Following the success of "Star Trek Generations," Paramount is already developing a new film in the long-running series, with November 1996 targeted as the date of the picture's release.
The new feature is set to be the first to include only the cast of the syndicated "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which ran seven seasons from 1987-94. None of the cast members of the original "Star Trek," which ran on NBC from 1966 to 1969, will appear.
The film, the eighth in the series, is still in its nascent stages. Rick Berman, the executive producer of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the producer of "Star Trek Generations," is currently negotiating with the studio to produce the new film.
"I'm at the very initial stages of developing some potential story lines," Mr. Berman says.
Mr. Berman is currently working on the new "Star Trek: Voyager" series. "I'm just finishing up the two-hour pilot," he said. "And we're also shooting the fifth one-hour episode." The series will debut on the new United Paramount network in mid-January.
That has hardly left Mr. Berman time to savor the success of "Generations," which opened Nov. 18 to the biggest weekend of any "Star Trek" film ($23.1 million) and has grossed in excess of $50 million to date.
Most of the principals of "Next Generation" are expected to return for the film. However, there is some question about the availability of Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) and Brent Spiner (Data). Given the success of "Generations" and the pivotal roles Mr. Spiner and Mr. Stewart play, the actors should have enormous leverage in negotiating new contracts.
This time, Paramount plans to go to great lengths to keep the plot under wraps. Sources said the studio was hurt by leaked details of the "Generations" story line -- including the fact that Captain Kirk dies in the film -- and even more so by the dispersal of the screenplay via the Internet computer network.