Star Trek TV series reportedly set before the original

When CBS officially announced the new series Star Trek: Discovery, some Trekkies had mixed opinions of the boxy and decidedly non-modern U.S.S. Discovery. But showrunner Bryan Fuller recently revealed that the ship's design hides an important hint about the show's timeline.

Speaking to Ain't It Cool News, Fuller said, "There's a big clue in the number of the ship [NCC-1031] that indicates when we're set."

Fuller is likely referring to the unwritten Starfleet rule that starships are numbered sequentially over time. The original U.S.S. Enterprise is NCC-1701 and most starships seen in the Next Generation era have five-number registries (like the U.S.S. Defiant, which is NX-74205). Since the U.S.S. Discovery is NCC-1031, it would indicate that the new series will be set around the time of the original, but likely before it. Fuller also confirmed the show will be set in the Prime timeline of Star Trek – not the alternate version used in the movie reboots.

That opens the door for original cast members to play a part on Discovery, not the least of which could be Captain Kirk himself. When asked about appearing on the show, actor William Shatner said he's open to it, but only "If I were useful."

Shatner told TVGuide that he thought filmmakers of the reboot films underused the late Leonard Nimoy (who played Spock in the original franchise). "I said to him, 'You know you're old when you go back in time and you're still old.' It was a cameo, and I thought, 'That's a waste of time. He's so talented. Why didn't they do something more with him?"

Star Trek: Discovery premieres in January 2017.