Trek Showrunners Give Big Updates About the ‘Section 31’ Spinoff

Michelle Yeoh as Phillipa Georgiou of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

Michael Gibson/CBS Michelle Yeoh as Phillipa Georgiou of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

A “Star Trek: Discovery” spin-off about the Starfleet black ops organization Section 31 has been in the works for over two years. The show is set to star Michelle Yeoh, who played Phillipa Georgiou in all three seasons of “Discovery.” CBS officially announced the series in 2019, but it’s faced several setbacks since then.

Earlier in 2021, “Star Trek” showrunner Alex Kurtzman hinted that the project had been put on the back burner. He told Variety that “Section 31” likely wouldn’t premiere until one of the current Trek shows finishes its run. However, just a few months ago, Yeoh and “Discovery” alum Shazad Latif said work on the show was still ongoing.

In a recent interview with the Producers Guild of America, Kurtzman and fellow showrunner Michelle Paradise confirmed that work on the show is currently happening.

‘Section 31’ Has Scripts

Kurtzman assured the hosts of the conversation that “Section 31” had not been lost in the shuffle, just delayed.

“We’re actually past our first script. We have a couple of scripts. And Covid frankly just changed the game for everybody and every show. We were on a very specific schedule that then got thrown completely out of whack because of Covid.”

He went on to say that all the live-action “Star Trek” shows experienced significant delays because of the pandemic. The only shows that weren’t impacted were “Star Trek: Lower Decks” and “Star Trek: Prodigy” because they’re animated.

“We’re actually on a great track, I think, with ‘Section 31’ and I’m very optimistic about it.”

So, work on “Section 31” is plugging along, but there’s still a lot to be done before production can begin.

Setting Up Georgiou for ‘Section 31’

Kurtzman said that the team behind “Discovery” gave a lot of thought to how the show’s third season would set up the premiere of “Section 31.” He said it was very important to them to wrap up Georgiou’s storylines in the “Discovery” universe in a way that tied into the spinoff.

“It’s obviously no secret that we’ve been working on Michelle’s spinoff show for ‘Section 31.’ So, the big question was how to do it in an organic way, how to do it in a way that paid off the relationship arc that was set up from the beginning. It’s no accident that “Discovery,” in the pilot they’re walking through the desert, and in their final episode they’re walking through the snow in a visual echo of what we did in the premiere… In knowing that we were going to bring Michelle into ‘Section 31,’ we needed to give her an appropriate goodbye that tied up a lot of the story threads that we set up from the premiere of season one.”

Kurtzman also hinted that Georgiou’s bad behavior from the Terran universe would follow her to the “Section 31” spinoff.

“Georgiou has really never confronted in an honest way the consequences of her choices as a Terran. And the closer that she gets to the crew of Discovery, with whom she’s very bonded and does not want to say so, the more she is forced to reckon with those choices.”

Paradise jumped in, saying that it was a very conscious choice to have Georgiou learn and grow in the third season.

“Taking her back to where she began was the best way to show how much she’s grown with our heroes on Discovery. When we meet her, she’s not at all thrilled to be brought over into this world. Along seasons one and two, we see her bumping up against our crew, up against Burnham. This season, in particular, there are places along the way where we very specifically tried to highlight… you’re not my Michael, you’re not my Georgiou… For Georgiou, in particular, she had this idea of her Burnham as the perfect Burnham for her. So, to take her back to a place where she would have to actually see that Burnham and engage with that Burnham, and see who she is now in that world. And that that world is now something that no longer fits, that she has changed. It felt to us like that was the best way to show that change was to see that through her own eyes.”

Paradise ended by saying that it was “tough” to say goodbye to Yeoh because she was so wonderful to work with.

“Discovery” set up a plethora of storylines for the “Section 31” spinoff to work with. Hopefully, fans will get to see that pay off when the show finally premieres.

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