Fans should not expect Star Trek: Legacy to be made

Ed Speleers as Jack Crusher in "No Win Scenario" Episode 304, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Ed Speleers as Jack Crusher in "No Win Scenario" Episode 304, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+. Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Trek: Legacy is a neat idea, but its future isn’t as bright as many hoped.

While already touched on in a prior article, the future of Star Trek: Legacy isn’t that bright. In a recent interview, Picard production designer Evan Blass believes that Terry Matalas did such a good job on Picard’s third season that he’ll quickly be scooped up by someone else, to head up a different franchise. Meaning Paramount may lose Matalas sooner than expected to a rival production studio.

But, Paramount may be fine with that. Star Trek, and really anything on Paramount+ that isn’t the NFL, isn’t really generating a lot of subscriptions. As of June 2023, it’s reported that Paramount+ has 61 million subscribers. A big chunk of the Paramount+ count comes from the service shuttering the doors of the Showtime app and folding those subscribers into Paramount+. So it’s a real hollow stat.

That said, It’s still a huge number, but not one big enough to keep it profitable. Paramount+ has not turned a profit for even one quarter since its progenitor, CBS All-Access, launched. And Paramount+ has a lot more franchises thanks to the Viacom merger.

And that’s the issue with streaming, you could have hundreds of millions of subscribers, like Netflix does, but still be in the hole of billions of dollars. So losing a Star Trek show, that will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce isn’t really a thing the bean counters at Paraount+ care about.

The first two seasons of Picard cost around $8 million per episode, if not more. While the third season cost just $10 million for the entire season. The money that Star Trek was once expected to get is gone and now are on shoestring budgets that would make the crews of the 90s show blush.

And while that may make you think that doing Legacy could be cheap, remember that Strange New Worlds’ first season was around the same mark that Picard was. For two seasons of Strange New Worlds at that rate, you’re looking at nearly $180 million spent. The Orville had a similar budget for its first season.

Now, it’s likely Strange New Worlds’ budget dropped into season two, as they weren’t building out whole new sets to use, and were instead reusing a lot of assets to lower costs, which is what Picard did to reduce its third-season total.

Too much has changed in the world from the time Star Trek: Picard finished filming and now for Star Trek: Legacy to be a realistic option

Launching Legacy will likely include a lot of upfront cash, probably to the tune of $90-$110 million if other shows accounting is accurate. And keep in mind, none of that includes the cost to advertise, which usually doubles the total if the company believes in the product.

We’re not even factoring in that Picard’s third season finished filming in March of 2022, over a year and a half ago. That was before the financial woes hit Paramount+, and before lenders and investors started demanding the service start making money.

So now you’re trying to launch a new Star Trek show, that could cost upwards of $200 million for just three seasons, all at a time when Paramount+ is focusing more on live sports content, which is cheaper to produce.

While Legacy would be an interesting show, it feels very much like Star Trek isn’t going to be adding to its slate of television shows anytime soon, especially after Paramount endured two different strikes, back to back, which affected the industry to the tune of $5 billion, and counting.

How much that falls on Paramount as a whole is unknown, but they’re feeling it to some degree. Coupled that with year after year of losses on their streaming service, the underperforming big-budgeted films that they’re releasing in theaters, the fact that the economy has been ravaged ever since the war in Ukraine started, and the odds of Legacy ever coming out are just above nil.

It’s possible, but don’t get your hopes up.

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