A Section 31 Star Trek show with Michelle Yeoh’s breakout Discovery character Emperor Philipa Georgiou has been rumbling about as a project almost since the earliest days of ViacomCBS’s heady plans for more Star Trek on screen than ever before. But as that plan unfolded, Section 31 somewhat appropriately slunk into the shadows, and it turns out it’s just been biding its time there.
Even as the setup for Section 31 slowly rolled out — mostly in Discovery’s third season jettisoning Yeoh into an unseen timeline, where she’d have to stay away from the crew she’d grown close to over the years — news about Section 31 seemed to slip away. Instead, Star Trek focused on new and previously announced upcoming projects like Picard, Strange New Worlds, Lower Decks, and Prodigy. The idea of the show happening any time soon, originally meant to begin production sometime after Discovery’s third season had wrapped, became less and less likely. But don’t count a secretive Federation spy organisation down for the count just because you’ve not heard about them lately.
According to TV Trek’s current head honcho, Alex Kurtzman, the show is trekking along just nicely, and the reason why it’s been quiet is perhaps not as much of a surprise as we should expect given the current state of the world. “We actually have a couple of [Section 31] scripts. Covid frankly, just changed the game for everybody and every show,” Kurtzman recently said on panel (via TrekMovie) about Discovery with the Producers Guild, alongside fellow co-producers Michelle Paradise, Heather Kadin, and Olatunde Osunsanmi. “We were on a very specific schedule that then got thrown completely into whack because of covid. Even Discovery season four started many months later than originally planned, Picard too. Everything got pushed… So we’re actually on a great track with Section 31 and I’m very optimistic about it.”
Part of the belief that Section 31 might have been scrapped or at the least heavily delayed is simply because of Yeoh’s own recent busy schedule, landing roles in everything from Gunpowder Milkshake to Marvel’s Shang-Chi, and her upcoming appearance in Netflix’s Witcher prequel series, Blood Origin. But it actually being down to Trek’s grander plans taking a knock in general because of how covid-19 has impacted, and continues to impact, production, is a relief to hear. Section 31 will, perhaps suitably, show up when we least expect it.