Do Star Trek Streaming Series Make Movies A Moot Point for Paramount?

It seems like in the current era of Star Trek, the franchise is content creating new canon off of its existing three shows with Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and the two upcoming Strange New Worlds and Prodigy. Seems like it makes the J. J. Abrams Kelvin Universe inconsequential especially since the last Paramount film in 2016's Beyond was five years ago and we're no closer to a fourth film of the alternate reality crew. Adding to that complication, director Noah Hawley would have to decide to either retire the Kelvin Pavel Chekov or recast him entirely from the late Anton Yelchin.

Star Trek: Zachary Quino Believes Fourth Kelvin Film Still Possible
Zachary Quinto as Spock in Star Trek Beyond (2016). Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

With the Star Trek franchise showing no signs of slowing down on TV and an uncertain cinematic future, it doesn't seem to make any sense from here on out to make another film at least theatrically. Hawley and current Montgomery Scott actor Simon Pegg previously mentioned in interviews even before the pandemic that with the way tentpole franchises are now, the profitability ceiling is just too low for a new Star Trek film to thrive in the current market.

Do Star Trek Streaming Series Make Movies A Moot Point for Paramount?
Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Can it be done today? Given the greater infrastructure and more serialized format of at least Discovery and Picard, it seems to make less sense to have a standalone 2-3 hour film that justifies the extra pomp and circumstance an existing season couldn't already do. When you look at Picard and Jean-Luc Picard's (Patrick Stewart) TNG films, the only films to justify standalone appeal was 1996's First Contact. Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis did not have any direct connective tissue to previous TNG episodes. At least, it's not in the way compared to The Original Series trilogy of films from Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, and The Voyage Home.

"Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1" -- Episode #109 -- Pictured (l-r): Isa Briones as Soji; Evan Evagora as Elnor; Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard; Alison Pill as Agnes Jurati; of the the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Cr: Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Is there a franchise that can work for films if we're moving on from the Kelvin Kirk crew? Guess that depends on how the more traditional Strange New Worlds becomes received. I seriously doubt the Pike Enterprise lasts once new TV Kirk gets introduced. Guess what's left is Paramount+ original movies they can hype as "special events". As a streamer, it doesn't seem to make sense when they have seasons to plan of multiple series. Short of any dramatic shift in the franchise, Star Trek Beyond might very well be the final film of the franchise or at the very least, this generation.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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