Merchandising For New Star Trek Movie Beginning To Take Shape

Last week took a look back at the history of Star Trek film merchandising. We will now take a look forward at what we can expect with merchandising for the new JJ Abrams Star Trek movie. According to sources the film will have the biggest merchandising campaign since Star Trek The Motion Picture, which is befitting the film’s budget and mass market target. See below for what we know as of now.

Like with every other aspect of Star Trek, the merchandising plans are being kept secret. However, through sources much has been learned and a picture is beginning to take shape…so lets go item by item.

Toys…Playmates and more
Two weeks ago broke the news that Playmates, the big toy company that had the Trek license throughout Trek’s heydays of the 90s, is back. Subsequent reports are that that they are planning an extensive line of multiple sized figures, playsets and toys (phaser, communicator and maybe more). They will also have at least two ship toys, an Enterprise and an ‘alien ship.’ More details on these should come out of the New York ToyFair which opens this Sunday. has also learned there is at least one other new toy company licensee, but we have not been able determine who. A guess (and this is purely a guess) would be either Lego or MegaBloks, both of whom do licensed lines (Lego has Star Wars and Indiana Jones, MegaBloks has Pirates). Another possibility would be some plush toys, which are very common for movie tie-ins and are good for younger kids. In addition, Corgi also has a license for the film, but it isn’t clear if that will extend to their small low-cost ship models or just be focused on their high-end Master Replicas line (more below). Again it is likely to learn more about Corgi and any other brands at ToyFair.

High-end reproductions from Master Replicas
As just mentioned, Corgi’s Master Replicas has a license. has been told they will producing at least an Enterprise and a phaser replica, but also some additional items as well. Hopefully more will be learned at ToyFair.

Books and Comics
As per usual there will be a novel adaptation for the film from Pocket Books. There has been some talk about a ‘Making of’/art book as well, but that one is less likely as are other tie-in books like a prequel (at least tied to the film’s release). There is no word currently on any children’s book tie-ins either. An audio version of the adaptation  is also in question as Simon and Schuster Audio has been reducing the number of fiction audio books they do. There will likely be some kind of announcement on plans from Simon and Schuster in the upcoming months (likely naming the author for the adaptation).  

IDW are currently readying plans for comic-book tie-ins for the film. The hopes are to do two series: an adaptation as well as a ‘prequel’ to the film. This would be how they handled the Transformers and other big film licenses. Plans for the comics (and the books) will depend on timing for releases (more on that below).

Video Game: No / Board Game: Yes
The current holder for the Star Trek video game license, Bethesda Softworks, has confirmed that they do not have the license for the video game. This has led to speculation as to who should get the license. However, has learned that no one has the license as of now and that there will be no video game for the new Star Trek movie. Apparently it was felt that in order to give the game the appropriate build time (14-18 months) they would have needed design assets in 2007 when they were not available. At this point the best chance would be for a game sometime between the release of the new movie and a possible sequel. If that is a case a good move would be to have the game ‘bridge the gap.’

Although there will not be a video game, has learned there will be a board game. It isn’t clear who will be making it or if it is directly tied to the film or Trek in general, but there is apparently a new licensee working on it now.

Cards and collectibles
Another traditional form of tie-in for movies are collectible cards and has confirmed that Rittenhouse, the current Trek card licensee, will also be doing cards for the movie. Another current licensee, Hallmark, are also expected to do some kind of Christmas ornament, but it isn’t clear if they will be able do one for this holiday season. At some point official 8x10s Pictures and Autographed pictures will be available (likely from Creation). Apparently there will be other collectible tie-ins as well, but no details are available now.

T-Shirt maker Junk Food has recently picked up the license for all Star Trek and this will include the new film. It is expected that there will also be the usual hats and other apparel for the film. It isn’t known if there will be children’s apparel items. There is currently no licensee for any official Star Trek costumes/uniforms and it doesn’t look like this will change in time for the new movie.

Fast Food: Yes / Other Food: Probably not
One area that is key to mass market merchandising is food. All big franchise tentpoles today do some form of food merchandising. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was actually the first licensed film Happy Meal tie-in, but since then Trek has never had the full treatment…until now. has learned that there are talks with one of the big two for a big Trek tie in. It is likely Burger King, but that has not been confirmed yet.

The fast food tie in is very good news, however (even though past Trek films have had tie-ins with Kraft, Kellogg’s and others), it looks like the new  Trek film will not be showing up on your grocers shelves. Food merchandising is important for kid (and Mom) appeal and so hopefully something is done in this area.

