New Star Trek Movie Director Is A Fan And Directed The ‘Black Mirror’ Trek Episode “USS Callister”

The big news breaking on Wednesday afternoon was Paramount Pictures developing an “origin story” film set before the 2009 Star Trek movie with Toby Haynes tapped to direct. Haynes has extensive credits in sci-fi, including directing for Star Wars, but in a way, he has already also directed Star Trek.

Toby Haynes “begged” to direct Trek episode of Black Mirror

At the end of 2017, the highly acclaimed Netflix anthology series Black Mirror released “USS Callister,” an homage to Star Trek complete with extended sections set on a starship (the USS Callister) in a very Star Trek-like universe. With a runtime of 76 minutes, the episode feels like a TV-movie, still fitting into the Black Mirror tone with dark twists tied into commentaries on modern technology and society. “USS Callister” was critically acclaimed; it earned  7 Emmy nominations and 4 wins, including Outstanding Television Movie of 2018. It was nominated for several other awards, including a Hugo and a BAFTA, and was directed by Toby Haynes, Paramount’s latest pick to direct a Star Trek feature film.

Before Black Mirror, Haynes had experience directing high-concept genre and sci-fi projects like Sherlock and several episodes of Doctor Who, which got him noticed by the show’s producers. In a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Haynes said he literally “begged” them to give him the job on “USS Callister,” fearing they would give the feature-length episode away to “some big shot Hollywood director.” Haynes explained why it was so important to him:

“I’m probably a bigger Star Trek fan than [Black Mirror creator] Charlie [Brooker] is. As a kid, I was a super-geek for all things sci-fi on TV, particularly Doctor Who. I knew the original ‘60s Star Trek show very well. I was such a fan that I’m kind of reverential about it, so I was happy to play fast and loose with this version. I knew stuff that Charlie didn’t know, which is why we put Michaela Coel in a red outfit. Michaela had to be in a red outfit because she’s the first of the crew to get killed.”

From “USS Callister” (Netflix)

The Black Mirror episode features Jesse Plemons playing starship captain in a fantasy virtual reality much like Star Trek. In his THR interview, Haynes described how his love for Trek influenced the way he directed Plemons:

“It comes from a place of love. Clearly, Daly is such a fan that he is mimicking the way that his hero speaks. It was also a very fine balance about how Shatner-y we were going to get. We brought in a voice coach. We worked it very carefully. Jesse would say, “You let me know if you want to turn the dial up on Shatner.” We did it one or two times where he went full Shatner, like when he says “Fire” in the opening. That’s straight out of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. I love those movies. I’m quoting my heroes. So it comes from a place of love. We’re not punching down, we’re punching up.”

The Black Mirror producers had talked at the time about doing a follow-up or a spin-off, and Haynes was eager to be involved. He told THR:

“I was talking with Louise Sutton, who produced this and “Metalhead,” and she cooked up a brilliant idea of spinning it off into a TV series. I’d love to do a TV series of “USS Callister” — it’s probably one of the best pilots for a space show ever. And I made it! So I’m keen to see it as a TV series. I think Charlie might revisit it as a Black Mirror. Whether I’m the one to do it, I don’t know. Being a fan of the show as much as I am, and being a part of making it, I’d love to work with that crew and cast again. It’s a gift for a director.”

The USS Callister never got that spin-off, but it looks like Haynes is now getting his chance to do it for real, directing a Star Trek feature film for Paramount.

From “USS Callister” (Netflix)

Directing Star Wars before Star Trek

Since Black Mirror, Haynes has been honing his craft in space; he directed 6 of 12 episodes of Andor. His work has garnered him Emmy and Hugo Award nominations.

Toby Haynes (L) on the set of Andor (Toby Haynes/Andor News on Twitter)

In this 2022 interview at the red carpet premiere of Andor, Haynes talked about how directing for Star Wars was a dream gig.

“USS Callister” trailer

For those who haven’t seen it yet, here is the trailer for “USS Callister” from Black Mirror.

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What’s the obsession with going back all the time? Can’t we move forward?

Star Trek takes place in the FUTURE.

For a franchise that takes place in the future, they sure hate the future. I’m sick of going backwards in time. You only open yourself up for continuity issues. Just go forward in the prime universe, please.

I miss the feeling that the universe is old, old, old that TOS put forth, but also see the need for Star Trek to delve into new territory. Discovery had the right idea with Season 4, but was just deflated with uninteresting, uncompelling characters.

Discovery went too far outside of the Star Trek sandbox in too many ways to count to even be recognizable as Star Trek, IMO. New territory is fine, but it still needs to feel familiar and relatable, or it is just generic sci-fi that isn’t Star Trek.

I recognized it as Star Trek from episode 1.

I did too, until the future jump. Then it became something else entirely.

I did too, until the future jump. Then it became something else entirely.

Spot on.

That’s not to say the 28-C plotline was awful; it was intriguing, but awfully *executed*. As typical for Discovery, it was a rushed ending that should have focused a lot more on the mysterious, non-humanoid aliens (like ARRIVAL did) and less on the scientist chasing his paramour, the consequence-free treachery of Book, and the lead-up that went on for too many episodes.

Some of you will find *any* excuse to bring up Discovery, huh? For a show so many of you dislike, you spend a disproportionate amount of time discussing it.

I wonder if that project works out.

