While the TV side of the Star Trek franchise has been thriving for over half a decade now thanks to the various shows available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription, the same can’t be same for the film side. The last Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond, came out in 2016, and Star Trek 4 remains stuck in development hell. At one point, Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley was tapped to direct a Star Trek movie, and now that he’s opened up about how the project got scrapped, I’m disappointed that Paramount Pictures took this course of action.
Hawley has prior experience from leaving his stamp on major franchise from the TV show Legion, which delved into stranger corners of the X-Men property. He’s now in the midst of putting together an Alien series, which will stream to Hulu subscribers, and he noted how when FX approached him for the job, he was asked to do his version of Alien, not just something standard, cookie cutter, etc. This led to him recalling how his Star Trek movie was set aside, saying to THR:
What I found with Star Trek was I got onto the runway and then there was a managerial changeover. In retrospect, it’s not that they killed the movie. It’s that I got as far as I did with a wholly original idea, until someone said, 'Well, wait a minute, what are we even doing with this valuable IP? Just giving it to him to make up a story? That’s not how corporate filmmaking works.' So, if the call came in to do a big franchise film again, it would have to come with a sense of, 'We want you to do your version of it.'
As I’ve already said, it’s not like the Star Trek film series has been in the strongest place lately, so the fact that Paramount executives were allegedly this picky over what Noah Hawley planned to with the franchise is frustrating. For one thing, Hawley has said that his Star Trek movie wasn’t intended to be a Star Trek Beyond follow-up starring the Kelvin timeline’s Enterprise crew, but rather spotlight a new group of characters. Sure, there’s a certain tone that needs to be kept in a Star Trek project, but if you’re exploring a corner of this universe that doesn’t involve established characters, shouldn’t you be afforded the freedom to tell that story, especially if your franchise is struggling in the cinematic space?
Well, evidently Paramount felt that it wasn’t worth doing this, and by the end of 2020, Hawley’s Star Trek movie essentially faded away. It’s a shame, because with Paramount+’s Star Trek shows covering so much territory, Hawley’s movie could have been a cool way to get more experimental with this franchise. After all, the Kelvin-timeline movies took on a more action-y vibe to spice up this franchise for a new generation, so why couldn’t Hawley’s movie have done the same, and those looking for more traditional Star Trek stories, albeit filtered through a more modern lens, could go on Paramount+.
In any case, Hawley’s left Star Trek behind him, and now he plans to start filming his Alien series early in 2024. As for Star Trek 4, it remains to be seen whether it will once again focus on the Kelvin timeline’s Enterprise crew or if we might be getting another reboot. We’ll keep you apprised when more information comes on, but for now, look at the upcoming Star Trek TV shows lined up, as well as the 2023 release schedule and 2024 release schedule to learn what movies are on the way.