Star Trek has been, for all intents and purposes has been a pretty family-friendly franchise since it first hit the screen. Starting as a network television show will do that. And for all the iterations, changes, characters, and storylines it’s seen over the years, the new voices have always tried to make it accessible for people of all ages. But that could be set to change going forward. With significant growth around the franchise in the short-term, rumor has it that Star Trek is thinking about making some projects R-rated.
Considering the size and scope of the Star Trek franchise, and just how long it’s been around, it’s somewhat surprising that some project along the way hasn’t gone this direction already. But that hasn’t been the case with shows appearing on various television networks and the movies shooting for the PG crowd to boost box office numbers. Making it a little more vanilla has helped span a wider age range of ticket buyers.
Creatively, Star Trek has plenty of good juju it’s trying to build on right now. With the success of Star Trek: Discovery and Picard on CBS All Access in recent years, they are parlaying that growth into a number of other new shows and initiatives on the newly formed Paramout+. That will include additional seasons of the aforementioned shows as well as new programs like Strange New Worlds which will further the Captain Pike and Spock stories from the original.
Those new programs are still going to thread the PG line even on a paid subscription streaming service. But the growth of the franchise and the commitment to expanding it means that Star Trek is as well-positioned as anyone to offer a much wider variety of programming within its shared universe. In some ways, they’ve already begun this process just around the opposite end of the spectrum. With the upcoming Star Trek: Prodigy marketing specifically to a crowd as an animated version around a group of youngsters, they’ve started to embrace a youth movement. And Lower Decks is also animated but more towards the Night Swim crowd, meaning they are working more “mature” themes into the mix.
And there’s also been rumors around Star Trek possibly wanting to embrace the horror genre in a future project. This could be an overlap with the R-rating rumor as well considering those two things do dovetail conceptually. This is all to say if the franchise wanted to get out of its comfort zone with a new movie or program, now would definitely be the time. That’s the upside of reestablishing such a fantastic product of late.
Along with all of these new programs, there is also a new Star Trek movie in the works. That’s going to have Discovery writer Kalinda Vazquez penning the script. Based on her background, it’s unlikely that film tips toward an R-rating, but she’s got some moderate horror background on the resume with Fear the Walking Dead. So there’s a chance. In all though, having Star Trek beginning to make a mini-shift now does make a lot of sense. They’ve signaled as much with all the different directions the franchise is going. Maybe R-rated is the future.