I’ll have to watch Callister again, haven’t seen it in a couple of years.

But as to ‘Metalhead,’ I must’ve watched that episode almost a dozen times by now. Love that BM episode.

Being a fan isn’t always a good thing. Nemesis showed us that

That is not a good example, since it was directed by someone who was unfamiliar with Star Trek

Talented writer though, but Trek/sci-fi brought out all John Logan’s worst instincts.

Except for RANGO and RKO 281 (the latter being a cutnpaste adaptation of a nonfic book that from where I stood pretty much wrote itself), Logan has always sucked at screenwriting. His credit on THE AVIATOR is for work done years before the movie was actually made and is probably due to being ‘first one aboard’ like Dan O’Bannon on ALIEN rather than reflecting the finished film, and his GLADIATOR work was just giving the baddie some juicy lines. He damned near wrecked James Bond beyond repair with SKYMALL and couldn’t even deliver a b-movie script like BATS without messing up.

NEMESIS is terrible, and misses in all sorts of script ways (especially with Data’s demise not being set up properly), but the director deserves a lot of blame for having no business behind the camera. He got to direct three movies, all with Jerry Goldsmith scores, and still delivers clunkers each time (don’t think anybody else can claim that level of suck, not with JG to bolster things.)

His work on James Bond, Star Trek and The Time Machine left a lot to be desired.

Agreed! 100%! Being a fan doesn’t mean anything. Many of the frachises have “so called fans” but the products are mediocre at best. It means nothing.

He’s also a huge Doctor Who fan from childhood, and the stretch of DW episodes he directed are uniformly stellar. They’re also good scripts, so as with any director he needs good material to start from, but I’m not worried his being a fanboy would be a handicap.

Boy, howdy, this story just dropped a couple hours ago, and we’re just gonna blow off eight years of false starts like it was nothing?

I give it one chance in three of getting a green light.

Thank you, Marco Ramius!

This guy sounds like he is primed to be the next director of a Star Trek movie!

SJ Clarkson, Quinton Tarantino, Noah Hawley and Matt Shakman all says welcome to the family buddy! You’re going to fit right in! 😀

I keep calling the studio, and all my calls are being forwarded to Skydance. Anyone know what’s wrong with the phones?

Are you funning us?

They haven’t even been able to bring ONE film to daylight for almost a decade now, and now they are announcing a second one!?!? Good luck with it

Safety in numbers.

When you’re using a shotgun for target practice, you’re bound to hit something….

Cristin Milioti (blue uniform next to the captain) looks about as optimistic as I am about this film’s prospects at present.

Also isn’t an origin story for Kirk & crew going to tread all over Strange New Worlds where that’s one of the main series arcs?

It should be added that “USS Callister” is a really good episode of Black Mirror (all the ones I’ve seen are come to think of). Worth watching if you can.

LOL KEEP DREAMING. We have to survive the Civil War, the World War, and Paramount sales chaos before this half baked prequel hits the silver screen. I look forward to this sometime in the post atomic horror ✌🏽

I don’t get why this has to be in the Kelvin timeline, but I doubt it will happen. I’m quite happy with the shows.

A prequel to a prequel erm….ok

It could be that thy they are dusting of that Jendressen script for Star Trek: The Beginning, featuring the captain “Tiberius Chase”.

That would be amazing if they did! I love that script

In which, given this timeframe, we’ll see a buddy movie pairing Sarek with Winona Kirk, right?

Hawley had the right idea, do new characters in the existing universe. I spent decades thinking PLANET OF TITANS was the Trek that got away (then I read some of it -whew-ughh!), now I’m thinking Hawley’s film is the missing Mugato.

I give this one a 25% chance of making it to production.

Rogue One and Andor are my two favorite Star Wars productions. USS Callister was an interesting take as well. Glad Toby is onboard. Hope this project moves forward before an executive or the new possible merge pull the plug. :D

Here’s hoping there’s a big part for Meth Damon!

Oh no, BAD REBOOT & Co again, for a stupid movie! Go home Jar-Jar Abrams.

USS Callister was pretty good. In particular, I remember the acting to have been very good and nuanced, so the director must have given that acting opportunity to shine. For that reason alone I think it’s good news, add on the fact that he loves Trek, sounds like a good decision to me.

How could Netflix blatantly rip off Star Trek for profit and get away with it but fan productions have been effectively shut down by Paramount?

Because it is not labeled Star Trek and marketed as such. No one is confusing USS Callister in Black Mirror with Star Trek TOS. Just like no one is confusing The Orville with TNG, despite the fact it definitely draws inspiration from that era of Star Trek.

Fan productions were “shut down” as you say due to that troll Alec Peters.

Netflix wasn’t making a star trek episode or movie, with the USS Callister episode of Black Mirror.

Can Andor be a good show but bad Star Wars, because outside of Ahsoka and maybe a couple of the sequel movies nothing they’ve made except Obi Wan Kenobi feels like Star Wars. Mando i tried i really did, its a show in that universe but its the farthest thing from Star Wars in style and flavor. The things the critics liked are the farthest from what Lucas made in tone and style. They aren’t serial adventures like the pulps, there is no force, no Jedi, no Sith. Its just bland sci fi.

As crazy as it sounds Dave Filoni’s stuff and his cartoons are the most faithful to Star Wars and the world George created, and everyone hates him.