Bryan Fuller steps back from showrunner role on Star Trek: Discovery

One of the big selling points for the new Star Trek series Discovery was the addition of Bryan Fuller as showrunner—but now he's stepping down to a less intensive role with the show.

It's been confirmed (via Variety) that Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) will step down and pass on his duties to producers Alex Kurtzman, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts. The trio will divide the responsibilities, with Fuller still providing creative input as a producer. All three have worked with Fuller in the past, with Berg and Harberts previously holding creative roles on Pushing Daisies. They reportedly put this structure together as a way to ensure Fuller could at least remain involved with the series.

So why is Fuller taking a step back from Discovery? Because he has two other TV shows in active development, and it's hard to run a series when you're also creating two more. Fuller is also working on the ambitious Neil Gaiman adaptation American Gods at Starz, and helping kickstart a reboot of Amazing Stories at NBC.

Though the network is apparently pleased with the direction of the series, there's still some "internal stress" at CBS surrounding the upcast role of the female lead. The show will focus on a female first officer and the crew of the Discovery, something Fuller championed, and he will still be breaking the larger stories and direction of the series.

"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," CBS Television Studios said in a statement. "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."

It's obviously a disappointment for fans pumped to see Fuller get his hands on a Star Trek series, but it's encouraging he'll at least still be involved. It will be interesting to see how they manage to divide those responsibilities among so many people, though, without one person serving as a guiding hand. There's a lot of talent behind the scenes, and a lot of Star Trek fans hoping they can put it together.