J.J. Abrams Planned ‘Star Trek’ TV Show; Rights Issues Led to Jump to ‘Star Wars’?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 20th, 2013 at 8:45 am,

JJ Abrams on Star Trek set J.J. Abrams Planned Star Trek TV Show; Rights Issues Led to Jump to Star Wars?

Director J.J. Abrams transformed the Star Trek property – which had been semi-dormant since the Star Trek: Enterprise TV show ended in 2005 - into a franchise with broader appeal, thanks to his movie reboot in 2009 (for better or worse). However, for many longtime admirers of the late Gene Roddenberry’s allegorical sci-fi universe, Star Trek will always belong first and foremost on the small screen in the episodic TV show format (not the three-act blockbuster structure).

There have been attempts to return Star Trek to its television origins, ranging from Bryan Singer’s pitched Star Trek: Federation TV show – set in the year 3000 as the Starfleet “empire” has begun to collapse - to Michael Dorn’s proposed Star Trek: Captain Worf TV series (a spinoff for the Next Generation/Deep Space Nine character). Bryan Fuller (creator of Hannibal) has, likewise, expressed interest in another Star Trek TV show, but said it comes down to Abrams’ purview.

An exclusive scoop from The Wrap reveals that even Abrams had plans for a new Star Trek television show, as an extension of the altered timeline continuity from his movie counterparts. The obstacle that prevented this from happening is related to licensing issues; that may have been a contributing factor in Abrams decision to jump ship (pardon the wording) and direct Star Wars: Episode VII - given the opportunities inherent to the beginning of a new era for George Lucas’ mythology-inspired sci-fi juggernaut.

star trek into darkness jj abrams official 570x378 J.J. Abrams Planned Star Trek TV Show; Rights Issues Led to Jump to Star Wars?

Abrams’ vision of the rebooted Star Trek as a multi-platform experience has been partially realized, between the cinematic and digital entertainment products – including the newly-released Star Trek Into Darkness movie and Star Trek video game (read Game Rant’s official review) – as well as with comic book tie-ins, such as the cannon prequel series for Into Darkness. According to The Wrap, Abrams and his Bad Robot banner had something larger in mind, but the split-up of Star Trek rights between Paramount and CBS (which has the ability to create new Star Trek TV shows) prevented that from happening.

Here is what the publication is reporting on the matter:

Much to the dismay of Bad Robot, CBS’ merchandising arm continued to create memorabilia and products based on the cast of the original 1960s series and market them to Trekkies… Bad Robot asked CBS to stop making products featuring the original cast, but talks broke down over money… In response, the company scaled back its ambitions to have “Star Trek’s” storylines play out with television shows, spin-off films and online components, something Abrams had been eager to accomplish.

Paramount, Bad Robot and CBS have since managed to collaborate in harmony on Star Trek Into Darkness, as illustrated by the aforementioned prequel comic books and movie tie-in video game (in addition to toys and novelizations that are based around the rebooted Star Trek continuity and characters). Moreover, Abrams is expected to continue his relationship with the franchise, as he intends to produce – and maybe even direct – the followup to Star Trek Into Darkness, after he is finished with making the seventh Star Wars live-action film installment.

JJ Abrams Star Wars Episode 7 J.J. Abrams Planned Star Trek TV Show; Rights Issues Led to Jump to Star Wars?

Disney and the newly-appointed President of Lucasfilm – legendary producer Kathleen Kennedy – are reported to be designing the next generation of Star Wars by using the same blue-prints for success from the Marvel Cinematic Universe; that mean, a shared continuity between the central Episodes, the standalone films and spinoffs, new television shows, video games, novels and everything in between. If we use deductive reasoning, then Kennedy may have emphasized that idea during her month-long negotiations to get Abrams to direct Episode VII.

To quote the original report on this matter:

Jeff Gomez, CEO of the transmedia consulting firm Starlight Runner Entertainment, says there could have been so many more lucrative [Star Trek] tie-ins.

… “Right now the ‘Star Trek’ movies are movies,” Gomez said. “There is no apparent ongoing transmedia strategy behind them, just a handful of licensing opportunities around the release of ‘Into Darkness.’ Why would that be attractive to an artist who sees beyond the boundaries of the silver screen to envision a true multi-platform narrative all based on a global franchise?”

