A few years ago, after the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise but before Trek‘s big-screen revival with the 2009 film, rumors of this or that series, film, and/or project were bandied about like a Hacky Sack in Amsterdam.
One such notion was Star Trek: Final Frontier, a proposed series of animated “webisodes” intended for streaming on StarTrek.com and presenting a story set 150+ years after the events of the last Next Generation film, Star Trek: Nemesis. Things are not all roses and unicorns at this point in time, with the Federation still recovering from a lengthy, costly war with the Romulan Empire. So, the tone would’ve been a bit less polished…a bit more edgier–at least at first–when we’re introduced to the crew of the newest U.S.S. Enterprise commanded by Captain Alexander Chase.
Concept art and sample scripts were created by the team responsible for developing the series–David Rossi (Star Trek: TNG, the remastered Star Trek, etc.), Doug Mirabello and Jose Munoz–and the package pitched to CBS in 2006. Then came the massive reorganization which saw to it that nearly everyone working at StarTrek.com was let go, and the site itself wallowed in a sort of odd limbo for quite some time. Then came news that director J.J. Abrams was spearheading what would become the 2009 Star Trek theatrical reboot, and any thoughts of other television or other media series seemed to just fade away.
Though not a lot has been reported about Star Trek: Final Frontier beyond what its creators have presented on their own website and the occasional news piece such as this 2006 TrekMovie.com article, it seems that the developers are starting to spill some more beans about what they had intended for the series. A new TrekMovie.com article reports that Doug Mirabello has been updating the Final Frontier website with scripts from the proposed series’ first episodes, “The Empty Eye,” as well as previously unseen concept art. The apparent plan is for Doug to keep rolling out material very so often.
I have to say that while the designs for the new Enterprise didn’t really grab me at first, I love the whole retro look of the uniforms. As the creators mentioned early on, they were gunning for a vibe similar to the style present in a lot of the DC Universe animated series and direct-to-DVD/Blu ray features. Some of the early concept art definitely had that feel, but some of these newer pieces show a nice hybrid of that look mixed with their own stylized animation. As for the stories, it’s hard to judge until I read the whole thing, but what I’ve read so far makes me want to see what might’ve come next. I expect that even with this first proposed storyline’s “darker, grittier” tone, “The Empty Eye” still will show hints of returning/fighting our way back to the brighter, more hopeful “Star Trek universe” we all know and love.
Many thanks to the Star Trek: Final Frontier creators for sharing their work with fans. It’s a fascinating look behind the curtain at what might’ve been.
EDIT: Series co-creator Doug Mirabello visited the comments section and set me straight on a couple of key items. One big one: “The Empty Eye” is not the name of the original “pilot” episode, but instead the first of new scripts he and the team are writing, as a means of further demonstrating what might’ve happened if Final Frontier had been greenlit. So, this just took on a whole new level of interest for word-slinger me, because I definitely want to see how the team goes about fleshing out the concept as new stories are added to the mix.
So, thanks very much to Doug for dropping by!