
Peck recently posted a photograph on Instagram of ... er, a shopping trolley half-buried in snow, geotagged in Toronto, indicating he was back in Ontario.
But what will be different about the production of "Strange New Worlds" is that it will benefit from the virtual, artificial reality video wall that was pioneered for the production of "The Mandalorian" by several VFX companies including ILM and Pixomondo. A source told Space.com that CBS has invested in two such set-ups, one for "Strange New Worlds" and the other to be used on Season 4 of "Discovery." This should allow for greater world building (and maybe better story writing) within the "Star Trek" universe without the need for, and restrictions offered by, on-location shooting. Let's face facts, Iceland can only double for so many alien planets.
Speaking of bad story writing, the fourth season of "Discovery" has also started principal photography in Toronto and after more than half-a-year's delay, the cast of "Picard" has returned to production for the second season. The air dates haven't been officially confirmed, but rumors abound that we should expect to see at least two of these three shows in 2021.
Kalinda Vazquez has been appointed by Paramount Pictures to write a new "Star Trek" movie, with JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot producing, Deadline reports. According to IMDb, Vazquez's writing credits on "Discovery" include "Terra Firma, Part 2" (S03, E10) and the "Short Trek" episode "Ask Not" however, she's also listed as a "consulting producer" for the last six or so episodes of the third season. Apparently, Vazquez is even named after a character played by Barbara Bouchet from "The Original Series" episode "By Any Other Name" (S02, E22). This news would confirm that Paramount is once again pushing forward with a big screen "Star Trek" feature after Noah Hawley's stalled attempt. However, the trio of "Trek" motion pictures produced by Bad Robot have been utterly awful, with each one progressively worse than its predecessor.
Kate Mulgrew has confirmed her return for Season 2 of "Prodigy" and the first season will air some time later this year. Somewhat disappointingly, the proposed "Section 31" spinoff show focusing on Phillipa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is still “conversations,” and will now only happen when one of the five current Star Trek projects — "Discovery," "Prodigy," "Lower Decks," "Picard" and "Strange New Worlds" — is finished, according to Alex Kurtzman and Paramount+ programming chief Julie McNamara.
The official crowdfunding push for the "Star Trek: Voyager" documentary project has finally launched and at the time of writing, has passed a staggering half a million dollars, light years past its original target.
Finally, CBS All Access has become Paramount+ as of 4 March and as such every incarnation of "Star Trek" is now available there. New app updates are out for Android and iOS, but your existing logins should carry over if you were already a subscriber. Some users have reported difficulties on Roku, but if you update the app (Home>settings>system>system update) it should work.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Toronto as the capital city of Canada. Toronto is the capital of the Canadian province of Ontario, but the nation's capital is in Ottawa.