The merger will bring the Star Trek movies and TV shows back under the same corporate umbrella for the first time since 2005. There's been a lot of chatter about that, with speculation that Star Trek could create its own cinematic universe like Marvel, and then counter-chatter that Star Trek doesn't need to have anything like the MCU.
At any rate, the new company is being called ViacomCBS, and Bob Bakish is running the store. There was an investor call the other day, with Bakish making it clear (via Deadline) that the Star Trek and Mission Impossible franchises have significant potential to leverage "across all the companies’ platforms." Incoming CBS CEO Joe Ianniello added, from an international angle, that "scale is becoming more and more important all the time."
That "scale" note, along with content "across all the companies' platforms," fed into talk of a "Star Trek Cinematic Universe" -- along with comparisons to Lucasfilm's current Star Wars expansion with multiple films and TV series in the works. Is ViacomCBS going to try to beat Disney at its own game?
Star Trek 4 seems to have stalled for the moment, and we're not sure exactly what's going to happen with Quentin Tarantino's plan for a Star Trek film. So stay tuned for any announcements on what this new company plans to do with the Trekverse. The possibilities are nearly endless, and it's early days for this new team to decide the right path. (Not to belabor the MCU comparisons, but they need their own Kevin Feige as an architect for whatever happens from here.)
What about Mission: Impossible? That franchise was also brought into the investor call, and it's no wonder why. Viacom owns Paramount, and Paramount's Mission: Impossible franchise has been wildly successful. The most recent film, 2018's Fallout, was not only fantastic to watch, it was the highest-grossing film of the franchise to date.
So what could happen under this new corporate merger? How about a Mission: Impossible TV series reboot on CBS or CBS All Access?
The original Mission: Impossible TV series ran from 1966 to 1973 on CBS. The show was revived for two seasons from 1988-1990 on ABC. No new plans have been announced yet, but I would not be shocked to hear about a Mission: Impossible TV series, potentially with crossover characters from the films. (May I suggest Ving Rhames' Luther Stickell and Simon Pegg's Benji Dunn leading a spinoff series?)
Deadline brought up some of the other franchises in the Paramount library -- including the Transformers films. It doesn't sound like they were specifically singled out in the initial investor call, but keep your mind open to the possibility of many other franchises also expanding in the ViacomCBS universe.
New ViacomCBS boss Bob Bakish told CNBC the CBS/Viacom library includes 140,000 TV episodes, 36,000 films, and 750 series -- which he considers enough to compete against heavy hitters like Netflix and Disney+.
It really has almost unmatched scale on the content side. We clearly have scale in content. There’s no question the companies are clearly stronger together than they are independently.
The merger means CBS is not only picking up Paramount Pictures, it also gets Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and more. There's also speculation that the combined ViacomCBS will look to buy another company like Sony, Starz, or Discovery.
We live in dizzying times with all of these corporate mergers. Frightening times? Content-wise, it is exciting to think about what the combined properties could mean. What do you HOPE happens for Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and others on the big or small screens?