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EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Invites “Star Trek Beyond” Fan Creator to Pitch TV Series

Uncharted_cover

TrekMovie has learned that Michael Gummelt, owner of www.StarTrekUncharted.com (formerly www.StarTrekBeyond.com) and creator of the fan concept of the same name has been invited by Paramount to pitch his idea for a new Star Trek television series to the network, an unprecedented opportunity rarely (if ever) afforded to non-industry professionals. The concept, now titled Star Trek Uncharted, has been in the works for 20 years and takes place several decades after the time of Captain Kirk and the original Enterprise.

A fan pitch makes it to the Paramount execs
Many fan creators, writers, artists, and the like dream of one day actually sitting down with a big network and pitching their idea. It’s the first step that’s needed to turn an idea for a show or movie into a reality. But production companies don’t traditionally take unsolicited ideas from its fans or they’d spend all their time reading half-baked treatments, many of which would probably only appeal to a very small fragment of the fan community.

Well, this time it’s different! For some reason, the powers that be have agreed to listen to Michael Gummelt as he pitches his idea for a new Star Trek series, Star Trek Uncharted. Gummelt penned an essay for TrekMovie on why now is the time for Trek to return to TV and why Star Trek Uncharted is the series to do that. He has also extensively detailed the concept on his website, www.StarTrekUncharted.com. TrekMovie got a chance to ask Gummelt about the unique opportunity.

“I can now officially announce that I do, indeed, have an invitation to come pitch Star Trek Uncharted at Paramount this summer! As far as I know, this is the first time a fan (not an established industry insider) has been invited to pitch a Star Trek TV series. This is, obviously, extremely exciting and I’m doing my best to get support for it from industry professionals. One of my concept cast members has read the script and expressed interest in supporting it, which is fantastic!”

TrekMovie.com:
As far as we know, Paramount has never listened to a fan pitch before. Why you? What makes your concept so special that you were able to get your foot in the door?

Gummelt:

I think when the rumors of the naming coincidence came out, Paramount saw my website and the passion I had for Star Trek and the idea of it returning to TV, and for my specific concept. I think they felt I would gladly jump at an opportunity to come in and pitch it… which, of course, I did! I’m not under any illusions about my chances (and I realize CBS has the rights to produce any new Star Trek TV series), but it’s a chance of a lifetime and I have nothing to lose. I have a great job and a great life, so why not take the chance? I was a film school student before getting my job at Raven Software. I literally just emptied my dorm room into my car and just left my classes (and my TA job) to go to Raven. Getting to write Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force was a fantastic opportunity I never expected to get. And now, having been an aspiring filmmaker and lifelong Trek and sci-fi fan, this pitch opportunity is a dream come true. So I plan on making the most of this opportunity!

TrekMovie:
Is the story set in the prime or neu-Trek universe? Will there be any crossover with the film franchise, a la Marvel’s cinematic universe?

Gummelt:

This concept has gone through a lot of different incarnations over the past 20 years since I first started working on it. But the way I look at it now is: it should, first and foremost, be a show that can stand on its own. It shouldn’t rely too heavily on any deep, intimate knowledge of every past Trek show and movie. It would be very tempting to put in all sorts of references and trivia that only fans like me would get. But for Trek to return to TV after so long, it needs to be reinvented for a new generation. Not a reboot, that’s already being done in the movies. What I want for this series is for it to be the future – a Star Trek TV series that feels modern and feels futuristic relative to our current times. So, as I see it, “Star Trek Uncharted” is set sometime in the future, distant enough that it doesn’t really matter which universe it takes place in. It’s universe-agnostic. In my fantasy world where the series actually gets made, it would need to establish itself as its own show, with its own identity. Only once it’s accomplished that would it need to establish its place in the lore. In any case, I imagine it would be up to Paramount, CBS and Bad Robot to decide if they wanted to use it as a “shared universe” show along the lines of Agents of SHIELD.

TrekMovie:
Why have you changed the name from Star Trek Beyond to Star Trek Uncharted?

