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So they could take the existing characters, maintain the "essence" and qualities of those characters but make up an entirely new direction and path for this and future stories involving those classic characters without "reinventing" or remaking the original. This allows more creative freedom, and the ability to adapt to newer audiences, without truly disrupting canon.
So they could make a profitable popcorn summer flick without having to think creatively and come up with new characters. It was a way to snag old school fans with TOS characters, but adapt them to appeal to modern action-movie audiences.