Other than recent rumors of Idris Elba’s involvement, it’s been a while since we’ve had any real news related to Star Trek 3, probably because the announcement that Simon Pegg and Doug Jung would be taking over the script put the entire production in overdrive mode. Their plan is to have the movie in theaters July 2016, just in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary, but the shuffling of directors and screenwriters in the past few months have put them far behind schedule.
Collider‘s Christina Radish spoke to Pegg during the press junket for his upcoming film Kill Me Three Times and got him to open up about the current state of the script and how he got the co-writing job. He didn’t divulge any plot information, but it’s by far the most information we’ve got since the production shake-up a few months ago.
Pegg described the writing process for the third film as “terrifying,” and named it a big responsibility:
Me and Bryan Burk, who’s one of the producers at Bad Robot, have worked together on a bunch of stuff. We were sitting around, talking about the direction the next film was gonna go in. They were thinking, “Maybe we should go back to the drawing board, a little bit, with the screenplay.” Bryan and I would just sit around and talk, and we’d get excited. And then, Bryan was like, “Do you want to write it then?” It was a difficult decision. I hemmed and hawed about it, a little bit, because it felt like a big responsibility. I owe J.J. [Abrams] and Bryan an awful amount. I love those guys. I want to do right by them, so I felt like I should man up and do it.
He then reveals that the script needs to be done by June and that he and co-writer Jung are under a lot of pressure to see it finished:
…the timeframe we’re working in is extremely tight. It means we’re having to come up with the goods. We can’t be lazy about it. We can’t procrastinate. We have to come up with the stuff because the production is hammering on the door saying, “When can we build this? What are we gonna we build? Who is in it?” I don’t know! Let’s write it and we’ll find out. It’s an interesting process.
It’s certainly a little worrying that the script isn’t due until June. That timeframe leaves only 12 months for principle photography and post-production, a process that can take several months on its own with a daunting digital effects film like Star Trek. The one thing that puts us at ease is knowing that pre-production is already in full swing, getting their hands on anything they can as Pegg and Jung push out more and more of the script.
If you’re worrying that Pegg and Jung’s rush to get the script done means a sacrifice in story, then you might find some comfort in Pegg’s reassurances. He’s not doing anything half-way, and is doing his best to bring us a Trek movie we can love:
I have to abide by certain rules and do right by The Original Series, and not be too post-modern with it and not be too aware of itself. I have to try to take on the spirit of the show, rather than fill it with stuff that people will just go, “Oh, yeah, that’s from episode something or other.” It’s more than that.
Those still uncertain about Pegg stepping into the role of writer for the film should rest assured that he will handle the franchise with the utmost respect. Pegg is first and foremost a massive fan of Star Trek. Beyond that, Pegg understands what fans want to see in the movies they watch, meaning we’re more likely to see balance between the film we want to see and the film the production studios want to make.
Star Trek 3 will be directed by Justin Lin and is expected to hit theaters July 8, 2016.