Between The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, there was a Star Trek TV series on the air from 1987 to 2005, but following the cancellation of Enterprise, the franchise went on a bit of a hiatus which was blamed on “franchise fatigue.” Interest in the long-running franchise sparked once again following J.J. Abrams’ rebooted STAR TREK movies, and the series later returned to television with Star Trek: Discovery. It could be argued that there was a lesson to learn from the possible over-saturation of the franchise more than a decade ago, but CBS seems focused on giving audiences more Star Trek than they may want.
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While speaking with Deadline, CBS TV Studios president David Stapf, CBS All Access president Marc DeBevoise, and executive VP of Original Content Julie McNamara discussed the future of the Star Trek franchise. When asked how big they were hoping to make the franchise, Stapf said, “My goal is that there should be a Star Trek something on all the time on All Access. We know it draws an audience, and Discovery has done quite well.” That’s looking like an awful lot of Star Trek, and CBS is already well on their way with the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, a series of Star Trek shorts, and the recently announced Jean-Luc Picard series which will find Patrick Stewart returning to his iconic role. McNamara added that they have plans for more limited series as well as ongoing series in the Star Trek franchise, but that the Picard series will be the next major one.
There have also been discussions about potential Star Trek: Discovery spin-off shows. “We’ve really talked about virtually all of the characters who popped in Discovery as potential spin-off shows,” McNamara said. “It’s obviously very much driven by our conversations with Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout and the other creators involved. I wouldn’t say at this point that we are actively pursuing a Michelle Yeoh series but it has been discussed.” Deadline then asked whether the Star Trek: Short Treks project could be used as a test-bed for larger Star Trek projects. “I think what you are asking is are we incubating things potentially, and the answer is Yes and No,” David Stapf responded. “There’s not a grand design of ‘lets plant a Rainn [Wilson] idea and see how that does.’ It’s more Secret Hideout and the rest of the Trek brain trust coming to us and saying, “we think this would be really cool, storywise, characterwise.” Stapf also commented on how the idea of bringing Patrick Stewart back came about.
It came to us, as do all things Trek now, through Alex Kurtzman, with the idea of, wouldn’t it be cool to do something Next Gen-oriented, and/or get Patrick Stewart and/or any of those iconic Next Gen characters. As Patrick himself has said, he was of the opinion that “I’ve done that character,” but he got a meeting with Alex and some of the other guys and they won him over. The deal didn’t take that long once he decided to do it.
As for whether they’re looking at bringing back any other former Star Trek franchises, Stapf bluntly stated, “no.” Sorry, folks. There goes your dreams of a Wesley Crusher series. The second season of Star Trek: Discovery will debut on CBS All Access in January 2019, but we’ll be seeing Star Trek: Short Treks released in the months leading up to Discovery’s return.
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Do you think that CBS runs the risk of potentially developing too many Star Trek projects.