Should Star Trek have made the fifth Next Generation film?
Star Trek had a nice run in the 1990s but in the 2000s fans started to tire of the same stories and the constant and never-ending feed of content, resulting in people turning away from the product. While shows like Voyager and Enterprise were as good as anything that was being produced on television at the time with the Star Trek banner, the films were another story.
Fans loved Star Trek Generations, even if it wasn’t a masterpiece and First Contact is in the upper echelon of Trek films, but then Insurrection and Nemesis came and were widely panned by critics and fans alike. Were they really that bad, at least compared to films like Star Trek The Motion Picture, or The Final Frontier?
No, but they also weren’t up to the quality of the three previous films, First Contact, Generations, and The Undiscovered Country.
Should Star Trek have continued the film franchise?
Paramount decided that Star Trek needed to be rebooted in the early 00s. With the decline of the film franchise and the ratings war that was sinking UPN’s poorly marketed Enterprise series, the decision was made to reboot the franchise. That meant canceling Enterprise.
Was it the right move? Well, even if you like the films, they weren’t really Star Trek. They were flashy, bright, and action-oriented and didn’t really involve any of the deep questions that have come to define Star Trek. They were a lot like First Contact in that regard, but First Contact did have some heavy questions to explore, they just weren’t as heavy as others explored.
The three films that replaced the TNG-era franchise are fine. Each person has their own personal favorite, but for the most part, the film series prior is still the more popular of the group. So, should the folks at Paramount have ended the TNG-era franchise?
Personally, I’m not so sure. Had the fifth film been made, and featured more characters from the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise, then maybe it would’ve unified the fanbase some, and brought people back for one final film, at least with the TNG crew.
An All-Star Star Trek film would’ve been better suited to replace the TNG era of films. Bring in characters from all over the series, and build a huge marketing campaign about the greatest in Starfleet history, together in one ship. Even if not, Nemesis wasn’t so bad that the whole thing had to be rebooted.
Yet, what would’ve saved the franchise from going off the air and being rebooted in the first place was delaying Enterprise. Had Enterprise first premiered after 2003, after some of the Star Trek fatigue wained, then you may have had a shot. Not only that, but it’s very likely that had you delayed the show, renamed it “Star Trek: Enterprise” as opposed to just “Enterprise” and either be more clear that it’s a prequel series or set it after the events of Voyager, then it’s very likely the franchise would’ve had another seven years on broadcast television.
This means no Star Trek 2009, no JJ Abrams, no Alex Kurtzman, no Discovery, and no Picard.
Sometimes those in power have the least clarity.