Alex Kurtzman was no stranger to Star Trek when he took the helm of the franchise’s shows with CBS Television Studios. In fact, he was instrumental in relaunching the franchise in 2009. Kurtzman helped write the story and the script for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie. He was also on the writing team for the sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness.
In 2015, CBS announced that it would be releasing a new Star Trek series with Kurtzman and former Star Trek writer Bryan Fuller as executive producers. The showrunners promised to honor the iconic franchise by “returning it to its roots,” and said that they had a “love for Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic future, a vision that continues to guide us as we explore strange new worlds.”
The duo went on to create Star Trek: Discovery, the show that started a massive relaunch of the Star Trek franchise on television.
Why do Some Fans Hate Kurtzman?
Though Kurtzman promised to bring classic Star Trek back to life, many fans think he’s done the exact opposite. Some go as far as accusing him of ruining the franchise. Star Trek fans who loathe Kurtzman’s “NuTrek,” as it’s been dubbed in the fandom, have many wide-ranging reasons for their hatred.
Many Trek fans don’t like Discovery because of what they call “social justice warrior” content like progressive political messages and queer characters. Some don’t like the fact that Kurtzman changed beloved characters like Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Some think that Kurtzman just isn’t a very good writer.
Many fans have also observed that Kurtzman doesn’t seem to have a very good grasp on the canon that he’s continuing with his new shows. Some think that the reason Kurtzman’s Star Trek doesn’t feel like classic Trek is that he doesn’t have the requisite knowledge of classic Trek. Some have argued that Kurtzman’s Star Trek is fundamentally at odds with the spirit of Star Trek because it doesn’t represent the utopian future that Gene Roddenberry envisioned.
The point underlying most of these arguments is that Kurtzman’s Star Trek shows just aren’t the same as the Star Trek they know and love. Some of these fans are hoping that Kurtzman’s newest show, Strange New Worlds, will be more like the Trek they’re used to, but they’ll have to wait until at least 2022 to find out.
Many fans are longing for the days when Kurtzman is no longer in charge and “real Star Trek” can return. Unfortunately for them, Kurtzman will likely be the captain of the Star Trek franchise for several more years.
When is Kurtzman’s Contract With CBS Over?
After the success of Discovery’s first season, Kurtzman was tapped by CBS as the primary showrunner for the series because Fuller left during the first season. A few months after the second season released in 2018, CBS announced that they’d signed a five-year overall deal with Kurtzman.
The press release stated that the deal included giving Kurtzman creative control to expand the Star Trek universe into several more shows. Though the release didn’t give details it also announced that Kurtzman would be taking the franchise into the animated space, which hadn’t been done since the 1970s.
Kurtzman continued to lead Discovery and launched a full suite of new Star Trek content including Star Trek: Picard, Short Treks, Star Trek: Lower Decks and the upcoming shows Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Prodigy.
The contract that Kurtzman signed with CBS goes until 2023. So far, no new contract has been announced. However, it doesn’t look like Kurtzman will be done with Star Trek when that contract is up.
In October of last year, Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter that he and the executives over at CBS have Star Trek content planned out through 2027. This likely means that CBS will be announcing a new overall deal with Kurtzman sometime in the future. If they offer him another five-year deal when his contract is up in 2023, then he would be in control of the Star Trek franchise through 2028.
So, fans who want to see the end of Kurtzman’s reign will likely be waiting a very long time.