The story behind Star Trek: Section 31 is likely a messy one that we may not know the full truth about for some time. The now direct-to-streaming film started off life as a series that would air on Paramount+ with Michelle Yeoh returning to her role as Philippa Georgiou, the mirror-universe version of the same character she played in the premier of the show.
That would end up not happening, obviously, as the show was seemingly scrapped due to budget issues and the service going in a different direction with future shows being far more bright and optimistic. Essentially bringing the shows back to what fans wanted; classic Star Trek. Yet, due to the emerging star of Yeoh at the time, Paramount didn't want to abandon the project completely and after being stuck in development hell for a number of unknown reasons (likely money), the project was retooled into a film that will air on Paramount+.
It's a film that franchise star Yeoh may have willed into existence due to her own desire to see more of her character. Speaking to Collider's Arezou Amin, Yeoh was very clear about how she felt about the film, going on to say;
“I just came back from Toronto, and what does that tell you? We are definitely prepping. We are definitely going full steam ahead. And thank you. Section 31 is very special to me, and I’m so happy we’re doing it.”
Yeoh is a big supporter of the film and now carrying more heft in her career than ever before, especially after winning an Academy Award for her work in Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, it is very possible to believe that she had a lot of say in the film getting made in the first place. Having that type of star power and wanting to be part of your franchise is certainly nothing to shake a stick at.