Simon Pegg had a full day today. While making several controversial remarks regarding geek culture and then having to backtrack on those remarks hours later, he revealed some of the challenges he faces trying to bring Star Trek to a more mainstream audience.
Making Trek 3 “more inclusive”
Pegg, talking with Radio Times magazine, spoke at length about what he regards as the “infantilization” and dumbing down of our culture due to an excess of science fiction and genre films. The comments provoked quite a reaction across the internet, ultimately forcing Pegg to write a heartfelt mea culpa a few hours later.
During the interview, excerpts of which were released online today, Pegg gets around to talking about the Trek 3 script he is co-writing, and the mandate from the powers that be to make the film “more inclusive” to a wider audience. He indicates that the first script, written by Roberto Orci, Patrick McKay, and J. D. Payne was perhaps a bit too faithful to the source:
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.
The desire, of course, is to make Star Trek a giant multimedia franchise that can play in the same league as the Marvel films. Pegg believes that the mainstream perception of the franchise continues to hurt it at the box office:
People don’t see it being a fun, brightly coloured, Saturday night entertainment like the Avengers.
His idea, which is likely to raise a few eyebrows, is to place the Star Trek characters in a context more familiar to the average moviegoer. He suggests the way to do this 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.
According to Pegg, Paramount doesn’t understand why Star Trek has had trouble gaining widespread acceptance, since other geek franchises have been huge hits. He uses the Avengers analogy once again:
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.
“Star Trek Beyond” confirmed?
At the end of his lengthy apology, Pegg throws in a little zinger:
I better climb aboard the old hypocropter and fly back to writing Star Trek Beyond.
This would seemingly confirm our exclusive story that Star Trek 3 will indeed be titled “Star Trek Beyond”. Of course, Pegg could always be pulling our leg(or pointed ear), but we’re going to treat this as a confirmation.
Star Trek Beyond is scheduled for release on July 8, 2016.
Yeah, I think those 2 or 3 sentences need to be read in their full context before people start to panic.
I agree with him, to a point. Make a great movie that doesn’t alienate people who haven’t seen every bloody Trek episode (nobody likes homework). Have a plot that makes sense without having to see every bloody Trek episode. That said, I don’t want to just see a formulaic rehash of The Avengers (ie Ultron) in Trek uniforms. Mad Max is awesome — and rather unique (although it could probably be called a Western).
TOS was pretty Western-y. And TWOK was a submarine movie/revenge flick.
Was Interstellar a heist flick? Western, maybe.
Now I really want to see the Orci script. Leak it, Bob.
Star Trek Y, it appears the script was even more Convoluted than into Darkness. I liked ID but some stuff need a different spin.
Ship vs ship and viewscreen insults need change not. I am a sucker for Trek geekism..
Once again Paramount apparently does not understand Star Trek. I’m beginning to think the Orci script was exactly what fans want. And I don’t buy the party line that being too Trek-y doesn’t appeal to an alleged mainstream audience. I say give the creative reigns to Vic Mignogna at Star Trek Continues.
I want this trending by the time my morning coffee is hot. Get to work, people.
People do know that Pegg Speaks Flunat Sarcasm, and that he is telling us things that get people talking about him and the movie…
Also Avengers Assemble is what the Avengers Movie was called in the UK when it came out…
I do agree with Simon Pegg’s sentiment that tentpole “superheroe” and fantasy films tend to dumb everything down. I don’t go there to think. I simply go there with my son to enjoy the ride. I’m not expecting Shakespeare.
But with Trek, I do expect more. I realize I’m old and in the minority. So Parmount wants Star Trek to be like GOTG or the Avengers. Basically, a comic book about superheroes.
I can live without it. But it might appeal to others.
The problem is, the general movie going public… complete idiots.
Star Trek is above this! Don’t stoop, don’t stoop! Don’t make formulaic tentpole trash!
Bob is Unlikley to leak his script as he is Producing Star Trek Beyond with JJ and others…so you may have to wait well past 2016 IF ever to hear Bob take on what his Star Trek 3 would have been…
Yep, it’s worth reading the RT interview in full as well as Pegg’s wonderfully well written clarification post first (it’s not an apology – I don’t think he personally has anything to apologise for). He raises some interesting and very valid points in his post.