Product Placement?
A big part of modern movie marketing is product placement and tie-ins. The Bond franchise is especially famous for these. Of course with Star Trek, we are in the 23rd century and so Kirk popping a ice cold Coke probably would seem a bit out of place. However, has learned that there are talks for some kind of tie-in with a large cell phone maker (possibly Nokia). It may just be for promotion, but it could possibly take the form of a phone that has been reskinned to look like the new communicator (which reportedly resembles a black flip phone with a video screen inside and the Starfleet Logo emblazoned on the top). It is highly unlikely there will be any actual product placement within the film.

But wait…there’s more
The above list is only what has been gleaned so far. Obviously there will be a soundtrack and of course a later DVD release. Sources say there is more as well, but no details. So do not look at the above as comprehensive. It is common for other franchise films to do licensed school supplies (folders, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc), household goods (bedding, kitchen items, etc.) and electronic and electrical goods (branded TVs, piggy banks, CD players, clocks, lamps, etc). In the past Trek has dabbled in some of these areas and it would be a welcome extension of the license.

Timing is everything
Like with comedy, movie merchandising is all about timing. If you look at other big tentpoles like the Star Wars prequels, Superman, Batman, etc…almost all of the merchandising began weeks before the film’s opening. This means a month before these films were out you could have listened to the audiobook, pursued the art design book, eaten the cereal, etc, etc. However, with the new Star Trek movie there seems to have been a lot of reluctance to do early releases on merchandising…much of this due to concerns over spoilers. Lately it appears that there has been a loosening of these concerns. Apparently the decisions on timing will greatly effect the scope and scale of the merchandising in each area. The various licensees believe they can do much more if allowed to do it earlier. feels that this is one area where the film makers may be taking the concerns for secrecy too far. If Star Trek is using other big recent franchise films as models for mainstream appeal, then one cannot ignore how these films were marketing and merchandised. All of those toys in Target, books at Barnes and Noble, etc. are like little movie posters all over mainstream retail. The products let the general public know the film is coming and also validate that it is a ‘big event.’ For example, in the case Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, the merchandising itself was an event, with all products (books, toys, apparel, etc) being  released on the same day. The ‘Star Wars merchandise day’ was April 2nd 2005 and the film came out May 19th and went on to make $850 Million world-wide.

Lastly, the movie comes out on Christmas Day! You simply will not have the same impact in retail by putting things out there after Christmas.  

And don’t’ forget the kids
One of the biggest challenges for the new Star Trek will be to appeal to the kids and teens. Most Trek fans today fell in love with Trek when they were young. Many of us can remember the toys and products from our youth, most of which are no longer available. The lack of a video game is not going to help in this area. There is much more than just action figures to kids and thinks that CBS and Paramount should do their best to appeal to this key group to create next generation of Trek fans. And while we are talking about targeting, don’t forget specialty items for girls and women who are supposed to be a key part of the planned ‘expansion’ of Trek’s new audience.

This is big
Timing issues aside, the feeling is that the merchandising for the new Star Trek film is going to be big. It will certainly be the biggest thing for Trek since TMP. The question now is, will it be able to achieve the heights of merchandising for other recent mega movies such as Transformers, Star Wars and Batman. has been hearing reports already from collectors who are already setting aside money in their 2008 family budgets for new Trek stuff. So start saving, because there is a lot of Trek coming.

Still taking shape
Bear in mind that CBS, Paramount, Bad Robot and the licensees are not talking on the record about merchandising yet. So very little above is ‘official,’ but is the best assessment we can come up with at this time. Look for some official news coming out of Toy Fair next week. has a correspondent at Toy Fair for that and will continue to report on happenings with movie merchandising over the next year.


UPDATE: Obviously the move to May 2009 makes profound changes to the plan and timing for merchandising and its marketing. For now we just do not know what.

Special thanks to Merchandising Editor John Tenuto who contributed to this article.


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I am looking forward to the soundtrack. Wish there was a video game, though. Oh, well…

i need quatloos

Oh, I forgot. FIRST!!!!!!!1

Trekopoly? Cool.

As for product placement, maybe they could fly the Pan-Am shuttle…

I’m going to gag if James Kirk whips out a communicator emblazoned with the NOKIA logo. :p

Bam 1st Love lots of Trek Toys!

Too late

Wow, this really does seem like it will be huge. I agree though.. merch should come out at least a month or so before Christmas, in time for the Christmas shopping season. More money, more possible hype.. terrific christmas presents on top of the biggest one of all.. the movie.

I’m excited!

Thanks Anthony

When will we see a good Dominion War strategy board game like Axis and Allies???

Hopefully all involved will be good businessmen, and release enough before-hand to get the world psyched. No one on this site is the core audience, and the “real” world needs the pre-launch blitz.

