Star Trek: Section 31
Promotional image
Genre
Written byCraig Sweeny
Directed byOlatunde Osunsanmi
Starring
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producers
Production locationToronto, Canada
CinematographyGlen Keenan
Production companies
Original release
NetworkParamount+
Related

Star Trek: Section 31 is an upcoming American science fiction television film directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi and written by Craig Sweeny for the streaming service Paramount+. It is intended to be the first television film in the Star Trek franchise and part of executive producer Alex Kurtzman's expanded Star Trek Universe. A spin-off from the series Star Trek: Discovery, the film follows Philippa Georgiou, who is an agent of Section 31, a secret division of Starfleet tasked with protecting the United Federation of Planets.

Michelle Yeoh stars as Georgiou, reprising her role from Discovery. Development on a spin-off television series with Yeoh was confirmed in January 2019, but filming was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A different Discovery spin-off series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, was then prioritized. Section 31 was redeveloped into a film, which was announced in April 2023. Omari Hardwick, Kacey Rohl, Sam Richardson, Sven Ruygrok, Robert Kazinsky, Humberly Gonzalez, and James Hiroyuki Liao also star in the film, which is produced by CBS Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. Filming took place in Toronto, Canada, from January to March 2024.

Star Trek: Section 31 is expected to be released on the streaming service Paramount+.

Premise

Emperor Philippa Georgiou joins Section 31, a secret division of Starfleet tasked with protecting the United Federation of Planets, and must face the sins of her past.[1]

Cast

Production

Background

During production on the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, special guest star Michelle Yeoh suggested to executive producer Alex Kurtzman that they make a spin-off series featuring her character Philippa Georgiou.[7] Yeoh made the suggestion because she loved playing the character, and because she wanted to be a role model for young Asian women. Kurtzman was enthusiastic about the idea, but was unsure if a spin-off would be feasible since Discovery had not yet been released. After Yeoh's performance received positive responses, the writers of Discovery began exploring the black ops division Section 31 as part of her storyline in the second season. That led to further discussions about a potential spin-off series.[8] In June 2018, after becoming sole showrunner of Discovery, Kurtzman signed a five-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios to expand the Star Trek franchise beyond Discovery to several new series, miniseries, and animated series.[9] Yeoh was in talks to star in a spin-off series by November, which was expected to follow her character's Section 31 storyline.[2]

The streaming service CBS All Access confirmed it was moving ahead with development on the spin-off in January 2019, with Discovery writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt set as writers and showrunners.[10] Kurtzman said the project was intended to be an ongoing series rather than a limited miniseries,[7] and added that Kim and Lippoldt had begun writing while still working on the second season of Discovery. It was his hope that the new series would be ready to begin production once the third season of Discovery was completed.[11][12] In March 2019, CBS Television Studios president David Stapf said the spin-off would be produced in Toronto, Canada, like Discovery, but it was "a good couple of years away",[13] with Kurtzman expecting it to be released in 2021 or 2022.[12] Yeoh confirmed that she was working on the series the next month.[3] Kurtzman said Discovery's writers were aware that their portrayal of Section 31 was inconsistent with the organization's introduction in the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the spin-off would show its evolution from their version to its original depiction, specifically why it becomes an "underground organization".[14] Kurtzman cited Killing Eve and the Mission: Impossible franchise as influences and said Georgiou would be "a protagonist who's entirely unreliable. At the end of the day, she's going to do the right thing, but in the exact wrong way."[15] In July, Shazad Latif indicated that he could be reprising his Discovery role of Ash Tyler in the spin-off.[16] A writers' room had been established by the end of November, and Kurtzman said the completed pilot script "occupies an area of the Trek universe that's never really been explored geographically. It has a new mythology to it". He also compared the series to the film Unforgiven (1992).[17]