In terms of Orci’s effort being ‘too star Treky’, fair play to him for being honest enough to make that public, I suspect it’s a conversation that’s been had with the men in suits ahead of many Trek movies, not just this one.
I understand Paramounts need to appeal to a wider audience if they’re shelling out $200 m making and marketing a summer tent pole movie.
I continue to hold out hope that we get something that will honour Trek’s legacy in the 50th anniversary year but I fear Star Trek as I love it (as one of the children of the 70s Pegg pays lip service to) now lies in niche fan films.
I wish the ‘franchise’ well for the future.
that is what some fans don’t get Trek is always changing, From TOS, TNG, to DS9 to Voyager, to Enterprise, to the New Movies, change is a Constant and we have to live by IDIC with what Trek we get…
My wife likes Star Trek (1st movie) and Avengers though she doesn’t like sci fi or superhero movies. Those are movies we can watch, many others are not on the list. She grew up in India where Star Trek was on TV but it was not something people really related strongly too in the mainstream. I’m a big fan of Joss Whedon but other than Much Ado and Avengers, my wife will not go out of her way to watch it.
I think my niece who saw the 2nd Star Trek film but didn’t grow up on Star Trek put it best. For someone who didn’t know who Khan was or know the universe the 2nd film was completely perplexing– impenetrable leaving her with a bad taste. Her friends who were Star Trek fans were telling her all the things an insider knows but were horribly dissatisfied with the film since it was like a caricature or a poor homage to a much better film. Magical Khan blood and Kirk dying this time, KHAAAANNNN, were annoying at best.
If you look back at the original series there’s a lot of things there that the liberties in the 2nd film are consistent with, but a modern movie needs to be held to a higher standard than a 1960’s TV show.
Frankly I really do like the fact that Simon Pegg is stuck with this impossible task. He’s a talented guy so I’m sure he will deliver a good script and I hope his depiction of Scotty will be more wise and war-weary rather than energetic and funny which I think is for the better.
However, my impression is that Joss Whedon was true to the comic. When he chose a war movie like Dirty Dozen as a model it was to bring a bunch of characters into a story without wasting time on their backstories: Structure not Genre. Star Trek was a Western, it was a Thriller and (at least where Romulans were concerned) it could be a Heist show. Pegg just needs to find a story that is engaging and a structure that requires less explanation of who is who and what the universe is. Pegg will deliver.
Avengers Assemble was the title of the movie in every country except the United States, so Pegg got it right.
This headline induces a lot of panic, but the clarification from Pegg makes it actually sound pretty fun. A lot of the best Star Trek films were really just different types of movies with Star Trek characters and settings–as previously noted, WoK was a submarine/revenge film. I always end up watching The Hunt for Red October and WoK within days of each other.
STIV really wasn’t much more than a fish-out-of-water comedy. There isn’t a ton of “Trekky” stuff in that movie, but it’s a lot of fun to watch and doesn’t require a ton of foreknowledge. STVI is basically the Manchurian Candidate, especially the end; First Contact is Alien(s).
That’s one of the beautiful things about good science fiction, that it can fuse with other genres to bring new perspectives. I’ve decided to be optimistic about this movie.
Well it could be worse I suppose. They could give the brilliant loner, drunkard engineer a cute pointless side kick… oh wait they did that already.
He didn’t get the title of Avengers wrong. Here in the UK (where the interview’s taken from) it was released as Avengers Assemble. (Rumour has it they were trying to avoid confusion with the 60s Avengers TV show, for the one person in the country who’d have been confused).
What is wrong in that quote is the colon in Star Trek Into Darkness
Pegg didn’t get the title wrong. In the UK, it was released as Avengers Assemble.
I heartily agree that Avengers and other similar movies are very rarely thought-provoking in any way. However, Star Trek has always been at the the forefront of not only Sci-Fi franchises but all entertainment franchises in it’s ability to present thought-provoking moral tales, which debate important national and global issues of the day.
Mr. Pegg, if by some chance at all you read this, be the miracle worker Scotty was. Create something that is truly Trek. Then get it to fly. Not to add any more pressure when you’ve already got the weight of the whole Alpha-Quadrant on your shoulders, but this is the Fiftieth. And it’s all on you. So be that miracle worker.
