Star Trek 3 has had its summer 2016 release date set in stone for several months now, so the start of principle photography is getting a little down to the wire if they want to get this thing shot and finished in time. The production has certainly had its ups and downs, with the search for a new director (Roberto Orci) to replace J.J. Abrams after his move to the dark side (a.k.a. Star Wars: The Force Awakens), subsequently axing that director, finding a new director (Justin Lin), and then finding a new set of writers to replace the script written by the original director. Yes, it’s as confusing as it sounds. It’s been a hot mess, basically. We got a shred of hope when it was announced that Simon Pegg would be co-writing the new script, but after Pegg revealed that the first draft has only just been finished, we’re getting a bit nervous.
“We started again six months before we were due to start shooting, which is insane! In fact…we start shooting in Vancouver in four weeks – and we’re only handing in our first draft today,” Pegg told Radio Times. It’s not specified when the interview took place, but it presumably occurred at the same time as last week’s interview with the same source containing Pegg’s controversial remarks regarding genre movies, meaning the shooting date could already be only three weeks out.
This is where we all take collective deep breaths and remember that movies often have writers still working on scripts at the start of production and this is entirely normal, even if it seems like it might spell disaster. According to Pegg, a majority of the delay in the script has been due to needing to trim it back. Pegg and co-writer Doug Jung have had to cut it down from 180 pages to 135, which is no small feat. The general rule of the industry is that one page equals one minute on screen, meaning they had to cut nearly 45 minutes of content to fit Paramount’s parameters. Any writer will tell you that this isn’t easy.
The real troubling news is that the original script Paramount scrapped from Bob Orci and team was axed for being “too Star Trek-y.” No, you didn’t misread that. Paramount was worried that the thirteenth Star Trek film would have too much Star Trek. We’re as baffled by this as you probably are. Apparently the studio has been wanting the rebooted Trek films to take on the same pop-culture life force as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is struggling to understand why they haven’t seen the same success as movies like The Avengers. Pegg shines more light on their confusion:
Avengers Assemble [sic], 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.
The real issue seems to be finding the proper balance between being a mainstream hit and staying true to the source material. After all, fans have really been asking for a reboot that is more true to the spirit of The Original Series and creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision. There’s been more criticism along the lines of the Star Trek reboots not being Trek enough, which begs the question of whether or not the franchise is really capable of hitting that Avengers-esque stride the studio is looking for while still holding onto its roots. The studio’s eyebrow-raising philosophy, according to Pegg, is 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.”
It’s certainly confusing, if not a little discouraging, to hear this from the studio’s end while Pegg continues to promise essentially the opposite:
It’s fifty years of Star Trek next year and this Star Trek will be as much Star Trek as it possibly can be… and it’s important to me that it is.
We’ll still hold onto hope that Star Trek 3 (Star Trek Beyond? Pegg used the rumored title in his interview) will be everything the 50th anniversary special of the franchise should be, but only time and more information will tell if this is possible. News should pop up more frequently as we quickly approach the start of principle photography, and as always we’ll keep you up-to-date on anything new. Star Trek 3 hits theaters July 8, 2016, and will be directed by Justin Lin.
What do you think of Paramount’s vision for Star Trek? Do you think Simon Pegg will pull off a script that will make everyone happy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!