Star Trek Origins Movie Is Not The Way To Reenergize The Franchise

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek origins

Star Trek has been enjoying a thriving television renaissance, but many fans have been clamoring to see this franchise back on the big screen. After weighing multiple options (including doing a fourth Kelvinverse film with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto), Paramount is now going forward with a kind of Star Trek origins movie set decades before Kirk fought against the time-traveling Romulan Nero. Unfortunately, this approach is the worst way to return Trek to movie theaters because it will simultaneously turn off established fans and fail to entice newer fans.

There’s A Lot We Don’t Know

chris hemsworth

Before continuing, I need to acknowledge how little Paramount has revealed about this Star Trek origins movie. We don’t know the title, the characters, or even the exact time frame, with the studio only saying that it will take place “decades” before Star Trek (2009). Therefore, it’s unclear what relation, if any, the characters and story of the new movie will have to any of the established characters in franchise lore.

Because of that general lack of info, many would say that I should give this Star Trek origins movie a chance, and I most certainly will: not only do I vote with my dollars (sorry, Picard, we haven’t evolved past the need for money yet), but I’m always open to Paramount proving me wrong. The entire fandom benefits when a Star Trek movie is a hit, and love it or hate it, the 2009 reboot did a lot to bring new fans into the franchise. With that being said, however, it really looks like Paramount is phasering itself in the foot with this new movie.

Haven’t We Been Here Already?

star trek temporal war

For example, Star Trek didn’t even have a Kelvinverse until Nero came back in time, so by definition, anything that happens in this origins film would have occurred in the primary franchise timeline as well. Quite frankly, we already have a prequel show that takes place decades in the past: Enterprise, a show that takes place a century before The Original Series. Even Paramount+ flagship shows Star Trek: Discovery and now Strange New Worlds serve as prequels to TOS, so it’s bizarre to think that Star Trek’s big-screen return will be another trip to the past. 

Stop Going Backward

Star Trek legacy

I mention that trio of Star Trek prequel shows to emphasize a simple point: an origins movie is simply not going to put the butts of established fans in theater seats. The fandom is largely bored of these endless prequels, and one of the reasons everyone wants a Star Trek: Legacy show so badly is we want to see the franchise look forward instead of backward. Given the rising cost of going out to the movies, I simply don’t believe enough veteran fans will flock to theaters for a film whose prequel setting feels like a lame retread of earlier shows.

It Won’t Have The Same Appeal As 2009’s Star Trek


To make matters worse, this Star Trek origins film is equally unlikely to entice new fans to check out the franchise. One of the reasons Star Trek (2009) was such a hit is that the general public was already familiar with characters like Kirk and Spock, and getting to see younger, sexier versions of them was a big draw for audiences. When Paramount does the inevitable and makes the new Trek film focus on Kirk’s grandfather or someone else nobody has ever heard of, it will be equally inevitable that the film will bomb because nobody who doesn’t already have a Paramount+ subscription will care about these characters.

The Romulan War

star trek romulans

That brings us to the big question: if Paramount just has to have a Star Trek origins movie, how do I think they should go about it? Simple: we need a movie focusing on the Romulan War. Such a film would take place between the end of Enterprise and the beginning of The Original Series, which would excite existing fans by showing us a time period we have never really seen before.

Making the Romulan War the focus of a Star Trek origins film would also please old-school fans by helping us learn about one of the most significant events in Federation history. At the same time, the focus on war and battle (both in space and on the ground) would give Paramount the excuse to make an action film with sexy and charismatic characters. Just imagine a Trek film with the look and feel of Andor and a lead actor as compelling as Diego Luna and tell me that wouldn’t dominate the box office.

Paramount Is Too Busy Killing Great Shows

star trek origins

Unfortunately, a Star Trek origins movie focusing on the Romulan War is such a great idea that Paramount is likely to ignore it altogether. After all, they’re too busy canceling Lower Decks to make good decisions that actually help grow Star Trek. Sadly, Paramount may never stop looking backward instead of forward, which is probably why they are driving this franchise off a cliff faster than young Kirk behind the wheel.

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