Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Kelvin Out/31 In

SJ Clarkson is now assigned to the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel and with no resolution to the Pine/Hemsworth contract dispute (probably) among other things, Star Trek 4 is now officially shelved. 

I'm not hugely shocked by this news as it seems none of the puzzle pieces were fitting together well and there was zero sign of a script.

It means that the Kelvin Timeline may well become known as the Kelvin Trilogy and remain one of Star Trek's more unique spin off elements. 

But the influence of those films, or at least a key part of them will live on in the Kurtzman Era as the destruction of Romulus is set to have had a profound effect on Picard in his as yet unnamed series which will, along with the transference of Prime Spock over to that timeline, cement the three movies firmly as part of canon.

While it seems like the behind the scenes dilemmas are the reason for the seeming end to the adventures of alt-Kirk and co, it's been a pretty good run. While I openly admit that Into Darkness isn't a masterpiece and borrows chunks from another Star Trek movie you have to admit that the visual quality, the acting and the very feel of these three stories has been exceptional. 

The 2009 movie is one of the best Star Trek movies to have ever been made. Doing something that was a possibility back in the days of The Undiscovered Country, it took the crew back to the Academy and their first meetings. It reset our expectations of Star Trek while simultaneously and subconsciously updating it for a new generation of fans. In fact this would be a generation of fans that would have never seen The Original Series or heard of Deep Space Nine. At its heart it was just a damn good sci-fi movie that happened to be Star Trek at the same time. 

Beyond rounded out the three with the destruction of the Enterprise which kind of means these three films become the story of that singular ship but of the trilogy its probably the one closest to the feel of The Original Series in its look and feel. 

However as one door appears to have closed, another one has sprung open with the official announcement that we've all been expecting for a little while; that Michelle Yeoh is getting her own series as Mirror Georgiou in a new Section 31 show.

Hardly surprising which means there must be some meat on the bones that we'll be getting a second animated series plus something to do with Starfleet Academy in the (very close) years to come. Due to be produced by Discovery writers Yeon Kim and Erica Lippoldt who were responsible for the Saru episode Into the Forest I Go in season one. 

That now brings the confirmed series total to four including Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks. plus there are supposed to be seven in play by 2020. So...we're just over half the planned amount of shows which will definitely solidify Star Trek's place back on the small screen.

From chatrooms/boards it's clear that fans are naturally concerned about the number of shows online and are having flashbacks to the mid-'90's "Golden Age". If managed well then there shouldn't be a problem - but look at the diversity too.

In the '90's the style of the shows and movies were all very similar visually, in the way they told their stories and most notably in their focus on Starfleet. What we seem to be getting from the Kurtzman era is a galactic sandbox in which we are going to see different aspects of every corner of the Alpha Quadrant (and maybe more) with neither Picard nor Georgiou part of Starfleet directly. This new Section 31 show will certainly be exploring the darker corners of the galactic landscape away from the sharp, duty bound lines of the Federation.

But does this mean that our Star Trek is going to be less Star Trek? Will this massive expansion dilute the brand and the strength of the storytelling? If they are going to branch out I believe this will be a bold and brilliant step to offer something refreshing to the franchise. If every series was, as you might recall from 20 years ago, a Starfleet crew out exploring the galaxy then yes, we'd be in some serious trouble but this new approach has chosen to give each new show a completely fresh identity and path to travel. Wise move and a very sensible one to boot.

Which of the new shows are you looking forward to? Are you lamenting the potential end to the Kelvin Universe?

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