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!”
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?
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!
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?
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.
Why have you changed the name from Star Trek Beyond to Star Trek Uncharted?
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.