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‘Star Trek Discovery’ Postponed Indefinitely Thanks To Clash With 'The Walking Dead'

By Eleanor Tremeer ⋅ Posted on January 19, 2017 at 1:28pm

What's another few months when you've been waiting 11 years for Star Trek to return to TV? That's the statement we all used to comfort ourselves when the new show #StarTrekDiscovery was pushed back from January 2017 (we could have been watching it right now!!) to May 2017. The ensuing months after this announcement bore only bad news for the fledgling show, as nerd god Bryan Fuller (The Next Generation, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal) was forced to quit as Discovery's showrunner because of his commitment to Starz' American Gods.

Losing Fuller was quite a blow, as ever since Enterprise was cancelled the writer/director has been angling for the helm of his own Star Trek show. But everything wasn't entirely bleak, and we finally got some casting announcements soon afterwards, including Sonequa Martin-Green (of #TheWalkingDead fame) as Discovery's protagonist — known only as Number One.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha in 'The Walking Dead'. [Credit: AMC]

Martin-Green's casting, while exciting considering her excellent work on The Walking Dead, nonetheless came at a cost that many predicted — Star Trek: Discovery has now been postponed indefinitely so as not to clash with The Walking Dead's schedule.

Will The USS Discovery Ever Leave Spacedock?

Probably not before Fall 2017, is the answer. According to Entertainment Weekly's report, there were concerns about "marketplace confusion" if Star Trek: Discovery and The Walking Dead aired at the same time. Which doesn't mean that people would confuse the two shows for each other (after all, they're not exactly similar) — Martin-Green's involvement in both shows not only crowded her schedule, but also represented a conflict of interest between the networks. In fact, EW explains that AMC didn't want CBS to use Martin-Green to promote Discovery when The Walking Dead was currently airing.

That leaves Discovery floating in limbo as far as a concrete airdate goes. This is bad news for the show's ratings, as May is CBS' biggest ratings month, and the show was planned to premiere on the network before moving to the streaming service CBS All Access. However, the delay might be the best thing for the show's quality, giving the production crew time to get everything right, from the writing to the special effects — and this is exactly how CBS presented the news.

"Production on 'Star Trek: Discovery' begins next week. We love the cast, the scripts and are excited about the world the producers have created. This is an ambitious project; we will be flexible on a launch date if it’s best for the show. We’ve said from the beginning it’s more important to do this right than to do it fast. There is also added flexibility presenting on CBS All Access, which isn’t beholden to seasonal premieres or launch windows."

While it's true that the streaming service allows the premiere to be flexible, there's another aspect to take into account, and that's #Netflix — the streaming giant is both CBS All Access' competitor in the USA, and Discovery's platform internationally. Here's hoping that the show's premiere doesn't clash with one of Netflix's planned big releases (say, the eagerly anticipated The Defenders) as this may distract potential viewers.

Spock's Father Cast

It's not all doom and gloom — the EW report also revealed that another character has been cast for Discovery. This would be Gotham's James Frain as Sarek, the Vulcan ambassador who also happens to be Spock's father.

The resemblance is uncanny: Frain in 'Gotham' and Sarek in 'The Next Generation'. [Fox/CBS]

Sarek first appeared in The Original Series and went on to play a small but important role in The Next Generation. He's an interesting character, and it makes sense to show the major players from this era of history, as Discovery is set ten years before The Original Series (personally, I'm hoping a Dax host shows up, especially as the show will have a strong Klingon plot).

However, this does make us wonder what happened to Amanda Grayson's prospective role in the show — Spock's mother is a character that Fuller already tapped for an appearance in Discovery.

"I love that character. I loved Winona Ryder’s portrayal of her [in the 2009 movie] and it’s a great character. It would be fun in some iteration of this show to incorporate her and her storyline. She’s not a central part of the show but we love that character."

Amanda and Sarek in 'Star Trek: The Original Series'. [Credit: CBS]

It could be that Sarek and Amanda were always planned to play minor yet significant roles in Discovery, but it's a shame that Sarek is the only one to have been confirmed yet — after The Next Generation explored his character and the troublesome relationship he had with Spock, it would be nice to learn Amanda's side of the story.

Well, we've got plenty of months to speculate about the possibilities for Star Trek: Discovery — and even more to just... sit and wait for it. Good thing Netflix has all the Star Trek shows available to stream in the US and internationally, so with Discovery's delay at least we can console ourselves by rewatching every single episode of Star Trek ever.

[Source: Entertainment Weekly, TVLine. Header image by Cassius Adams.]