Since its debut 1966, Star Trek has been about boldly going forward. And no Star Trek series has gone further forward than Discovery. After a rocky first few seasons set about a decade before The Original Series, Discovery found its place by jumping to the 32nd century, farther into the future than any other entry in the franchise.

As Discovery prepares to end its mission with its fifth and final season, fans might be wondering what’s next for the 32nd century and the TV franchise as a whole. With Strange New Worlds staying in Disco’s original pre-TOS era and Lower Decks and Prodigy exploring the period after the Next Generation movie Nemesis, Disco’s exit seems to leave the 32nd century unexplored.

But not so fast, says Star Trek executive producer Alex Kurtzman. “I think you can expect more of [Discovery’s] 32nd century,” Kurtzman teases in an exclusive interview for the latest issue of Den of Geek magazine. “I won’t tell you how or, where, or why. But yes, that era is not over.”

Part of that continuing mission in the 32nd century will involve the recently announced Starfleet Academy series. This Paramount+ series will follow a group of new recruits, as they acquire the values that will allow them to continue rebuilding the Federation, which was in disarray when the USS Discovery first arrived in this still largely unexplored Trek era.

Discovery already gave viewers a taste of what they can expect with Starfleet Academy. The season four episode “All is Possible” saw fan-favorite Lt. Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Adira (Blu del Barrio) leading a training mission for a trio of cadets. Consisting of a human, an Orion, and a Tellarite, this motley crew of young explorers almost fell apart when the mission went sideways. Drawing from her own experience learning to control her anxiety and gain confidence, Tilly helped the future officers overcome their fear and work together. At the end of that episode, Tilly resigned from the Discovery to become a teacher at the Academy.

Does that mean Tilly will be a cast member on Starfleet Academy? No official casting announcements have been made as of yet, but Wiseman did share her hopes for Tilly’s future when she spoke with Den of Geek at SXSW 2024. “I hope she lives forever,” Wiseman says of her character. “I hope she finds a rare space amulet that lets her live forever.”

While the next step in Tilly’s story remains unclear, there is one Discovery cast member who will certainly make it past the show’s finale. Michelle Yeoh returns as Philippa Georgiou, albeit the Mirror Universe version, for the upcoming TV movie event Star Trek: Section 31.

The kind-hearted captain of the USS Shenzhou, Georgiou died during the Battle of the Binary Stars in Discovery‘s first season, only to be replaced by her Mirror Universe counterpart, the cruel Empress of the Terran Empire. Caught in the Prime Timeline, Georgiou joined the mysterious Section 31, until she went to the 32nd century with the rest of the Discovery crew. However, Georgiou soon discovered that crossing time and dimensions has serious side effects, forcing her to return to the 23rd century.

According to Kurtzman, that journey forced Georgiou to change in important ways. “As for Section 31, the version of Section 31 that we saw Georgiou be a part of on Discovery is very different from the version you will see in the movie,” the producer tells Den of Geek magazine. “We’re not just repeating the thing that we did already.” However, Section 31 will be bringing back elements of the past, as demonstrated by the recent announcement of Kacey Rohl joining the cast as Rachel Garrett, future captain of the USS Enterprise-C, as seen in the classic TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”

The story of a secret Black Ops organization within Starfleet, Section 31 does indeed run contrary to the optimistic vision of the future that otherwise defines the franchise. But to Kurtzman, that’s just fine. “Picard is not for everybody. Discovery is not for everybody,” he told us at SXSW. Rather, the variety of offerings in the current Star Trek universe means that the franchise can tell stories with a more focused audience, while still serving every type of Trekkie. Those turned off from the darker elements in Section 31 can tune into Prodigy to see a hopeful vision of kids coming together and embracing Federation ideals. Those who don’t want the strangeness in Prodigy can go to Lower Decks for the deepest possible winks to past lore. You want a more classic adventure-of-the-week Trek show? The excellent Strange New Worlds, which is currently filming a third season, has you covered.

And what of the highly requested Star Trek: Legacy series? Ever since Picard season three reunited the crew of the Enterprise-D and ended with the Enterprise-G beginning a new voyage under the command of Captain Seven of Nine, fans have clamored for a follow-up show. While Picard season three showrunner Terry Matalas has said several times that he already has plenty of ideas for the spinoff series, and even proposed the title Star Trek: Legacy in the first place, there’s been no official green light from Paramount since Picard ended last year. What is the hold up?

“If I had a magic button, a magic ‘greenlight button,’ for Star Trek: Legacy, and it was all on me, I’d push that button today,” Kurtzman tells Den of Geek. “Right now, it’s beyond my paygrade.”

That said, per Variety and Patrick Stewart himself, there does seem to be more adventures for Jean-Luc Picard in the works, with the outlet reporting that Kurtzman is eyeing a “possible follow-up” Picard TV movie.

“I heard only last night about a script that is being written, but written specifically with the actor, Patrick, to play in it,” Stewart told the Happy Sad Confused podcast in January. “And I’ve been told to expect to receive it within a week or so.”

In other words, even if a Legacy series never happens, there’s still plenty of Trek to come on television, whether it’s in the 23rd, 25th, or 32nd centuries. The franchise continues to move forward, continuing the mandate established by The Original Series, seeking out new ideas and frontiers.

You can read more from Den of Geek magazine’s interviews with Alex Kurtzman, showrunner Michelle Paradise, and star Sonequa Martin-Green — featuring exclusive details on the final season of Star Trek: Discovery — later this week.

Star Wars: Discovery season 5 premieres on April 4 on Paramount+.

The post Star Trek After Discovery: Alex Kurtzman on Legacy and the Future of the 32nd Century appeared first on Den of Geek.

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