Details on Bryan Singer’s Abandoned ‘Star Trek: Federation’ TV Show

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2014 at 9:56 am,

bryan singer star trek federation Details on Bryan Singers Abandoned Star Trek: Federation TV Show

Hollywood is filled with fascinating “What if…” tales regarding films & television shows that (for better or worse) never came to fruition. Sometimes it’s the simple notion of a different lead actor or director being attached to the production before dropping out. Other times, these stories involve a surprisingly unique approach to a beloved property – one that would have steered the franchise in question down a completely different road.

Last year, we learned a little bit about the Superman Returns sequel Bryan Singer was developing before Warner Bros. decided to reboot the series with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. As it turns out, Singer was also involved with another high profile project that ultimately never came together – a new Star Trek TV series set several centuries after The Next Generation.

Earlier this month, Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) revealed to UGO that he had pitched a Star Trek show to Paramount that would have centered around Riker’s exploits on board the USS Titan. The studio told him that they were putting the franchise on the back burner for a little while – and that they had also recently rejected pitches from William Shatner and Singer.

The speculation over what Singer’s proposed series might have been about prompted TrekMovie to shed some light on what actually transpired between the acclaimed filmmaker and Paramount. It began in December of 2005 when Singer, screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, The Wolverine), and director Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise) met for dinner and started toying around with the idea of pitching a new Star Trek TV show.

By the time their dinner was over, it had been decided that Burnett would draft a series proposal that the team would take to Paramount once Singer was finished with post-production on Superman Returns. Burnett enlisted writer Geoffrey Thorne (Leverage) to help him put together a 25-page long proposal that outlined their approach to the material, the show’s main characters, and the story arc for the first four episodes. They titled their series Star Trek: Federation.

Paramount never rejected their pitch, however – because it was never made. Before Singer and Co. could present Federation to the studio, it was announced that J.J. Abrams had been hired to direct a new Star Trek movie. Realizing that an updated grand design for the franchise had already been constructed, the team abandoned their project.

Star Trek Sequel Details on Bryan Singers Abandoned Star Trek: Federation TV Show

Abrams' film dashed plans for Singer's proposed TV series.

Regardless, it’s always fun to take a look at what might have been and TrekMovie has some interesting excerpts from Burnett & Thorne’s proposal. The main difference between their series and Abrams’ Trek is that Federation would have taken place in the original timeline. Still, they recognized that the Star Trek brand needed to be revitalized and their proposal began with an explanation of how they hoped to accomplish that:

The great strength of STAR TREK is the very Universe in which it’s set. The Characters. The Starships. The Aliens. The stories. Gene Roddenberry himself provided the perfect example how to create a wildly successfully new STAR TREK series…

Acknowledge what’s come before, but then set your stage far enough in the STAR TREK future when everything old is new again.Turn the STAR TREK Universe upside down. Shake vigorously.

Utopia as a goal is like the fire in a nuclear engine. Utopia in practice is stagnation; it’s dry rot; eventually it’s death. Which is precisely where we find the United Federation of Planets a few centuries after the last Age of Discovery.

Basically, this would have been a darker and more dangerous time for the Federation and the idea was that its decay could be used as an allegory for the Fall of the Roman Empire. According to the proposal, “Starfleet has been reduced to a ‘mere peace-keeping force’ protecting fringe worlds from aliens and from fighting each other, with starships that are old and spread out too thin.”

The appearance of a powerful new enemy knows as “The Scourge” would have lead to the creation of another USS Enterprise – the first in over 300 years. On the surface, the Enterprise’s mission would have been one of exploration – but her real mission would have been to investigate The Scourge in order to save what was left of the Federation.

Bryan Singer Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise Valkyrie set Details on Bryan Singers Abandoned Star Trek: Federation TV Show

Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie on the set of Valkyrie.

Continue reading for Singer’s list of characters and more story details…

« 1 2»

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: star trek

95 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. This is a list of the longest-running United States television series, ordered by number of years the show has been aired. This list includes only first-run series originating in North America and available throughout the U.S. via national

