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Section 31 Officially Gets Its Own Series

The secretive part of Starfleet, Section 31 becomes slightly more public with the announcement of a show being worked on regarding the secret organisation.

By Silek Fri 07 Feb, 2020 10:09 AM - Last Updated: Wed 26 Feb, 2020 7:05 PM
Unconfirmed reports of a Star Trek Discovery Series spin-off started making the rounds in November of 2018 when Deadline reported Michelle Yeoh was in talks to reprise her Star Trek Discovery role of Captain Emperor Georgiou for a stand-alone CBS All Access series. It was a short leap to assume this might centre around Starfleet's semi-secretive and autonomous Section 31, as Yeoh's Captain Emperor Georgiou was already confirmed to return to Discovery's second season, and that it would most likely centre around her involvement in it.

CBS's All Access was launched under the shadow of several high profile, market penetrating streaming services, but had at it's beating heart, the Star Trek Universe. It wasn't afraid to build it's new service around the foundation of everything Trek, with CBS Television Studio President David Stapf making this point by saying, “My goal is that there should be a Star Trek something on all the time on All Access.”

It was clear in 2018 that the intention to expand the Star Trek Universe was not only real, but a priority for CBS All Access. If approved, the Michelle Yeoh vehicle would join Discovery, as well as the untitled Picard series, along with the announced animated comedy Star Trek: Below Decks, and Star Trek: Short Treks, already airing.

In March of 2019, CBS executives David Stapf, Julie McNamara and Deborah Barak held a panel on “The Power of Programming in a Multi-Platform Universe” at the Innovative TV Conference in Israel. Among the many things concerning CBS and CBS All Access, the topic of Section 31 inevitably came up to which Stapf said, “It’s a good couple of years away.”

It wasn't until January of 2019 that CBS announced that “a new live-action series was in development for CBS All Access starring Michelle Yeoh, and will expand on Yeoh’s current role as a member of Starfleet’s Section 31 division.” Along with that, it was released that it would be produced by CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment, with Star Trek 'Head of Everything', Alex Kurtzman, Rod Roddenberry, Heather Kadin, and Trevor Roth serving as Executive Producers. Also attached to the project were co-executive producers Bo Yeon Kim, Aaron Baiers and Erika Lippoldt, who will also be writing the episodes. Kurtzman announced that Kim and Lippoldt will serve as showrunners and went on to say, “Michelle has shattered ceilings, broken boundaries, and astonished us with her grace and gravitas for decades. As a human, I adore her. As an actor, I revere her. Erika and Boey are remarkable, exciting writers who bring a fresh perspective to the world of ‘Star Trek,’ and we’re all thrilled to explore the next wild chapter in the life of Captain Philippa Georgiou.”

Yeoh continued the building excitement saying “I’m so excited to continue telling these rich ‘Star Trek’ stories. Being a part of this universe and this character specifically has been such a joy for me to play. I can’t wait to see where it all goes – certainly, I believe it will go ‘where no WOMAN has ever gone before!’”

At the January 2020 Hollywood Premier of Star Trek: Picard, just over a month ago, Kurtzman was peppered with questions about Section 31 spin-off, to which he replied, "It's well on its way, I can tell you that. And Erika [Lippoldt] and Bo Yeon [Kim] have written a great script and we have a writers' room, and it's exciting."

When asked how far they were from casting, he said, "I think that's going to be happening soon."

Following the Star Trek: Picard Premier, GWW (The Geeks Worldwide) reported that filming was set to start in Canada on May 4, 2020 with a scheduled shoot of seven months. If the production schedules of Discovery and Picard are any guide, this could mean a potential air date in the first quarter of 2021. This followed some rumors of an earlier shooting schedule, but was possibly pushed back to accommodate Yeoh's scheduled shoot of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for Marvel Studios.

With the resurgence of Section 31 in Discovery, some fans have been going back into the different series to reacquaint themselves with the department's history and it's beginnings. For the more casual fan, here is a brief description of Section 31, and where it fits into the Star Trek canon.

Section 31 was first introduced in Deep Space 9, Season 6 Episode 18, The Inquisition, as an autonomous intelligence and defence organization created by Starfleet Charter: Article 14, Section 31. The article, according to agents, allowed for extraordinary measures to be taken in times of extreme threat. Such measures included malicious sabotage of enemy installations and technology, biological warfare, and preemptive assassination.