“Avengers Assemble” is the title of the 1st “Avengers” film as released in the UK. No mistake there.
So this confirms we are getting a more dumbed down mainstream Trek. That’s ok though STID was way too serious. We need something in the spirit of TOS but with mainstream appeal (time travel via the guardian of forever would serve this story well!).
Well… that’s how it goes.
If we want Star Trek to rise again and be relevant it needs to be accessible to ALL audiences and not just a select few fans (who btw. will never be satisfied, no matter what they do).
That’s the Price it must pay, at always was, Star Trek always changed and it had too.
Something can be indeed to Star Trek-y, I mean no one here would say that Star Trek The Motionless Caricature was a great and interesting movie but that was “pure” Trek.
People need to get out of their Nostalgia Bubble and stop clinging to past glories.
“…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.”
Why? Because the writing was sloppy, convoluted, and AIMED AT A COMMON-DENOMINATOR AUDIENCE. Write to please everyone and you’ll please no one. Yeah, STID suffered (immensely) from shoehorning so many callbacks to TWOK and other previous Treks, but its problem wasn’t necessarily that it did so. The problem was that the script was sloppy, often nonsensical, and written to service special effects and spectacle instead of story, theme, and character. The callbacks and references themselves were often poor choices and mishandled (throughout the entire movie, nobody ever had any idea who Khan was except Classic Spock and the audience and the TWOK callbacks don’t make sense in this continuity), but if you make callbacks and references and integrate them into the story well, then they’re not a detriment, they’re tasty icing on the cake.
Based on my personal back and forth with Bob Orci in the social mediaverse, I’m glad his script was rejected — his track record does not speak well of him and his blatant disregard for the science part of science-fiction is a big reason why both of the recent Trek films fail to be Star Trek — but I very much doubt being “too Star Treky” is a negative to anyone but studio suits. On the other hand, we don’t know what whoever called it that meant by it. If they meant, “there are too many references to things we don’t understand,” that’s valid. If they meant, “this is too thought-provoking and character-driven and not enough stuff blows up good,” then they should be ignored and mocked relentlessly. Right, Simon?
I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach about this.
Its as if I should feel ashamed of being a Trek fan! The suits clearly think what I’ve enjoyed is rubbish so why should I possibly want to give them my money?
They may find they manage to appeal to more Saturday Night film goers but will leave the hard-core Trek fans at home. Ultimately they will be no better off. They risk disenfranchising the very people who gave Trek its longevity.
An interview with Simon Pegg, I mean I admire the man and all and I do love his work. But let’s remember he has an interesting way to speak about things, with an unique sense of humor and all… At the end, I am not opposed to see a Star Trek movie being more shaped like a typical summer blockbuster if it yields over $1 billion worldwide.
If moreover, it leads to a TV series for the 50th anniversary, I call that a win. After all, stories are best told on TV for Star Trek and movies are kept for pretties and shinnies.
Not to be ‘that guy’ but Avengers Assemble was indeed the title of the first Avengers film in the United Kingdom. Where Pegg is from…in case you didn’t know.
Trek needs a small budget. That is when it flourishes, that is when story and character come to the forefront rather than action and spectacle.
Want to know why people didn’t fill the theaters for STITD? Khan.
There is no mystery. Trying to fix the problem the way the Republicans tried with McCain and Romney successively will only make it worse.
People don’t vote on mass for liberal Republicans and people won’t go see a heist movie with star trek in the nptitle either. What will happen is even your core audience won’t go and Weekend At Bernies will be the most popular movie….
Funny how Pegg was all up in arms vs The Phantom Menace, which he considered a insult to the fans, a now he is more than ready to do the same to Star Trek fans. Didn’t expect that from him.
Also… Star Trek is at the top of the list of very few multi-decade franchises… Coming up on 50 years.
The idea that is not accessible and popular with a wide audience is bunk.
Paramount seems to just want to be able to put out garbage and have people flock to it.
While *none* of the other shows which followed the classic ‘Star Trek’ show managed to capture the best elements of it, as far as I’m concerned (whether it be it’s overall ‘mood’, characterisations, designwork, or music)…what I’d really like to know is this –
Just what *exactly* is it that the Paramount suits consider to be too ‘Star Trek-y’?!
