The Future of J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek' Franchise

With director J.J. Abrams at the helm, it's highly unlikely that "Star Trek Into Darkness," the second film in the must-loved franchise's reboot, is going to be a flop. With a budget of $185 million, the backing of sponsors such as Visa, Mazda, Lifelock and Esurance, and a huge marketing campaign, STID is positioned to be the most successful film in the Star Trek franchise. The success of the "Star Trek" film from 2009 presents a feasible future for the sagging 40-year-old franchise as it incorporated themes and characters from the original series as well as a divergent story and timeline from the original.

Familiar faces and personalities abound in the new Star Trek narrative, such as Captain James T. Kirk, Spock and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, but a split in the narrative of the Star Trek universe has lead to different developments surrounding the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701. For instance, Captain Christopher Pike is still the first captain of the enterprise, as he is in the "Star Trek: The Original Series" pilot episode, but in the new film series he is an important part of why Kirk joins Starfleet, and the events suggested in the "ST:TOS" episode “The Menagerie” that leave Captain Pike mute, paralyzed and confined to a brainwave-operated chair, never happen. A full synopsis of the two-part episode “The Menagerie” can be found at TrekCore.  Differences in the history of the alternate universe that the new Star Trek films exists in presents interesting parallels for the series to advance along.

"Star Trek Into Darkness" released in U.S. theaters May 16. From what can be gathered from the trailer alone, we can see Dr. Carol Marcus, who would eventually come to be the mother of Captain Kirk's son in the original Star Trek universe. What does the appearance of this character signify for the future of Star Trek films? Dr. Carol Marcus was originally introduced in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" when superhuman warlord Khan raids the Project Genesis research facility. This is a major plot point for both "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock." According to Screenrant, "STID" features scenes that take place on the Klingon homeworld of Qo'noS, which furthers the connections between "...Into Darkness" and "Wrath of Khan."

While we know very little about John Harrison, the main villain in "Into Darkness," we know from the trailer that he is dangerous, brilliant and, by his own admission, better than Kirk at everything. A villain of such caliber presents a tantalizing opportunity for speculation in light of the other clues scattered through the "Into Darkness" trailer. All signs point to J.J. Abrams embracing the original motion pictures as source of inspiration, which leads to a singular hypothesis about the future of the Star Trek movie franchise. Khan Noonien Singh, and the inevitable destruction and death that follow in the wake of this quintessential Star Trek villain, a tyrant who controlled a quarter of the world in the Eugenics war 300 years in Star Trek's past. If Khan becomes a focus in "Into Darkness," we may very well see a parallel film series that leads to the events of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock."

Article written by April Harper
April loves horror and sci-fi movies and reviews them for various entertainment blogs. She also edits videos and frequents Comicon.