There might have been a little bit of truth to some of the gossip last month about the new Star Trek series planned for CBS All Access.
A source tells 1701News that the series, set to debut in January on the subscription streaming service, could be a prequel of sorts, taking place after Capt. Kirk and his voyages of the USS Enterprise. With one catch — it won't be in the prime universe of Star Trek pre-2009, but instead set in the new universe brought to us by J.J. Abrams.
"There is apparently a contingent within CBS that views the prime universe closed for business," said the source, who asked not to be named. "And there is something to that. The last hour of prime universe Star Trek was filmed 12 years ago. Meanwhile, there have been three films set in the new universe. The faction says it would be ludicrous to return to the shackles of the prime universe and confuse new viewers."
If such a rumor were true — and remember, this has not been confirmed by anyone at CBS, so it should be treated as any rumor — this could mark a major sea change for CBS, which has avoided stepping into the movie universe that is now owned by a separate company, Paramount Pictures. The Star Trek rights split with the Viacom Inc. breakup at the end of 2005, spinning off CBS Corp. with all the television and library rights to Star Trek, and keeping Paramount Pictures in the new Viacom, complete with the film rights and film library.
Since then, however, both studios have stayed away from each other mostly, with CBS continuing licensing books, DVD sets and other memorabilia based on the five television series, while Paramount raced back into the film business, releasing "Star Trek" in 2009 and "Star Trek: Into Darkness" in 2013, using a brand new alternate timeline to reboot the franchise.
While CBS has continued what is known as the "prime universe" — basically all the Star Trek canon leading up to the 2009 movie — it hasn't been with anything new, like a television series. With the so-called AbramsVerse now seven years old, some could even argue that the current generation of fans are far more familiar with a world featuring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, than they were of the world of William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew or Avery Brooks.
The fact that Alex Kurtzman — one of the producers and writers of films in the AbramsVerse — is attached to the project might actually support such a move that some observers actually speculated when Kurtzman first joined the project.
There might be other signs of a potential expansion of the AbramsVerse past the movies. For example, last week, rumors circulated that the popular massively multiplayer online game Star Trek Online was considering inclusion of AbramsVerse elements despite taking place in the prime universe. Some players said they discovered an AbramsVerse character in the game that looks a lot like the cybernetic-enhanced bridge officer 0718 from the 2009 movie played by Joseph Gatt.
Getting information about the new series has been tricky at best, with CBS strongly clamping down on any story ideas. Even some past reports of what the new Star Trek series would be were more uncorroborated gossip than rumors, and certainly were not confirmed by CBS in any official capacity.
It's likely we won't know anything about the new series until the fall, likely after "Star Trek: Beyond" has made its mark on world movie cinemas in late July.
The new Star Trek series boasts a team that includes Kurtzman, "Star Trek: Voyager" alum Bryan Fuller and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" director Nicholas Meyer. It will first premiere on CBS, before having episodes released weekly in early 2017 on CBS All Access.