The saga of J.J. Abrams’ attempt to follow up Star Trek Beyond with another feature film at Paramount Pictures continues with the first comments from the producer himself since his high-profile announcement a year ago the project was moving forward.
Abrams still looking for a director
The update on the Star Trek movie comes from an Esquire Magazine profile primarily about Chris Pine, star of Paramount’s upcoming movie Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. In between comments from Pine, interview Alex Pappademas dropped this clue from the Star Trek producer:
Pine and crew’s return to the screen was announced in February 2022; when I speak to producer J. J. Abrams by phone, the search for a director is ongoing. Abrams is elliptical about the film, even by J. J. Abrams standards. “I will say it’s the first time [since the original reboot] that we have a story that feels as compelling as the first one.”
Director Matt Shakman stepped away from the Star Trek project last August, recently citing issues with getting the Kelvin crew actors’ schedules aligned along with the opportunity to work on a Fantastic Four movie for Marvel, but the director said the project was still active at Paramount.
Pine is frustrated
As for Captain Kirk, Chris Pine tells Esquire he is in the dark:
“I don’t know anything,” he says. Which is apparently pretty standard: “In Star Trek land, the actors are usually the last people to find out anything. I know costume designers that have read scripts before the actors.” Is it weird, I ask, to be the captain and know so little about what you’re signing on to?
“I would say it’s frustrating,” Pine says. “It doesn’t really foster the greatest sense of partnership, but it’s how it’s always been. I love the character. I love the people. I love the franchise. But to try to change the system in which things are created—I just can’t do it. I don’t have the energy.”
One of the reasons it has been so hard for Paramount to follow up Beyond is due to the 2016 film not meeting studio expectations; it brought in $344 million, significantly less than the $467 million delivered by Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. Pine addressed his concerns over the studio’s goal of trying to match mega-hits from other franchises:
“I’m not sure Star Trek was ever built to do that kind of business,” Pine says. “I always thought, Why aren’t we just appealing to this really rabid fan group and making the movie for a good price and going on our merry way, instead of trying to compete with the Marvels of the world?” He’d like to span more years as Kirk but wouldn’t be surprised if Beyond was the end of it. “After the last one came out and didn’t do the $1 billion that everybody wanted it to do, and then Anton”—Yelchin, who played Chekov—“passed away, I don’t know, it just seemed . . .” He pauses, looks out the window at the view Star Trek bought.
Matt Shakman, who helmed the Star Trek 4 project for over a year, recently said Paramount’s goal was to make another “large tentpole film,” noting it is expensive to make a sci-fi film, especially with the returning cast that includes stars like Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana.
For now, fans will continue to wait as we will soon pass the seven-year mark since Trek’s last time on the big screen, with no solid idea when it will be back.
Keep up with all the news on Star Trek 4 and upcoming Trek films at TrekMovie.com.