Hanelle Culpepper is going where no woman has gone before. Culpepper will direct the opening two episodes of the upcoming untitled Star Trek/Jean-Luc Picard series from CBS All Access, making her the first female director to launch a new Star Trek series in the franchise’s 53-year history.
To date, Culpepper has directed two Star Trek: Discovery episodes, season one’s “Vaulting Ambition” and the upcoming tenth episode of season two. One of the top episodic directors working today, she most recently directed multiple episodes of Counterpart and Shooter, as well as AMC’s forthcoming show, NOS4A2. Her many other credits include How to Get Away with Murder, Gotham, Criminal Minds, and American Crime. Culpepper got her start by assisting Academy Award-winning screenwriter Callie Khouri on her directorial debut, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. She followed that experience by participating in AFI's Directing Workshop for Women, where she quickly found her vision and voice behind the camera.
“Hanelle is a gifted and dynamic filmmaker whose directorial choices are always deeply rooted in character,” said Alex Kurtzman, Discovery’s co-creator, executive producer and showrunner. “I’ve been a 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.”
The new, untitled Star Trek series will feature Sir 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 this iconic character in the next chapter of his life and will air exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States. The series will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, James Duff, Heather Kadin, Akiva Goldsman, Aaron Baiers, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers.