The next Star Trek movie (rumored to be titled Star Trek Beyond) has gone through a rough pre-production - one that saw a last-minute director switch and a complete overhaul of the script. Those major changes have made everything a bit frantic, as the film has remained scheduled for a July 2016 release date for some time now (in conjunction with the Star Trek franchise's 50th anniversary).
Costar Simon Pegg, who is penning the revised script with Doug Jung, has promised a return to the "spirit" of the original TV show, but has also said the new Star Trek movie will be more accessible to a non-Trekkie audience. It turns out Paramount executives have only just gotten their first look at the initial draft of the revised script, even as director Justin Lin (Fast Five, Furious Six) is busy warming up to start principal photography soon.
The latest update comes courtesy of Pegg, who spoke with Radio Times and revealed that he and Jung only recently completed a version of their new screenplay:
“We started again 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.”
It's important to keep in mind that Radio Times did not say exactly when their interview with Pegg took place, so "today" doesn't necessarily mean May 29 (which is the date at the time of writing this). Still, even if Pegg and Jung turned in their script a little earlier, it certainly sounds like it wasn't until this month they thought the screenplay was good to go. Additionally, Pegg calling it specifically a "first draft" suggests Paramount executives may need to give it a look over before it's dubbed as ready for production.
This is yet another development that some fans may view as negative, but it's not all doom and gloom (yet). As Pegg notes, he and Jung began their process six months ago, and that seems like enough time to iron out the details of a new Star Trek story and put it on paper. The duo were working hard on the script and sorting out all of its kinks. In his interview, Pegg also said they trimmed the length down from 180 pages to 135 pages - so it's not like they rushed this first draft just to meet the demands of the studio. With a clear understanding of how desperate things were, they probably wanted to ensure that the "first draft" was as close to the "final draft" as possible.
If Paramount studio heads say script revisions are needed, Pegg and Jung still have a month to tidy things up before Lin starts rolling the cameras. Based on Pegg's earlier quotes, the studio was possibly keeping a close eye on the writing process, so it seems unlikely they would completely trash this new screenplay (unlike what happened with the departed Roberto Orci script). Obviously, some things may have to be refined as they move along, but for the most part it looks like the narrative is good to go.
It's also pertinent to consider that not all blockbusters in the vein of Star Trek have smooth writing processes - given how many pieces need to be organized. Famously, the first Iron Man was thrown into principal photography without a finished script, and J.J. Abrams admitted that he and Lawrence Kasdan started with a clean slate as late as November 2013 during their efforts to get Star Wars: The Force Awakens just right. It's standard procedure in Hollywood for scripts to be constantly evolving.
The short of it: so long as things are largely nailed down soon, the U.S.S. Enterprise's next mission should go smoother, hereon out.
Star Trek 3 will be in theaters July 8, 2016.
Source: Radio Times