Bryan Fuller's Star Trek Discovery Mirror Universe

Bryan Fuller kicked off Star Trek Discovery with a bang, but unfortunately left before the show’s second season. The executive producer’s departure was at first blamed on the time he needed to spend working on the Starz series American Gods. But before that, there were reportedly budgetary restraints resulting in creative clashing during the writing phase. That means fans only got so much of Fuller’s vision for this new era of adventures in the final frontier. But thanks to a recent interview, we have details on what Fuller would have done with the Mirror Universe on the series, which would have been drastically different from what ended up happening.

Bryan Fuller was a special guest for the 400th episode of Robert Meyer Burnett’s web series Robservations (via Trek Movie), and the 90-minute conversation eventually turned to Star Trek Discovery. During the discussion, Fuller talked about how his approach to the Mirror Universe would have gone in a bit of a different direction than what fans might have expected and what was ultimately used on the show. Fuller explained:

“The thing that really fascinated me in sitting down and crafting the story for Discovery was the human condition. I thought that there are elements in the Mirror Universe that we have seen that have sort of boiled to the broadest ends of the spectrum and everything felt really binary. And what I really wanted to do in setting out was looking at the minutiae of simple decisions that have a cascade effect on our lives. So, it’s not about gold lamé sashes and goatees versus no sash and clean-shaven. It is more about we are at forks in the road every moment of our lives and we either go left or right.”

So instead of giving us a simply evil version of the Star Trek universe, we would have gotten something more complex that really digs into how the decisions we make can effect everything around us in significant ways. Always the consummate nerd, Fuller referenced another Star Trek episode when explaining how he would have handled the Mirror Universe:

“It makes me think of Joe Menosky’s speech in [the Star Trek: Voyager episode] ‘Latent Image.’ The Doctor has a Sophie’s Choice, he can only save one life. And he chose Ensign Harry Kim versus this other ensign and it is a split-decision, and it causes his entire program to unravel because he can’t handle how his choice was always going to cost a life. It was his Kobayashi Maru. So, there was something in the mistakes made by Burnham in ‘Battle of the Binary Stars’ that had this ripple, but the Mirror Universe was always meant to be an exploration of a small step in a different direction.”

Fuller admits that his Mirror Universe wasn’t exactly on par with what Star Trek had done previously with the alternate reality. But because of that, it sounds even more compelling. Fuller elaborated:

“It wasn’t necessarily the Mirror Universe we know from all of the other series. It was something that was closer to our timeline and experience, so you can still recognize the human being and go, ‘What did I do? How did that seem like a good decision for me in that moment and how do I continue with my life forward?’ And everything was a sort of an extrapolation out on that. So, there were things that I wanted the Mirror Universe to function in a narrative exploration of like ‘Oh fuck, if I just didn’t do that one thing, everything would be better,’ as opposed to, ‘I don’t recognize that person, I don’t know who that person is, because they are a diametric opposite of who I am.'”

This take would have given the Mirror Universe in Star Trek Discovery more than evil Starfleet members with golden uniforms and new haircuts who are just complete assholes, something that made the premise pretty disappointing this time around. At least the original series, as campy as it was, gave us a terrifying version of Spock, even if that goatee wasn’t doing him any favors. It’s a shame Bryan Fuller is cursed with creative clashes on all of his TV shows, because it might have been nice to see where he took Discovery as the show continued.

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