June 25 2024

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Kurtzman: Brother Sets Up Entire Season of Discovery

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Alex Kurtzman spoke with The Hollywood Reporter recently, explaining how Brother set up the rest of the second season of Discovery. Note: There are spoilers for last night’s episode.

First of all, the USS Discovery has a new captain. Pike, known to original series fans from The Menagerie and The Cage, was based on another actor who played Pike, according to Kurtzman. “I have Bruce Greenwood in my mind from my work on the J.J. Abrams movies,” he said. “Everybody thinks of Pike as a noble, just and kind captain. It felt right that in the wake of a captain like Lorca who was so manipulative and wreaked havoc on the ship, we needed a captain who was 180 degrees in the other direction. It felt like an interesting and different take, a new flavor for the show.”

Pike “sat out the war,” which has had an influence on him and which drives some of his actions this season. “We’re going to learn a lot more about that over the course of the season,” said Kurtzman. “He sat out the war because he was ordered to, and that created a big problem for him. He had to sit there and watch many of his friends and colleagues die, and feel entirely helpless in the process.

“He’s a captain who wants to make up for lost time, who wants to correct an error. It was hard for him to watch all these people die, and that’s a huge part of what drives him. If a character were to caution him to slow down, that would be very difficult for him. I think that’s where we will see him find tension with this crew. It’s not because he’s manipulating him; it’s because there may be a difference in procedure. As a captain, you have to make difficult decisions that may require allowing certain members of your crew to be at risk to save others. ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.'”

The title of the first episode of the season, Brother, refers to Spock, with whom Michael Burnham was raised. “The mystery of why Spock, who we’ve known for over fifty years, has never mentioned his sister, is huge,” said Kurtzman. “It felt like there was no way we were going to be able to answer that question in one or two episodes. It was easily going to be the substance of a whole season. This season is a deep-dive into that relationship and what went wrong, their history and where they’re headed. That excited me. It’s the unwritten chapter of how Spock became the character that we meet in the original series. We’ll come to understand that were it not for his relationship with Michael, many of the things we know and love about Spock may not have flowered in the way that they did.

“Spock looms so large in Burnham’s life. He’s been such a presence in his absence. I love the idea of watching Burnham’s relationship to Spock before we actually get to meet him. You see how much he means to her. This is a story about this deep connection between siblings. The fact that it’s so defined by absence, the fact they haven’t spoken to each other in so long, is compelling. We all wanted to put the audience in her shoes and feel her perspective and yearning for a character we wanted to get to know more about. Hopefully, it drives the mystery and whets your appetite to understand more about why they haven’t spoken.”

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