Paramount Plus Orders STAR TREK: SECTION 31 “Event Film”

Image via Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus has ordered a new Star Trek project for its streaming service, this one will be what they are calling an “event movie” and will center on the shadow black ops organization Section 31, the folks who do the dirty work that the normally morally upright Starfleet are unable to do.

Star Trek: Section 31 will feature Michelle Yeoh continuing on with her Star Trek: Discovery character of Emperor Philippa Georgiou, a transplant from Trek‘s Mirror Universe, who is an evil version of a honored and decorated Starfleet captain. Now stranded in the main Trek world, she finds herself recruited by Starfleet’s Black Ops division, where her ruthlessness could prove more useful than that of a more morally upright Starfleet officer.

In a statement released with the announcement, Yeoh is quoted –

I’m beyond thrilled to return to my Star Trek family and to the role I’ve loved for so long. 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)!

Section 31 was first talked about back in late 2018/early 2019, at the time being mooted as a possible Star Trek: Discovery spinoff series to feature Yeoh. More recently, with Yeoh’s Academy Awards win for Everything Everywhere All At Once, it was thought that she might want to move on from Star Trek to take advantage of other offers that her Oscar might generate.

Discovery veterans writer Craig Sweeny and director Olatunde Osunsanmi are already signed onboard the project.

The spinoff announcement comes just a few months after the announcement that the forthcoming fifth season of Discovery, the show that launched Paramount Plus’s Star Trek programming block, would be its last. Currently, the streamer also has Star Trek: Picard, whose final episode airs Thursday, Star Trek: Strange New World, whose second season is debuting in June and the two animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks and Prodigy. Last month the streamer gave the order for a new series, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.

With the shifting economic models for for streaming, Paramount Plus’s commissioning of a two-hour event film which will undoubtedly be serving double duty as a backdoor, makes sense. It is a return to the older broadcast television model of gauging an audience’s interest before committing the money to a full season of a series which might not draw enough viewers/subscribers to be worth the expenditure. And while Star Trek has been a major draw for Paramount Plus, it is still an expensive one and this shift in programming strategy may be signaling that the streamer is starting to prioritize long-term profitability over just subscriber numbers.

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About Rich Drees 7205 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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