Nerdist hosted a lively panel called “Nerdist TV: The Boundary Pushers” with Bryan Fuller, late of Hannibal, and currently of hotly-anticipated Star Trek, and American Gods, his American Gods co-showrunner Michael Green, and Doctor Who and Sherlock‘s Steven Moffat. Moderator Alicia Lutes lead what sounds like a merry panel, and over the course of the conversation, Fuller dropped hints that Hannibal may be back sooner than we thought, and… asked Steven Moffat to write for Star Trek?!?
One of the writers for the Three Patch Podcast, Twitterer @HeadCumbernerd was in attendance, and was cool-headed enough to livetweet some of the panel, so we’ve reformatted some of those tweets for easier reading:
Lutes asked Moffat how he “writes clever television and allows the audience to keep up” and Moffat replied, “They’re often ahead of you.” He also said that the third episode of Sherlock’s upcoming Series Four, which he co-wrote with Mark Gatiss, is “insane wish fulfillment” and they “lost their minds” – so we can’t wait to see what that means! (The Sherlock fandom on Tumblr has paired this with another statement Moffat made during the panel describing writing gay characters as something that should be done “softly, gently” and is taking it as confirmation that Sherlock and Watson will finally just admit they’re a couple.)
Moffat also said that “sometimes the best writing I’ve done is writing from the opposite point of view as my own.”
And Bryan Fuller, always ready to turn his adorableness up to 11, said: “it’s fun to create characters and place a horcrux of yourself in them.”
Another SDCC attendee, Caela, shared a few quotes from Fuller about Hannibal. When Lutes told Fuller she “wanted to see more Hannigram in forty years” Fuller apparently replied, “Mmm, how about two years?”
So, does this mean what we hope it means? Are we getting our beloved Murder Husbands back sooner rather than later?
Fuller also corrected Lutes, who referred to the duo as “Hannibal and Will”, by referring to them as Hannigram, the popular ‘ship name. He went on to say that “he LOVES Hannigram fanfic and fanart, and considers fan writers/artists his equals and peers.”
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) July 22, 2016
Probably the single most exciting moment of the panel, however, was reported by @HeadCumbernerd again, and we’ll just quote it here for you:
Is this… could this be a thing? Could Star Trek and Doctor Who once again unite? Or at least, could Moffat contribute some scripts as Star Trek returns to television?
At the moment Moffat is sprinting full speed ahead towards the end of production on his final season of Doctor Who (and perhaps Sherlock as well, considering the tone of his earlier statements in this panel), so his schedule will clear just as Bryan Fuller’s new Star Trek show will be looking towards its second season.
Truthfully, Moffat writing Star Trek is something we haven’t considered before, since his identity as a writer is so deeply enmeshed within Doctor Who and Sherlock.
But it’s an interesting idea. There are a few things that Moffat is known for that could easily enliven Trek:
Complex Time Travel Stories – Many of the Star Trek franchise’s best stories spring from the utilization of time travel–“City at the Edge of Forever”, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, “Parallels”, “All Good Things”, Star Trek: First Contact, “The Visitor”, “Trials and Tribble-ations”, “Year of Hell”, “Gravity”. Hell, Star Trek: Voyager would have never ended without it!
Moffat’s best episode for Doctor Who add a precision and complexity to time travel stories that really push the boundaries on the paradoxical mechanics of time travel, while anchoring them firmly within the everyday drama of a human life. “The Girl in the Fireplace”, “Blink”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Listen”, “Heaven Sent” all represent hugely complex time travel plots simplified down into charming and tragic character stories. Post-Doctor Who, Fuller’s Star Trek could give Moffat the opportunity to write those episodes without the added stress of being a showrunner and having to pay service to plot arcs, just like Moffat did during the Russell T. Davies’s run of Doctor Who.
Idea Salad – Moffat loves combining huge concepts into a single story and seeing what emerges. When he does it well he does it VERY well, like in “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”, a two-part episodes that combines a planet-sized library, spacesuits that create digital shadows of your consciousness, shadows that eat everything, cyberspace afterlives, and a couple experiencing their romance backwards into an exciting, and surprisingly coherent, tale about a man experiencing the emotional consequences of his future choices. When the episodes conclude, you very much feel as if you’ve experienced something unique and alien, and that these ideas and worlds live on after you’re done, which is what the very best science fiction strives to do.
Of course, when Moffat doesn’t do this well, it’s almost entirely unwatchable, like “The Wedding of River Song” or “The Angels Take Manhattan.” What’s notable about those episodes, however, is that they are essentially forced into existence by the demands of a season-long plot arc. It is doubtful that Fuller’s Star Trek would demand that from Moffat!
Sharply Funny Dialogue – Star Trek could be funny, but it tended to do so inadvertently, tumbling backwards into a “Shut up, Wesley!” or a “Nuclear wessels”. Doctor Who, on the other hand, is defiantly funny. Even if the plot of an episode fell flat, you could still rely on the Doctor or a supporting actor (or even a Dalek) getting in a few zingers to make the episode worthwhile. New Trek probably doesn’t need this, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt!