The last couple of days have generated some news and updates on the Quentin Tarantino Star Trek project over at Paramount and Bad Robot, with comments from Karl Urban, William Shatner, and Tarantino himself. There is also an update on the corporate merger that would bring Paramount and CBS back together again.
Urban urges Paramount to make Tarantino’s Trek, wants in
Karl Urban—the Leonard “Bones” McCoy of the Kelvin movies—has been doing a round of press promoting his new Amazon show The Boys, and he has taken a couple of Star Trek questions along the way. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Urban clarified his level of knowledge about the film:
This is a project that I have no information about, really. I haven’t read a script for it, but I understand the basic concept of it.
Last year, TrekMovie reported that Urban had described Tarantino’s concept as “bananas.”
Urban also opined to HuffPo on what he thinks Paramount should do:
I think Quentin Tarantino doing that film would be phenomenal. He is definitely one of the most exciting filmmakers that’s currently working and if he has an interest in making a ‘Star Trek’ film, I think the studio would be insane not to let him do that.
In the Los Angeles Magazine, Urban also discussed possibly appearing in Tarantino’s Trek:
Well, it really hasn’t been announced, but this is what I know about Star Trek 4. There is currently a script that has been written by the writer who wrote The Revenant [Mark L. Smith], and Quentin Tarantino has expressed an interest to direct it. I think it would be awesome if that movie was to happen. I think Quentin Tarantino is one of the most exciting filmmakers currently working. And I would not only love to be a part of that movie, but I would love to see it.
It’s interesting that Urban refers to the Tarantino project as “Star Trek 4.” That shorthand has usually referred to the follow-up to Star Trek Beyond which was announced by Paramount in 2016, based on a script by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. At one point it had a director and was slated to go into production earlier this year, but a salary renegotiation dispute with Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth derailed the project. Urban seems to confirm what most have assumed, that the Tarantino project has leapfrogged the direct sequel to Beyond to become the more likely next Trek feature film.
Shatner sees Kirk “running wild” in Tarantino Trek, doesn’t see R-rating fitting with Roddenberry vision
Last month after Quentin Tarantino spoke about his love for William Shatner, the actor indicated he would be interested in appearing in the Tarantino Trek project. Today while promoting his new History Channel show UnXplained, Shatner was asked on People Now if he would do the film and seemed to pull back, indicating he isn’t too keen on playing an old Captain Kirk.
If Quentin Tarantino said to me “will you play Captain Kirk in this film,” and it isn’t like – Leonard Nimoy played Spock in one of J.J. Abrams’ films and they went back in time to see him, and I said to him “Leonard, when you go back in time and you are still old Leonard, that’s really old.“ They go back in time and he still looks old.
During his segment on People Now Shatner learned for the first time that Tarantino’s Trek would be R-rated, which came as a surprise to him. When asked what he thought it might be like, Shatner joked that R-rated Star Trek would not please creator Gene Roddenberry:
R-rated? Things going on that Roddenberry…First of all you have to harness the energy of Gene Roddenberry revolving in his grave. If you could harness that, you could use that as the power for the whole film.
As for Kirk himself, Shatner also speculated on what Tarantino’s version of the character would be:
Running wild. He’d be running wild, and I am having difficulty running wild now.
Looping back on if he would do it, Shatner seemed to indicate he would be interested, but the role could be dangerous:
Oh goodness yes. [Running wild] through the fields of hay, running, running, and then having a heart attack and falling down.
You can watch Shatner on People Now below:
Tarantino says his final film will be “Epilogue-y”
While the Tarantino Star Trek project was born from his own concept, the script was written by Mark L. Smith. Tarantino has recently said that how that he is finished with his ninth feature film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he has time to work with Smith on the script. A big question that could impact if the project were even to move forward is if Tarantino would sign on to direct. The Oscar winner has long said that he will stop directing after his tenth film, raising the question of whether he wants to exit with a Star Trek film.
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter quoted Tarantino from the Moscow premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood talking about his tenth movie:
If you think about the idea of all the movies telling one story and each film is like a train boxcar connected to each other, this one would sort of be the big show-stopping climax of it all. And I could imagine that the 10th one would be a little more epilogue-y.
If a Star Trek film—even one based on his own concept—can’t fulfill Tarantino’s desire for an “epilogue-y” movie to bookend his directorial career, that would leave the director’s chair open. This could impact Paramount’s (and their co-financing partners’) interest, but perhaps “based on an idea from Quentin Tarantino,” with him also as a producer would be enough for the studio.
Paramount and Viacom haven’t merged with CBS, yet
Another factor regarding the future of the Star Trek film franchise is the potential re-merger of Viacom (parent company of Paramount) and CBS. Last week we reported talks had progressed to a point where there would be a possible merger announcement this week. Yesterday both CBS and Paramount made their latest quarterly announcement and avoided all talk of mergers.
However, the Hollywood trades and business press continue to report that the imminent reunification of the media companies that split (slicing up Star Trek along the way) in 2006. Yesterday Variety reported the negotiation between the boards of directors continued with a deal “a few days away.” Today Bloomberg reports the structure of a new board of directors has been made. And Fox Business reports final details are being worked out, with an announcement possibly coming as early as Monday.
If CBS and Viacom merge, it would unite Star Trek under one roof for the first time in over a decade. It is likely that responsibility for the film franchise would be wrapped into CBS’ recently formed Star Trek Group, headed by Alex Kurtzman. J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company will be ending their “first-look” relationship with Paramount in 2020, with Abrams likely moving to Warner Media. However, he and Bad Robot could remain involved with the Star Trek projects they have already started developing, just as Abrams has worked with Disney on Star Wars films while under contract at Paramount.
Keep up with all the news on the upcoming Star Trek movies at TrekMovie.com.