Gummelt:

Well, I loved the title “Star Trek Beyond” and what that evoked in terms of the mission of both the show and the Enterprise, itself. That’s why I picked that name out of the hundred name ideas I had back when I wrote all this up last year. But when the rumors came out that Paramount might name the next movie the same thing, I knew I would need to change it to avoid confusion. I went back to my list and one of them just really jumped out at me that I hadn’t really given much serious thought to. “Star Trek Uncharted” really gets at the essential mission of the new Enterprise – to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. to boldly go, and so on. To bring back that frontier “wagon train to the stars” spirit of the original series. A real journey into the unknown. But I also think it describes well the goal of the show: to bring Trek back to TV in a way it’s never been done (as a modern, premium cable format series with a modern dramatic structure) and to touch on current themes, sociopolitical topics and new sci-fi ideas that Trek hasn’t been able to address for the past 10 years. My vision for the series would be to take Star Trek into uncharted waters in several different ways.

Editor’s note: The meeting between Paramount and Gummelt was confirmed by trusted sources before this article was published. These sources have given us good information in the past, and so we at TrekMovie trust the reliability and veracity of their information.



 

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Lt. Bailey
June 18, 2015 11:48 am

Not a bad idea.

Harry Ballz
June 18, 2015 11:49 am

What an opportunity!

smike
June 18, 2015 11:57 am

Way to go… make this happen! We NEED a new Trek show ASAP…

SkiesSeven
June 18, 2015 11:59 am

Congrats Michael! We all hope the suits are serious about bringing Star Trek back to TV.

Emperor Mike of the Terran Empire
June 18, 2015 12:00 pm

Well. Let’s wait and see. He may have a great idea. Or a really bad one/

ML31
June 18, 2015 12:04 pm

We all want Trek back on TV. And this sounds like as good a concept as any. Really hope something can get worked out.

Just PLEASE…. Do NOT put it on premium cable. Cheapskates like me do not want to pay of HBO/Showtime. It’s already hard enough avoiding Game of Thrones info as I’m forced to watch a year after the show airs.

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 12:11 pm

Way, to use your negotiating skills to get what you wanted, a shot, Michael!
Congratulations.

KennyB
June 18, 2015 12:13 pm

Why do I feel like this was a wheel and deal to get the rights to the “beyond” domains? I hope they give him a real chance and it’s a great pitch. Just don’t trust the studio. Hope he has a great agent/representation too.

Oscar
June 18, 2015 12:15 pm

I have better. I really do. I read his synopsis and although it contained some good stuff. It lacked the factor of uniqueness and the ability to make it a hit unlike my work.

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 12:17 pm

What really cracks me up is that contrary to certain “broad” pronouncements made by a certain someone about Paramount grabbing the site as a certain glitch would enable them:

http://www.startrekbeyond.com/

Still is showing Michael Gummelt’s original pitch.

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 12:30 pm

#8. KennyB – June 18, 2015

Given Hollywood, it’s a possibility to consider but if Paramount was really ready to pounce as had been intimated by another then why haven’t their “Beyond” page appeared the minute they got it?

BatlethInTheGroin
June 18, 2015 12:37 pm

I applaud Michael and wish him luck. But this is never going to happen. It’s just not that good a concept, and the website is SO amateurish.

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 12:38 pm

#8. KennyB – June 18, 2015

Given Hollywood, it’s a possibility to consider but if Paramount was really ready to pounce as had been intimated by another then why haven’t their “Beyond” page appeared the minute they got it?

And if Paramount’s considering a Trek series pitch where are they planning to exhibit it? One has to assume CBS’ rights means no OTA networks except possibly CBS itself are going to get a shot at this so they must be thinking streaming content?

Prodigal Son
June 18, 2015 12:47 pm

@ Disinvited

See — he changed the URL. And low and behold, Paramount is rewarding him with this pitch. What a complete shock (sarcasm).

Yep! He worked a deal with what minor leverage he had – just as I predicted.

Doyouwannadance
June 18, 2015 12:49 pm

Quick! Everyone register domains for what could be the 4th Star Trek movie title. We might get someone at Paramount to listen to us as well.

