Star Trek, the venerable science fiction series, has lost much of its steam, but don't count this long term player out yet. A new television series, Enterprise, set at the beginning of the Federation roughly one hundred years before the original Star Trek series, debuts on UPN Wednesday night (see 'New Star Trek Series Set'). Enterprise features Scott Bakula (from Quantum Leap) as Captain Jonathan Archer and reportedly resembles the original Star Trek series with a penchant for action and adventure in addition to high concept science fiction. On the eve of the debut of the new series Paramount also greenlit the tenth Star Trek film, Nemesis, which features Patrick Stewart and the cast of the Next Generation series.
In other recent Star Trek developments, Palisades Marketing, which specializes in creating toys and action figures for the collector market, has also received a license to create Star Trek action figures, including the first ever figure for series creator Gene Roddenberry (see 'Palisades Gets Star Trek License'). With the Star Trek movies appearing in collector edition DVDs (see 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture DVD'), as well as the new toys there will plenty of Trek merchandise available if the new TV series or movie succeeds in reenergizing the franchise.
Don't discount the new Star Trek film, though it may not hit the screens for quite awhile. The screenplay was written by John Logan, who penned Gladiator; and Stuart Baird, who directed U.S. Marshals, will helm the project. Baird may not be Stephen Spielberg, but at least he's not a former cast member. Variety reports that Star Trek: Nemesis will start shooting on November 28. This will mean a tight shooting schedule for Patrick Stewart, who will reprise his role as Professor Xavier in X-Men 2, which is supposed to start filming early in the spring. Variety also reported that Star Trek: Nemesis would be released in late 2003. Even accounting for the increasing amount of time required to complete special effects, it does appear that the Star Trek film will be 'in the can' for quite awhile before it debuts, but Paramount may have a very busy schedule for 2002.