New reports from Deadline and THR claim the “Star Trek” film franchise is at a standstill as Paramount and its new film chief Emma Watts take a moment to pause and reassess the best way to move forward. The pause means the “Star Trek” movie being developed by “Fargo” and “Legion” creator Noah Hawley that was announced in November 2019 is on the back burner, at least for now. The Hawley picture is designed to feature a new cast separate from the J.J. Abrams-backed “Star Trek” films that featured Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana.
Hawley’s “Star Trek” is one of three “Star Trek” film projects that Watts and Paramount are currently considering. A second “Star Trek” film is the much-buzzed-about idea from Quentin Tarantino. The “Pulp Fiction” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” director worked with “The Revenant” scribe Mark L. Smith to draft an R-rated “Star Trek” script based on his idea. Deadline’s report reveals Tarantino’s movie “is based on an episode of the classic ‘Star Trek’ series that takes place largely earthbound in a 1930s gangster setting.”
The episode in question is most likely “A Piece of the Action,” the 17th episode of the second season of “Star Trek: The Original Series.” The installment aired January 12, 1968 and found the Enterprise crew visiting a planet with an Earth-like 1920s gangster culture. That Tarantino’s “Star Trek” idea was a gangster movie isn’t too surprising, as the filmmaker revealed in an interview with Deadline in July 2019 that his plan for “Trek” was to bring in some “Pulp Fiction” elements.
“I don’t know if I’ll do it or not,” Tarantino said at the time. “I’ve got to figure it out, but Mark wrote a really cool script. I like it a lot. There’s some things I need to work on but I really, really liked it.”
By December 2019, Tarantino revealed to Consequence of Sound he was “steering away” from directing the “Trek” movie. A final blow arrived in January of this year when Tarantino told Deadline, “I think they might make that movie, but I just don’t think I’m going to direct it. It’s a good idea. They should definitely do it and I’ll be happy to come in and give them some notes on the first rough cut.”
While it appears Tarantino will not direct a “Star Trek” movie, his idea and Smith’s screenplay for it are not entirely dead. They’re not the only ones, however.
A third “Star Trek” film idea also making the rounds at the studio was designed to serve as a sequel to Justin Lin’s “Star Trek Beyond.” This film would bring back Abrams’ original cast for another adventure, one originally rumored to include time travel and find Pine’s Captain Kirk reuniting with his late father (Chris Hemsworth, reprising his cameo from the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot). Filmmaker S.J. Clarkson was once attached to this “Trek” project but moved on when it was put on the back burner.
“Star Trek” remains a top franchise for Paramount and parent company Viacom. Several “Star Trek” television series currently air on CBS All Access, including “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.” The last feature film, “Beyond,” was a bit of a box office disappointment, which is why Paramount is being extra cautious with which film project it decides will continue the franchise on the big screen. Deadline describes Hawley’s project and Tarantino’s idea as “‘Logan’-like spinoffs of a core franchise.”
IndieWire has reached out to Paramount for further comment.