If showrunner Alex Kurtzman has his way, CBS All Access will always have a Star Trek series running on its streaming service. Star Trek: Discovery barely completed its first season before they announced the return of Patrick Stewart in his own Jean Luc Picard spin-off series. Last month, they announced that Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan is steering a new animated show called Lower Decks. Even right now, as we wait for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, the producers are filling the channel with a collection of Short Treks, each one focusing on a different crewmember (or opponent, as we’re also expecting to see a tiny return of Rainn Willson as Harry Mudd).
Not bad, not bad. That right there is already more Star Trek in production than any other time in its fifty-plus franchise. While the question of whether or not J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek 4 will ever happen let alone that mysterious Quentin Tarantino script, the final frontier has never looked more promising. And it’s only going to expand further.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the next character to spin-off into their own show will be Michelle Yeoh’s nefarious Captain Phillippa Georgiou. Why nefarious? Well, INCOMING STAR TREK: DISCOVERY SPOILERS, the good Captain was killed in the pilot of the first season, but at the midway point of the series the Discovery broke through to the diabolical mirror universe and encountered “her most Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Qo’noS, Regina Andor. All Hail Phillippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius!” Through various circumstances, the mirror majesty was brought into the prime timeline and rejoined Starfleet in secret.
As we’ve seen in the most recent trailer for the second season, Georgiou has joined up with the clandestine operators of Section 31. Theoretically these guys still adhere to the traditions and philosophies of the Federation, but they’re willing to ditch their morals to protect the citizenry. Apparently, this Georgiou spin-off would focus on her dealings with Section 31 and could easily descend into the darker aspects of the franchise. Something that has never sat well with followers of Gene Roddenberry’s utopian vision.
I am curious to see what the response will be for this series, especially considering the amount of agro Star Trek: Discovery season one received as a result of its own warmongering Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs). Arc-based storytelling is mostly new for the Star Trek audience. While I personally thought that Star Trek: Discovery never strayed too far from the original concept, especially since the series was ultimately building to Saru’s climactic line-reading of “We are Starfleet” and underscoring everything we hold dear about the unity of all sentient beings, the show ruffled a lot of feathers.
For a franchise to last five decades and beyond, we must allow for new interpretations and risk possible alienation of the fanbase. Section 31 has been used to test the ethics of Captain Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as the Chris Pine Kirk in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Ideals always need to be challenged. An entire series properly butting up against the bright and shiny vision of Star Trek will be taxing, but at the very least, it will also strengthen the fandom’s resolve.
Michelle Yeoh is still technically in negotiations with CBS, but they would be foolish to let her slip through their fingers. Throw all the money and consideration her way. To achieve a new level of pop culture dominance, Star Trek must continue to broaden its representation and point of view.