My head is still processing the brutal season 7 opener of The Walking Dead which put me into a suspended state of “All is lost.” And, now, making things worse,  there is breaking news that Bryan Fuller has stepped down as Showrunner for Star Trek: Discovery. My brain feels like it metaphorically just received the final swing from Negan’s Lucille.

Here’s what we know as reported by Variety. Bryan Fuller has stepped down as showrunner for the much anticipated return of Star Trek to television. Fuller will remain on board as Executive Producer. Fuller’s growing plate of responsibilities seems to be the official reason for the shake up. He is currently finishing up production on Starz American Gods and is also helming the comeback of Amazing Stories for NBC. 

CBS Television Studios made this statement: “We are extremely happy with the creative direction of Star Trek: Discovery and the strong foundation that Bryan Fuller has helped us create for the series. Due to Bryan’s other projects, he is no longer able to oversee the day-to-day of Star Trek, but he remains an executive producer, and will continue to map out the story arc for the entire season. Alex Kurtzman, co-creator and executive producer, along with Fuller’s producing partners and longtime collaborators, Gretchen Berg & Aaron Harberts, will also continue to oversee the show with the existing writing and producing team. Bryan is a brilliant creative talent and passionate Star Trek fan, who has helped us chart an exciting course for the series. We are all committed to seeing this vision through and look forward to premiering Star Trek: Discovery this coming May 2017.”

For massive Trekkies and genre fans like myself, this is somewhat disturbing news. Fullerites have been excited to see how he would steer the the ship. After all, Fuller is the brains behind Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, Heroes and let’s not forget he wrote for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.  When it was announced that he would be showrunning Star Trek’s return to the small screen the motto that resonated was “In Fuller We Trust.”

ST:D (yes, that is a Fuller-approved acronym) has been plagued with issues as of late. It was due to premiere this upcoming January and was pushed back to May leaving many speculating about issues with the project. More troubling is that the lead, a female lieutenant according to Fuller, hasn’t even been cast yet.

The delay until May had many wondering how this would affect CBS All Access, the streaming service that would be the home of Star Trek: Discovery. Surely they would be losing prospective subscriptions with the five month delay. Also, Netflix bought the international distribution rights for ST:D and that deal effectively paid for the entire first season.

So, the official skinny is Fuller’s plate is too full and he is stepping down as Showrunner but will remain as an EP. Alex Kurtzman and Fuller’s partners, Gretchen Berg & Aaron Harberts will be working together now on the running of the show. We know that Fuller wrote the first two episodes and is largely responsible for the entire arc of the first season. Fuller sent out this Star Trek soaked tweet about Berg and Harberts, which is an awesome tweet giving much kudos to his partners!


Unofficially, we may never know what happened. The statement from CBS Television Studios sounds a lot like they asked him to step down. Maybe it was amicable. It’s possible that the addition of Netflix to the equation added even more urgency. This is pure speculation though.

The loss of Bryan Fuller is immense. He is an incredibly creative writer, producer and showrunner but he is also the best cheerleader for ST:D that anyone could have hoped for. It’s unknown if he will continue to be the public face of ST:D but we can only hope. There are so many producers and writers (like Kurtzman) involved in this project who have a definite love for the franchise, so let’s stay positive and look to the future. That future being May 2017!


Audrey Kearns