While we all clamor for more and more of our favorite characters from comics and television to make it to the big screen, I think we can all see the need for a return to good original storytelling when it comes to film. Unfortunately with all of the advances the internet has brought us, one major downside is the instant reactions to things like movie announcements and trailers can be immediately categorized and tracked into a database that studios use to develop projects. Not surprisingly, when people react to these things out of fear or anger for a character or story that people feel they have a personal stake in, studios change to support the largest market.
Chris Pine, in an interview with SFX magazine, said what we all knew to be true in the 2016 cinema climate. “You can’t make a cerebral Star Trek in 2016. It just wouldn’t work in today’s marketplace. You can hide things in there – Star Trek Into Darkness has crazy, really demanding questions and themes, but you have to hide it under the guise of wham-bam explosions and planets blowing up. It’s very, very tricky.” He is absolutely correct about this when it comes to a big budget film. The studio is looking for the largest return on its investment, especially one like the $150 million spend on Star Trek Beyond, and attempts to cater to the largest audience possible. Unfortunately Paramount doesn’t feel it can succeed with such a huge property by making a film about the forced relocation of a species that doesn’t involve the enterprise blowing up or a story about saving the whales.
A funny thing has happened in entertainment in the past couple years where television shows seem to get bigger and bigger budgets. Where Batman v Superman may have a convoluted and messy story to support a large scale hero fight, the CW brings classic superhero stories in a very fun and believable way. The Hobbit trilogy seemed to bend to classic Hollywood money trying to go for the blockbuster moments rather than a cogent and faithful story, while year after year Game of Thrones brings mixes of stunning art and world building while still caring deeply for the source material. Luckily for us Star Trek fans, Bryan Fuller is taking the same approach when bringing back Star Trek to the small screen in 2017.
Bryan Fuller is probably best known for has most recent show Hannibal but he has worked on both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager in the past so he has a great perspective on the source material. Unfortunately, Fuller has been “muzzled” on most of the intricate details but he has revealed that the entire season will be 13 episodes and will include a story arc that crosses all 13 episodes. While casting specifics have not been worked out, Fuller does say that the new series will continue the progressive character and storyline choices that Star Trek was originally known for. “It’s fascinating to look at all of these roles through a colorblind prism and a gender-blind prism” he said in the interview, adding “I think the progressive audience that loves Star Trek will be happy that we’re continuing that tradition.”
We still have very little information about the upcoming series other than it is set to show in early 2017 on CBS All Access. Still with the little information he’s given, I can’t help but believe that Bryan Fuller will be able to take the success of the new film franchise and turn it into a television experience that is true to the original with an updated and cerebral plot.