For over half a century, Star Trek has endured as one of the most popular brands in the history of sci-fi. However, the argument could be made that the various TV shows have been much more consistent in terms of quality than the movies, with many of the feature-length installments rushing to tell a complete story in two hours or less, and that’s without even mentioning the longtime fans not best pleased at J.J. Abrams’ Kelvin trilogy reinventing the Enterprise crew as the stars of big budget action blockbusters.
Star Trek has always looked to incorporate timely themes and sociopolitical subtext into its sprawling mythology, something that’s admittedly much easier to do with an extended run of episodes rather than a single film. And veteran Trek producer Ronald D. Moore clearly agrees, as in a recent interview he explained why he doesn’t feel as much of a connection with the movie franchise.
“To me, Trek is a morality play. It’s a show about ethical dilemmas. It’s a science fiction show about ‘what if?’. And it’s a character piece. The best parts of Trek don’t necessarily lend themselves towards the big screen. For instance, you couldn’t do “Data’s Day” as a movie, right? It was one of my favorite episodes. “The Conscience of the King” from The Original Series is one of my favorite episodes. That’s not a movie. So, the movie version always has to be hyped up and over-amped and they’re big giant roller coasters. And I don’t know that the roller coaster aspect is what attracts me to Star Trek the most.”
As a writer and producer on The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, Moore knows a thing or two about telling long-form stories in the Star Trek universe, while he also had a huge hand in writing the scripts for Generations and First Contact. The property has always been much more about the ideas than the action dating right back to the original series, too, something that the Kelvin movies sidelined in favor of scale and spectacle.
There’s currently no word on what the next big budget effort for Star Trek is going to be, with numerous potential sequels and/or reboots stuck in a holding pattern as Paramount reassesses the future of the franchise, but it won’t be too long before an Enterprise crew once more ventures into strange new worlds.