    • I along with other Star Trek fans would much rather see Star Trek as a series rather than a movie. Star Trek movies are just ok. Star Trek TV series are absolutely the most fascinating in my opinion. More Star Trek series should be made while its the most interesting of all sci-fi shows combined. Also, we need to start making Star Trek with other timelines instead of just “The Captain Kirk & Crew Era.” It’s time to move beyond that era or before that era. I absolutely loved what the creators done with the series “Star Trek Enterprise” which should have ran another few seasons. I also think Star Trek should return to its roots and theme. What I mean is the exploration of the universe rather than fighting a bunch of wars all the time (We have Star Wars for that). Ratings started going downhill for “Star Trek” when “Star Trek” included “Star Wars” in their storyline. The exploration of space is far more interesting than the Star Trek crews facing off hostile aliens episode after episode. This mainly started with DS9 and the last 2 seasons of Star Trek Enterprise. The reason Star Trek TNG and Voyager where so successful, more exploring was involved. It’s ok to have a combat or two to show the weapons technology of the starship, but I think it happens a little too often in Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda was also Star Wars like but another of my favorite shows. We want a new Star Trek series that focuses either between Star Trek Enterprise and Star Trek TOS, a series after the events of Star Trek Voyager, an animated Star Trek series or bring Star Trek Enterprise back for more seasons. This time make sure it is Star Trek not Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica! More explorations of the universe than battle conflicts. If not Star Trek make a new rebooted Captain Buck Rogers and the Starship Searcher series or Space 1999 as a space exploration series of course. Since there has been no new sci-fi space exploration series on TV since the cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise, tv has been rather dull( absolutely nothing interesting to watch). Cable companies are losing lots of money because no one wants to pay for dull TV. And I am tired of having to watch my Star Trek, Buck Rogers and Space 1999 boxsets over and over again to get some space exploration done! I’ve already charted those parts of the universe and want to see more or something new. So get to work Star Trek creators! Doctor Who and Star Wars are your competitors but I tend to believe Star Trek could be the most interesting of the three if you give it all you got. Gene Roddenberry has started something intriguing don’t let it die!

      • Absolutely.

        Star Trek’s best stage, by far, is TV.

        Forget the movies.

        Bring back another series!

        I consider it absurd, and sad, that there’s not at least one Star Trek series in active production at all times.

        Finally, ignore the J.J. “history”.

        Give us a time base in the future of DSN and Voyager, in which the Federation is reduced in strength, and fighting to come back. The above “scourge” plot seems very good.

        • I totally agree. There should always be an active Star trek TV series. Especially with all the Star Trek based books we have.

          • On the other hand, if you want to discontinue making Star Trek TV shows for one reason or another and just make books and movies fine. Just give us some kind of space exploration sci-fi show that has starships, spacestations, and unknown planets of interest. Terra Nova was created by J.J. Abrams and the show was only ok. Instead of Terra Nova, why not just make another Star-Trek-Like show. On one of the episodes, have the main ship and crew discover a planet billions of light-years away from our Solar System that resembles Earth during the Jurassic Era. Have the planet contain dinosaurs, dragons or volcanoes. Let the crew discover another planet that carries lots of tornadoes. How about another planet that is the same as Earth but 500 years into the future. On startrek.com I mentioned that a Star Trek series should be made based of Zefram Cochrane, the Pheonix, first contact with the Vulcans. Also, Zefram Cochrane exploring the galaxy with a small crew of 4. They would use small Earth vessels that can go no more than maybe warp 2, have extremely limited or no weapons or shields, carry a giant unmanned space probing telescope and maybe carry a small shuttle craft or land rover vehicle. They would explore space but not deep space. Starting off going to and from Earth from planets within our own solar system. So you see there are lots of ideas that could make a really great space expedition show. Furthermore, with all the technology we have today for creating Sci-Fi TV shows with special, visual and CGI effects. Star Trek should really be on top of their game right now! Star Trek should be at there very best right now with the best Sci-Fi shows in history. I know the shows I’m insisting we cost a lot, but I believe it will pay off. You have absolutely no reason for doubt and nothing to lose seeing that there is nothing on television of interest at this point and time! Here is your chance Star Trek creators and producers. While most people are turning in their cable boxes and others refuse to pay for television.

      • You must be on crack DS9 was the best of the Star Trek TV series and Enterprise Rocked DS9 had the interpersonal conflict TNG did not and it had Dark tones, TNG was all exploring and talking all the time Sisko was much better then Picard DS9 rules.

  2. There is A Rumor that Someone will Die in Star Trek 13 the 50th anniversary movie coming in 2016 and they showed a Picture of Sulu and Bones then they removed the Article after a few minutes that means it was leaked and was not supposed to be that means it is real.

    • Anything leaked this early wouldn’t be set in stone. And deleting an article, presuming that happened, only means that the info was likely privileged, and premature.

  3. I Hope Bryan Singer get’s the Job he is Awesome This Pitch is awesome, I Hope they give Bryan Singer the Job and with X Men days of future Past making over 600 million at the Box Office this can only help his chances of getting the Job I hope, We need a darker grittier Trek for this Generation.