By the end of January 2020, the series was set to be filmed from May to November 2020,[18] in the newly opened CBS Stages Canada in Mississauga, near Toronto.[19][20] In February 2020, the series was reportedly renewed for a second season to allow the first two seasons to be filmed back-to-back.[21] Production on the third season of Discovery was completed that month, but filming on the spin-off was delayed by Yeoh's commitment to the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) which was set to be filmed from January to May.[19][20] Plans to instead begin filming the spin-off series in May were soon delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic,[20][22] with Kurtzman later stating that their plans for the series had been "thrown completely into whack" by the pandemic.[23] By August 2020, Kim and Lippoldt were working with Discovery writer Craig Sweeny to build the series; Sweeny previously served as showrunner on the Kurtzman-produced series Limitless.[8] Kurtzman said the writers had been able to "get quite ahead in scripts" due to the production delays.[24] A month later, frequent Star Trek director Jonathan Frakes said Kim and Lippoldt were optimistic that the series would be made despite work starting on a different Discovery spin-off series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Frakes had asked to direct Section 31's pilot episode but said a female director would likely be hired since the series was primarily a "woman's story".[25] In March 2021, ViacomCBS announced that CBS All Access would be expanded and rebranded as Paramount+.[26]

The third season of Discovery writes out Georgiou in the two-part episode "Terra Firma", released in December 2020, which was co-written by Kim and Lipoldt. They said the character's storyline for the season was developed with "a lot of care", and it ends with her being transported to an unknown place and time where the spin-off is set.[27] Yeoh said she hoped work on the spin-off could continue "very soon".[4] In February 2021, Kurtzman said there was still conversations taking place about making the series,[28] and he was optimistic about it eventually happening due to the already completed scripts.[23] However, he said the spin-off was unlikely to be added to Paramount+'s slate of Star Trek Universe series until one of the existing five series came to an end.[28] In February 2022, Kurtzman said the Section 31 spin-off was still in development and his team were planning Star Trek series that would be released two or three years later.[29] The series was expected to get a pickup from Paramount+ soon after.[30] In May, Kurtzman said he and his team were focusing on developing Section 31 and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy as the next two Star Trek series.[31] No further announcements had been made by January 2023, when Paramount Streaming's chief programming officer Tanya Giles said the spin-off was still in development.[32]

Development

In March 2023, after revealing that Discovery would be ending with its fifth season, Kurtzman expressed interest in making more limited event series and television films for the Star Trek franchise rather than just traditional ongoing television series. He reiterated that the project was still in development.[33] A month later, Paramount+ announced that Star Trek: Section 31 was moving forward as a streaming "event film" instead of a series. Yeoh was attached to reprise her role in the film, which was written by Sweeny and set to be directed by Discovery executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi.[1] The film was described as "Mission: Impossible meets Guardians of the Galaxy". Kurtzman had begun converting the project from a series to a film in mid-2022, after realizing that Yeoh could win an Academy Award for her role in the film Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) and her schedule would likely get much busier. He and other executives had already been interested in expanding the franchise to event projects and were concerned about oversaturating the franchise with too many ongoing television series.[34]

Production on the film was initially expected to begin in late 2023,[1] reportedly in October,[35] before it was delayed by the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike and the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike.[36] In May 2023, Latif said he had not heard if he would be involved in the film but expressed interest in reprising his role.[37] In mid-October, after the Writers Guild strike had ended, Kurtzman said work on the film was underway again.[36] He announced the start of filming in January 2024, when additional cast members were revealed: Omari Hardwick, Kacey Rohl, Sam Richardson, Sven Ruygrok, Robert Kazinsky, Humberly Gonzalez, and James Hiroyuki Liao.[5] Rohl plays a young version of Rachel Garrett,[6] who was portrayed by Tricia O'Neil in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" where she is the captain of the USS Enterprise-C.[38] Sweeny said viewers would not need to recognise Garrett to enjoy the film, as he wanted there to be a "low barrier of entry" for new fans. He also discussed concerns about making a film focused on Section 31, acknowledging that the idea was "almost antagonistic to some of the values of Star Trek" but feeling that there was room in Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's vision for the franchise to have people who do not want to work together on the bridge of a Starfleet ship.[6]

Filming

Filming began at Pinewood Toronto Studios in Toronto, Canada, on January 29, 2024,[39][5] under the working title Dovercourt.[35] Pinewood Toronto Studios is where Discovery was produced,[39] and sets from that series were repurposed for the film.[6] Filming for Section 31 took place concurrently with production on the third season of Strange New Worlds at nearby CBS Stages Canada, and the two productions shared use of visual effects company Pixomondo's Toronto video wall stage for virtual production.[39] Glen Keenan returned from Discovery and Strange New Worlds as cinematographer for the film.[5][better source needed] Production on Section 31 was expected to take six weeks, ending on March 13;[39] Kazinsky announced the end of filming on March 21, and revealed that Joe Pingue, Miku Martineau, and Augusto Bitter were also part of the cast.[40]

