Star Trek is looking to get younger with a Starfleet Academy series in production.
According to the New York Times (via CBR), a youth-centric series set in and around Starfleet Academy is officially in the works. There is no word yet on anything other than what the New York Times piece has reported but with Star Trek: Prodigy’s potential for merchandising, another show targeted to a younger demographic like Prodigy could lead this to be a huge project for Alex Kurtzman and company.
Prodigy brought big-time merchandise creators, like Playmates, back to the Star Trek brand. Star Trek, like every show and franchise, exists for one purpose; to make money. Merchandise helps with that goal. Prodigy stands to make boatloads of money when the Playmates action figures re-launch and showcase the new Prodigy characters.
The line could go belly-up, like the 2009 line of Playmate actions for that year’s Star Trek film, but it’s also very possible that Prodigy is a massive hit, at least in the toy aisle. If it is a hit, more and more shows will be catered to a younger audience. This Starfleet Academy series could be just the start.
Marketing towards younger fans is a smart business strategy
Fans of all ages spend money on the things they like, but parents of fans spend the most money on things their kids like. As someone who grew up in the 90s, and had the Playmates line of Star Trek figures, I can attest to how much my father spent on action figures for me. They were absolutely the most fun thing I had as a child. While some would argue that toy lines can’t compete with video games today and maybe it’s an outdated idea, that’s not true. Video games in homes have existed since the 70s and were actually enjoyable to own since the 80s.
Kids still wanted toys then. They’ll still want toys now. So will collectors for what it’s worth.
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One of the more popular lines of action figures that Playmates produced was the Star Trek: Starfleet Academy variants of the TNG crew. Sure, Worf looked 50, and William Riker looked like Star Trek’s version of Cyclops from the X-Men but they were awesome and fans loved them.
A series like what’s being pitched around Starfleet Academy could either be an animated show designed to sell toys or a teen-based show that may focus on other forms of merchandising. Maybe more akin to something like CW’s Smallville or Arrow.
Beyond just the merchandising possibilities with this teen-centric show, it will also give many fans a first-time look at what Starfleet is really like. Most fans haven’t dived into the expanded universe as others have. This show would be a good jumping-in point into that expanded lore. Just as long as it’s well made, that is.
While the idea of appealing to a younger audience may not sell with some fans, it’s a good idea and helps ensure the fanbase exists well beyond the original few generations of fans.