Baxter
June 18, 2015 12:49 pm

NO NO NO NO Not another PREQUEL-esque version! We don’t want history rewritten; giving special dispensation to the JJVerse. If it’s in the Prime universe it needs to be post-TNG/DS9/VOY.

Commodore Adams
June 18, 2015 12:50 pm

So it takes place after Undiscovered Country. Great!

See….ideally new Star Trek should cover eras that have yet to be shown i.e. after Enterprise and before TOS, after Undiscovered Country and before Encounter at Farpoint, and post Nemesis. There is a lot to chart, a lot to discover and a lot of history to tell without having to do alternate universes.

Personally with the rapid advancement of todays technology I would love to see a 25th-30th century Star Trek.

But I find it curious that Paramount and not CBS is discussing a TV show. Unless it a co-op between Paramount and CBS being that they are both Viacom subsidiaries.

Regardless, this is great news! Wether it manifests or not, it shows that the gears are turning with regards to a new TV series.

Prodigal Son
June 18, 2015 12:54 pm

@9 @10

Do you think you are fooling anyone with the lame “preemptive” statements?

Paramount will obviously grab that URL now soon. Just admit it and stop the sad preemptive postering please.

ME!!
June 18, 2015 12:58 pm

Whether this is a veiled attempt at acquiring the domain names or not, good luck to the man. Maybe someone at CBS will be intrigued enough to listen & like it enough to buy it, make it & air it.

Khan is not the easy route
June 18, 2015 1:04 pm

Paramount and CBS should sell the rights to Star Trek to The Walt Disney Company and just be done with it.

Yob Benami
June 18, 2015 1:10 pm

Good luck. I hope it’s recognizable as Star Trek. It has to honor the previous Treks or I don’t see it going very far.

Ahmed
June 18, 2015 1:13 pm

@ 15. Commodore Adams – June 18, 2015

“Personally with the rapid advancement of todays technology I would love to see a 25th-30th century Star Trek.”

Totally agree with you. Star Trek needs to move forward, not backward.

Kevin
June 18, 2015 1:13 pm

So is nobody concerned that it’s CBS holding the TV rights to Trek, and he’s pitching to Paramount? Looks like just a URL maneuver from Par.

Ahmed
June 18, 2015 1:17 pm

Congrats Gummelt!

Regardless of the result, this will be a chance to see what the studio has in mind for any new Trek series.

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 1:24 pm

# 16. Prodigal Son – June 18, 2015

” Paramount will obviously grab that URL now soon. Just admit it and stop the sad preemptive postering please.” — Prodigal Son

Will you make up your mind? Either he made a deal or they grabbed the site. Why to you always have to have it both ways so you can never be wrong?

ATOZ the Librarian
June 18, 2015 1:26 pm

I love that that series wants to explore the post-Kirk era. It’s a huge gap that has only been explored in novels, etc. Maybe a visit from Captain Sulu??

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 1:29 pm

# 16. Prodigal Son – June 18, 2015

” Paramount will obviously grab that URL now soon. Just admit it and stop the sad preemptive postering please.” — Prodigal Son

Your exact prediction was 24 hours after the title, which you have been claiming already is confirmed, was confirmed. Give it up. It never happened in the time frame you specified in a weak attempt to link it to the speed of the glitch.

June 18, 2015 1:32 pm

Commodore Adams – Paramount is owned by Viacom, CBS is not, though both are holdings of National Amusements, the majority stockholder of both corporations. I really question this. CBS holds the television rights, not Paramount, even though Paramount once again has a television division. Plus, Paramount no longer has a network…so what network does Ms. Jacobson mean in the first paragraph?

Prodigal Son
June 18, 2015 1:33 pm

@ Kevin

Yep, Kevin, i nailed this one…another one in my long line of my deductive predictionsv that usually pan out here on Trekmovie…to the dismay of certain others here…lol

June 18, 2015 1:33 pm

Darn spell check…that’s Ms. Iacovino, not Jacobson…

Admiral Kirok
June 18, 2015 1:40 pm

And the Renegades guys are feeling…???