Music

In January 2020, Discovery composer Jeff Russo expressed interest in also composing the score for Section 31, but said that may not be possible due to his workload and the large number of Star Trek series being produced around the same time. He suggested that he could oversee other composers for Section 31 and other series if Kurtzman asked him to.[41]

Release

Star Trek: Section 31 is expected to be released on the streaming service Paramount+ in the United States and all other countries where the service is available.[5]

Future

In March 2024, Yeoh said she was open to making a sequel if the first film was successful.[6]

References

  1. ^ a b c Otterson, Joe (April 18, 2023). "Paramount+ Greenlights 'Star Trek: Section 31' Film Starring Michelle Yeoh". Variety. Archived from the original on April 18, 2023. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Patten, Dominic (November 9, 2018). "'Crazy Rich Asians' Michelle Yeoh In Talks For 'Star Trek' Spinoff On CBS All Access". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 10, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Whalen, Andrew (April 17, 2019). "Michelle Yeoh on her Planet-Hopping Section 31 Series and Georgiou's Evolution in 'Star Trek: Discovery'". Newsweek. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Jacobs, Meredith (December 17, 2020). "'Star Trek: Discovery's Michelle Yeoh on Georgiou & Michael's 'Beautiful' Journey and Section 31". TV Insider. Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Petski, Denise (January 30, 2024). "Michelle Yeoh's 'Star Trek' Movie Adds 7 To Cast, Including Omari Hardwick, Kasey Rohl, Sam Richardson, As Production Begins". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 30, 2024. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  6. ^ a b c d e Vary, Adam B. (March 27, 2024). "The Future of 'Star Trek': From 'Starfleet Academy' to New Movies and Michelle Yeoh, How the 58-Year-Old Franchise Is Planning for the Next Generation of Fans". Variety. Archived from the original on March 27, 2024. Retrieved March 27, 2024.
  7. ^ a b Ulster, Laurie (January 18, 2019). "Interview: Alex Kurtzman And Heather Kadin Talk Picard, Georgiou, And How They'd Handle Star Trek Movies". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Pascale, Anthony (August 26, 2020). "Alex Kurtzman Says 'Section 31' Series Writers Building A "Very Surprising" Star Trek Show". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on August 27, 2020. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  9. ^ Otterson, Joe (June 19, 2018). "Alex Kurtzman Sets Five-Year CBS TV Studios Pact, Will Oversee Expanded 'Star Trek' Universe". Variety. Archived from the original on July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  10. ^ Otterson, Joe (January 14, 2019). "Michelle Yeoh Standalone 'Star Trek' Series in Development at CBS All Access". Variety. Archived from the original on January 15, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  11. ^ Lovett, Jamie (February 2, 2019). "'Star Trek: Discovery' Showrunner Hopes Section 31 Spinoff Will Premiere Right After Season 3". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Pascale, Anthony (March 26, 2019). "Interview: Alex Kurtzman On Future Of 'Star Trek: Discovery,' Section 31, 'Lower Decks' And More". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  13. ^ White, Peter (March 11, 2019). "CBS Execs Open Up About '90210' Reboot Honoring Luke Perry, Writer Deals And Michelle Yeoh 'Star Trek' Spin-Off – INTV". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  14. ^ Bloom, Mike (April 18, 2019). "How the 'Star Trek: Discovery' Finale Pulled Off the Franchise's Boldest Leap Yet". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  15. ^ Ordoña, Michael (May 9, 2019). "'Star Trek' was canceled 50 years ago. Now, the franchise is flying warp speed ahead". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  16. ^ "Trekkie Girls Chat to Shazad Latif About Returning in Section 31 Series". Trekkie Girls. July 31, 2019. Archived from the original on December 22, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  17. ^ Press, Joy (November 29, 2019). "The Star Trek TV Universe is CBS All Access' Secret Weapon. Will It Keep Expanding Infinitely?". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on December 2, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  18. ^ Hams, James (January 23, 2020). "Michelle Yeoh's Star Trek 'Spin-Off' Section 31 Moves Into Pre Production". Trek Sphere. Archived from the original on March 1, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Pitt, Alison (February 5, 2020). "Report: Star Trek: Section 31 to begin filming in May with Michelle Yeoh". Daily Star Trek News. Archived from the original on March 7, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  20. ^ a b c Kaya, Emre (January 22, 2020). "Exclusive: CBS All Access Spin-off Series 'Star Trek: Section 31' Will Begin Filming May 14th In Mississauga, Canada". Geeks WorldWide. Archived from the original on March 18, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  21. ^ Kaya, Emre (February 24, 2020). "Exclusive: 'Star Trek: Section 31' Lands Early Season 2 Renewal at CBS All Access". Geeks WorldWide. Archived from the original on February 26, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  22. