Yesterday we learned that Star Trek: Section 31, the long-delayed Star Trek: Discovery spinoff, had shifted from a TV series to a prestige movie. It turns out that this switch wasn’t just a one-time thing, but part of a reported plan per Variety for what is looking to be the second phase of Star Trek head Alex Kurtzman’s tenure leading the franchise. While more TV shows are coming, part of the plan is to release a major Paramount+ movie every two years as well, all kicking off with Star Trek: Section 31.
This plan comes as Star Trek: Discovery, which kicked off Kurtzman’s relaunch of the franchise on Paramount+, is wrapping up alongside Star Trek: Picard, leaving Trek down its two biggest shows. A host of upcoming series including Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and the continuation of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds factor into what’s next, but fear of over-saturation and a desire to make feature films has led Paramount+ to believe that making movies is a better option than turning everything into a TV show.
In the specific case of Section 31, the decision to switch to movies became even more obvious when the show’s star became an Oscar winner for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Michelle Yeoh was evidently constantly interested in returning to the role of Emperor Philippa Georgiou but given her even greater popularity scheduling would have been a disaster for a TV series, and a movie holds that extra cache. Thus, we’re going to receive a big-budget film that is supposedly a mix of Guardians of the Galaxy and Mission: Impossible. Whatever the case, it’s clear that Kurtzman is looking to branch the franchise out across multiple eras as you have Discovery‘s spinoffs in the distant future, the animated shows in the general time of the Next Generation shows, and Section 31 and Strange New Worlds playing out during The Original Series.
We also shouldn’t forget that theoretically there are still theatrical movies in the works at Paramount, though where those stand at the moment is a mystery.