Last summer veteran Star Trek writer/director, and consulting producer on Star Trek: Discovery, Nicholas Meyer made news when he announced in an interview with TrekMovie that he was working on an undisclosed Star Trek project.
In that interview from last year about Star Trek II we briefly discussed Discovery when Meyer interjected with this tantalizing bit of info:
One thing that has nothing to do with Discovery is that I am working on another Star Trek project, but I can’t discuss that either.
Meyer’s secret project is for a CBS All Access trilogy
When pressed at the time, Meyer only obliquely hinted the project was for television and not feature films. Last night, he got more specific, speaking at an event about Star Trek and Shakespeare at UC Irvine, Meyer was asked about this other Star Trek project by a member of the audience, and he confirmed it was indeed a TV project.
TrekMovie has obtained a transcript of the exchange (courtesy of Hugo-nominated author Alvaro Zinos-Amaro who attended the event):
Question: A while back there were reports that you might be working on a Star Trek mini-series. Is there any truth to that? Are you allowed to say anything about that?
Nicholas Meyer: No, I can say something. I was hired to write a stand-alone Star Trek-related trilogy, which I can’t discuss or I’d have to kill you. And what’s happened is as I was I was writing it for CBS [All] Access … And at the moment CBS is at a war with Paramount/Viacom. Shari Redstone, who actually controls both companies, wants to re-merge them and they are in a power struggle, which turned really nasty this past week when CBS decided to sue Viacom.
So, I don’t think my project is going anywhere in a hurry. Because everything is being on hold, while they sort out this merger business. That’s my story, I’m sticking to it.
TrekMovie has also independently confirmed the transcript. However, CBS has not confirmed the existence of the project.
What Khan can it be?
The CBS/Viacom merger talks have been a big topic all year, and as we have noted it would bring CBS and Paramount Pictures back together, reunifying all of Star Trek under one roof. This week hopes for a merger were dealt a major blow, as CBS launched a lawsuit to try to stop Shari Redstone from forcing a deal on terms CBS did not want.
Of course this isn’t stopping current plans the companies have, production of season two of Star Trek: Discovery is under way, and as we have been reporting, Paramount continues to move forward on not just one but two Star Trek feature film projects while merger discussions continue. So why would CBS hold up a new Trek TV series awaiting the outcome of those talks? One possible explanation could be that Meyer’s “stand-alone” trilogy involves characters or other story elements that are related to Paramount’s Star Trek feature films.
In a recent podcast interview, Star Trek: Discovery writer and executive story editor Bo Yeon Kim discussed how the writers on Discovery are limited in that they are not allowed to deal with characters and elements from the Star Trek feature films, saying:
Just because of the rights issue, we can’t use anything from the films, so that’s just something that we’re always aware of. ALL films, ’cause it’s a Paramount property, not CBS.
It has been rumored that the secret Meyer project is a prequel story to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, set on Ceti Alpha V. It would be a natural fit for him, as writer and director of Star Trek II and of course Khan is an iconic character. While the character of Khan was part of Star Trek: The Original Series which falls under CBS, other characters and elements of Khan’s story after the episode “Space Seed” were introduced in the motion picture The Wrath of Khan, which would fall under the purview of Paramount.
All that being said, Meyer first mentioned this project last year, well before the CBS and Viacom began discussing re-merging, so the nature of Meyer’s story may not be reason it awaits clarity on the CBS/Viacom situation.
Is CBS looking to add more Star Trek?
Even if this trilogy from Nicholas Meyer never sees the light of day, the revelation can still be significant. If CBS was open to commission Meyer to write this project, it could indicate they may be considering adding additional Star Trek content beyond Star Trek: Discovery. The launch of Discovery was a key element for the growth of CBS All Access, but executives for CBS have also talked about how important it is for there to be regular new original content to reduce churn.
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery is set to have 13 episodes, or around three months of content. Obviously CBS wants to keep fans subscribed all year. All Access has a number of additional original series lined up, including a reboot of The Twilight Zone and some other genre programming which could keep Trek fans interested, but nothing would interest them more than more Star Trek.
TrekMovie will continue to monitor the story and provide any potential updates.
Thanks to Alvaro Zinos Amaro for providing us with the tip from the Meyer event. Amaro is the author of the Hugo-nominated book Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg.