Star Trek 3 (rumored to be titled Star Trek Beyond) has had an interesting path to production to say the least. It was originally to be written and directed by Roberto Orci (who had a hand in writing the first two installments of the rebooted continuity), but then there was a last-minute shift in the creative team - with Justin Lin stepping into the director's chair and Simon Pegg co-writing a completely new script.
Star Trek Into Darkness divided fans with its retreading of Wrath of Khan elements, so things seemed to be on the downswing for the iconic series. However, recent developments have been much more positive, with Idris Elba reportedly in talks for the villain role and Pegg promising the film will embrace the "spirit" of the original TV show. But he apparently won't be going too far with that homage, if his latest quotes are any indication.
While speaking with The Guardian, Pegg discussed the reason why Paramount tossed aside Orci's original draft of the screenplay - which allegedly was going to explore the Enterprise's famous five-year deep space mission. On the studio's orders, Pegg and co-writer Doug Jung were asked to craft something "more inclusive":
“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.
“'Avengers Assemble', which is a pretty nerdy, comic-book, supposedly niche thing, made $1.5bn dollars. 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' made half a billion, which is still brilliant.
“But it means that, according to the studio, there’s still $1bn worth of box office that don’t go and see 'Star Trek'. And they want to know why.”
Months ago, there was a rumor floating around that Paramount had a desire to make the upcoming Star Trek film more like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, which grossed an impressive $774 million worldwide in 2014 (despite featuring obscure comic book characters). In contrast, Star Trek Into Darkness managed "only" $467.3 million globally in 2013 - so from a business perspective, one can see why the studio would be interested in emulating a more lucrative property with their own space adventure. Whether or not that's the best decision creatively remains to be seen.
As Paramount looks to increase the brand's marketability, their plan is to apparently borrow from the realm of comic book movies in more ways than one and blend genres together to create a unique experience for moviegoers. Pegg said that the solution to "fix" the earlier screenplay was to "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."
This news may rub longtime Star Trek fans the wrong way (considering Pegg's earlier comments), but at this juncture it's best not to rush to any judgments. As moviemaking technology evolves over time, so do the tastes and expectations of audiences. There are more ways to capture the "spirit" of the Original Series than to outright replicate its style and hope it can connect. For example, J.J. Abrams appears to be invoking the "spirit" of the original Star Wars trilogy for his The Force Awakens, but he's injecting that film with his own energetic style of directing that has delivered multiple hits with modern moviegoers.
If Star Trek is to continue to be a viable franchise, it makes sense for Paramount to want to shift things around a bit and make something with more widespread appeal. So while some may be ready to grab their torches and pitchforks and proclaim that Pegg is on his way to "ruining Star Trek," this is yet another matter of "wait and see."
Pegg has extensive knowledge about geek culture (including Trek) and his co-stars have expressed their votes of confidence in his ability to pen a great script. More than likely, Pegg and Lin understand the magnitude of this project and know that if Star Trek is to keep up with the competition, they need to deliver a multi-quadrant hit. And as long as the sense of wonder and discovery is prevalent, the troubled threequel could turn out just fine.
Star Trek 3 will be in theaters July 8, 2016.
Source: The Guardian