Not surprised there won’t be a video game but my it’s good to see this much for a Trek movie.

Yes, yes!

More shiny things for the ladies!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

…and let’s not forget the Blu-ray version of the movie!

Another possibility would be some plush toys, which are very common for movie tie-ins and are good for younger kids

why am i reminded of VOY :)

board game: star trek monopoly
i dont know about a phone

How about a clothing line by NIKE in Trek colors… after all, the Swoosh logo fits in pretty well with the famous Trek delta and its brethren deltaform logos…

I’ll need lots of quatloos , maybe some gold pressed latinum as well! The great merchandise river swells for the 2008 holiday season.

hmmm….. Lego Star Trek…

That seems a very comprehensive list. My fear is that the marketing assault with all of these product lines could be *too* much. But i’m sure the guys know what they are doing as they seem to have a lot of care for the franchise.

Product placement in the film initially sounds like a very bad idea. I guess if they choose the products carefully. I’m reminded of a piece of fan art some years back depicting a Burger King in space with one of the Enterprise’s arriving at it. :)

Possibly have the cast drinking bottles of Evian water like on Stargate Atlantis. Heh.

13. Mazzer – February 13, 2008
…and let’s not forget the Blu-ray version of the movie!

Uh, not to quibble or anything, but at least for now, Paramount is HD-DVD only.

Congratulations on your research.. That is a big article.

I think Lego Star Trek is unlikely since their leading theme is Star Wars. Likewise Risk/Monopoly/Game of Life Trek seem unlikely for the same reason – Hasbro’s bread and butter is Star Wars.

MegaBloks might do Trek08 since they do a TNG Enterprise. Which is too bad since I think Lego is a higher quality product.

Surely there will be a micro-thin duranium Captain Kirk condom. :D

Re the Nokia tie-in: I just hope we don’t get some Trek equivalent of that awful “Hemi” commercial they stuck in that last Fantastic Four movie. Not that it was a great film to begin with, but such a blatant advertisement couched in the form of a dumb joke really grated …

Trek-themed phones in the real world: AWESOME.
Nokia logo on a communicator on screen: F**KING HIDEOUS.

#15 Good idea.

I also never understood why fleece hoodies or zip-over jackets or jogging suits were never made in the “Star Trek” colors of gold, blue and red, even TNG versions with the black upper-sleeve and collar design. Even the collars and such could be made to resemble the season 3-7 designs. I would pay money to get one. I always thought those designs looked “sporty”. I’m imagining a fleece or polyester gogging outfit for my hottie wife with tight black pants, and a teal-blue TNG era looking zippered top…better than Counselor Troi, IMO.


I’ve always thought that merchandising things like lamps, rugs and cereal boxes were tacky. But hey, if it gets exposure for the film, I’m all for plastering it on everything in sight.

Definitely saving back some money for when the soundtrack, books and posters come around. Though as is usual with a movie I’m highly anticipating, I’ll probably end up spending it all, and more, on movie tickets. ((I’m still low on the cash thanks to Sweeney Todd))

yea any hint of a Nokia name/logo on any starfleet equipment would really turn me OFF

#19: Yes, but by the time Star Trek is in theaters, Paramount will be Blu-ray like everyone else.

I do hope someone releases a plastic model kit of the new Enterprise, and various other ships. It’s one of my favorite hobbies.

Waiting to see in the movie cadet Jimmy “T-Bird” Kirk zipping around Riverside, Iowa in his ’65 grav-repulsion Ford Thunderbird — during vacations — drinking uber-nuCoke purchased at the local McD’s.


playmates and everything will really bring back memories of the old trek days. kinda disappointed that there is no video game, although at this point it would be good to have a game to follow up the movie (if it’s possible) Really excited about the Enterprise model…really ready to add a new ship to the collection

#28: Ditto!!!

I cannot wait for a model kit of the Big E, although I should be shamed on this point as I have over 200 model kits to put together (99% of them are science fiction).

I can just hear my friend Sherri right now… “Douglas! Just what you need is ANOTHER model!”

yeah, I have it bad. :-D

“phone that has been reskinned to look like the new communicator (which reportedly resembles a black flip phone with a video screen inside and the Starfleet Logo emblazoned on the top). It is highly unlikely there will be any actual product placement within the film.”

Sorry I gotta say it– What the heck happened to my gold mesh and moire screens?

This quote sounds like it describes a phone that resembles the “new” communicator- ie the on-screen starfleet issued com unit has “video screen inside and the Starfleet Logo emblazoned on the top”

I REALLY hope I’m reading that wrong- wouldn’t this also imply the canonicity of unique logos per ship is out in the TOS era?


