Viacom CBS announced on Wednesday that its line-up of existing and new Star Trek content will be moving to its new Paramount+ Streaming Service (Due to launch March 4th). I think I speak for a lot of us here at Treksphere when I say that we are extremely excited to see what sort of Trek content we will be seeing in the next few years. Yes, years. We have a lot to cover.
Alex Kurtzman said this about the brand-new variety of Star Trek content coming to the new streaming service:
“In three years, we’ve expanded the Star Trek Universe to new heights, creating five original series – each with its own unique storytelling and distinct cinematic feel.”Source
With the expanse into their new streaming service, Kurtzman has also said that it is very possible we will see a growth in Star Trek content geared at every one of any age.
“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.”
Prodigy Season One
Kicking things off, we have got Prodigy, from Kevin and Dan Hedgeman of Netflix’s Trollhunters fame. It is a few exciting first for this series. Trek’s first kid’s show, the first all CGI Star Trek show, and the first show where all the primary characters are aliens which is a first for any Star Trek show.
From the looks of it, it is a wonderfully colourful cast that has some great designs. Different from what we are used to in ‘Trek, but the new fully CGI format allows for all sorts of new takes on the familiar world. No doubt we shall see expansion.
Not only that, but Kate Mulgrew’s will also be making a return to the screen bringing back the iconic Kathryn Janeway. On returning to the role in Prodigy, Mulgrew said:
“I’m really enjoying recording that cartoon. It’s very sophisticated. It’s feature-film quality. The Hageman brothers are geniuses. And Alex Kurtzman is a great, great leader. A visionary. I think it’s time for the little ones to come into the fold.”
Paramount+’s EVP Development and Programming Julie McNamara told Deadline about the debut of Prodigy…
“This is about having the best of both worlds in terms of utilizing the Paramount+ platform to expose Trek fans and their families to this incredible show for them and their children and in our early days of Paramount+ give a lovely boost to the platform,”
“Then, to have it be on Nickelodeon linear following that would expose it to a kid audience that may not have that initial Trek interest,” the exec added.
Ramsey Naito, President, Nickelodeon Animation added…
“So, the combination of the two gives us the best possible chance of hitting all of our demographics and targets in terms of expansion of the franchise that it promises,” McNamara continued.
“Debuting Prodigy on Paramount+ alongside the complete Star Trek universe points to our strategy of growing Nickelodeon’s reach by expanding our top franchises and diving deeper into their worlds, and their characters and stories.”
Along with Mulgrew, Billy Campbell who played the loveable rogue Thadium Okona in “The Outrageous Okona.” Is set to return in Star Trek: Prodigy as well.
Prodigy is expected to air in early/mid 2021 on Paramount+ before coming to Nickelodeon. There is no news on an international partner at the moment.
While most of the details for this series are under wraps, (or should we say “Highly Classified”?) What we do know however that the show is mostly on hold until the current show ends its run. It seems that Kurtzman wants to maintain a 5 show run for now stating that;
“We’re very careful about curating the pacing, the number of shows at any given time, and what those shows are, so that we make sure that it’s always exciting when there’s a new track show coming out,” says McNamara. The rough schedule, she says, is to debut “a new ‘Trek’ a quarter” on Paramount Plus.
It seems that showrunners Kurtzman, and Paramount Plus programming chief Julie McNamara, want to maintain a consistent output of Star Trek over the next few years and let shows organically grow and end as they can. Speaking of shows ending to make room for others, McNamara had this to say;
“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,”Source
Even though Section 31 show hasn’t been ordered as a series, YET! a writers’ room was put together back in 2019, headed up by Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt, who has been with Star Trek: Discovery since season one. and wrote season 3’s Mirror Universe 2 Parter “Terra Firma” which saw the departure of Michelle Yeoh character Philippa Georgiou
In a joint interview with Gravity City Magazine, the writing duo talked a little bit more about Section 31. When asked if they have any “dream projects,” Bo Yeon Kim pointed to the Section 31 show:
[F]or the most part, Star Trek is an accumulation of everything we love and working on Section 31, we get to do a lot on that show. There’s not a lot we can’t do on Section 31 that we’d be dying to do somewhere else.
Picard, Season 2
Production on Picard had been delayed from June 2020 to starting in February of this year, it is most likely that we will see Picard hit our screens in late 2021 early 2022.
In a collider interview with Akiva Goldsman he had this to say on the future of the show:
“I mean, I think we have discussed it as both a 3 season show, a 5 season show, a “let’s just keep going forever” show… But we certainly… Star Trek: Picard in my view will go as long as Patrick Stewart wants to do it.”
Speaking to Gold Derby, Sir PAtrick Stewart talked about what it’s been like waiting to get back to work and how because of Covid this has been the longest period in his career he has been out of work…
This downtime is the longest period [without work] in my career – but in the last couple of weeks I have been called to the studio for wardrobe costume fittings. I woke up both of those mornings that I had to drive myself to Santa Clarita so excited that I was attending a wardrobe session! It wasn’t the same as walking in front of the camera and having to act a role, but the wheels were beginning to turn again and I felt so good. And now I have got five scripts of the show and different drafts of those scripts. I spend hours every day with them… I want to work! That is what I am here for, that is what I do. I want a script in my hand. I want actors in front of me. I want to hear somebody say, “Standby studio!” It’s going to happen and it’s within view now. I actually think the first couple of days might be a bit challenging because of how do we tune back into what we were doing back before. But we have such an extraordinary cast and these people will bring it and they’ll just hand it over to me.
