In case you don’t keep up with the ins and outs of wealthy people getting paid a lot of money to run entertainment studios, Paramount Pictures brought in a new head in September in the form of Brian Robbins, and it sounds like he has big plans for the cinematic Star Trek — even if he isn’t quite sure what they are yet. Robbins recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter (via Trek Movie) alongside Star Trek boss Alex Kurtzman to celebrate the launch of Star Trek: Prodigy, the new animated series in the franchise, in addition to touching upon various movies in the works, both live-action and animated. Kurtzman and Robbins discussed the big-screen aspirations of the franchise, conceding that movies were the “beacon that ignite franchises,” and Trek currently does not have one of those.
“Where we go with the franchise next theatrically is crucial to the health of the overall franchise,” said Robbins. “We’re in it and I don’t really have anything to say because I’m waiting for the development to be delivered. I can’t wait to get going on it, but we’re not there yet but we need to get there soon.”
The studio head was pretty cagey with answers and didn’t clarify which development he was waiting to have delivered. While Kurtzman is the head of Trek on Paramount+, it has been J.J. Abrams leading the charge on the film side of things. His efforts have been stuck in development hell ever since Star Trek Beyond landed, with multiple attempts at a next film falling through, including a possible Quentin Tarantino movie. Paramount did carve out a release date for an untitled Trek film in 2023 with WandaVision director Matt Shakman set to direct from a screenplay being written by Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, but when pressed Robbins wouldn’t commit to that being the next Trek film to land, raising the specter of the films taking a different route or Kurtzman taking over entirely.
“We don’t know enough yet,” Robbins said. “We’re working on several fronts and obviously Alex is the key for the franchise [on Paramount+]. J.J. has been the keeper of the franchise on the film side. We hope that as a company that we do what’s right for the franchise altogether.”
The studio could see Abrams as a bit of a risk after the fiasco that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was and may be interested in putting all creative control under one mastermind as Kevin Feige is to the MCU. However, Kurtzman’s stewardship of Star Trek hasn’t always endeared him to fans. Star Trek: Discovery has been a success for the streamer but Trek fans are sour on it, and Picard is generally perceived to be a letdown. In fact, it’s the animated side of the franchise that seems to be succeeding, with Star Trek: Lower Decks receiving praise across the board and Star Trek: Prodigy getting off to a strong start.
Maybe that’s why Robbins isn’t just looking at live-action films. He was the head of Nickelodeon when Star Trek: Prodigy was developed and sees a lot of potential in launching an animated film series for the franchise, geared at families.
“The data is pretty obvious,” Robbins said. “We’re going to be patient because we think the show is fantastic and creatively just exceeds all expectations. I have no doubt that we’ll be doing more. Alex and I have talked about what the theatrical film version of this show is and the likes of that. We’re really excited. [Nickelodeon animation head] Ramsey [Naito] and our Nick team could not be more thrilled to explore more.”