The Potential Of Star Trek: Legacy

Fans are still swooning over season three of Star Trek: Picard and for good reason. Not only did it feature the long-awaited reunion of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), but it was bursting at the screen’s seams with Easter eggs and references to most of the previous incarnations of Star Trek TV shows and films. More importantly, instead of wallowing in Member Berries, the third season actually set up a potential spinoff—Star Trek: Legacy. *Warning for those who have not seen season three of Star Trek: Picard, there will be spoilers from here on out.

During the third season of Star Trek: Picard, we were introduced to Jack Crusher, who turned out to be the son of Jean-Luc Picard. In many ways he was a lot like his father but with a rakish bent as he seemed more comfortable acting independently and living a pirate-like lifestyle. Perhaps this is how Picard was like in his younger days. In some ways, Jack had more of the swashbuckling demeanor of James T. Kirk (more on him soon). Yet he had an intellectual and empathic side that echoed his father. In a sense he came off as an authentic child, who has elements of both his parents with unique personality traits gained from experiences the parents never had. Jack quickly became a fan favorite and has enough personality and development to return in future Star Trek spinoffs. This was very clear at the end of the final episode of Star Trek: Picard when he joined Starfleet and was posted on the Enterprise-G as special counselor to the captain.

The third season also introduced several other characters, some of which were bridge officers of the Titan-A (later rechristened the Enterprise-G). The one standout was Sidney La Forge, the Titan-A’s helm officer and daughter of Geordi La Forge. She soon formed a friendship with Jack with hints of something more to develop. It was fun seeing the two scions interacting with each other, which foretold great adventures to come if the powers that be at Paramount Pictures greenlight a Star Trek: Legacy. Obviously the two characters would be some of the central characters of this show.

Two other characters that could headline the show would be Captain Seven of Nine a.ka. Annika Hansen, and her first officer Rafaella “Raffi” Musiker.  Most fans know that Seven debuted on Star Trek: Voyager before becoming a regular on Star Trek: Picard. Raffi is the only remaining original character from Star Trek: Picard to remain a part of the show after the other original characters were written out after the second season of the show. Even though they are not the children of past Star Trek characters they in a sense would carry on the legacy of Star Trek: Picard. Perhaps other past Star Trek: Picard characters like Sohji Asha (Data’s daughter) could return and continue the theme of legacy.

Another character that could return is Captain Liam Shaw. Yes, he was killed off in the penultimate Star Trek: Picard episode “Vox”, but he quickly became a fan favorite. While he was very surly and dismissive towards our favorite TNG characters especially Picard and Will Riker, he was actually the voice of reason. He was more cautious when it came to his ship, the Titan-A, and the safety of his crew, which conflicted with the daring decisions made by Picard and Riker that threatened the Titan-A and crew. More often than not he was willing to call out Picard on his decisions and his arguments usually had merit. What made him more dimensional was the revelation that he was a survivor of the Battle of Wolf 359. He clearly was still suffering from that incident where the cybernetic race called the Borg decimated a Starfleet armada. This also explained his animosity towards Picard since Picard was assimilated by the Borg and helped them defeat Starfleet. In as sense this also explains his antagonistic relationship with Seven since she is a former Borg. Shaw was a great character and it was too bad he was killed off. However, Terry Matalas, the showrunner of the third season, has hinted that there is a way for Shaw to return in the Star Trek: Legacy show. Being that this is Star Trek, there are dozens of ways to do this: clones, time travel, cold storage, Seven’s Borg nanoprobes, even Q could easily bring Shaw back.

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Star Trek At 48

trek trioThis weekend marks the 48th anniversary of the premiere of the very first Star Trek episode on TV. The celebrations are unquestionably low key; I couldn’t even find any acknowledgement of this on the website. But I expect things will be very different in two years time. At least, that is what we Trek fans hope. By then, it will be the fiftieth anniversary and we know for certain that at the very least a Star Trek film will be out in two years.

That is much better than what happened during the iconic show’s fortieth anniversary. Nothing happened then. Paramount Pictures didn’t put out a film because of the failure of Star Trek Nemesis, while CBS Television Studios also followed suit since Star Trek: Enterprise was just canceled a year before on UPN.

Cinematic Rebooting

During that time period both companies felt that the Star Trek franchise needed a rest from the public eye. As we all know, Paramount rebooted the film franchise in 2009 with Star Trek and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness was released last year. While both films were successful, there is a feeling of unease among a large segment of the fanbase. Under director J.J. Abrams’ guidance, they feel as if Star Trek has strayed far from what it’s meant to be; a story of space exploration and encountering the unknown. Instead, they say that the past two films were just modified Star Wars films. That is a hard viewpoint to argue against, since the films emphasized action and thrills over the more cerebral fare that creator Gene Roddenberry championed when he created the original show and Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG).


The Star Trek reboot was supposed to reinvigorate the franchise and raise public awareness, but how successful was that goal? How much in the public eye is Star Trek? It’s there for sure but a lot of attention is being paid these days to the latest superhero film or the return of Star Wars, while any news of the upcoming Star Trek sequel gets shrugs. This was really clear when Paramount announced this year that the screenwriter for the past two Star Trek films, Roberto Orci, was tapped to direct the next sequel. He isn’t a big-name director, actually he hasn’t directed anything at all. Yet, he is being entrusted by Paramount to guide the next Star Trek film, which is coming out in the fiftieth anniversary of the original series. You would think that with that much attention the franchise will receive then, that the film studio will want to ensure that a topnotch director will handle the reins. But who knows? Maybe Orci will deliver the kind of Star Trek film its fans have been clamoring for.

