I understand that any film is going to have an element of putting the characters into a situation where we the audience are invested in the outcome.
But I'm just thinking that three of the last four films have involved a threat to Earth of one form or another, and it sorta defeats the point of building a huge starship designed to explore the galaxy if it never goes far from home.
TOS went for three seasons without even showing us Earth (I tend not to really count the few seconds of fantasy given to Pike in 'The Cage') so I think it's absolutely possible to create a story that doesn't have to be in it's vicinity and become based on a situation encountered out in space somewhere.
'If the Apocalypse starts, beep me!' - Buffy Summers
'The sky's the limit.....' Jean-Luc Picard, 'All Good Things'
courtesy of Saquist