  4. I hope Bryan Singer gets the Job CBS if you are listening hire Bryan Singer his X Men Days of future Past movie now made over 7 hundred Million at the Box office CBS Hire this man.

  5. I along with other Star Trek fans would much rather see Star Trek as a series rather than a movie. Star Trek movies are just ok. Star Trek TV series are absolutely the most fascinating in my opinion. More Star Trek series should be made while its the most interesting of all sci-fi shows combined. Also, we need to start making Star Trek with other timelines instead of just “The Captain Kirk & Crew Era.” It’s time to move beyond that era or before that era. I absolutely loved what the creators done with the series “Star Trek Enterprise” which should have ran another few seasons. I also think Star Trek should return to its roots and theme. What I mean is the exploration of the universe rather than fighting a bunch of wars all the time (We have Star Wars for that). Ratings started going downhill for “Star Trek” when “Star Trek” included “Star Wars” in their storyline. The exploration of space is far more interesting than the Star Trek crews facing off hostile aliens episode after episode. This mainly started with DS9 and the last 2 seasons of Star Trek Enterprise. The reason Star Trek TNG and Voyager where so successful, more exploring was involved. It’s ok to have a combat or two to show the weapons technology of the starship, but I think it happens a little too often in Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda was also Star Wars like but another of my favorite shows. We want a new Star Trek series that focuses either between Star Trek Enterprise and Star Trek TOS, a series after the events of Star Trek Voyager, an animated Star Trek series or bring Star Trek Enterprise back for more seasons. This time make sure it is Star Trek not Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica! More explorations of the universe than battle conflicts. If not Star Trek make a new rebooted Captain Buck Rogers and the Starship Searcher series or Space 1999 as a space exploration series of course. Since there has been no new sci-fi space exploration series on TV since the cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise, tv has been rather dull( absolutely nothing interesting to watch). Cable companies are losing lots of money because no one wants to pay for dull TV. And I am tired of having to watch my Star Trek, Buck Rogers and Space 1999 boxsets over and over again to get some space exploration done! I’ve already charted those parts of the universe and want to see more or something new. So get to work Star Trek creators! Doctor Who and Star Wars are your competitors but I tend to believe Star Trek could be the most interesting of the three if you give it all you got. Gene Roddenberry has started something intriguing don’t let it die!

    • I would also like to add Power Rangers as another competitor since it is also one of the longest running Sci-Fi shows of all time. Even though we want another Star Trek series you may decide not to do it or you are tired of Star Trek all together. If so, how about an all new space exploration show. Just make sure it is based on a starship built from Earth with a crew of explorers some with extraordinary abilities maybe a changling, android or hologram of the sort.

  6. I can’t wait for the new Star Trek I really hope we will get a series post voyager and I hope it will be Dark like DS9. DS9 was the darker side of the Federation it was the rifleman of the Federation that is how they described it if TNG was Wagon train to the Stars DS9 was the Rifleman, so I think a new series should be like that besides TV nowadays is Dark why can’t the new series match the times set the series on a new Enterprise and a new crew.

    • I agree! I also can’t see why they can’t do 2 Star Trek shows at the same time! They could make one animated or space exploration based. While the other more intense like Roddenberry’s Andromeda or Star Trek Voyager. They could also make one that evolves around a spacestation while the other a starship. They don’t even have to name them both Star Trek if they don’t want to.

    • Are the directors and producers even working on a Star Trek TV series right now? I keep hearing that whenever they have an idea to make one they either cancel it, make a fan film, or make one for watching online.

  7. Please CBS get Bryan Singer and put him in charge of a new star trek TV series this is the best pitch and it’s a trek for a new Generation.

  8. Why not a story with the crew of Enterprise J wich we still haven’t seen. And I totaly fell in love with the desing of the ship. :)

  9. Yay Joe George Takei may return as Sulu in the next Star Trek movie I heard he might die in it a sacrifice from the prime universe
    he dies the JJ Abrams universe gets blown up and the enterprise escapes through into the prime universe, so we get the Best of Both worlds we get the JJ Abrams Enterprise and the prime universe So that means in Star Trek 4 we will see a upgraded J Abrams Enterprise with Prime universe late 24th century Tech. 

  10. THE KLINGONS ARE A MILITARY DICTATORSHIP WAR IS THERE WAY I LOVE KLINGONS KLINGONS LOVE WAR AND LOVE KILLING FOR EXAMPLE IF THERE IS A PLANET THAT HAS 12 BILLION
    PEOPLE THE KLINGONS WILL ATTACK THE PLANET AND KILL OFF 10 BILLION OF IT’S INHABITANTS AND BEAM DOWN KILL THOUSANDS MORE FOR FUN RAPE THE WOMEN AND INSLAVE THE REST
    KLINGONS ARE COOL.

