There have been many canceled Star Trek projects over the years, but none have been as exciting as, or came so close to production, as Star Trek: The Final Frontier (STFF).
End Of The Final Frontier
Things weren’t looking good in the early 2000s for the aging Star Trek Franchise. Star Trek: Nemesis (STN), released in 2002, garnered mixed reactions from fans and non-fans alike while also underperforming at the box-office. Meanwhile, Star Trek: Enterprise (ENT) received it’s a cancellation in 2005 after running for four seasons. This was attributed to air-time inconsistency and a widespread negative reaction in the fandom for the prequel series.
With Enterprises cancellation, this would mark the first time in the last 18 years that no new Star Trek was going to be airing on television. With the declining theatrical returns and no new television shows to keep audiences interested, things were looking rather bleak for the franchise.
A Glimmer Of Hope
In 2006, there was a glimmer of hope for the franchise, when David Rossi, Doug Mirabello, and José Muñoz began developing a brand new show (untitled at the time, but later titled Star Trek: The Final Frontier). It was to be the return of Trek, both to the small screen and the animation frontier.
The creative decision to make this new show animated also proved to be a smart financial choice as well. CBS had grown wary of putting a significant amount of funding behind Star Trek productions following the performance of Nemesis and Enterprise. Creating an entire series in the animated format would avoid many of the costs involved in a live-action series, namely sets and special visual effects. The studio execs gravitated toward the idea, and the green light was given to develop a new series.
Getting Out of Dry-Dock
A total of five episodes were written and storyboarded for the Final Frontier. Which depicted the Enterprise as a Bismarck-class cruiser that fought in the Federation-Romulan War. The ship was to be commanded by Captain Alexander Chase. A young officer who sought to return the name Enterprise to its former glory. The story would have picked up in the mid-2500s, long after the close of the Nemesis (the latest canon entry at the time). Giving the writing team a wide range of story possibilities that could avoid possible canon entanglements.
Sadly, this new animated series was eventually mothballed, and the JJ Abrams led 2009 feature film Star Trek was put into production. This un-aired show joins the ranks of many other great Trek projects that never got a proper shakedown mission. However, in keeping with Star Trek tradition, many of the story ideas presented in pre-production were re-molded into something new.
Stuck In Dry-Dock, But Not Forgotten
For instance one of the main plot points of this series involved the Federation splitting into multiple factions. Specifically, the Vulcans leaving after Andoria was destroyed. At the time, these ideas seemed very bold. However, in a post Star Trek Picard and Star Trek Discovery world, it would seem that the idea of the Federation falling apart is quickly becoming a reality.
For legacy Star Trek fans, this re-purposing of ideas will likely sound familiar. Back in 1976, Star Trek: Phase II was primed to bring the franchise back onto the small screen. However, it was instead a launching point for its first theatrical run, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The Star Trek: Universe will continue to expand over the next several years. Undoubtedly many more projects will get halted, re-purposed and presented in the best way for Trekkies to enjoy! With two animated series in the works, we could see more elements of this long forgetting mini-series come to life.
What do you think of the series? Leave us your thoughts on Star Trek: The Final Frontier in the comments section below.