Yesterday, Paramount+ finally officially announced a greenlight for Star Trek: Section 31, a project that was first revealed to be in development over four years ago. Originally conceived as a series, the project has now transformed into a “special original movie event,” and it appears this may be the first of a new phase of Star Trek original content for Paramount+.
More Star Trek movies for Paramount+
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Star Trek: Section 31 is the start of “‘Star Trek’ Phase 2 at Paramount+.” The trade reports that the Section 31 project began its transition into a film last summer at least partially because of concerns about “oversaturating” Star Trek on the platform. From the report:
Between Yeoh’s schedule, fears of having too many shows going on at the same time in the franchise and a desire to enter the feature film event space, a decision was made to shift Section 31 into a movie.
And according to THR sources, Section 31 will be the first of a series of Star Trek movie events for the streamer:
Section 31 is being envisioned as Mission: Impossible meets Guardians of the Galaxy, which with the big scope of both films would make doing a weekly series a larger challenge. The plan, sources note, is for Kurtzman and company to do a Star Trek made-for-streaming movie every two years for Paramount+.
As of now, Paramount+ has committed to two live-action Star Trek series (Strange New Worlds and Starfleet Academy) and two animated series (Lower Decks and Prodigy) with orders for additional seasons likely to provide content through 2024, and perhaps into 2025. The Section 31 movie is set to go into production later this year, which could allow for a release as early as late 2024. There is no indication now if Paramount+ will continue to commit to 4 ongoing Star Trek series once this new phase of Star Trek TV movies starts.
What comes after Section 31?
There isn’t any indication yet of what the next movie could be in this new phase. It could simply be a sequel to the first Section 31 film with Michelle Yeoh’s Georgiou. Earlier this year Alex Kurtzman, who oversees the Star Trek franchise for Paramount+, hinted about doing limited series and movies, and he suggested they could focus on other individual characters:
By the way, even individual characters – I think we could absolutely continue to tell stories about individual characters that are set up on the show in other contexts. That’s the beauty of having a universe now is that, in a perfect world, we’re not just doing seasons of television, we’re doing event series [miniseries], we’re doing single events that could be two, three hours long [TV movies]. I think that we are now at a place where that’s really possible.
With Paramount+ both focusing on cutting costs and concerned about “oversaturating,” it’s possible this idea of limited events could provide a vehicle for a Star Trek: Picard spinoff, or maybe even work as a backdoor pilot for showrunner Terry Matalas’ vision of a new Star Trek: Legacy series. And there is no reason to limit things to live action; in 2021 Kurtzman suggested the idea of a theatrical film based on Star Trek: Prodigy, but that idea could also work as a streaming movie.
Of course, all of this talk about Paramount+ moving forward with its own slate of Star Trek movies can get complicated once Paramount Pictures sorts out its plans for the film franchise. When he took over the studio, CEO Brian Robbins said bringing Trek back to the big screen was a priority for Paramount, with the goal of releasing multiple Trek movies. Robbins has had the job for well over a year now, and the studio has still not been able to get a project past the development phase, with the last release being 2016’s Star Trek Beyond.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.