Star Trek Could Boldly Go in a New Direction Following CBS-Viacom Merger
It could be a brave new world for Trekkies, given some recent, major developments in the media world. While not as splashy as the $71.3 billion merger between Disney and Fox that went into effect earlier this year, CBS and Viacom recently agreed to terms on a multi-billion merger of their own, reuniting the two companies. This came after years of talk over a possible merger. In the changing media landscape that is ripe with consolidation, the move made sense for both parties. And not the least of which has to do with what is now possible in terms of their biggest franchises, including Star Trek.
The two companies will now form into a corporation called ViacomCBS. Ever since 2005, the Star Trek franchise has been divided. CBS held the TV rights, which is why they've been making shows such as Star Trek Discovery and the upcoming Star Trek: Picard for the CBS All Access streaming service. Meanwhile, Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, has been producing the newer iteration of the movie franchise, which kicked off in 2009 with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot.
However, everything has changed in the wake of the merger. Bob Bakish, who is set to head up ViacomCBS, implied that the idea with some of their biggest assets, such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, is to spread them out "across all the companies' platforms." So, what we'll likely see, one way or another, in the future is a version of the legendary sci-fi franchise that co-exists between streaming, traditional TV and movies. That raises a lot of questions we don't have answers to right now, but we can do some speculating.
Star Trek Beyond, the most recent movie, though critically embraced, didn't do all that well at the box office. Meanwhile, the proposed Star Trek 4 has been shelved for the time being, for various reasons such as contract disputes and alleged script issues. There's the Quentin Tarantino R-rated Star Trek movie on the table, which seems like a real possibility. But even if that moves forward, it seems like ViacomCBS could use this opportunity to move away from the J.J. Abrams timeline, dubbed the Kelvin timeline, in favor of going back to what things were like in the 90s. The same cast and same continuity on TV and in the movies.
Obviously, the best template for this in the modern age is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has grossed billions of dollars worldwide and is the biggest thing in all of entertainment. The MCU is expanding to include shows on Disney+, which launches later this year. CBS already has several animated Star Trek shows and additional spin-offs in the works. No doubt, with news of the merger, plans are already being hatched to create synergy with future movies. Gene Roddenberry's timeline creation could be entering a new phase of existence, fit for the modern age. This news was previously reported by Deadline.