Will the “Section 31” Spinoff Actually Happen? by Justin(e) Norton-Kertson

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In the Star Trek universe, Section 31 is basically the Federation’s version of the Romulan Tal Shiar, or the Cardassian Obsidian Order. They are CIA-esque secret military organizations that enact secret plots and coups. They carry out assassinations and engage in other illegal actions, all in the name of preserving and strengthening their respective empires.

We were all excited when news broke last year about a new, upcoming Star Trek series that was being referred to as Section 31. The idea of a show exploring the seedy underbelly of the utopian world of The Federation was enticing, to say the least. Even though the new show hadn’t been officially titled, the idea is that it would be a Discovery spinoff that follows Philippa Georgiou and her exploits as part of the secret and morally dubious Section 31. 

After rumors of the new show were confirmed over a year ago, longtime Star Trek producer Alex Kurtzman told Space.com that the new show was “…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.”

It sounded like the show was indeed “well on its way”. But whether or not the show will actually happen is now in doubt. Back in February, Kurtzman and Paramount+ programming chief Julie McNamara cast doubt on the show’s timing when they told Variety that any new Trek show would only move forward after at least one of the five concurrent Trek series ends.

Only three weeks ago, Star Trek writer and producer Akiva Goldsman was asked point blank in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter if the Section 31 spinoff was still going to happen. Goldsman’s answer was, “I don’t know. I believe so.” Nowhere near the certainty of Kurtzman’s excitement in early 2021 when the spinoff was first announced.

Now just this past week Shazad Latif—who plays Chief of Security Ash Tyler on Star Trek: Discovery and is supposed to be one of the crossover characters to Section 31—told Digital Spy that he basically didn’t know anything about the show’s progress except that other actors in the cast are currently busy filming other shows.

“It’s just been slight yeses, slight questions, but I’ve no idea. I think it’s down to people’s schedules,” Latif told Digital Spy in an exclusive interview.

More uncertainty. Is Latif just holding his cards close to his chest, or is he really that far into the dark when it comes to information about the new show? Given other recent statements about the show’s future, the latter seems more likely. If the actors involved in the production don’t even know what’s going on, that certainly could indicate that the future of the show is in jeopardy. On the other hand, things could have just been delayed and thrown off track by the COVID pandemic. Maybe they are all just waiting for scheduling to work out, and production will begin as soon as possible. Maybe.

There’s no doubt that we will know more in the future. That’s the only thing we really know for sure except that for now, the new Section 31 show seems to be delayed, or at best is only plodding along very slowly.

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