Simon Pegg Was Hired to Rewrite ‘Star Trek 3’ Because the Original Script was ‘Too Star Trek-y’
After a series of fits and starts with Roberto Orci, who was supposed to write and direct the film before dropping out of the project, Star Trek 3 (supposedly aka Star Trek Beyond) is falling into place under the direction of Fast & Furious filmmaker Justin Lin. After Orci left, the script for the film was rewritten by Doug Jung and the reboot series’ Scotty, Simon Pegg. In a new interview with The Guardian, Pegg explained why Paramount hired him to revamp Orci’s screenplay. According to him, the studio is looking to make Star Trek “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, which is a pretty nerdy, comic-book, supposedly niche thing, made $1.5 billion dollars. Star Trek: Into Darkness made half a billion, which is still brilliant. But it means that, according to the studio, there’s still $1 billion worth of box office that don’t go and see Star Trek. And they want to know why.”
Pegg added that Paramount wants the next Star Trek to be a “fun, brightly coloured, Saturday night entertainment like The Avengers,” which would be a pretty stark contrast from the last movie, which was called Star Trek Into Darkness and sold on its gritty, intense story involving a mysterious new villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch who was totally not Khan, nope, definitely not, nuh uh. Pegg further revealed that the way he and Jung solved the problem was “to make a Western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters.”
These comments will probably draw the ire of a lot of hardcore Trek fans, who already feel like the rebooted series started by JJ Abrams represents a bastardized, dumbed-down version of the franchise they’ve known and loved for decades. I have some sympathy for that position; certainly Abrams’ Star Trek movies weren’t nearly as intellectual or scientifically curious as many of the Star Trek television series. But the first one was also incredibly fun and exciting, and if you’re going to follow that up with a Western/thriller/heist movie in space, they’ve hired the right director; Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious movies are some of the best Western/thriller/heist blockbusters of recent years.
I think Star Trek probably deserves a brainier variation (probably on television or streaming somewhere) in addition to these movies, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this more entertaining Trek if it’s done properly. Into Darkness flopped, but if Pegg’s script lands and Lin’s direction is fluid and fun, this could be exactly what the franchise needs. Star Trek 3 opens in theaters on July 8, 2016.