While the “Star Trek” franchise continues to stir up buzz on television thanks to the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard,” the fate of the space franchise on the big screen remains an uncertainty. There hasn’t been a “Star Trek” film since 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond,” which failed to cross the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office. In a recent interview with GamesRadar+ and Total Film, Simon Pegg casts doubt on the future of “Star Trek” as a film franchise. Pegg has starred as Montgomery Scott (“Scotty”) since J.J. Abrams’ 2009 “Star Trek” reboot, and the actor even co-wrote “Beyond” with fellow screenwriter Doug Jung. Pegg says the “Star Trek” films aren’t earning enough money to guarantee a future.
“The fact is, ‘Star Trek’ movies don’t make Marvel money,” Pegg told the magazine. “They make maybe $500 million at the most, and to make one now, on the scale they’ve set themselves, is $200 million. You have to make three times that to make a profit.”
“Star Trek Beyond” earned favorable reviews from critics, with many saying director Justin Lin delivered a rebound after Abrams’ divisive “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Pegg says Paramount is partly to blame for “Beyond” underwhelming financially because the studio failed to market the film as effectively as it could have. “Beyond” opened during “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary year, but Pegg says that was missing from the movie’s marketing plan.
“They didn’t really take advantage of the 50th anniversary,” Pegg says. “The regimen at the time dropped the ball on the promo of the film. And we’ve lost momentum. I think losing Anton [Yelchin] was a huge blow to our little family, and our enthusiasm to do another one might have been affected by that. So I don’t know.”
A “Beyond” sequel has been in flux for several years now. Paramount hired S.J. Clarkson to direct in April 2018 from a script by franchise veterans J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, making Clarkson the first woman director to helm a “Star Trek” movie. Rumor had it Payne and McKay’s script featured a time travel plot in which Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk would run into his father (Chris Hemsworth, reprising his brief role from the 2009 “Star Trek”). The project appeared to be falling apart in 2019 when Clarkson left the film. There was also an R-rated “Star Trek” film being developed from Quentin Tarantino. “The Revenant” writer Mark L. Smith worked on the script based on Tarantino’s idea, but Tarantino has moved on from the project and says it’s unlikely he would direct it.
The most recent “Star Trek” movie news arrived in November 2019 when Paramount announced “Fargo” showrunner and “Lucy in the Sky” director Noah Hawley was coming on board to helm the next “Star Trek” movie. At the beginning of this year, Hawley teased that his “Star Trek” film would be a brand new story featuring a new cast, which would mean Pegg, Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, and more would not be returning. Hawley is working on the fourth season of “Fargo” and is planning to start work on his “Star Trek” film once that project is wrapped.
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