In addition to the Paramount+ Star Trek news from the ViacomCBS Investor Day presentation, including the first look at Star Trek: Prodigy, more details have now emerged about what’s next for the franchise.
Planning Star Trek’s future on Paramount+
With Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Paramount+ already has five shows currently in production. As reported earlier today, Paramount+ is planning on debuting the first season of Prodigy this year, along with season two of Lower Decks, and season four of Discovery. Presumably, season two of Picard and the first season of Strange New Worlds will arrive in 2022. According to Variety, Paramount+ is planning on having new Star Trek content debut every quarter.
And Paramount+ already looking beyond those shows. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, EVP Julie McNamara said:
“We are in discussions about the next phase of the Trek universe beyond those five shows that Alex has built. We are invested in growing the universe of Star Trek. That said, it’s important to make sure that we are curating these properly. We’re always incubating a number of things together and then working out what the right cadence is and what the right next show is. Those are active and constant conversations. There are multiple things in the hopper right now that represent that next phase but we don’t want to expand it too much, too fast to where anyone is ever saying, “It’s just another Trek show.” We don’t want that.”
Kurtzman confirmed “we’re having conversations about what happens beyond the five,” and added some context that developing shows takes time:
“Despite all appearances, we’re not interested in being in the quantity business. I don’t think that serves the Star Trek universe. We are interested in being in the quality business. It takes upwards of two years from inception to postproduction. “
According to Variety, even though they are talking about what comes next, they are not planning on expanding the slate of Star Trek shows beyond the five currently in development. From Variety:
“Whether there’s a show that comes up that feels additive and we should add that into the mix, or waiting for attrition of another ‘Trek’ show, we feel good about where we are,” she says. McNamara said that by “attrition,” she means either a “Trek” show “aging out” naturally, or — in an allusion to 80-year-old “Picard” star Patrick Steward, “perhaps an older lead is only committed to a certain number of seasons and and therefore we move on from that.”
Exploring something new for Trek
Kurtzman also outlined their approach for developing the next Star Trek:
“[O]ne thing we hear a lot from fans is how much they’ve liked that we freed ourselves from canon in Discovery and jumped forward into a new timeline with a whole bunch of new worlds and new characters. What that speaks to more than anything is the spirit of exploration that is at the heart of Star Trek. Whatever we do next is probably going to be in different timelines and different areas of the universe that haven’t been explored before; a show that hasn’t been dedicated to them yet.”
By “timelines,” it’s quite possible Kurtzman is talking about different eras, like the new 32nd-century setting for Star Trek: Discovery. As for different areas of the universe, that could indicate a show set outside the galaxy itself.
A rainbow of Trek
Alex confirmed that they are considering making more Trek shows geared for kids as they did for Nickelodeon with Prodigy. When asked a hypothetical, Kurtzman said they could consider making Star Trek for other parts of the ViacomCBS family (like BET or Showtime):
Ultimately for Paramount+ to be the centralized home of all Star Trek is ideal but I do like the idea of being able to explore what kinds of strange shows you can put on that don’t necessarily fit into a box. That’s so much of what we’re trying to do with Trek: give you what’s familiar but also forge new ground.
He later elaborated on this point:
Do I see something on BET? Yes, because there may be a niche Star Trek show that’s perfect for that. I want to make sure as we build this out that we’re being thoughtful about creating a really interesting rainbow of colors, that each show feels different and you don’t think, “I can watch Picard and not watch the others.” Because they’re all very different. That to us is more important — staying true to that approach.”
Watch Star Trek “Expansion Continues” promo
Today Paramount+ released a promo narrated by Kurtzman about the Star Trek Universe shows.
The ViacomCBS presentation is still ongoing, so this is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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Keep up with the Star Trek Universe on TV here at TrekMovie.com.