Star Trek has had a rough go of it with its next film offering, the often referred to title of "Star Trek 4". That film, not to be confused with "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", would feature the fourth film in the commonly referred to Kelvin timeline. It'd see Chris Pine and the rest of the cast return for another film, save for the late great Anton Yelchin, who passed away in 2016.
The film was supposed to be already out, having been announced in the first quarter of 2022, with filming set to begin in December of 2022. That never happened and now after the director, a few writers, and seemingly everyone else involved in the project have since left the film, it looks like a fourth film is likely to not happen.
And all of the turmoil around the film, of which there is a lot, has caused many to think that maybe it's time to say goodbye to the Star Trek film franchise, and much like Giant Freaking Robot, we tend to agree.
And we agree for all the same reasons that they suggest and maybe more. They cite needing to spend more time with the characters we see, a staple for Star Trek television and is something that's lost in the film adaptations; at least for the Kelvin timeline. It was one thing for the fans to only get a few hours per movie with the Original Series and The Next Generation crew of characters, but Chris Pine's James Kirk is different than William Shatner's, and we never really got a lot of time with him to find out who Pine's character really is.
They also cite that big movies, or blockbusters, limit good storytelling. That's not entirely true, as the Infinity War saga for Marvel was very compelling. It just forces good stories to be told across multiple films, which could be years apart. They also cite a lack of popularity around new franchises, and re-using the Wrath of Khan formula as reasons why they would avoid doing more movies currently and both are fair points.
The two franchises that did arguably the best were the Next Generation and Original Series bunch and that's because they had the fan support behind them after years, if not decades of being on television. Trying to shoehorn the Kelvin Timeline into things was never going to truly work, as there was no prebuilt fandom into that idea.
Taking into account that while the new shows have their fans, us included, the number of fans needed to launch one of them into a film series just doesn't exist, and likely won't. The folks at Strange New Worlds and Discovery tried to deliver big-budgeted projects to a smaller screen and to mixed results.
That has largely held back the shows from finding the same loyalty that past versions found, and now there are no new shows to farm in order to create a new film franchise. The only thing that could work, is creating a cast of new characters to team up with a group of more popular returning characters, and hope that the new characters can get a rub from the returning fanbase.
Outside of rebooting The Next Generation for a theatrical film series, that's really the only idea that exists that could continue the film franchise without trying to reboot another franchise. And since that's not likely to happen, it's best to just pause the whole thing for a while.
What Star Trek should focus on, assuming the Section 31 film is a hit for Paramount+, is more made for streaming movies like that. You can then reduce the costs of projects from a 10-hour maxi-movie, to a 2-hour standard film. That would safe money and allow for more stories to be told that don't' require a fim to hit $500 million at a box office.