  11. I love Klingons, Human Solders experience post Tramatic Stress for what they had to do But Klingons Love War and Celebrate it and dream of it Klingons are cool.

  12. There are So many Haters and that just Sucks
    I think JJ Abrams movies are just a great thing that happened to Star Trek, and in the next movie We may see Old Sulu George Takei come in and join the new crew there is a Rumor that he might Sacrifice himself for some reason maybe he is fighting a Klingon and he Sacrifices himself to save the new crew maybe the Romulans use red matter on Earth and the universe will explode for some reason the JJ Abrams universe will Explode and the new Enterprise will escape into the Prime universe So we get the Best of Both worlds we Get the new Enterprise in the Prime universe just thing they get the next gen treatment all the Technology that Voyager brought back added on to this new JJ Abrams Enterprise.

  13. This series sounds awesome and they are doing the right think setting it so far into the Future where everything old is new again wow the year 3000 just think of the new Technology and weapons and the new threat to the Federation or what was left of it the Scourge that sounds bad Ass they sound bad Ass they sound ruthless.

  14. you know what we need in a new Star trek TV series is the Future post Voyager but far from the 24th Century we need the year 3000 somewhere far and away from Picards time and in the year 3000 we know that Picard and the next Gen crew are Gone long gone dead and buried so this is a definite Plus cause I did not like TNG crew they were too Positive and moral and utopian if this show would of aired it would of given us what we wanted the far Future so far that everything old was new again a darker scarier time for the Federation a new massive threat a war Arc all these things are great.

    • Since all star treks have been created in the 22th, 23th, and 24th century. Maybe they should create a star trek during the 25th century. It would be in order.

  15. This is a great idea I heard there are rumors that CBS is looking at it after all CBS can see everything on the net, I hope they are looking at this and making plans on making this a reality cause this is worth it.

  16. These are the Klingons I want to see Frictions between the Federation and the Klingons have never been worse. The internal fissures are growing wider based largely on Enterprise’s secret mission and Admiral Nelscott’s lies to cover up that mission with the council. And, of course, lots and lots of people died.

    What’s next for the survivors of these events? Tune in next week, folks. Again these are the Klingons I want to see these Klingons are cool if you lie to them you will pay with your life, I like these Klingons better then TNG Klingons TNG Klingons were too focused on Honor and duty and tradition this was Roddenberry’s doing he wanted to make the Klingons less violent he wanted to evolve them and that is a mistake. These Klingons would of been back to conquest and were more violent and blood thirsty this Pitch is awesome a new Enterprise a new Kirk a more aggressive Kirk more violent and blood thirsty Klingons a new threat the Scourge it would be a darker time and this spells fun CBS make it so.

  17. Yay William Shatner will be in Star Trek 13 and he will play an older version of Chris Pines Kirk from the Future of the JJ Abrams universe

  18. Commander Alexander Kirk: (X-O and 3rd in command) Reinstated for the new mission Kirk is described as having a “checkered past” with an “aggressive manner” who is thrust into leading the mission after Montgomery and first officer get killed and is able to deal with it well, but is “total crap at PR aspects of job.” He alone (even though he doesn’t understand it) “possesses information vital to Enterprise’s true mission.” This sounds awesome

  19. The appearance of a powerful new enemy knows as “The Scourge” would have lead to the creation of another USS Enterprise – the first in over 300 years. On the surface, the Enterprise’s mission would have been one of exploration – but her real mission would have been to investigate The Scourge in order to save what was left of the Federation. This would be great

  20. do you hear the cries of all the star trek fans? I don’t mean any offense so please forgive me if I seem that way I simply wanna know if you care about your countless number of fans I am one of them we are all crying out for a new star trek series the old days of James t kirk has been done and redone what we need is a what’s next? what happens after the days of voyager? please make a new series add exploration and action together that would be awesome to see and will please both kinds of star trek fans also it will bring lots of new fans world wide

    • I thought I remembered hearing several years ago that a Star Trek series based on Commander Picard and his crew of the StarGazer was to be worked on but heard nothing else afterwards.

  21. you know I was thinking we don’t really know what will happen but as we said what if in the next movie the Enterprise for some reason has to go to the Prime universe we spoke about this well I was reading Star Trek After Darkness and as I said before I remember a section 31 Agent going to Romulas to talk to the Preator of the Romulan Empire to talk about a Alliance against there common Enemy the Klingons, so after they talk the Section 31 Agent leaves and another Romulan steps out of the Shadows and Aproches the Preator and Disscuss the Alliance they just made with the Federation and then the preator says when the Klingons will be defeated they will use there Secret weapon on earth and we see a Tank full of red matter so we can assume the Romulans may destroy Earth in the next movie and maybe that is why the Enterprise will have to jump to the Prime universe maybe they Pick up Spock Prime and Kirk from the Nexus and then all go back to the prime universe together for the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.

