Deadline is reporting that Hanelle Culpepper will direct the first two episodes of the upcoming untitled Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard series, making her the first woman to direct a pilot or debut episode of a Starfleet series in the franchise’s 53-year history. All 13 feature films in the Trek universe have also been directed by men.
Culpepper has directed two episodes of Star Trek Discovery on CBS All-Access. She helmed the episode titled Vaulting Ambition in Season One as well as an upcoming episode in Season Two, now underway on the subscription streaming site.
The as-yet-untitled Star Trek series features Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard, which he played for seven seasons on Star Trek: Next Generation. The new series will follow the iconic character into the next chapter of his life and will air exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States with concurrent international distribution by CBS Studios International.
Culpepper most recently directed multiple episodes of Counterpart on Starz and episodes of Shooter for USA, in addition to the upcoming NOS4A2 for AMC. Culpepper has also worked on major network shows including How to Get Away with Murder, Gotham, Criminal Minds and the award-winning American Crime. Culpepper got her start on the directing track by assisting Academy Award-winning screenwriter Callie Khouri on her directorial debut, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Culpepper also participated in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women.
Showrunner Alex Kurtzman said Culpepper is ideal Starfleet material: “Hanelle is a gifted and dynamic filmmaker whose directorial choices are always deeply rooted in character. I’ve been a huge fan of her work since she started with us on Discovery, and she’s the perfect person to re-introduce the beloved character of Picard to longtime fans and new viewers alike. We’re thrilled she’s joining our Trek family on this next adventure.”