Paramount+ announced the streaming service greenlit a new Star Trek film titled Star Trek: Section 31 starring Michelle Yeoh. This film announcement comes after years of promising a TV series spin-off featuring the actress and Section 31.
In a press release, Paramount+ detailed the film sees Emperor Phillippa Georgiou join the secret division of Starfleet where she’s tasked with protecting the United Federation of Planets. Not only is she tasked with protecting the Federation, but she will also face “the sins of her past.”
The screenplay for the film will be written by Craig Sweeny and it will be directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi. The film is executive produced by Alex Kurtzman, Sweeny, Aaron Baiers, Osunsanmi, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, and Michelle Yeoh.
It is being produced by CBS Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Rodenberry Entertainment.
Speaking about the new film, Yeoh said, “I’m beyond thrilled to return to my ‘Star Trek’ family and to the role I’ve loved for so long.”
She added, “Section 31 has been near and dear to my heart since I began the journey of playing Philippa all the way back when this new golden age of ‘Star Trek’ launched. To see her finally get her moment is a dream come true in a year that’s shown me the incredible power of never giving up on your dreams. We can’t wait to share what’s in store for you, and until then: live long and prosper (unless Emperor Georgiou decrees otherwise)!”
Kurtzman also added, “All the way back in 2017, before the first season of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY had even aired, Michelle had the idea to do a spin-off for her character, Philippa Georgiou. She broke new ground as one of the first two women on screen in the pilot to usher in a new age of ‘Trek,’ and now, six years later, STAR TREK: SECTION 31 finally arrives on the heels of her latest groundbreaking win.”
“Everyone on Team ‘Trek’ couldn’t be more thrilled to have our legendary friend return home to us as we expand our storytelling into new and uncharted corners of the Trekverse,” Kurzman said. “Long live Emperor Georgiou; long live Michelle Yeoh!”
As Kurtzman alludes to, a Section 31 spin-off series featuring Yeoh had been in the works for years. The series that never came to be was officially announced back in January 2019 with Yeoh telling Variety, “I’m so excited to continue telling these rich ‘Star Trek’ stories. Being a part of this universe and this character specifically has been such a joy for me to play. I can’t wait to see where it all goes – certainly I believe it will go ‘where no WOMAN has ever gone before!’”
CBS All Access Executive Vice President of Original Content Julie McNamara would confirm the project was still in development in December 2019 telling Vanity Fair, “We are very excited about the Section 31 show and Michelle Yeoh is excited to do it. She is in the current season of Discovery so she’s working on that right now but we have scripts getting written, and Alex has a writer’s room.”
Kurtzman even provided some details about the show to Vanity Fair telling the outlet it was a “sort of like black ops CIA division of Star Trek and it was established in Deep Space 9.”
He elaborated, “It occupies an area of the Trek universe that’s never really been explored geographically. It has a new mythology to it, which is very interesting. And it puts Michelle’s character to the test in a lot of ways that Discovery can’t. In some ways it will be her Unforgiven, I would say.”
Kurtzman continued to claim the show was in development in February 2020 telling Space.com, “It’s well on its way, I can tell you that. And Erika [Lippoldt] and Bo Yeon [Kim] have written a great script and we have a writers’ room, and it’s exciting.”
He even claimed casting would be occurring soon, “I think that’s going to be happening soon.”
However, the show never came to fruition and McNamara, who would become the head of Paramount+ programming revealed the show had a long ways to go.
She informed Variety, “We’re very careful about curating the pacing — the number of shows at any given time — and what those shows are, so that we make sure that it’s always exciting when there’s a new track show coming out.”
She went on to state, “Whether there’s a show that comes up that feels additive and we should add that into the mix, or waiting for attrition of another ‘Trek’ show, we feel good about where we are.”
Kurtzman would provide another update in July 2021 during an interview with the Producers Guild of America.
He relayed, “We have a couple of scripts. And Covid, frankly, just changed the game for everybody and every show. So we were on a very specific schedule that then got thrown completely into whack because of Covid.”
The producer continued, “Even starting Discovery, we ended up starting Season 4, how many months later than we had originally planned? I mean everything got…Picard…everything, everything got pushed. The only thing that didn’t get pushed was the animated because obviously it’s animated.”
“We’re actually on a great track, I think, with Section 31 and I’m very optimistic about it,” he concluded.
Given the spin-off series’ track record, time will tell if this new Star Trek film will actually get made.
What do you make of this new Star Trek announcement?