In just over a month, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ will hit theaters and marks the first cinematic ‘Star Wars’ film that isn’t a part of the main movie series, but rather a stand-alone film that connects to them more loosely.
And one person thinks that ‘Star Trek’ could just as easily follow in that pattern. Doug Jung co-wrote ‘Star Trek Beyond’ with Simon Pegg (Jung also played Sulu’s husband in the film, above) and he thinks that with its 75-year history, we’ve only scratched the surface of the potential for expanded tales within the mythology.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jung first remarked on watching episodes of the classic TV series and how they inspired him, saying:
“What I did realize, in having looked at them a little bit more as a writer than as a fan, is there are so many different kinds of stories you can tell. They vacillate wildly in the original series. I love “City on the Edge of Forever,” the ones that have that Twilight Zone-kind of feel. But “The Doomsday Machine” is one of my favorites, this fast-paced science-fiction. They contain these kind of amazing parables, commentaries. I remember thinking: It’s amazing how many different kinds of stories they can do.”
“It’s a franchise that can support different styles of movies. There’s the big action tentpole feel of Star Trek and the Enterprise, but why not try to do something that’s the Zero Dark Thirty version of Star Trek, or one that introduces some younger characters at the Academy? It’s 50 years’ worth of discovery, and obviously they’re doing that with Star Trek Discovery, but why not blow it out to a cinematic universe that has secondary characters, and smaller storylines, more intimate storylines, ones that deal with more of an espionage element versus the large-scale exploration themes of the main Star Trek.”
Of course, this isn’t a brand new idea. There have been many novels, comics and other projects, including those made by fans, that have explored other facets of the ‘Trek’ legend. But so far the films have mainly focused on elements from the TV shows.
Once ‘Rogue One’ arrives, we’ll see if the ‘Star Wars’ fan base will flock to this adjunct movie in the incredible numbers that they did for ‘The Force Awakens’. But there’s where ‘Wars’ and ‘Trek’ diverge.
‘Star Trek Beyond’ earned $158 million, well below the $256M made by ‘Star Trek’ in 2009 and the $228M earned by ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ in 2013. When all the ‘Trek’ movies are adjusted for inflation, ‘Beyond’ lands at #8 out of 13 films.
In other words, these films aren’t retaining their audience, whether that’s ‘Trek’ diehards or new or more casual fans. That’s not to say that Paramount needs to retire the brand just yet, but their next step needs to be a careful one and perhaps this isn’t the time to start rolling out spinoffs.
But what do you think? Would you like to see ‘Star Trek’ movies that aren’t focused on the “five-year mission” or some variation on that?