Figuring out exactly which Star Trek canon the new show Star Trek: Discovery exists in will apparently cause “debate” among fans. One of the producers of Star Trek: Discovery — Alex Kurtzman — has made comments that really make new show sound like it could be a reboot, or at least connect to a splintered timeline, similar to the reboot universe of the contemporary films.

On Thursday, CNET published a video interview with Kurtzman in which he outlined his thoughts for how Star Trek: Discovery would occupy the existing Trek mythos. “We’re going to be revisiting a couple of things on Discovery that people will find familar,” he said. “Without spoiling anything, we are adhering to a timeline and sticking to the rules. But finding some new areas and avenues of exploration that have only been eluded to. But never fully explored.”

Astute fans will notice that Kurtzman says “a timeline,” but does not specify which timeline he means. Will Discovery exist in the original “prime” timeline? Will it connect to the Kelvin timeline of the new films, or perhaps, as many fans have considered, create yet another, third timeline.

Kurtzman also says that Sonequa Martin-Green’s character occupies a part of Trek lore and that her actions will “cause debate.” Still, later Kurtzman says that the writers’ room of Discovery respects canon “as written,” and that the show is “written by fans.” Notably, Kurtzman co-wrote the first two J.J. Abrams Trek films with Roberto Orci, and those films don’t technically violate the original Trek canon, either, but instead, exist in a divergent timeline, running parallel to the original events. Could Discovery do something similar?

Burnham in 'Discovery.'

At the end of the interview Kurtzman says that you have to “understand what the different timelines were. And what the different universes were.” Here, talk of different timelines and different universes really makes it sound like Discovery will slightly reboot some of this stuff. Plus, why is Kurtzman talking about these timelines in the past tense?

To be fair, the Star Trek canon has never been 100% consistent, nor easy to understand. Kurtzman and the writers on Discovery have their considerable and difficult work cut-out for them.


Star Trek: Discovery will debut on September 24 on CBS.