  22. So just think about it in the JJ Abrams universe if Earth gets destroyed the Federation Falls the Romulans Conquers the JJ Abrams universe so the JJ Abrams universe will have the Romulans destroying Earth the Federation Falls the new Enterprise Escapes into the Prime universe and the Romulans Conquer the JJ verse with no Federation to Stop them so the JJ Abrams universe will be a universe where Evil won that would be interesting

  23. Keep it Starfleet based but have Starfleet on the run from the Klingons like Yesterday’s Enterprise but in the future, new crew, new ship, new tech, new everything.

    Premise:

    The Kilingons are over running everything due to the new blood thirsty Chancellor who will stop at noting till the dominance of the Empire is spread throughout the galaxy. They first start with the vulnerable Cardassians and annex them into their ranks and the Romulans are nearly defeated. The Pilot is when the Klingons invade Sol and only a few ships manage to escape and are all alone while Federation worlds shore up defense on their own, Starfleet is hunted like dogs and morals are called into question and the crew is puished to the limit and have abandoned Starfleet principals since it was defeated. The Andorians revive the Imperial Guard to fight against the Klingons and are one of many protagonists of the show, the Vulcans turn into a slave race of the Klingons. Tellerites are obliterated.

    The Ship can be an Akira vessel, meant for war yet still small enough it needs to stop at ports of call to get new supplies.

    • Perhaps they could do a series on another ship, one that’s a deep space exploration vessel. They encounter a much more advanced, aggressive and not so nice race that is set on destroying them for infringing on their territory. In running for their lives they are forced to run further into the unknown, away from federation space. For the first season they can be pursued by this race, exploring to survive. By the time the second season arrives they have shook their pursuers but now find they need to circumvent what is the large region dominated by the overtly aggressive species through yet more unexplored space outside its perimeter. Since they are only a research vessel and only lightly armed they must survive by bringing on alien crew members and incorporating enemy weaponry and defenses. They trade with more friendly races they run across for information, supplies, alien tech and equipment. Perhaps too, they must resort to salvaging ships they fight with and scavenging where and what they can. Since they neither have the resources or abilities of voyager like ships or frontline ships of the fleet, they become not only efficient explorers but hardened survivalists. Perhaps on year running from the Agreen means ten years return around the outskirts of their territory. Plenty of time for a new series to take place.

      • I like your ideal! That’s also what I’ve been trying to say.

  24. If star trek is such a garbage series that the people who own the license cant think of a way to make it popular or care about it. Why not sell it to someone who cares like Disney or something? There is no TV show because the execs hate star trek, if they saw dollar one in the idea of a tv series it would be in existence right now. If they wanted a series driectors and writers would be lined around the block with the best and brightest.

    Why not make a star trek series about how Star Trek is dead…. great job license holders, ya killed a franchise. Sheesh, a 9 year old could run a business to generate profitable revenue better than these gumbleheads.

  25. I want to express my sincere gratitude to star trek. For helping me through some rough times when i was younger.

    Going in to deept with this would take up the whole page. So i wount.

    But this is what a devoted fan thinks.
    Startrek sould defently be a series. it should focus on what is right and wrong. Keep the peace and fight as little as possible. Build on the people’s experiences, innovate in technology and and strach for the grater good. It is about the jurney and the people in it.

    Many people are scared that newer movies and series resemble Star Wars and battlestar galactica.

    But i am not.

    I well not forget the DS9 battle scenes, because the are epic even to this date. but i well never forget the aftermach either, when ensign Nog returnes to ds9 having lost his leg in battel, afraid to face the world. He findes comfort in a holodeck, trying to work out his problems.

    Like i said it’s always been about the people and the world. And i wish that a new Star Trek series would be created after the events of voyager and ds9. But please keep the universe that i came to love.

    /A devoted fan.

  26. My idea for a new Trek Series would be to make the Enterprise a “living ship” that is capable of producing worm holes to other galaxies. Not willing to be used by the Federation The new Enterprise would be self aware and would select her own crew made of people/beings tired of War. Each week the crew would explore a new galaxy. The Enterprise has an agenda and the crew would get clues about each other/ and that agenda over the length of the series. Make a the crew very small so you can focus on developing the characters. Yes their would be conflict at times but the main focus should be on exploration.