It's definitely a prequel, they've been courting everyone from Matt Damon to Sam Rockwell to play Kirk. Nimoy's cameoing as either Old Spock in a pre-credits sequence, of Sarek.
To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires, and lights, in a box.-Edward R. Murrow
So what are everybody's expectations a month before they give us some rope? I feel it would be hypocritical of me to not trust my preconceived notions and be on board with D.Harmon until proven otherwise. So I'm cautiously optimistically on board.