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 13, 2020). "Disney Halts Production on Most Live-Action Films Including 'The Last Duel'". Variety. Archived from the original on March 14, 2020. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  23. ^ a b Pascale, Anthony (July 20, 2021). "Alex Kurtzman "Very Optimistic" About Star Trek Section 31 Series". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2021. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  24. ^ "'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 4 Writing Already Underway, 'Strange New Worlds' To Shoot In 2021". TrekMovie.com. August 12, 2020. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  25. ^ Pascale, Anthony (September 30, 2020). "Interview: Jonathan Frakes On 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds'; Hopes To Helm 'Short Treks' Musical". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  26. ^ Graham, Megan (September 15, 2020). "CBS All Access streaming service is getting a new name: Paramount+". CNBC. Archived from the original on September 17, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  27. ^ Britt, Ryan (December 17, 2020). "How Carl Sagan Inspired Star Trek: Discovery's Big Season 3 Twist". Inverse. Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  28. ^ a b Vary, Adam B. (February 24, 2021). "Inside the 'Star Trek' Universe of New Shows and Kids' Fare on Paramount Plus". Variety. Archived from the original on February 25, 2021. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  29. ^ Maas, Jennifer (February 1, 2022). "Five 'Star Trek' Shows Aren't Yet Peak Trek, Says Paramount Plus Exec". Variety. Archived from the original on February 2, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  30. ^ White, Peter; Patten, Dominic; Andreeva, Nellie (February 2, 2022). "'Starfleet Academy' Series In Works As Paramount+ Looks To Further Expand 'Star Trek' Universe". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 2, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  31. ^ Ulster, Laurie (May 2, 2022). "Interview: Alex Kurtzman On 'Section 31,' 'Academy,' And Expanding His Star Trek Universe Beyond Television". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  32. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (January 10, 2023). "Star Trek: Discovery Spinoff About Section 31, Starring Michelle Yeoh, Is Still in Development at Paramount+". TVLine. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  33. ^ Pascale, Anthony (March 24, 2023). "Alex Kurtzman Says Star Trek Announcements Coming Soon, Hints At Character-Focused Miniseries & Movies". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on March 25, 2023. Retrieved April 22, 2023.
  34. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 18, 2023). "Michelle Yeoh's 'Section 31' Is the Start of 'Star Trek' Phase 2 at Paramount+". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 18, 2023. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  35. ^ a b Pascale, Anthony (November 16, 2023). "'Star Trek: Section 31' Movie Reportedly Prepping For Production". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on November 16, 2023. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  36. ^ a b Ulster, Laurie (October 14, 2023). "Alex Kurtzman Gives 'Section 31' And 'Academy' Updates, Teases "Exciting" New Star Trek Projects". TrekMovie.com. Archived from the original on October 14, 2023. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  37. ^ "Shazad Latif Waiting To Hear About The 'Star Trek: Section 31' TV Movie". TrekMovie.com. May 8, 2023. Archived from the original on May 9, 2023. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  38. ^ "Catching Up With TNG's Capt. Garrett, Tricia O'Neil". StarTrek.com. July 25, 2023. Archived from the original on March 27, 2024. Retrieved March 27, 2024.
  39. ^ a b c d "Michelle Yeoh Talks Prepping For 'Star Trek: Section 31' Movie". TrekMovie.com. December 19, 2023. Archived from the original on December 20, 2023. Retrieved January 31, 2024.
  40. ^ "Filming On The 'Star Trek: Section 31' Streaming Movie Has Wrapped". TrekMovie.com. March 21, 2024. Archived from the original on March 22, 2024. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  41. ^ Schweiger, Daniel (January 24, 2020). "Interview with Jeff Russo". Film Music Magazine. Archived from the original on March 28, 2020. Retrieved March 28, 2020.