The Paramount Star Trek Movies Have An Advantage Over Other Franchises

Paramount Pictures is the major studio behind the Star Trek franchise. The series is currently experiencing the most successful TV run since the days of The Next Generation which saw multiple shows on the air at the same time. However, despite this, the Paramount Star Trek movies seem to be in limbo with no one really knowing what to do with them. This is baffling given that the TV universe is not only thriving but is giving the franchise an edge that other IPs currently do not have.

Multiple Conflicting Reports Of Paramount Star Trek Movies

Paramount Star Trek movies reboot.
Image via Paramount.

The last Paramount Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond, came out in 2016. Since then, we’ve gotten multiple reports about plans of the next batch of Star Trek movies. But each report seemingly contradicts another, leaving fans confused and befuddled. First, there was a Star Trek 4 in development with Chris Pine returning, along with potentially, Chris Hemsworth, in a time travel story. However, the excitement over that quickly deflated when news broke that it wouldn’t happen.

Since then we’ve heard of a potential R-rated Star Trek movie from auteur filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Then more talk of a Star Trek 4, which was then quickly nixed by the actors themselves. And now a new report from Deadline confirms that the studio is developing a new movie that will act as a prequel with a brand new cast. The report also confirms that Star Trek 4 of the 2009 reboot is still in development. All of which is further confusing fans, given how the Star Trek franchise has something going for it that no other franchise on film or TV has right now.

Star Trek Shows Are Dominating Current TV Landscape

Paramount Star Trek movies Discovery.
Image via Paramount.

We are currently in peak Star Trek TV era right now. With multiple series in production, on air and in development, it’s probably the most shows in the franchise since the original shows like TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Star Trek: Discovery kick-started this new renaissance, with a prequel to the original series that broke all the conventions of what a usual Star Trek show can do, while still retaining its spirit. It was quickly followed by a prequel spin-off in Strange New Worlds. Which I maintain, is the most accessible Star Trek for new audiences.

On the other side of things, Picard saw a sequel to the stories and characters introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Seasons 1 and 2 ventured into the other shows too, like including Seven Of Nine (Jeri Ryan) from Voyager as a recurring, then regular cast member. But season 3 was a unification of all the major Star Trek franchises with storylines from DS9 and Voyager while also bringing back the entire TNG cast.

Even on the animated front, Lower Decks sees an adult comedy set in the TNG era that lovingly mocks and homages the entire franchise, past and present. Star Trek: Prodigy works as a brand new series introducing younger audiences to the franchise. With a Section 31 movie in development with Oscar Winner Michelle Yeoh headlining, and a Starfleet Academy show as well, there’s a whole lot of Trek on TV right now. But having this many Trek shows means something very significant for the Paramount Star Trek movies landscape.

Star Trek Has Current Shows In Every Era And Timeline

Paramount Star Trek movies SNW.
Image via Paramount.

With all these shows, the Star Trek franchise is doing something unique that no other franchise is right now. And that is having stories set in every major Star Trek era, spanning centuries between them. And doing so incredibly successfully.

Strange New Worlds has successfully re-created and modernized the Star Trek: The Original Series universe with adventures of the Enterprise crew, prior to the events of TOS. So the series acts as a prequel set in the Wild West days of Starfleet. While Discovery takes things to the complete extreme on the other side, jumping 930 years in the future at the end of season 2. Since then, Discovery’s stories have taken place in this far-off future of Star Trek.

And in between, are the legacy shows. Star Trek Picard took place in what we can probably call, the ‘current’ Star Trek era, with all 3 seasons acting as a sequel to the original shows of TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Lower Decks is set in the TNG era, where all legacy characters make appearances in fun and interesting ways. And even Star Trek: Prodigy’s timeline happens after the events of Star Trek: Voyager, and a few years before Picard season 1.

With all these timelines telling great stories in multiple ways for a variety of audiences, the Paramount Star Trek movies could easily decide to tell new and original stories with new or existing characters in any of these timelines. And if they don’t want to further complicate things by messing with the timeline, they even have an alternate timeline universe in the movies already!

The Star Trek 2009 Reboot Created An Actual Universe Of Possibilities

Paramount Star Trek movies Beyond.
Image via Paramount.

In 2009, before this TV resurgence of Trek, J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise with Chris Pine and a brand new cast playing the TOS characters. The movie did something unprecedented by branching the events of the movie’s story into an entirely new timeline, away from what is canon in the Star Trek universe. Meaning the adventures of this Enterprise crew are not the same as those from The Original Series.

This allowed the writers to create entirely new stories, without having to worry about messing up canon, or what came before. However, they squandered that opportunity with the sequel, which basically remade the original Paramount Star Trek movie sequel, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Which was such a wasted opportunity at a time when they had a blank check to write whatever brand new Star Trek story they wanted to take the franchise in a new direction. And by the time they decided to do so in the third film, Star Trek: Beyond, audiences were wary. While Beyond was a lot of fun, it ended up as a bland sci-fi action movie, instead of anything original.

The Best Way For The Paramount Star Trek Movies To Move Forward


At this point, the best thing to do is continue the opportunity the franchise started in 2009. Continue the canon-free universe of the 2009 reboot film, with the amazing cast in the classic roles. Pine, Quinto and Saldana were the perfect choices to recast the legacy characters of Kirk, Spock and Uhura, for theatrical films. All actors, even including the supporting cast are now huge film and TV stars. Continuing with those actors makes any future Star Trek movie hugely anticipated for the cast alone.

And in order to continue dominating in all mediums, the Star Trek movies need to continue on this alternate timeline path, so as to not muddy the actual canon timeline set up by the TV shows. This way the movie and TV worlds can also stay separate, without affecting the timeline or intersecting with one another in a way that may feel repetitive and redundant.

What do you think is the best way for the Paramount Star Trek movies to reignite audience interest? Let me know in the comments below or follow me on X (Twitter) at @theshahshahid to talk about anything Star Trek anytime.

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Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad