Blastr recently ran an article titled “10 awesome unmade Star Trek projects we wish we could’ve seen” that, as the title implied, spotlighted several incarnations of the venerable Star Trek franchise that never saw the light of day for various reasons. Most the projects struck me as rather ho-hum — I’m not really a fan of prequels or reboots, which may be a little ironic because I really liked J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie — but two jumped out at me: Star Trek: Federation and Star Trek: Final Frontier.
Both series are set in the franchise’s distant future — the former in the year 3000 A.D. and the latter in 2528 A.D. (or 150 years after Star Trek: Nemesis) — and both seem to be aiming for a balance between Star Trek’s optimistic philosophy — which I’ve written about elsewhere — and a darker, grittier view of reality and human nature.
In Star Trek: Federation, humanity has grown increasingly complacent and focused on its own glory, much to the chagrin of the other races (such as the Klingons, who have evolved into a race of “warrior mystics”). As a result, the United Federation of Planets has grown significantly weaker, just in time for a new threat to emerge and wreak havoc throughout an increasingly splintered and fractious galaxy.
Star Trek: Final Frontier, on the other hand, takes place after warp travel has been rendered impossible due to suspected Romulan attacks utilizing the Omega molecule. The Federation has grown increasingly insular and cut off from the galaxy and Starfleet’s scientific focus has been replaced with a militaristic mindset.
In both of the series, Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets have lost sight of their ideals, trading scientific exploration and peaceful diplomacy for militarism and conquest. This is, of course, at odds with Gene Roddenberry’s original utopian vision for the future, but it could make for some compelling material as our heroic captains and their crews make hard decisions and sacrifices in order to save the Federation and bring back its former glory (this seems especially true with Star Trek: Final Frontier). In other words, both series sound like they have the potential to be epic, entertaining, and thought-provoking, i.e., everything you could want from Star Trek.
Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that either of these series will ever be made. According to Blastr:
Star Trek: Federation’s concept was still being developed when Paramount announced J.J. Abrams’ movie, and so its developers (which included director Bryan Singer) took that as a sign and decided to stop work on it. TrekMovie has posted an in-depth analysis of the 25-page proposal that was developed before the plug was pulled.
Star Trek: Final Frontier was conceived as an animated series similar to G.I. Joe: Resolute that would play on StarTrek.com. But then the website’s staff got fired and work on other Star Trek titles was stopped due to J.J. Abrams’ impending movie. But you can’t keep a good concept down: Zero Room Productions, the folks behind Star Trek: Final Frontier, are in the process of posting storyboards, artwork, and even scripts from the series on their website.
Also, there’s one series concept that Blastr didn’t mention in their article. I can’t remember if this was before Star Trek: Voyager or Star Trek: Enterprise was officially announced, but at one point, I remember hearing rumors of a concept for a Star Trek series involving Section 31. (For those of you not up on your Star Trek lore, Section 31 is a shadowy, secretive group within Starfleet that is tasked with dealing with extreme threats to the Federation by any means necessary.) The series would have basically been the Star Trek version of The X-Files with a dash of 24 thrown in for good measure, i.e., a journey through the Federation’s dark side as Section 31 agents travelled the galaxy on secret missions to deal with threats that nobody else would, or could, ever know about. Which sounds pretty awesome to me.