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Star Trek: Short Treks on CBS All Access to start this fall

Discovery's Harry Mudd, Saru and Tilly will star in Star Trek short films set to delve into their backstories.

Not every voyage needs to be a full episode long. CBS's streaming show Star Trek: Discovery will explore some strange new backstories with a series of four shorts called Star Trek: Short Treks. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company.)

The standalone Short Treks, each running 10 to 15 minutes long, will debut on the streaming service starting on Oct. 4, CBS announced on Thursday. 

While Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is the star of the main show, the shorts will focus on members of the supporting cast. Rainn Wilson will return as space-faring conman Harry Mudd and will also direct the short. 

Wilson teased Thursday's announcement over the weekend by tweeting a photo of himself with two green-skinned Orion aliens.

Another short will feature Saru (Doug Jones). He plays the first Kelpien in Starfleet and we can expect to learn more about how an alien who was a prey species on his home planet came to be on a spaceship. CBS All Access also teased a dive into Cadet Sylvia Tilly's (Mary Wiseman) life and her "journey aboard the USS Discovery and her friendship with an unlikely partner."

A fourth short will introduce a man named Craft (Aldis Hodge) who's the only human on a deserted ship.

The Tilly short, titled Runaway, will debut on Oct. 4. It will be followed by Calypso (featuring Craft) on Nov. 8, The Brightest Star (with Saru) on Dec. 6, and The Escape Artist (with Harry Mudd) on Jan. 3.

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The original announcement of the shorts came during a Star Trek: Discovery panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego earlier this year.   

Alex Kurtzman, Discovery co-creator and executive producer, said the shorts will have closed-ended stories, but will reveal clues about what's to come in future episodes of the main show. So far, we have confirmation that Spock, originally played by Leonard Nimoy, will appear in the new season.

Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery is scheduled to stream on CBS All Access in 2019.

First published July 20.
Update, Sept. 20, 12:02 p.m. PT: Adds Oct. 4 debut date.