Tuesday, May 21

Alex Kurtzman Teases Star Trek “Surprises” Coming Up, But Greenlighting ‘Legacy’ Is Out Of His Hands – TrekMovie.com

There are a lot of questions about the future of the Star Trek television franchise, with shows ending and the future of Paramount+ itself in flux. We got some clarity last week with the big Variety cover story. Now there is a bit more coming from Alex Kurtzman, who oversees Star Trek TV for Paramount, as well as more comments from Paramount execs about Trek and the future of Paramount+.

Kurtzman talks Trek’s future and why Legacy hasn’t been greenlit (yet)

During the Discovery season 5 publicity tour executive producer Alex Kurtzman talked to Cinemablend about the series ending pointing out how five seasons is “a really good run” for a modern TV show, especially due to how “streaming cycles work.” He also offered this optimistic view of the future of the Trek TV:

“The good news is that the health of the franchise is vibrant now. We’re shooting Section 31, we’re about to start Starfleet Academy, and there’s a couple of surprises coming up after that. So there’s definitely no shortage of Star Trek incoming.”

Kurtzman said something very similar last October at NYCC talking about the “extraordinary” support Star Trek has from Paramount+ and teasing a “bunch of new things now in the works.”

Alex Kurzman (CBS Studios)

One specific thing that keeps being brought up by many fans is a followup to Star Trek: Picard. The series wrapped up its third and final season in 2023, but the finale set up what has been described as a “Star Trek: Legacy” series as envisioned by showrunner Terry Matalas with the enthusiastic support of members of the cast, including Jeri Ryan, who would lead the show as Captain Seven of the USS Enterprise-G. Matalas has made it very clear no development work has been done on his Legacy concept.

Could Legacy be one of those teased “surprises”? Apparently not. In a separate new interview with Den of Geek Magazine, Kurtzman said:

“If I had a magic button, a magic ‘greenlight button,’ for Star Trek: Legacy, and it was all on me, I’d push that button today. Right now, it’s beyond my paygrade.”

One would imagine that CBS CEO George Cheeks had the right paygrade to give Legacy a greenlight (assuming there was enough money available, more on that later). When he was recently asked about Legacy, he equivocated. The executive said there is a plan to “time it out appropriately” when it comes to “the right cadence for dropping new Star Trek series.” One can see why the YA-focused Starfleet Academy series (set to start filming this summer) has priority in this telling quote from CBS Studios CEO David Stapf to Variety: “There’s a tried and true ‘Trek’ fan that is probably going to come to every ‘Star Trek,’ no matter what it is — and we want to expand the universe.”

For fans hoping to return to 25th century Trek, there is a glimmer of hope. Last week Variety reported, “Kurtzman is already eyeing more opportunities for TV movies, including a possible follow-up to Picard.” Speaking to TrekMovie in February, Terry Matalas said he was open to the idea of a TV movie version of Legacy.

Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut as Ensign Sidney La Forge, Mica Burton as Alandra La Forge and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine in “The Last Generation” (Paramount+)

Star Trek’s future tied to troubled parent

Star Trek is certainly important to Paramount+, with Variety reporting nearly one in five subscribers are watching at least one Star Trek show and more than half of the fans who watch one of the new original Trek shows watch at least two others, which is vitally important to reduce “churn,” the bane of all streaming services. According to CBS exec David Stapf, “‘Star Trek’ is one of the most valued, treasured and to-be-nurtured franchises in all of media.” But the reality is that Paramount Global has been dealing with financial trouble. Just last week the company’s bond rating was downgraded to junk status. Paramount simply no longer has the kind of money to spend on streaming content it did just a couple of years ago when there were five concurrent Star Trek shows on Paramount+.

In a new interview with Variety, Paramount’s streaming CEO Tom Ryan touted how the service has moved past “peak investment” ahead of schedule and they are now looking to “leverage our cost base more effectively,” which is corporate-speak for cutting spending on content. Ryan vows that Paramount+ is headed to profitability soon, but its future could be upended by the potential sale of Paramount Global. The media corporation is fielding competing bids with some kind of sale expected this year by industry analysts. There has also been reporting that Paramount Global is considering merging Paramount+ with Comcast’s Peacock.

Paramount Pictures in Hollywood

All of this just adds a new level of uncertainty to Star Trek, which is currently entirely dependent on Paramount+ when it comes to developing new TV content (with the sole exception of Prodigy, now streaming on Netflix). Alex Kurtzman acknowledged to Cinemablend that these corporate moves are beyond his control, but he was still optimistic when it came to Trek’s future:

“Star Trek is bigger than any one moment or any one company. Star Trek is an institution; no matter where, no matter what changes, there will always be Star Trek somewhere… I don’t think Star Trek is going anywhere ever.”

As always, TrekMovie will continue to monitor the latest when it comes to the future of Trek, and Paramount.

Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

source: trekmovie.com