During the time after the cancellation of “Star Trek: Enterprise” and before the film “Star Trek (2009),” there was a lot of speculation as to what a new Trek show might look like on television. Some wondered if it would ever return, as the Trek boss Rick Berman said it ended due to “franchise fatigue.”
Those new “Kelvin Trek” films proved popular, and “Star Trek” found its way back into conversations with CBS boss Les Moonves. This was the guy who, according to Trek Today, “hates all things sci-fi.” Thanks to a reshuffling of top people at CBS, including Moonves and the guy chosen to head up a new version of Trek — Bryan Fuller — plans changed. Check out more on the CBS/Moonves saga from writer Matthew Kadish.
Eventually, Alex Kurtzman wound up in charge of the franchise, and the new show became “Star Trek: Discovery.” Like it or not, the series has been successful enough to spawn two spin-offs (“Picard” and “Strange New Worlds”), two animated shows, and even more Trek in development.
But before Kurtzman put his stamp on “Discovery,” the original idea was to make an anthology series. Fuller told Entertainment Weekly that he wanted to explore stories from many different eras of Trek, rather than what “Discovery” ended up being.
“The original pitch was to do for science-fiction what ‘American Horror Story’ had done for horror,” Fuller told writer James Hibberd. “It would platform a universe of ‘Star Trek’ shows.”
Hibberd explained that Fuller wanted “multiple serialized anthology shows that would begin with ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ journey through the eras of Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Jean Luc Picard, and then go beyond to a time in Trek that’s never been seen before.”
It’s fair to say that idea did not come to pass. But thanks to “Strange New Worlds” co-creator Akiva Goldsman, fans might get to see something similar.
‘Tales Of The Federation‘
According to an interview with Goldsman in SFX Magazine, the producer said he’s got a plan to bring back many classic characters and storylines.
“There’s something that I like, which I think Robert Kirkman is doing right now with ‘The Walking Dead,’ which is a kind of… I’ll call it ‘Tales Of The Federation,’ where you would just do one-offs, right?” Goldsman told SFX, as reported by ComicBook.com.
“So you could bring George Takei back for an hour and do a show about Sulu as an older man, or find Jonathan Archer having now retired from his Enterprise and being on Earth, just do these certain really interesting ones.”
“You could grab anybody, from all the shows, because it’s really hard to find enough for a series, but there are an endless amount of episodes, as anthology series are finding their way back,” said Goldsman. “They were sort of a staple when I was a boy. A ‘Star Trek’ based one of those I think would be super fun.”
‘Prodigy’ Makes This Possible
Thanks to a recent episode from “Star Trek: Prodigy,” fans know that this sort of thing can be done. In “Kobayashi,” the writers of Prodigy brought back Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Scotty (James Doohan), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Odo (René Auberjonois), Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden), and Chakotay (Robert Beltran) all for one episode. The voices of Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and Odo were all sourced from archival audio, while Chakotay and Crusher were newly recorded.
Goldsman could use animation or cast new, younger actors (like Chris Pine) to reprise these classic roles.
An Animated Return for Mr. Shatner?
Thanks to a post on Trek Report, fans can see a few potential anthology ideas. Trek Report proposed a similar series in February 2020, called “Star Trek: Continuum,” all done with animation. A few of these ideas were a fourth and fifth season of “The Original Series, the “The Captain Worf Show,” a redone ending for “Star Trek: Enterprise,” a Captain Sulu on the Excelsior show, and some lost Defiant missions from “Deep Space Nine.”
Thanks to interviews from Trek Report, both Michael Dorn (Worf) and Armin Shimerman (Quark‚ said that they would return to Trek in animation. “Enterprise” star John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) also said that he’d be interested in returning to Trek as an animated character.
Trek Report speculated that CBS “could bring back [William] Shatner” too. This does appear to be a possibility. Shatner did tell Metro.co.uk in 2020 that he’d be willing to return to Trek — under the right circumstances.
“If they wrote it and it made reasonable sense, then I’d love to [revive Captain Kirk],” Shatner said in the interview. “If the role was written properly and it wasn’t a cameo or gratuitous, being there just to show my face, I wouldn’t do that.”
An anthology series that dives into one of Captain Kirk’s many unexplored adventures would certainly not be a “cameo.”