Love J.J. Abrams’ big-screen resurrection of Star Trek or hate it, it’s long past time for Trek to return to the medium that birthed it: television. As long as the rebooted films keep bringing in the box office moolah (2009’s Star Trek earned $383 million worldwide; Star Trek Into Darkness upped that to $454 million worldwide), the Abrams-verse probably isn’t going anywhere. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t evolve into something better. Put the right director at the helm for Star Trek 3 and they might right the (star)ship in a way that would win over the naysayers. Even better: put Trek back on TV with somebody like Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski as showrunner, and Trek could once again start telling the smart, challenging, humanistic stories that the franchise has traditionally excelled at. But is there still a chance we could get a new TV series set in the original Trek timeline? Trek veteran Michael Dorn thinks so.
Dorn, of course, played Worf on two different series — The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine — and several movies. Dorn has been pitching the idea of a Worf spin-off for a while now, either as a standalone movie or a new TV series. Back in May 2012 he described the project like so: “He is captain of a ship – a Federation ship. He is out there in the front lines basically chasing terrorists.” A pretty general concept, but hey, why not? And he’s not just blowing smoke: Dorn has been actively pursuing this, taking meetings, trying to make it happen. With the fourth season Next Gen Blu-ray set having released a few weeks back, the Huffington Post caught up with Dorn and asked him for an update on the “Captain Worf” project. Dorn’s response is optimistic while also acknowledging the realities of business and studio politics.
Last year there was interest and I talked to a couple producers and we actually had pitch meeting with Paramount and CBS.Business things got in the way in terms of the J.J. Abrams movie coming out and CBS/Paramount and their relationship with J.J. Abrams. I don’t think they wanted to step on his toes by putting a new series on, but it’s not dead yet. I’ve finished the script and hopefully someone will take a look at this and say ‘we can do this.’
So as much as he says the Worf project is alive and kicking, it still seems like a long shot, for precisely the reasons he cites. Like it or not, Abrams is the elephant in the room, and as much as his version of the Trek universe drives many long-time fans into frothing fits of rage, it’s making money, and money is the only thing Hollywood as an entity really cares about.
I’ve said on the site before that I thought Into Darkness was an improvement over the first film, and I enjoyed it…for what it is, rather than what it isn’t. (And the fans who recently voted it a worse Trek movie than Star Trek V are, frankly, full of shit. Although Galaxy Quest is totally better.) But I would still love nothing more than for the rebooted movie universe to evolve into something more in keeping with Gene Roddenberry’s original vision, the Trek we’ve all known and loved for decades. Hopefully that will happen. If not? They’ll eventually reboot the damn thing again, and hopefully people will like that version better.
As for Dorn’s theoretical Worf series, I’m all for it and wish him nothing but luck. I would love to see Paramount be ballsy enough to continue exploring the original Trek timeline even as the new movies unfold on the big screen. It’s not like the original Trek universe just stopped dead when Abrams’ reboot arrived. That universe continues to live on in books and comics and other media, so there’s no reason it couldn’t add a new TV series to the roster as well.
Unfortunately, I really, really doubt that’s going to happen. I have a feeling that Dorn’s Worf series will fall under the same column as George Takei’s dreamt-of “Captain Sulu” project he’s been pitching for years: an intriguing footnote that never became a reality.
Then again, George is quite the Facebook celebrity these days, so who knows? How about a Sulu/Worf team-up series?