There are a lot of Star Trek shows in production, but surprisingly, we have not yet seen any crossovers between them. But the man in charge of Star Trek for Paramount+ is already thinking of how to do just that, and he is also still holding out hope for that Section 31 series.
Kurtzman has crossovers on his mind
Alex Kurtzman and Sonequa Martin-Green were guests on the new episode of Deadline’s Hero Nation podcast, with the bulk of the discussion focused on Michael Burnham’s journey to becoming captain of the USS Discovery on Star Trek: Discovery. But the hosts did query Kurtzman on the larger Star Trek Universe of television shows on Paramount+. With five shows now in various stages of production (and others reported to be in development), Kurtzman admitted it’s getting complicated. When simply asked what show will arrive after Discovery season four, Kurtzman said “I should know the answer to this question, except that now we have so many shows, and they’re moving around so much that I can’t keep track anymore.”
With so much Star Trek going on, Kurtzman was asked if we are “going to see some significant crossovers.” While not providing any specific plans, Kurtzman revealed crossovers have been on his mind:
It’s really funny that you asked that question because I was just thinking about it this morning… Here’s the thing about crossovers; I think crossovers are can be really, really exciting. But they have to exist for a reason. There has to be a great story reason to do it. And it has to move both shows forward in a way. And it does feel both of you are right, that inevitably it’s coming somewhere somehow. But I think we want to be as intentional about doing something like that as we’ve been about our selection of shows and the way in which we’ve curated each show to have its own distinct identity.
Because the flip side to doing a crossover wrong is that people are really disappointed and it impacts both shows. So it’s just not a gamble that I would want to take randomly. that being said, it’s certainly exciting to think about certain pairings that you’re like ‘Wow, what would it be like if those two characters were together or those two crews were together?’ But I want to be careful about it. So I guess the most direct answer I can give you is it’s on my mind but I haven’t thought about a specific yet.
Crossovers are of course quite common for franchise television—and are not new to Star Trek either. All four of the shows following Star Trek: The Original Series series had crossover episodes (Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise). And while the new Star Trek Universe shows have featured many characters and actors from legacy shows and there have been a number of plot points and references tying them together, we have yet to see any actors cross over with their characters.
And for the record, the next show confirmed to arrive on Paramount+ is Prodigy, which comes back from hiatus to continue season one (with five more episodes) on January 6th. Season two of Picard is arriving in February, and the first season of Strange New Worlds is expected to premiere in early 2022. The third season of Lower Decks and the second group of 10 episodes from the first season of Prodigy are expected later in 2022. There is no word yet on if or when there will be a fifth season of Discovery.
Section 31 is in an “exciting place”
In addition to the five shows Kurtzman has running, he is also developing more Star Trek for the future. He recently teased work on a Starfleet Academy series which has been rumored for years. But the podcast hosts asked the executive producer about a show that was announced as being in development way back in early 2019, specifically the “Section 31” series led by Michell Yeoh (or as the podcast referred to it, “the Emperor Philippa spin-off”). Kurtzman at first simply replied with “yes,” confirming the show was still in development, but when pressed, he said:
We’re in a very exciting place. I can’t tell you anything yet. But but it’s still very much alive.
This comment is similar to one he gave in early 2021 when he said the Section 31 show was “on a great track” and he was “very optimistic about it.” The third season of Star Trek: Discovery featured an extended arc for Michelle Yeoh’s character to set up the Section 31 series, culminating in a two-episode goodbye where she left the 32nd century via the Guardian of Forever. In 2019, a writers’ room was put together for the show, headed up by Discovery writer/producers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt. Since then, the writing partners have have moved on from Discovery and are now co-executive producers on the Netflix series Sweet Tooth.
Earlier this year, Kurtzman cited the pandemic as getting in the way of the Section 31 series going into production, but three other live-action Star Trek series have been filmed over the last year, and production on Picard season three is still ongoing. Another possible challenge could be the availability of star Michelle Yeoh: The actress has been consistently in demand, having recently appeared in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. She has also been filming multiple Avatar sequels and just wrapped up production on the Netflix miniseries The Witcher: Blood Origin.
One big, recent change is the surprise announcement in November that ViacomCBS bought back the international rights to Star Trek: Discovery from Netflix. The original deal gave Netflix the first option on international streaming rights for any spin-offs of Discovery, so if that was a factor in holding up the show, it’s no longer a barrier.