Star Trek: Picard is a hot topic again, thanks to the recent release of the final season on Blu-ray and DVD and the upcoming Picard Legacy box set in November. TrekMovie had a chance to talk to Picard production designer Dave Blass about those home video releases and his work on the series in an All Access Star Trek podcast interview we will post closer to the Legacy box set release. We also talked to Blass about another “Legacy,” the Star Trek: Legacy series idea that showrunner Terry Matalas has envisioned as a follow-up to Picard. Blass had some thoughts on how he would approach production design if such a show ever happened, and he was quite frank that with the WGA strike now over, the time is right for Paramount to nail down Matalas.
Designing for Legacy would be like Picard, but “bigger”
The subject of Legacy came up when All Access Star Trek co-host Laurie Ulster asked Blass if he would change anything with regards to the production design if Star Trek: Legacy went into development, specifically with the USS Enterprise-G (formerly USS Titan) sets and if he would adopt the AR Wall tech used by Discovery and Strange New Worlds. Blass said he would take a bit of a hybrid approach:
“I think we would keep the same style [as seen on Picard]. And I think we would be able to do things bigger, better, cooler. I appreciate what they what they do on the on the other [Star Trek] shows. I also look at something like The Mandalorian as a good touchstone because The Mandalorian looks like it belongs in the Star Wars universe. The technology is the same. Just because they have the “Volume” (AR Wall virtual set) and the technology to do big cool things, you don’t need to change what the look of it looks like. So I would do what we did in Picard in Legacy. It should look like Star Trek. It should look like what an evolution of what Star Trek: The Next Generation would look like. Going into it, knowing that budgets are going to be tight and we’re going to do things and make use of the technology in ways that would benefit the show. So if you have to go to a new planet, maybe that’s the best way to use the Volume AR wall and expand sets. Maybe our engine room is more of a classic, Next Generation, Voyager, First Contact engine room that is a physical set that’s got height and does something like that, not a virtual set.”
Sign Matalas for Legacy before he is “gone”
Blass made it clear that as of now, there is no work being done for Star Trek: Legacy, adding “my phone has not rung.” He did point out that fans have responded very positively to season 3, inspiring a fan petition calling for the Legacy follow-up series. He also noted that now that the WGA strike is over (which started just two weeks after the Picard finale), Paramount is free to talk to Matalas about the show and indicated they may have limited time:
“Season 3 really knocked it out of the park with what [showrunner] Terry [Matalas] did. So I think there’s probably a lag time in terms of doing [Legacy], because you don’t just throw millions of dollars at a new show. There is budgeting and all that. I know they are working on the Starfleet Academy show and the Section 31 movie. So how that all works out, I have no idea. But at least now that the writer strike is over, they can call Terry and have a conversation. And hopefully they do. It’s insane that they have not signed him to a deal for Star Trek. Like “What is Legacy? … Go and give us a pitch and come up with something and we’re going to pay you to go do that.” So hopefully they do that because he deserves the opportunity to do another series. But if he doesn’t get that offer soon, he’s going to be gone because everyone in the world saw what he did. With all these franchises and all these things, to do what he did, to see the minutia and to set the tone right on a legacy product is the most valuable thing in the world right now. We’re seeing it with all these other franchises. To do what he did is amazing. So I hope he gets the chance to do it with Legacy and I hope to work with him again.”
Matalas has made it clear there have been no talks and there is no active Star Trek: Legacy project in development. CBS Studios and Paramount+ have made no statements about the show and it isn’t among the list of Trek projects officially in development. But in April, executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who oversees Star Trek television for Paramount, said he heard fans’ calls for a follow-up to Picard “loud and clear.”
The end of the WGA strike is a time for reassessing streaming content
If CBS and Paramount wanted to capitalize on fan interest in Legacy and ensure no other studio taps Matalas to replicate his success with Picard with another franchise (or even a new IP), then Blass is correct that the time is right to ensure Matalas stays with the Star Trek family. But with Paramount Global committed to cutting spending on streaming content, can they greenlight another live-action Star Trek series on top of Strange New Worlds, Starfleet Academy, and the Section 31 movie (which is reportedly the first of a series of made-for-streaming Star Trek movie events)? According to a report in Deadline today, streaming company slates of planned shows “underwent close examination during the strike, and industry sources expect portions of them to be released, especially projects that were in early stages.” One could speculate that with budgets tight, CBS Studios and Paramount+ may end up faced with a choice to put aside (or pause) one of the active Trek projects, like Starfleet Academy, to make room for Legacy.
There is another practical consideration as well: Matalas has made it clear that while the show would star Jeri Ryan as Captain Seven of the USS Enterprise (along with Michelle Hurd as Raffi and other “next next generation” characters), Legacy would feature a number of supporting guest stars from the various Star Trek shows, much like in season 3 of Picard. So if Star Trek: Legacy is ever going to happen, the sooner the better.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com