Merchandise makes the world go round, didn’t you know that? Say what you will about Disney and their abhorrent practices but this goes back a long time. One needs to look at Star Wars to know this. Before Disney ever bought the brand, Star Was notorious for schilling their property. It didn’t matter the decade, be it the 70s, 80s, 90s, or even pre-Disney 00s, Star Wars was always pumping out action figures, playsets, countless video games, shirts, etc. It’s part of the reason why Star Wars is more popular than Star Trek because George Lucas’ films were designed for entire families and weren’t supposed to be that heavy-handed. Star Trek, on the other hand, was always heavy-handed.
"In the aftermath of the 2019 merger of Viacom and CBS, the company set up committees of executives designed to find ways to exploit existing IP across multiple business sectors. A number of them are said to have engaged in a prolonged debate over whether the animated series “Star Trek: Prodigy,” originally ordered by Nickelodeon, would premiere first on the cabler’s linear channels or on the Nickelodeon-branded portion of Paramount Plus. It is now set to debut on the streamer, then air later on cable. “Prodigy” was viewed by many as critical to the fate of the “Trek” franchise, as it’s the first bid to engage families — a path that can lead to ancillary products such as toys and theme park rides."
This is something that Star Trek never really did well with. Sure, during the height of the franchise in the 90s, there were action figures that were widely popular. There’s also been books, video games, and the like but it was never as popular or as anticipated as broadly as Star Wars. In fact, most of the neat stuff that’s coming out of the franchise these days are fanmade stuff, or retro materials, like these set of 3.75-inch action figures by Super7 or the Mego action figures that recreated the original toys.
There used to be lines of action figures and such with each show, but now, not so much. Instead of seeing Discovery or Picard merch, you’re now seeing secondary outlets acquiring the licenses for lines of things that aren’t specifically about Star Trek.
Maybe that changes with Prodigy, maybe it won’t. Only one way to find out and that’s by paying attention.