Is it a perceived level of ‘cerebral’ storytelling that this franchise had before J.J.’s involvement, by any chance? (and I *don’t* mean the nonsensical ‘techno-gobbledygook’ dialogue that was overly-used too many times by certain shows)
Because if that’s the case, it means that the very thing that established the original show as being a bit more meaningful than say, ‘Lost in Space’, will continue to be discarded in this latest ‘nuTrek’ amongst the explosions and phaserfire set-pieces.
And although I’ve no doubt that Orci’s ‘proposed’ storyline/script was likely littered with further moments of claptrap too…my expectations for Pegg’s ‘makeover’ are lower than ever also, thanks to the unrealistic demands being imposed on him by Paramount.
They are turning what was originally a unique, future-set take on the ‘Human’ race having thought-provoking encounters with unknown, alien races…into something which is resembling any old generic ‘drama/comedy’ show set in space you could think of. The way things are going, I have a feeling this next instalment will feel more like ‘Farscape’ than classic ‘Star Trek’.
I hope I’m wrong.
OK every body apply that Novocain based lube to your rectums as Paramount is about to “F#CK” the crap out of us.
PARAMOUNT PLEASE SELL THE STAR TREK FRANCHISE!!!!!
Gene originally pitched “Star Trek” as a “Wagon Train to the stars.” I know he used that terminology to get the execs to grasp the concept, but perhaps the same thing holds true today. While “Wagon Train” may no longer be the term to use, the idea of pitching the show as “like this other thing” may still be valid.
I don’t believe that there is any such thing as a “Science Fiction Genre”. If I tell you that a movie or a book is a Romance, you know something about the story. If I say it’s a Mystery, you know something about the story. If I tell you it’s Sci Fi, you know NOTHING about the story. You just know that it’s got some sort of unusual setting, or relies on an item of technology, etc.
ALL good books, movies, etc. tell STORIES. Sci Fi just uses a special setting to do so.
Give us a good story that makes good use of the Star Trek settings and characters in a way that’s consistent with their history, and I’ll be happy. (But please don’t give us just a rehash of story elements used many times before.) Then the movie will in fact be Star Trek-y in the *right* way.
I expect Mr. Pegg won’t sell us short.
He is so obviously frustrated by the stark reality of his situation, which is wanting to write something which ups the ante for “Trek” while being told to do the opposite. Make “Star Trek” with Smurfs instead of with the Guardian of Forever.
The only other option is to put tongue firmly in cheek and write a pure piece of crap which costs $200m and sucks so hard, it knocks someone at Paramount straight out on his ass onto Melrose Avenue with a pink slip.
He could quit, but we’re just over one year from launch. I think he will surprise us with something which serves his own love of the franchise, as well as the needs of the ‘desk-bound paper-pushers’ over at Paramount.
God, I hope so.
Bring it back to TV…it’s not a blockbuster franchise.
And the first movie’s alt/working title was Avengers: Assemble.
He didn’t get the title of the Avengers wrong. It was calls Avengers Assemble in the UK to differentiate it from the 60s TV series with the same name!!
From the sound of things, this will be the last Trek film, and maybe we can look forward to a TV series now. Dumbing down Trek has already happened in the JJverse. And now they want to dumb it down further? Gene Roddenberry is rolling in his grave. Horatio Hornblower was no Avenger. Now I really want to see Orci’s script. It looks like he got canned for finally paying attention to Star Trek fans. Let the masses have the watered down Star Drek. Actually, the way it is sounding, there will be very little audience for the next movie, because it will not be Star Trek. It sounds like it will be comic book caricatures of the characters in a mindless Transformers 18 format. A Star Trek movie will never make a billion. The product will be so diluted from the sound of it, it will not even break even. JJverse, this is where I leave you.
Paramount wants Star Trek to be like the Avengers? While a money making machine, the recent Avengers was a forgettable Yawn. With this kind of money at stake that is what where going to get with Trek. Here’s to hoping this movie tanks and maybe Trek can get back to TV where it belongs.
