The legacy of Star Trek is one with a proud history and a deep connection to not just its fanbase, but to modern history—and ViacomCBS has taken this to heart with a two-pronged announcement: not only will the next installment of the rebooted Star Trek movie franchise, headlined by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, be entering production later in 2022, but as of today, ViacomCBS will now be known permanently as Paramount.
News of the next movie installment comes after various fits and starts, among them being rough salary negotiations with both Pine and Quinto, after which we had all assumed that any sequels to the JJ-verse were duly deceased. Now, with Pine set to reprise his role as James T. Kirk and Quinto returning as Spock, previous cast members that have also been secured include Zoe Saldana (Lt. Nyota Uhura), Karl Urban (Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy), John Cho (Lt. Hikaru Sulu), and Simon Pegg (Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott). J.J. Abrams remains as producer, and has secured Wandavision‘s own Matt Shakman to direct.
In addition to this incredible news, which was delivered at the ViacomCBS Investor Day on Tuesday, the company also announced its plans to change their name to Paramount. The move, alongside the Star Trek announcement, can hardly be called a coincidence; the franchise and the studio’s name have been intertwined for decades, piggybacking off each others’ reputation. Both stand for excellence and success, and the company is well aware of it.
“Paramount is an idea: A promise to be the best,” said Shari Redstone, Non-Executive Chair of the company’s Board of Directors in a press release. “That promise has always been at the center of what we aspired to build as the steward of more than a century of cinematic excellence, and with businesses and brands that have defined and redefined entertainment for generation after generation. We have made enormous progress, and I have never been more excited about the future of this company.”
Will this name change, which brings with it greater brand recognition, spell success for the company? It’s hard to say. Early signs say no: since the announcement, the company’s stock has taken a 20% dive, with experts citing that no real evidence has been given that there are any real signs of additional profits or cash flow in the future. While the investor event unveiled plans for existing and upcoming properties under what is now the Paramount banner, there is no way of knowing if these grand plans will translate into dollars.
The promise of a new Star Trek movie could go a long way to assuaging investor concerns, which would make this price drop little more than the kind of emotionally driven, temporary hiccup that often comes with change. However, even with the returning cast there are other challenges to address, such as the absence of the late Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov), who died in 2016 when his car rolled down his driveway, pinning him to a security fence and killing him. No plans as of yet have been announced to deal with either recasting or acknowledging Chekov’s absence in-universe.
With the plan to be in production by year’s end, we can only watch, wait, and see if it brings increased profits along with that sweet brand recognition.
Liz Carlie (she/her/he/him) is a regular book, TV, and film reviewer for SCIFI.radio and has previously been a guest on ‘The Event Horizon’. In addition to being an active member of the traditional fandom community, she’s also an active participant in online fan culture, pro wrestling journalism, and spreading the gospel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She resides in Southern California with her aspiring superhero dog, Junior, enjoying life one hyperfixation at a time.
Pretty sure Abrams has stated in the past that under no circumstances would Chekov be recast; I’m sure that hasn’t changed. Most likely there’d be a comment about him transferring to the Reliant and a new person at the helm (possibly whasserface from the last movie that went into the Academy).