Star Trek’s Most Controversial Series Canceled  And That’s The Best Possible Outcome

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek: section 31

Once upon a time, former Paramount+ flagship show Star Trek: Discovery was going to get a spinoff dedicated to Section 31, the secretive dirty tricks division of Starfleet. Paramount eventually reversed course, announcing that the planned series was now going to be a direct-to-streaming movie instead. Considering that Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh is going to be the star of this production, many fans were upset, but they shouldn’t be: the truth is that a Section 31 series was a terrible idea in the first place, and the less we get of it, the better.

A Controversial Addition To Star Trek

star trek section 31

Ever since Star Trek: Deep Space Nine introduced Section 31 into canon, these Starfleet spies have been immensely controversial in the fandom. To be blunt, that’s because the existence of such an organization runs counter to the mission of Starfleet and, arguably, the ethos of Star Trek as a whole. Fans tune into this franchise because of its optimistic portrayal of a better tomorrow, and the idea that all of that peaceful coexistence is actually due to Starfleet-sanctioned thugs carrying out kidnappings, murders, and even genocides ruins the entire premise of Star Trek.

A One-Shot Rather Than A Weekly Betrayal

As you might expect, that’s a large part of why we’re actually happy that Section 31 has been downgraded from a television series to a solo film. If it was a series as originally planned, then we’d watch new episodes each week featuring characters making one moral compromise after another in the name of the greater good. If Paramount has decided that we simply must have more Section 31 content, we’re happy that it’s confined to a one-off movie where its effects on the remaining ethics, integrity, and morality of Star Trek can be contained.

No Good To Balance The Evil

Speaking of murky morality, stories involving such secretive Starfleet spies tend to work better when they have exemplars of Starfleet honor to bounce off of. For example, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes featuring Section 31 were largely successful because the amoral and manipulative agent Sloan bounced so well off of the highly ethical and morally upright character Dr. Bashir (those lies about being genetically engineered notwithstanding). If season two of Discovery is any indication, a Section 31 show would focus on an entire ship full of Starfleet psychopaths, and that would be just downright depressing to watch.

How Can It Stay A Secret?

star trek section 31

Another potential problem with an entire Star Trek show focused on Section 31 is the fact that every episode would diminish the fact that this agency is supposed to be Starfleet’s best-kept secret. Characters like Captain Sisko are shocked to learn that it even exists, and that secrecy was already undermined by Section 31 agents parading around the Discovery with their own special comm badges. Knowing Paramount, each season of a Section 31 show would have to involve the spy agency saving the entire galaxy, and it would become increasingly difficult to buy the idea that they more or less maintained complete secrecy ever since Starfleet was formed.

A Movie Is The Way To Go

As Star Trek nerds who love the peaceful optimism of the franchise we’re still not sold on the idea of a Section 31 movie, but the fact remains that it’s a lot easier to create a single good film than entire seasons of television. That means we are likelier to get a better story, and with any luck, we’ll never have to hear about Starfleet’s amoral wet works agents ever again. Plus, we’re clinging to a single hope when it comes to this latest Star Trek film: it can’t really be worse than Nemesis, can it?