Star Trek is in a period of expansion. It began with the debut of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access. Next year should see the debuts of Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks, along with Discovery’s third season. There are also plans for a Star Trek: Section 31 spinoff of Discovery, the Star Trek: Short Treks series, the animated series headed to Nickelodeon, and teases about a possible spinoff starring Capt. Pike and the Enterprise crew. And there may be more to come.
Julie McNamara, the head of original programming for CBS All Access, explained the streaming service’s philosophy towards expanding the franchise during the TCA Summer Press Tour. “We feel like any show that we add to that franchise needs to carve out a unique niche in the world of Star Trek, and needs to be a very good, high-level execution,” McNamara told Variety. “I think we will collectively know when it feels like we actually should take our foot off the gas a little bit. We love the upside of this franchise [and] we feel like there’s kind of a limitless interest and appetite. That said, we have to curate carefully and only put the shows on when it feels right.”
Alex Kurtzman is the producer in charge of shepherding the franchise into the streaming age. He’s said in previous interviews that he has a multi-year plan in mind.
“When I went to CBS and I said, ‘I think you have a universe here that is very under-utilized, and a fan base that I think is hungry for a lot more,’ and I walked them through the plan of what I saw for the next five to ten years of Trek, part of it was kind of premised on the idea that it was gonna take time,” Kurtzman said. “What I said was, ‘Don’t expect us to put the first thing out, and suddenly, you have 100 million new fans. That’s not gonna happen. Trek's been around for too long for that to happen.’
“But what we do have is new generations, and what I can tell you is that Trek, in general, finds people when they’re about between nine and twelve. It’s never reached younger than that. It’s never tried to. And to me, that’s a hugely missed opportunity, especially because what you’re really trying to do is influence hearts and minds with really positive messages about who we can be as a species and as people and what our future is. So why not start young, you know? And not for a cynical reason. Not because you know, hey, let some more toys. Because if you really want Star Trek to reach people, then you’ve got to start young...But we are definitely seeing just metric proof that the fan base is growing, and it’s growing younger, and yet, we’re keeping our current fans, and that’s great.”
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