What The Viacom/CBS Merger Means For 'Star Trek' And 'Mission: Impossible'

Yesterday, CBS and Viacom announced a new merger, marking a reunion between the two corporate entities for the first time in almost thirteen years. A new company called ViacomCBS will emerge (pending the finalization of the deal), and brands like Paramount Pictures, CBS, Showtime, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and more will all be under the same umbrella.

Now the iconic Star Trek brand, which had previously been split between those two companies, will be all in one place again. Here's how the new merger may end up affecting popular franchises like Star Trek and Mission Impossible.

Star Trek

According to Deadline, the Trek franchise will now be operating under the same ownership for the first time since 2005. A report from 2017 indicated that because characters like Kirk, Spock, and Uhura were being used in the J.J. Abrams-produced films, they were not eligible to be utilized on the small screen at that time. Deadline implies that when the film series "seemed to go into suspended animation last year" following the disappointing worldwide box office gains of Star Trek Beyond, that allowed the rule about those characters not appearing on TV to be jettisoned into space; a new version of Mr. Spock (played by Ethan Peck) was introduced on the CBS All-Access show Star Trek: Discovery earlier this year.

With the ongoing Star Trek: Discovery, multiple animated series, Picard, a Discovery spin-off starring Michelle Yeoh, and even a potential Quentin Tarantino Star Trek movie in the works, it looks like we could be on the brink of a Trek bubble. But without the headache of dealing with separate parent companies, I wouldn't be surprised to see more characters crossing over more frequently between sub-franchises in the Star Trek universe.

Mission: Impossible

During an investor call yesterday, ViacomCBS chief Bob Bakish said that both Trek and the Mission: Impossible franchises have major potential to "leverage across all the companies' platforms." Translation: we may be getting a new Mission: Impossible TV show for the first time since 1990. The original series ran from 1968-1973, and was briefly resurrected in 1988 for a two-year stint, with only actor Peter Graves returning in the main cast.

But since this franchise is now best known for its mega-blockbuster Tom Cruise movies, will a new TV show be able to have the same draw? It's a tall order for a TV/streaming show to be able to capture the go-for-broke, jaw-dropping, "holy shit" stunt work that makes these movies true cinematic events, and a Cruise-less version of this property hasn't been seen for decades. On the other hand, I saw someone suggest on Twitter that Paula Patton and Maggie Q's spy characters, who have been totally forgotten after appearing in one movie each, should get their own spin-off, and I am absolutely here for that idea. So maybe it will be able to carve out its own identity and operate alongside the films in continuity, similar to Marvel's upcoming Disney+ shows. Time will tell...and speaking of time, I'd suggest clicking away now because this article will self-destruct in five seconds.