Star Trek's cinematic future has been in some doubt since 2016's Star Trek Beyond underperformed at the box office. There have been rumblings of a sequel featuring time travel and Chris Hemsworth's George Kirk, Captain Kirk's deceased father. A true curveball came when it was announced Quentin Tarantino was actively working with Paramount on breaking the story for a Star Trek film he intends to direct, though it was never explicitly stated that was intended to be the fourth film in the J.J. Abrams-spearheaded reboot franchise. Cast members like Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban have recently expressed their desire to return, but had little in the way of solid information.
It looks like that's about to change in a major way. Per Variety, Paramount is in talks to bring S.J. Clarkson aboard the Enterprise to helm Star Trek 4 from a script by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay that will purportedly include elements of the George Kirk time travel story. Clarkson would be the first female director to helm a Star Trek film. Tarantino's Star Trek film is said to be unrelated to the Abrams films and still in active pre-production. The film's cast is said to no longer be under contract, but virtually everyone involved has voiced their enthusiasm to continue with the franchise, so re-assembling the majority of the Enterprise crew should be a relatively easy - though potentially expensive - endeavor. The one exception is, of course, Anton Yelchin, who passed away in 2016; he played Pavel Chekov.
Clarkson is a prolific television director, having worked on Jessica Jones and The Defenders for Marvel, as well as a plethora of high profile prestige TV series like Dexter, Orange Is The New Black, and Vinyl. Star Trek would be her first big screen directorial gig, but her TV resume suggests she's more than up to the task.
This has become a banner year for female directors finally being enlisted to tackle big budget franchise films. A Wrinkle In Time's Ava DuVernay will be adapting Jack Kirby's legendary series The New Gods for the DC Extended Universe; Cathy Yan was recently brought on to direct the Harley Quinn-centric Birds of Prey film; and Marvel is reportedly searching for a female director to (finally) helm a Black Widow solo film.
Star Trek has always been a story about progressive ideals and equality. And while the myriad TV series have enlisted female directors such as Gabrielle Beaumont, Roxann Dawson, and Kim Friedman, it's well past time that a woman got to helm the Enterprise on the big screen. With Star Trek's waning box office returns and general cultural decline, Clarkson will have a daunting task ahead of her, but her resume suggests the Federation is in good hands.