Alex Kurtzman: SNW will go back to “planet of the week” format

No one can ever say that Star Trek boss Alex Kurtzman is not listening to fans. Well, they can accuse him, but it’s simply not true. Mr. Kurtzman has heard the murmurs and cries of a few fans, and has hinted, on a number of occasions, that the upcoming Strange New Worlds will feel more like The Original Series in tone. Fans will get to see the “planet of the week” format made famous by TOS — reborn on Strange New Worlds.

Forget trying to interpret his hints, as he came out and said it. In an interview with Deadline, Kurtzman confirmed that Strange New Worlds would be more “episodic,” and less like Discovery or Picard, where the story is serialized and continued through one season.

“I think Strange New Worlds, under the guidance of Henry Myers and Akiva Goldsman, is going to be a return, in a way, to TOS,” said Kurtzman.

This approach will certainly be a welcome change for fans who prefer the old TOS format. Meaning that Kirk and the Enterprise would visit an alien world, get sucked into a problem, solve it and warp out after about 50 minutes. The only real exception to this formula was “The Cage” two-parter, which was repackaged as “The Menagerie.” That failed pilot, with the original Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), was used to create two standard TOS episodes.

Discovery, while under command of Captain Pike (Anson Mount), did feature one episode which followed this formula. In Season 2, the crew encountered a group of humans, and had to solve the riddle of why the Red Angel was connected to this remote planet and its people. “New Eden” felt a lot like a TOS episode, with Pike and crew seemingly solving the power issues for the inhabitants, and leaving when the show ended. However, this episode did play into the longer Red Angel story arch.

“We’ve been running all of our writers’ rooms on Zoom, and the silver lining is that we’ve been actually been able to get quite ahead on the scripts for upcoming seasons of Discovery, and Picard, and Strange New Worlds, which is going to be shooting next year, and Section 31,” Kurtzman said in an interview with Gold Derby. In the interview, he also mentioned that Strange New Worlds would begin production in 2021.

Meanwhile, Kurtzman told both Deadline and Gold Derby that he’s excited to see what will happen with future Short Treks. Daniel Montgomery asked Kurtzman if he foresaw more Short Treks coming up.

“Thanks to the Emmy nomination, I’m really hoping so,” Kurtzman said. The article also noted that he’d like to see “a short musical” or “a black-and-white film” under the Short Treks umbrella.