I absolutely trust Simon Pegg to achieve a task such as this. Sell a good idea to the morons who run movie studios. He’s practically solely responsible for the now 16 year long Zombie craze from when he made Shaun of the Dead. I’m sure at the time a zombie film seemed like a ridiculous gambit – now there’s not a single form of media that doesn’t thrive on the idea.
I can see a good Trek heist movie working very well, and Pegg has the ability to write with humour and pathos simultaneously. We won’t get a ridiculous “Spock screams Khan instead now!” ending from him. We won’t get a “Spock hits Khan in the face over and over again” climax.
I feel sorry for Orci in a way – he was excited and engaged with us here in a way that no one else from the Trek franchise has ever done. But his work simply wasn’t good enough, and he couldn’t take not being Trek’s saviour and greeted as such. Good luck to him, he seems like a decent guy, but not the right guy for Trek.
The original Star Trek was always about telling stories about people. It just happened to be set in a science-fiction environment. Let’s say you’ve got a murder mystery, along the lines of a Sherlock Holmes or “Longmire” episode. If you replaced the character of Sheriff Walt Longmire with Captain Kirk, Henry Standing Bear with Spock, and Victoria Moretti with Dr. McCoy, you’d still have a helluva story. The best storytelling is about people, regardless of the surroundings. If the writers of STB can understand that, they can have their cake and eat it, too, because the movie can appeal to general audiences as well as Trek fans, because it will be evocative of the type of storytelling that made Trek great.
And comparisons to the Avengers franchise are unworkable because you’ve got superheroes on one side and plain ol’ fallible humans on the other. Avengers doesn’t even really offer solid storytelling. But it is flashy and loud, and that’s what gets attention.
I don’t agree with everything he says in this article, but this made me very happy he’s writing STB: http://simonpegg.net/2015/05/19/big-mouth-strikes-again/
Trek has always been a template, right from the beginning. I, Mudd is a sit-com. A Piece of the Action is The Untouchables. Miri is Lolita. OK, maybe that’s a stretch. Point being, Trek’s philosophy is all-encompassing. It can successfully be laid over just about any good story. Yes, action. Yes, romance. Yes, sfx. But PLEASE… something for the brain this time. PLEASE!!!!
Star Trek has the ability to cure itself, if Paramount damages it in anyway, the true Star Trek. Then all its going to happen is that a TV series will cure ST for the true fans, I’m not worry…I’ now know it won’t be true Trek, but its still going to be a fun ride.
Having it be known that once I saw GOTG, I have no desire to see it again or buying it on DVD, even if it was a fun ride to see, (once)…
If this new, (new), movie does not make a Billion and it won’t, then maybe, just maybe JJ can come back and make SW movie with ST characters…what say you all?
comic book films
are good fun and i enjoy them,however, i do also want to see other types of films,they should be all types of films being made
jj star trek
lets face they are enjoyable take your brains out fun,yes it would be great to see a smarter trek film.for me something along the lines of trek 6,i personally don’t see that happening with these trek films,buy hey you never know
Simon Pegg must be in an ironic hell now. He is tasked with dumbing down Trek to Avengers level mindlessness while he is now lamenting vacuous stories. Can he defeat the Kobayashi Maru scenario? Seems unlikely with the studio.
They want Star Trek to be “not Star Trek”! And that is why they fail. Not because it is too “trek y”, but because it is not treky enough. They are blinded by money. Only money talks.
Whether Pegg’s movie is good or not, this just confirms what I previously thought: Orci’s movie would’ve been great. But with Nimoy gone, it might have been impossible anyway.
Bob was going to give us something special, feeling they’d paid their dues with the action in 1 & 2 (both of which I loved). And, of course, OF COURSE Paramount said no.
Uh, Orci’s script was too “Star Trek-y”? I know I’ve talked some trash about Orci in the past, but can we please have him back?
“Star Trek-y” could mean any number of things.
You can say that Star Trek is about the human condition. You can say that it can be light sci-fi. You can say it is thought provoking and intelligent.
You can also say Star Trek is full of technobabble. You can say that it has far too much continuity that makes it inaccessible to the average person. You can say that its guys in rubber masks waxing philosophical with guys in spandex suits.
Point being, Pegg is pretty vague on what he means by saying “Star Trek-y.” Before we jump to conclusions as to what that might mean, maybe we might need more information.