Actor/writer Simon Pegg dropped some truth bombs yesterday about nerd culture, and while some were taken aback by his comments (which only served to reinforce his thinking), many (myself included) found them refreshingly honest. But just because Pegg is able to think critically about his passions doesn’t mean he’s forsaking them entirely. It’s quite the opposite, as he’s currently co-writing the screenplay for Star Trek 3, which is likely titled Star Trek Beyond.
Paramount was always going to make some changes on this next Trek film given that J.J. Abrams was departing the director’s chair for a galaxy far, far away, and it’s taken them a bit to get the film to a place that they’re comfortable with. Roberto Orci, who co-wrote and co-produced the first two Trek movies, was initially in line to direct Star Trek 3 and was overseeing the writing of the script. However, Paramount was unhappy with the direction of the film and subsequently tossed that script out and set Justin Lin (Fast Five) in the director’s chair instead.
We’ve never really gotten a full answer as to why Paramount was unhappy with Orci’s take, but in a recent interview with The Guardian, Pegg offered a bit of clarity by saying he’s been asked to make the film “more inclusive”:
“They had a script for Star Trek that wasn’t really working for them. I think the studio was worried that it might have been a little bit too Star Trek-y”
So what does “too Star Trek-y” mean exactly? Well, as we all assumed, Paramount wants Trek to become the $1 billion grossing franchise it always hoped it would be:
“Avengers Assemble, which is a pretty nerdy, comic-book, supposedly niche thing, made $1.5bn dollars. Star Trek Into Darkness made half a billion, which is still brilliant. But it means that, according to the studio, there’s still $1bn worth of box office that don’t go and see Star Trek. And they want to know why.
People don’t see it being a fun, brightly coloured, Saturday night entertainment like the Avengers,” adding that the solution was to “make a western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters so it’s more inclusive to an audience that might be a little bit reticent”.
This actually makes a lot of sense, and while a studio changing the creative direction of a franchise in order to make more money isn’t always a promising incentive, this “make a western or a thriller or a heist movie” mentality is ironically quite Star Trek-y in and of itself. The original series used its central premise to play with a number of different genres, so pinpointing a genre niche for the next Trek movie and then throwing the characters into a specific situation could actually be a recipe for success. I love Abrams’ first film and was disappointed by Into Darkness, so I’m kind of enthused to see Paramount going a different direction here. No point in trying to make the same movie all over again.
Pegg previously said that the script had to be completed by June, so production on Star Trek Beyond will likely begin within the next few months. The picture is slated for release on July 8, 2016.