Disney’s plans to develop Star Wars properties that range from new amusement park attractions to TV shows – milking the property for everything its worth in order to recoup a $4 billion investment - are said to be similar to what Abrams had in mind for Star Trek. Abrams, when interviewed for Into Darkness, emphasized that he’s focused on making Episode VII as good as it can be; thus, he is not actively involved with developing spinoff films right now. Nonetheless, he did not deny being aware of the larger picture, as far as the rest of the next wave of Star Wars entertainment is concerned.

jj abrams star wars episode 7 J.J. Abrams Planned Star Trek TV Show; Rights Issues Led to Jump to Star Wars?

At the end of the day, this is (arguably) what makes Abrams a solid choice to lead the charge on the new Star Wars movies. He’s not an auteur who uses beloved pop cultural properties like Star Trek and Star Wars as a means for artistic expression (a la Christopher Nolan and his Batman movie trilogy). Abrams’ strength is that he knows how to surround himself with talented storytellers who can infuse his films with heart and soul – screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci on Star Trek and Michael Arndt for Episode VII – so he can focus on making everything work together (and ensure that the final product turns out nice and shiny).

However, a Star Trek television is a beast that requires the total attention and commitment from any movie/TV artist, even one as influential and far-reaching as Abrams (who can still be an executive producer). That is to say, it might be better that when the next Star Trek TV show does come together, it could result from a passionate vision (like Singer’s or Dorn’s) and not be a direct extension of Abrams’ interest in creating a multi-platform monster.


Star Trek Into Darkness is now playing in theaters.

Star Wars: Episode VII is slated to open in theaters by Summer 2015.

Source: The Wrap

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  1. Thank God he left. His timeline is Blasphemy, utter BLASPHEMY! #1 In the year 3000 The Federation would be so strong there is NO WAY it would collapse. So I don’t like that idea except if they wanted to do more time travel shows. Also 2900 they were going strong. #2 Captain Worf would be a great show, it’s close enough to the STNG timeline that it would be fun plus we could see special guest appearances from other Star Trek shows. Maybe even a Captain Sulu appearing from a Wormhole. I would love to see ships with the Voyager Shielding. More encounters with the Borg “If they still exist” after Voyager. Definitely more Q, Admiral Picard and more Spock.

  2. abrams trek is the micheal baying of star trek.
    its start trek for 13-28 year olds who think g.i. joe and transformers movies
    are wonderful original movies and have never seen trek.

    huge props to abrams for lost, havent seen one movie he’s done that
    doesnt look like complete regurgitation. i am a fan of abrams for that series alone
    except for the last ten minutes lol.

    he’s also stated he hasnt been a fan of or watched the original star trek
    but is a star wars fan.

    i miss not having a star trek series on, the holy trinity being star trek tos, tng and ds9
    for me past ds9 star trek grew progressively worse.

  3. JJ have had his change with Star Trek. He was offered an open book, carte blanche. He could have done ánything. Instead, he used his trademark formula and recycled the old and known.

    You can’t do that in the Star Trek universe, without knowing the (writers) Bible inside out. His 2 movies have had severe consequences and in my mind it was a huge set-up to mess up the Star Trek franchise and then get a clean slate on the Star Wars franchise.

    He messed up, deliberately or not. A torn franchise between Paramount and CBS, a torn fanbase and a profit promised he could not met, for Paramount. I wish him all the best. Worst of all, he abandoned his hand-picked well-talented team of actors. The Star Trek moviecast is amazing.

    Paramount did the only right thing: listen to 5 decades of fanbase, get rid of the director, get rid of the writers, get rid of the script. Now we all focus on a new scipt, restoration of the timeline and a director that doesn’t use lensflares every 3 seconds.

    Star Trek will survive this period. The franchise is very much alive (albeit in a bit of a storm), Paramount (like CBS) is listening to the fanbase, the 50th anniversary is coming up and there will be a new tv-series one day, in a format we all love.

    JJ wanted power, a takeover of the franchise and critically change what the fans love so much for almost 50 years now. Star Trek doesn’t need change; it needs to reach out and grow for a bigger audience. That’s all.

    The reboot was a huge mistake. Sure, Paramount made a few bucks, but the results were devastating for the Trek universe and for the fanbase. And in the end, the fanbase is what keeps paying for the franchise. Paramount has learned that the hard way but now understands.