When first seen, we are told that Section 31 has existed since before the inception of Starfleet and relies heavily on it's secrecy and ability to work in the shadows. It was considered to be, in the 23rd century, an integral and integrated part of Starfleet protecting the Federation and providing preemptive security. By the time we confronted with it in the 24th century, it has devolved into an ultra-secret, corrupt and autonomous organization either disavowed or even unsanctioned by any official Starfleet standards.

It has been said that this addition to canon was meant as a balance to the utopia that Star Trek had existed in, and has been a point of contention for many fans who felt this betrayed Roddenberry's creation of a society that could flourish on the ideals of doing what was right, even when it was difficult. Writer David Weddle said that while many felt this was the wrong type of element to bring into the canon, "Fans would get into these long ethical and political arguments, really struggling with issues like that, which was great to see." Writer Ronald Moore replied to these criticisms saying, "The idea that there's a rogue element within the Federation doing dark deeds outside the normal chain of command is certainly a provocative one."

While we may have been first introduced to Section 31 in Deep Space 9, we find that their presence has been felt from all the way back to The Original Series through not only the television series and movies, but also through the books and comics.

What did you think of this article? Are you excited by a show about Section 31? Let us know!

EDITED BY Infinity
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 1:32 PM
Well done! I'll write my first article as soon as I finished my homework today 😅😄
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 2:23 PM
Nice article. Well done!

I’m looking forward to this as I really like Yeoh and I think the character is a good bit of fun to play around with.
Personally the idea of a secret group having to do all the dirty tasks under the surface to keep the fancy rose tinted Federation utopia running is a rather cool concept.
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 2:37 PM
Yeah that's a great article there Smile I also think it'll be great to see more of Empress Georgeiou in the new show, she was definitely one of the best parts of Disco Season 2 (IMHO)
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 2:41 PM
Anything with Michelle Yeoh is a plus for me Smile
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 3:30 PM
Section 31 has always been one of my favorite plot lines. Seeing it brought back in Discovery made me excited as to where they might take it.
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 5:53 PM
I'm very excited to see this also I'm a big fan of the section 31 Intel science destroyer in STO so this makes this even better Smile

Also as a side note, I would like to see a S31 Reputation added.
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 8:02 PM
Nice, a show on the dark side of the Federation, look forward to it! Great job on the article Silek! Cool
Fri 07 Feb, 2020 11:05 PM
This means only one thing....
... incoming S31 gear and ships for STO! ! ! !
Sat 08 Feb, 2020 6:24 AM
Section 31 has always been one of my favorite plot lines. Seeing it brought back in Discovery made me excited as to where they might take it.
I will totally agree; all that mystery veil that surrounds about S31 is intriguing.
Sat 08 Feb, 2020 6:29 AM
This means only one thing....
... incoming S31 gear and ships for STO! ! ! !
Absolutely I cant wait to see what they bring thou I think it is easier to do a full Reputation with how many intel ships there is right now.
Tue 11 Feb, 2020 10:24 PM
I’d love this! Certainly make for some different Star Trek lore!
Wed 12 Feb, 2020 12:45 PM
More Georgio is nice, so I'll be watching for this, but I still want to know how the hell this is going to work. From the time she was brought back to the prime universe from the mirror universe to her being on the Discovery for the events of season 2, there can't have been more than a few weeks, so I don't get when or how they are going to fit a series in unless it's a 24 style thing that only covers like one mission in excruciating detail. Unless they are doing a post time jump series, which seems a meh choice.
Thu 13 Feb, 2020 11:33 AM
Oh wow another dark and gritty Star Trek show. *yawn*
Thu 13 Feb, 2020 3:54 PM
I'm really looking forward to it. I've loved both Discovery and Picard so far so I'm willing to dive head first into any new trek.
Thu 13 Feb, 2020 3:59 PM
Wait a second, wasn't Georgiou on DIscovery when it jumped forward in time or did I miss something?
Thu 13 Feb, 2020 4:31 PM
Wait a second, wasn't Georgiou on DIscovery when it jumped forward in time or did I miss something?
You are correct sir!

I can't help but wonder if these announcements of Section 31, season 2 of Picard, and season 4 of Discovery are like the announcement(s) of Star Trek 4...hype announcements by Secret Hideout to draw viewers and investors. With a new CBS All Access-Viacom streaming service in the works, I wonder if CBS-Viacom won't take the opportunity to reboot Star Trek all together, 100% under the official license, and drop Secret HIdeout/ Bad Robot. I won't believe anything until I see it in production. Star Trek 4 taught me that lesson!