When talking about Season 2, Stewart added:
There is a strong element of a better future in all of the Star Trek versions… but it’s undergoing a bit of a transformation at the moment as we are working on season two of Picard. The world around us is not as calm, patient, democratic as it has been. There are issues that are very contemporary… we are not tuning in to European politics, or American politics at all, but there is a sense that things have gone wrong and they need to be put back on track again. I hope that will have a beneficial impact on our audience when they watch it. We don’t lecture to people. We tell stories. That’s our job. But I hope nevertheless that there is a sense coming through – and I am sure it will – of we have issues, and there are problems, and there is unfairness in the world. And we have got to resolve this, if we can.
Among the returning cast and crew is long time Star Trek director Johnathan Frakes, who is slated to direct at least 2 of the 10 episodes. Along the returning cast is also Whoopi Goldberg in the role of the iconic El-aurian, Guinan. (Hopefully, she managed to get a new bar after the loss of 10 Forward in Star Trek: Generations).
Discovery, Series 4
Discovery hit production for its fourth series back in November of 2020, and it seems there is no stopping this show, while there is little to speculate on in what is happening with the series we do know that Burnham is set to face some challenges after becoming captain in the season 3 finale… in a podcast with BlerdGurl podcast Alex Kurtzman and Olatunde Osunsanmi discussed what we can expect from that promotion…
Just because she’s in the chair doesn’t mean that there isn’t a journey about what it actually means to now experience things as a captain, and to have to make choices as a captain that you don’t have to make when you’re not the captain. The simplest and most obvious is, you as a first officer or as a science officer don’t have to choose whether or not to sacrifice someone on your crew to serve a greater good. That’s the hardest choice that a captain can make. Burnham, without revealing too much, and one of the things that [co-showrunner] Michelle [Paradise] and I have talked a lot about is that every episode needs to reflect a different challenge of what it means to be a captain. So the new variable for season four will be, ‘Okay, it’s a cool story, but how does it make her take a step as a captain?’ And that’s been a really interesting thing, because once we started filtering our stories through that question, it began to focus us on the kinds of stories that we wanted to tell. Because now they all have to challenge her as a captain.
I think Burnham goes through this journey that’s very interesting over the course of three seasons. She’s been told to be a certain person by so many different people. First to her human parents then her Vulcan parents then to Starfleet… And what she really realizes at the end of season three is that she is chosen to be captain by Vance and by everybody because she’s two things. She doesn’t have to be one thing. None of us are ever only one thing. So I think Burnham at the end of season three learns to hold space for being two things, and that that’s okay. But that’s challenging as a captain when sometimes you actually do have to make choices that don’t allow you to make choices from both of those sides of yourself. So that’s a really interesting problem for her that I think that she’s going to have to go through.
Although things are still very hush hush when it comes to season 4 details, we at least know that series 4 of Discovery will most likely air towards the end of 2021, similar to it’s run over the winter period last year.
Strange New Worlds
It’s no secret that fans were in love with Anson Mount’s portrayal of the iconic character of Christopher Pike. Anson’s fresh take on the character with boyish charm and a powerful spark of that Star Trek joy had us all gripped and clamouring for more in the form of his own series. And then our dreams came true! +
Alongside co-stars Ethan Peck (Spock), and Rebecca Romijn (Number One), the series began filming this month, (February). We’re all excited to see what adventures the crew of the Enterprise will be taking on in Strange New Worlds, no official release date has been given, we will be keeping a close ear to the ground for further news!
Lower Decks, Series 2
The animated smash hit of Lower Decks took the Trek Universe by storm and it was no surprise after that finale that we would have a second series, the biggest question is when?
According to Mike Machan season, 2 is “deep in production”. Could this another show airing in 2021? While we don’t like to speculate too much, you could put a few Quatloos on it coming at some point in 2021. We’re keeping our fingers crossed to hear more news of it soon!
The Next Phase
With Trek Expanding at speeds that make warp 9.975 look like a stroll, Kurtzman has said that while the shows will have a sense of interconnectedness, he does not plan for them to feel like a larger television universe.
“That’s a lot of fun, but our goal is not to make it so insular that if you haven’t seen the show you’re lost when you watch another show,”
It seems that there are clear plans to keep the franchise moving forwards, the event with the current slate, there are plans in motion to look at new shows, and new stories to tell. McNamara recently spoke about what their hopes are for the future:
“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.”
So it seems care will be taken when making more shows, with a preference to making sure that what hits our screens is consistently good and getting better. With the current trend of large cinematic and television universes turning out sprawling interconnected shows at an alarming rate, Kurtzman wants to take a step back and look at what quality content can be made with just 5 shows on the go. His vision for Star Trek seems to be aimed at being more accessible and focused.
“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. “
There’s a lot to expect for Star Trek in 2021 and beyond, we know that we can see a bright future with 5 shows boldly going onto Paramount+, with even more being teased in the future. It seems that Kurtzman has a clear vision of what he wants to do, and how he is going about it. We are all very excited to see how this Star Trek long game will play out.
What new series are you most excited for, and what are you hoping to see in our up coming series? Let us know in the comments below! and be sure to keep checking back to catch the news as it happens…