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The Next Star Trek Movie Should Boldly Go Where The MCU Has Gone Before - A Massive Crossover

Multiverse-shattering, chronology-bending, nerd royalty team-ups have really been seeing their day in the sun lately, huh? Some folks blame the seemingly inescapable push towards a pop culture pantheism, a march into an intellectual property singularity in which members of the Paw Patrol team up with Robert Pattinson's Batman to stop David Frost from interviewing Skeletor. Others think it started when Disney realized they had enough money to buy as many ex-Spider-Men as they wanted. Either way, it is what it is, and we are where we are: At the center of an unstoppable vortex of movies, shows, and video games where no crossover is too bananas to consider.

So why, in the history of "Star Trek," haven't we seen the grand inter-series crossover event we've been pondering over since we were kids? Putting aside the fact that such a moment would force a 60-year-old franchise to reconcile decades of technological and aesthetic inconsistencies — potentially opening the door to conversations where someone from the super-serious Alex Kurtzman era has to admit that they live in the same universe where a crazy space Lincoln appeared on the Enterprise one time — there might be no franchise better suited to the "Avengers: Endgame" approach.

After all, "Star Trek" has throwing fun crossovers at fans since the 1980s. It's just time to go bigger. 

Star Trek has always been a big crossover

"Star Trek" has brought audiences unlikely time travel team-ups for years. Yes, there were outlandish comic book crossovers with the X-Men and "Doctor Who," but the franchise-proper took advantage of its multigenerational star power back when team-ups were the exception instead of the rule. On "The Next Generation," DeForest Kelley's Dr. McCoy popped up in the pilot episode wearing a genuinely staggering amount of prune-consistency latex. James Doohan's Scotty darkened the Enterprise D's door during the absolute banger of an episode "Relics." Spock brought enough shoulder pads for the whole class in the "Unification" two-parter, and by the time Paramount decided to dip their toes in the waters of "TNG" feature films, they did so with one foot still firmly planted in the original "Star Trek" — by finally offering fans a grand finale for pioneer, adventurer, leader, and legend James T. Kirk (William Shatner), where he ... uh, kinda falls down one time and dies. We'll move on.

The tradition kept going. The "Deep Space Nine" episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" made viewers reconsider what was possible on television, compositing contemporary actors onto shots from a 30-year-old episode of the original series. That's all just the tip of the iceberg, too — characters like Worf (Michael Dorn) and Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) went on to become major players on multiple "Star Trek" shows. 

Good or bad, some of the most memorable moments in "Star Trek" history come down to reverential reunions. With healthy fan interest in loving fan service demonstrably still in strong supply with the final season of "Star Trek: Picard," it makes you wonder: Why not sci-fi up some time travel malarkey and put every starship, space station, and Delta Flyer in the same place at the same time?

A Star Trek crossover should begin with Sisko

This is just one idea, but let's say the whole thing starts with bringing back Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks). A quarter-century after disappearing into the Celestial Temple, he reappears on the promenade of Deep Space Nine, untethered from the laws of physics and cut loose from the flow of time. He's a Doctor Manhattan-adjacent space god with a haircut to match (sort of like in Jackson Lanzing Collin Kelly's IDW "Star Trek" comic from 2022, which we just found out about right before publishing — we swear it's just parallel thinking). 

Shaky after years removed from causality, he has seen everything, every threat to life in the Alpha Quadrant, and he knows that what's coming is worse than anything that the Federation has encountered before. All realities across an infinite array of possibility could be wiped out by this threat. Let's say it's maybe the Borg using the anti-time anomaly from "All Good Things," but the precise villain doesn't matter.

Sisko starts pulling the best and brightest from different points in time. From the present, he nabs Captain Riker (Jonathan Frakes), who hears about the oncoming threat and laments that Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) isn't around, since he was such an inspiration to Riker during his time in command. Sisko grabs Archer from out of time, and Archer responds, "Oh boy."

The Federation won't be enough to stop the Borg, though. They'll need friends in the Delta Quadrant if there's to be any chance of survival. Sisko brings in Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) — she has the expertise and the connections from her time traversing the boonies of the galaxy to know where to look for an assist. The team grows. The possibilities seem endless.

More captains is better captains for a Star Trek crossover

The mirror universe could more than double Starfleet's forces, so Lorca (Jason Isaacs) and the mean Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) from "Discovery" get called in. Trying to pull Kirk across the universe is tricky. First, someone asks for "the original captain of the Enterprise" and we wind up getting Christopher Pike (the Anson Mount one from "Strange New Worlds"), but actually trying to rope Kirk in triggers some sort of a time-space snafu. Why? Because Kirk is the central point of too many universe-altering events across the multiverse, so Sisko's magic wormhole powers get confused and bring two iterations: One younger, from the Kelvin timeline, and played by Chris Pratt, while an older variant leaps in from an alternate history — one where he never died fighting Soran (Malcolm McDowell). Young Kirk (Pine) and old Kirk (William Shatner) are getting really handsy, borderline flirting with each other until young Kirk asks, "Is that your real hair?" and tries to touch old Kirk's scalp, then old Kirk says "Alright, that's enough," and the two don't talk as much after that.

Sisko keeps up with the requests, plucking crew members from reality whenever they subconsciously wish that they had a familiar expert in a given field there to help. Uhura (Zoe Saldana? Celia Rose Gooding? Either way, they're both terrific) appears to help translate a warning message that even the universal translator can't handle. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) pops in to refit Borg technology. In a crowded room, a young Spock (Zachary Quinto or Ethan Peck, it's all gravy) asks what the end goal of this chaos is. "Peace," says Captain Janeway. The word awakens something in Sisko.

A Star Trek crossover could tie up so many, many loose ends, as long as it keeps its focus

"Peace," Sisko repeats, still in a dreamlike state, and he transports Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) into the room. Sisko seems close to lucid again for the first time since he arrived — closer to the man we remember from "DS9." He approaches Picard, forgives him for what happened at Wolf-359. Picard says that he doesn't know what's happening, but he appreciates it.

That's probably a solid note to end this on — a touching callback only made possible by a crossover this massive. The important thing, though, is keeping it at least slightly reigned in, because the fan service could also get out of control. 

Imagine, for instance, all of the doctors are in the med bay, get asked to do something impossible, and they all go "I'm a doctor, not a (noun)" simultaneously. More Kirks show up. The animated one doesn't understand why Starfleet stopped using those invisible forcefield spacesuits. Archer sheepishly asks if anyone noticed earlier when he said, "Oh boy," then mutters about the wasted potential of modern reboots that don't put right what once went wrong. Data's cat Spot fights with Porthos. The result is a cataclysmic termite mound of pop culture, the sheer mass of which collapses the deck of the space station and forces existence to fold into itself. The camera zooms out. We see the television where it's all taking place. Alex Kurtzman throws a molotov cocktail at the screen and stares into the camera as the flames rise. Audience consensus on Rotten Tomatoes: "Pretty mid, but still better than the first two seasons of 'Picard.'" 

So, keeping it under control is important. But regardless, this is a blockbuster success waiting to happen.