DaiMonRon
June 18, 2015 1:41 pm

@ Prodigal Son

I am surprised you aren’t using the handle Prodigal Son – The Grand Return!!

;-)

BatlethInTheGroin
June 18, 2015 1:44 pm

“has been invited by Paramount to pitch his idea for a new Star Trek television series to the network”

Um… what network? Paramount isn’t a network.

June 18, 2015 1:50 pm

^^My question exactly, Batleth…

NuFan
June 18, 2015 1:52 pm

I think this is very polite of Paramount instead of just taking his site. Maybe he will get to meet the Bad Robot producers!

Curious Cadet
June 18, 2015 1:59 pm
@25 starbase63, The only thing I can fathom here is that CBS really doesn’t want to invest in another expensive Trek series, and are perfectly happy sitting back and collecting merchandising royalties. With that in mind, Paramount may indeed feel that this is the last multi-million dollar feature they will produce for awhile, unless this one surprises them and performs far better than the last two. This then may be a way to hedge their bets. I’m not sure how their deal is structured with CBS, but there’s two possibilities, either it only specifies that Paramount has to produce Star Trek, without regard to actual theatrical release, and are taking advantage of that loophole to produce TV movies for distribution on Netflix, Hulu or otherwise, or they have struck a deal with CBS to co-produce a series (assuming CBS truly isn’t interested), which allows them to extend their film license until such time they are ready to reboot Trek again. Or, they may well have entered into a completely separate deal with CBS, again assuming CBS has no interest in funding a Trek series themselves. Since film & TV are separate divisions at Paramount, an entirely different team would be working with CBS, and perhaps letting CBS call the shots without actually being down in the day-to-day trenches. This only fuels the CBS merchandising revenue as well as gives them a piece of the series profits without any of the risk. And who knows, maybe Moonves thinks he’s going to… Read more »
Cygnus-X1
June 18, 2015 2:08 pm

8. KennyB – June 18, 2015

Why do I feel like this was a wheel and deal to get the rights to the “beyond” domains?

Same reason I do? Business experience.

10. Disinvited – June 18, 2015

Given Hollywood, it’s a possibility to consider but if Paramount was really ready to pounce as had been intimated by another then why haven’t their “Beyond” page appeared the minute they got it?

(1) Because they’re not ready to pounce yet, but are anticipating a realistic probability, though not yet a certainty, that they might want use Star Trek B3yond* as the title of the third BR Trek movie.

(2) Because they have decided to title the third Trek movie Star Trek B3yond, but as it won’t be advertised for many months, there’s no need to make changes at this time that would coincide with the news about MCG’s pitch interview and thereby lead the likes of us to put 2 and 2 together.

*Star Trek B3yond trademarked by Eric L.

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 2:09 pm

#26. Prodigal Son – June 18, 2015

According to Google’s caching:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DGfJOZZ6gHAJ:www.startrekuncharted.com/info.html+&cd=12&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

“This is Google’s cache of http://www.startrekuncharted.com/info.html. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Jun 14, 2015 18:04:26 GMT. ”

The Uncharted site’s been up for at least 4 days. It’s been far in excess of 24 hours of whatever it is this quid pro quo deal you think represents and Paramount has STILL not GRABBED the site in the manner that you yourself proscribed.

Cygnus-X1
June 18, 2015 2:19 pm

To MCG,

The previous comment was by jaded, cynical businessman Cygnus.

Nice guy Cygnus says: Congratulations on the opportunity, regardless! I haven’t read your script yet, but your site looks great (I like the music a lot). And while your bullet points description is a bit too generalized to give me any idea of whether I’d enjoy your show—you seem to be going for a less philosophical, less issues-and-ideas-oriented show than TOS and TNG—your bullet points nevertheless suggest a decent concept that could work out well and possibly remain faithful to the spirit and values of Trek, given good writers (which is always the key).