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Candidate Directors For The Next Star Trek Film

abrams 2J.J. Abrams isn’t available to direct the next Star Trek film because he’s busy playing in the other major sci-fi franchise. However, with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek just two years away, Paramount Pictures needs to find a new director for the next Star Trek movie. Due to the fact that the film will be produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, the eventual director will probably be someone known and trusted by that company. Most recently many fans became visibly nervous when Abrams’ longtime associate writer Roberto Orci stated his wish to direct the next Star Trek film. He wrote the rebooted Trek movies and co-wrote other sci-fi movies like Transformers, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Cowboys & Aliens. Orci also co-created and wrote for TV shows like Fringe and Sleepy Hollow. baird trekHowever, he has never directed a film before, so it seems unlikely that Paramount is willing to entrust the keys of their popular franchise on an unproven director. Reinforcing that is the fact that the big budget, high profile film Transcendence failed with freshman director Wally Pfister.

So, Paramount has to be careful in hiring the right director for the next Star Trek film. History has shown that the success of Star Trek movies largely rests on the talents of its directors and the film series’ spotty record is a testament to that notion. An infamous example is Stuart Baird and Star Trek: Nemesis.

While obviously, they’re not going to get someone like Spielberg or Brad Bird to helm the film, there is actually a decent pool of directors who could be the next Nicholas Meyer. Perhaps this director could bring something different to the franchise; maybe some intellectual heft, while telling an exciting tale. Here are some candidates:

Matt Reeves: Perhaps best known for Cloverfield, Reeves is a solid choice to direct a Trek film and he could have some favor with Bad Robot Productions. Cloverfield was produced by that company so he is a known quality to Abrams and company. Plus, he directed the revered horror film Let Me In and the upcoming Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Even though he has been named to direct another Planet Of The Apes film, perhaps he can be lured into the world of Star Trek.

duncan jonesDuncan Jones: His previous sci-fi films, Moon and Source Code were grounded, entertaining and thought provoking fare with great characters. Such qualities would be a perfect fit for a Star Trek film. Currently Jones is directing Warcraft, which is due on March 2016. Maybe if he can finish up that film soon, Jones may have time to squeeze in a Trek film for later that year.

Rian Johnson: The well-regarded, time-travel action film Looper put the director on the map. Johnson has also recently directed some of the most acclaimed episodes of Breaking Bad. That alone should be enough to earn some serious consideration. Remember that Nicholas Meyer’s previous movie before Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan was the underrated time-travel gem Time After Time. Maybe history will repeat itself?


Shane Carruth: He is another director who helmed a time-travel film. This one being Primer, more of a thinking person’s sci-fi movie rather than an actioner. But Primer is a respected movie among genre fans, and Carruth’s hand would lend some sorely missed intellectualism to a Star Trek film. The problem is that Paramount is probably convinced that a more cerebral Trek movie won’t sell as many tickets as an action piece. That may be true, but a more serious minded Trek film would probably bring back many disaffected fans turned off by Abrams’ flashy and action-oriented directing style that is better suited for Star Wars.

Rupert Wyatt: This director seemed to have come out of nowhere in 2011 and presented the surprisingly great Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, which revived the dormant franchise. Last year, he was mentioned by Abrams as a likely contender for the Trek directing gig until the buzz shifted to Joe Cornish. Who knows what happened? But if they’re smart they should get back to the negotiating table to bring him onboard because Wyatt demonstrated some genuine storytelling skill with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

singerBryan Singer: Fans of superhero films generally agree that Singer’s X-Men films have been some of the best superhero movies of the sub-genre. An avowed Star Trek fan, Singer even had a cameo in Star Trek: Nemesis. Now throw in his directing prowess, especially with ensemble casts, and we may have a perfect choice for the next Trek adventure. However, he is busy with the X-Men film franchise and is now prepping the followup to X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

William Eubank: Love was an unusual and eubankadmittedly obscure sci-fi movie about a stranded astronaut in the International Space Station. Nevertheless, it was a thought-provoking and beautifully shot film thanks to Eubank. What is more impressive is that it was done on a shoestring budget, yet had topnotch production values. If Paramount wants to cut corners with the budget, Eubank can stretch a dollar out while delivering a winning film. If his upcoming film The Signal is successful, he should be considered by Paramount.

Joseph Kosinski: Tron: Legacy and Oblivion were sci-fi films that sharply divided many viewers. They were very entertaining with fantastic visual effects, imagery and production design. But many had issues with the emotional tone and narrative of the films. Still, they weren’t empty action films and Kosinski can deliver a sci-fi film with some food for thought.


Now these candidates may be a bit out of left field but if Paramount gets desperate they  would be better choices than Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) or Roberto Orci.

At one point, Attack The Block director Joe Cornish was the person picked to direct the upcoming Trek movie, but he dropped out late last year. With looming deadlines, he can possibly be lured back to the franchise. If not him Paramount can pull a Hail Mary pass and turn to Nicholas Meyer or even Jonathan Frakes for another go around. Of course, that won’t happen. Right?

meyer kirkOn a serious note, because of the pending fiftieth anniversary of the beloved franchise, the next Star Trek film needs to be a super event that rivals the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of Doctor Who and James Bond. Many fans are dissatisfied with Abrams’ take on Star Trek and want not just a replacement but someone who they think will treat the property with respect and put out a great movie. There is still time but Paramount needs to step up its efforts to find the right director. After all, it is a special occasion.

Lewis T. Grove