Although Revenge of the Sith’s marketing campaign was fun for me… seeing Vader’s face everywhere… it was a bit much for some people. It was in every supermarket aisle. It was all over the mall. It looked like Lucas had thrown up all over every Walmart in the world.

Really, you want everyone to see it. You want them to want it and make it seem cool, but you don’t want to force down their throats. So there’s got to be a balance. You don’t want to put so many toys out there that the stores can’t give them away. You want to balance supply and demand.

I’d like to see something like Batmania from 1989. I’d love to see the Trek emblem in Time’s Square big as life.

As far as Nokia… I’m sure this is really about their one time planned communicator cell phone and we won’t be seeing Nokia in the movie. If they are planning on this, I hope they went back to the drawing board. The stuff they had before was unimpressive.

I love my Master Replicas TOS Enterprise and really look forward to the new props in the works. But as far as props like phasers go, lets hope the playmates version is not oversized or “kiddyfied” as I’m sure it will be about $480 cheaper.

Also, it’s good to remember that TOS was made for adults, it just happened to appeal to kids. I really hope this movie takes the same approach and leaves any possible “Jar-Jars” on the page.

#9 I am so with you on that one. That would be a class game…for sure.

I can’t wait to pick up the new Enterprise ship models. They’re gonna be epic.

Star Trek lives!

Hm…. How about models of the new old Enterprise?

No RPG license news?

They should SERIOUSLY CONSIDER moving the movie release date up a few weeks to create buzz for the toys and putting the toys on the shelves at least a month before it premieres.
Who’s gonna buy toys AFTER Chistmas after the movie premieres? Blundertown.


I’m with you Daniel. If I don’t care too much for the Playmates ships, there are always tthe models. Maybe Polar Lights will have a good one. Any news there?

BTW, in honor of the last remastered episode “Ultimate Computer”, I have taken one of my trashed TOS E models and am battle damaging it into the Lexington. Gotta go order my decals. Anybody here happen to have a spare set of AMT water slide decals for the 18″ Enterprise? With the alternate registeries and ship names?

The lack of a video game is a shame, but given the history of game licensing done by CBS, it is probably for the best. Bethesda was willing to purchase the license for the older series for a song when nobody else would touch it. CBS Consumer Products was fine with it because it got Star Trek exposure and more importantly – cash. Unfortunately Bethesda did the games on the cheap with tight timelines and with developers who had a hard time delivering on-time. The games have not sold well or been critically received and this has effectively killed off Star Trek video gaming.

Obviously nobody wanted to step up and fork over the cash for a movie that was a bit of an unknown. If the film is a success I am sure that someone will create a new game based on the revamped Star Trek world.

How about Junk Food doing a kid’s (and hopefully adult) Uniform shirt like the awesome Donmoor shirts of the 1970’s? That would be beyond cool.

Video on the communicators? Finally!

How ’bout some 3 and three fourths figures so I can have my Star Trek guys play with my Star Wars guys?

First, I have to say that the TOS communicator is, hands down, my favorite sci-fi prop of all time.

That said, I’m open to the updating of the communicator to the description Anthony gave. In the 60’s, the gold flip and spinning moire were futuristic. The new communicator has to be futuristic LOOKING when compared to my Motorola RAZR. That’s gotta be hard to do.

#9–Axis and Allies is still a great game. I actually bought one in great condition a couple of months ago. Star Trek version? I don’t know. But in the early-mid 80’s for me, I loved the FASA Star Trek: The Role Playing Game (bought one of those on ebay not long ago).

#38–Resurrect FASA!

I agree with the FASA love, Star Fleet Battles rules give me a headache !!!

Glad there will be no video game, every last one they have released has blown big time.

Captain Kirk condoms by Trojan – believe it !!!!

>> 41. I AM THX-1138 – February 13, 2008


I’m with you Daniel. If I don’t care too much for the Playmates ships, there are always tthe models. Maybe Polar Lights will have a good one. Any news there?

BTW, in honor of the last remastered episode “Ultimate Computer”, I have taken one of my trashed TOS E models and am battle damaging it into the Lexington. Gotta go order my decals. Anybody here happen to have a spare set of AMT water slide decals for the 18″ Enterprise? With the alternate registeries and ship names?

THX, and Daniel, and the rest of you modelers…
go to for the best in Trek models, decals, etc. Then, go to to see the possibilities of what rabid Trek fans can build.

They really need to find a way to build the mojo and keep it. The move to May ’09 will really crimp marketing.

That said, I can guarantee that you’ll see the communicator cell phone. I knew that was coming.