So, hats off to your gumption and getting a foot into a Hollywood studio without the benefit of nepotism.

Disinvited
June 18, 2015 2:21 pm

# 20. Kevin – June 18, 2015

” So is nobody concerned that it’s CBS holding the TV rights to Trek, and he’s pitching to Paramount? Looks like just a URL maneuver from Par.” — Kevin

The may not have an OTA network but Paramount has EPIX and access to similar channels that Viacom owns and it produces original television programming for same.

If ” just a URL maneuver”, why is Paramount waiting more than 4 days to swoop in and claim their prize? Why leave his original site up? Unless, maybe here’s more to this than the obvious Hollywood shenanigans and they possibly ARE interested?

Cygnus-X1
June 18, 2015 2:27 pm

P.S. There needn’t be any conflict between Trek canon continuity/references and a self-contained show that doesn’t require a primer to enjoy.

The smart way to do it is to include canon continuity/references as a way of enriching the setting of your show and making its world bigger and more compelling/mysterious—in similar fashion, for example, to how we were so intrigued by references to the not yet fleshed out “clone wars” and other world-history references to the Star Wars Universe in the first movie of the original trilogy—while also having the story not reliant upon the references to enjoy it, as “A New Hope” was not reliant upon knowledge of the clone wars in order to enjoy that story. In this fashion, you not only enrich your own content, but you please all audiences. And as an added benefit, you turn curious, new audiences onto past Trek, as they check out the old stuff to get new insight and meaning out of your Trek, which needless to say is good for CBS and Paramount. It’s win/win/win.

June 18, 2015 2:29 pm

Reminds me a bit of Bryan Singer’s “Star Trek: Federation” pitch.

http://whatculture.com/tv/bryan-singers-star-trek-federation-t-v-pitch-revealed.php

TUP
June 18, 2015 2:40 pm

Too bad it’s a terrible idea. And the writer doesn’t seem to understand that making a show new fans can embrace and one that fits into “lore” aren’t mutually exclusive.

If oaramount is so creatively bankrupt they are now turning to fans with bad ideas we’re really in trouble. I suspect this is some sort of quid pro quo perhaps concerning the “beyond” usage. Let’s hope it’s not serious.

June 18, 2015 2:43 pm

17 said “Personally with the rapid advancement of todays technology I would love to see a 25th-30th century Star Trek.”

Yes, exactly, a new Trek has to feel modern, new and futuristic relative to the time we live in now, which is very different from the 1960’s and 1990’s. Which is why I want to set this so far in the future that it doesn’t really matter which timeline it’s in.

June 18, 2015 2:45 pm

41. Cygnus-X1: “And as an added benefit, you turn curious, new audiences onto past Trek, as they check out the old stuff to get new insight and meaning out of your Trek, which needless to say is good for CBS and Paramount. It’s win/win/win.”

EXACTLY my thinking, too. :)

TUP
June 18, 2015 2:48 pm

I want it set so far in the future tjay every episode is just one hour close ups of pulsating brains with the implication that we can put our minds in a cookie jar and and they simply imagine and will their consciousness across the Galaxy. Yup. 1000 years from now technology. Great idea.

Jeff O'Connor
June 18, 2015 2:52 pm

This is pretty fantastic, MCG. The stuff of all our dreams. Regardless of the how’s and why’s of Paramount’s rationale here, just remember to breathe deeply and have gun, man. And if by some chance this really does get picked up, well… you bet I’ll watch it all.

Jeff O'Connor
June 18, 2015 2:53 pm

Uhh, autocorrect is stupid.

Have FUN, not have gun. >_>

trekmaster78
June 18, 2015 2:54 pm

Hm, sounds like a mixture of “Babylon 5”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager”. Can’t wait to see its realisation. BUT(!) CBS has the rights and wants a prime universe show…hm…difficult to solve!

June 18, 2015 2:55 pm

42. Re: Star Trek: Federation

Yeah, I first read about that earlier this year. It definitely shares some similarities. I wonder if they ever got to pitch it. Maybe I should try to contact some of those guys… :)

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