Star Trek Beyond has officially wrapped filming, but we've still got 9 months to wait until the newest Trek movie warps into cinemas. But where should the franchise go after Star Trek 3? Both Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have signed up for Star Trek 4, though that's hardly a guarantee that the movie will happen. After Star Trek Into Darkness' mixed response from critics, and a rocky road to Beyond's production, Paramount are probably viewing the franchise with a wary eye. The future of Trek will rely on Star Trek 3's success, and whether Simon Pegg's script gives enough plot fodder for subsequent sequels.
But maybe a continuation of the NCC-1701's story isn't the best way to go. Star Trek has always gone beyond expectations, jumping into new situations and time periods to give a rounded view of this fictional universe. The sky's the limit with Trek, so let's see Paramount take advantage of all the possibilities open to them...
Give Us The Future!
Don't worry, I'm not suggesting a reboot of The Next Generation. It's way too soon for that. But there's still a lot to explore beyond the Original Series time period, especially considering J.J. Abrams' alterations to the plot.
Ultimately, Abrams' time travel plot in the 2009 Star Trek movie was really just a gambit to reset the franchise. But from a story point of view it has huge ramifications. Into Darkness revealed a much darker version of Starfleet that was represented in TOS (and actually seemed closer to Deep Space 9's commentary on the Federation). While this added a bit of variety to TOS' tendency towards optimism, it also drastically changes the history of the Federation.
Jumping forwards in time a bit would give the rebooted timeline the chance to explore the consequences of the altered timeline, and how this affected allegiances with other species (particularly the Romulan Empire). There's also a pretty big time gap between TOS and TNG that the Original Series films occupied, which might be the perfect setting for a time jump plot. This would give us the chance to see the main cast as mentors, while exploring a different time period.
But there are problems with this. While many hardcore Trekkies, who have watched the shows for years, may appreciate this plot, it's probably not that appealing to fans of the new films. The writing, obviously, would have to combine the fun of the rebooted films with some of the cultural plots of The Next Generation and other shows, while keeping the plot simple enough to fit a movie format.
The major problem though is how to achieve this. But this idea might just solve the how, as well as open up the Trek universe to many more story possibilities...
With each season following a separate mini-series plot arc, anthology shows are all the rage right now, and the credit usually gets given to American Horror Story for popularising this story structure. With True Detective and Fargo following the trend, many TV shows are jumping on this bandwagon. But it's not just shows. The world conquering Star Wars franchise will pack out their Saga films (aka the main story) with anthology movies, the first of which being Rogue One.
This gives the Star Wars franchise a chance to branch out, embracing other elements of the SciFi genre to create a well rounded story and jump into different eras. It would be fantastic to see Star Trek use this structure too. Just think of the possibilities! Here's what we would love to see...
- A movie that skips forward into the future to examine how the Federation develops.
- A story based around an underdog crew in the Federation's golden years, who screw up every mission but ultimately have to save the day.
- A young adult type movie set at Starfleet Academy.
- A plot that uses the alien races the fans love, maybe focused around a Romulan or Klingon character (and we all know Michael Dorn is raring to play Worf again).
While this would expand the Trek universe, it's still a bit of a gamble. It's a very long term idea which works for Star Wars' guaranteed commercial success, but not necessarily for Star Trek. Ideally, of course, the future of Trek would blend a new TV show with the movies, but there's thorny licensing issues with Paramount and CBS which probably won't get resolved soon.
Right now, it looks like future installments of the Trek franchise will just continue the main plot of the Five Year Mission, if Star Trek Beyond does well at the box office. So what would you like to see? Let us know in the comments, or write your own post!
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