Star Trek Remastered Producer Dave Rossi spoke about Final Frontier, an animated five-part Star Trek series project intended for the web, that never came to fruition.
If all had gone well, fans would have seen new Star Trek, animated and set in 2528, from the comfort of their homes.
The inspiration for the animated series came from Star Wars, according to Rossi. “At the time we began formulating the idea, Clone Wars was our real inspiration (the original shorts, not the modern CG series),” he said. “We wanted to do something similar for Star Trek, using short-form animation. The three of us (Rossi, Doug Mirabello and Jose Munoz) had worked together behind the scenes on Trek for years. We knew some of the right people to help move the idea forward, and so we decided to forge ahead.”
Animation was chosen instead of live action for several reasons. “We felt that animation would allow us to do things that were impossible in live action,” said Rossi. “We could visit planets and meet races that were truly alien, not just rubber faces on a soundstage, and do it all on a budget that made sense for web distribution. It would also appeal to a younger audience, who may never have seen any Star Trek before.”
Rossi explained why what seemed like such a good idea didn’t make it to the computer screen. “Final Frontier was born at a strange time for the franchise,” he explained. “CBS and Paramount had split up, and the rights to Star Trek were stuck in a strange limbo. CBS had TV rights, Paramount had film, and no one was quite sure where that left internet rights. Startrek.com was very excited about Final Frontier, but the money would have to come from CBS Interactive. Our initial pitch with them went well, and we were asked to draw up a budget. We met with several animation companies and got budgets for a few different approaches (including a CGI version). The process was slowed by CBS trying to figure out the rights issues, but it was looking hopeful. Then, at the end of 2007, CBS Interactive was restructured and the entire staff of Startrek.com was laid off all at once. With all of our connections gone and Paramount gearing up to focus almost exclusively on the upcoming film, the project was essentially dead.”