Lost in the shuffle of all the Marvel, Star Wars, and DC-related franchises, people tend to forget about Star Trek. Justin Lin (Fast Five, Fast and Furious 6) has signed on to direct the third film in the franchise, Star Trek 3 (which may or may not be titled Star Trek Beyond), and recently spoke with Deadline, giving some insight into why he chose this project and what he expects to bring to the franchise.
Fresh off of directing two episodes of season 2 of “True Detective“, Lin was called by the director behind the first two Star Trek films, JJ Abrams. Lin said, “He asked me, do you like Star Trek? If you do, you should take this, be bold, and just go for it.'” Intrigued by the prospect of taking over the franchise, Lin recalls how much Star Trek was a part of his youth, “My dad worked 364 days a year, only took Thanksgiving off, and from age 8 to 18, the only time I could hang out with my parents was by staying late. And every night, it was ‘Star Trek’ on Channel 13 in L.A. That was my childhood. All my friends were Star Wars kids but I didn’t go to the movies, so I was the ‘Star Trek’ kid. Thinking about this, it became a very personal and very emotional decision.”
I really like hearing when these franchise films are being made with creators who love and respect the property. It also sounds like Lin has a strong vision for what he wants. When asked about the direction he intends to take the franchise, he says, “They haven’t really gone on their five-year mission, so what we experienced in the TV show hasn’t been touched on yet. That sets up an opportunity for exploration and the deeper you go, the more you are examining humanity. Those are the things that I absorbed as a kid and hope to tap into and embrace and celebrate.”
This is music to my ears, Mr. Lin! The biggest complaints I had with the first two films in the rebooted series is the reliance on setting portions of the film on Earth. For a film called Star Trek, there wasn’t very much trekking around the stars.
Another member of the team behind Star Trek, Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), recently gave an interview with Radio Times discussing his take on the series. The actor plays Scotty in the films, but for this entry, he’s also signed as screenwriter.
When Robert Orci left the film, apparently the studio wasn’t pleased with the script he gave them. Pegg says, “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.” This comment is sure to concern many long time Star Trek fans who already felt as if the first two movies lost a lot of what made Star Trek special in favor of being more attractive to the mass audience.
Pegg continues, “People don’t see it being a fun, brightly colored, Saturday night entertainment like the Avengers. Let’s 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.”
Admittedly, and beyond my complaints, I do admit to enjoying Abrams’ two Trek films, they were exciting, humorous, and felt current. I’m definitely not an obsessive Trek fan. I’ve seen the movies and some of the various TV series, but I wouldn’t consider myself as knowledgeable as many.
Hearing what Pegg says about the script and what Lin says about the direction of the next film, I’m nothing but excited. I’m ready for them to explore other worlds and not feel weighed down by the history of the franchise. I strongly believe the success of Guardians of the Galaxy has influenced this production more than anyone is willing to admit, and that’s not a bad thing. Star Trek and Star Trek into Darkness have grossed almost $1 billion combined at the worldwide box office, so I’m sure the studio expects big things from the next entry in the franchise.
As for this third installment, Pegg says, “We started [working on the scipt] six months before we were due to start shooting, which is insane! In fact, we start shooting in Vancouver in four weeks – and we’re only handing in our first draft today.” This from an interview posted at the end of May, which is to suggest they’ll begin shooting early July, one year before the film’s planned July 8, 2016 release.