Upcoming 'Star Trek' Movie Set to Introduce a Brand New Crew
Noah Hawley, the man tasked with helming a new Star Trek feature-length film for Paramount ...
11:36 23 September 2020
has confirmed that the lead spacecraft in his movie will be staffed by a brand new cast of characters. This will see the Star Trek cinematic universe move in a different direction to its other 21st-century instalments, with J. J. Abrams' rebooted trilogy introducing viewers to younger versions of beloved Star Trek characters rather than delivering something completely original.
The state of play for Hawley's project
There were originally plans for a fourth movie in Abrams' rebooted series, following on from Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and Star Trek Beyond (2016). That movie would have reunited Abrams with Chris Pine's James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto's Spock, but Paramount Pictures instead opted to shelve the project and travel on a different path.
That path has led them to Hawley, the director most renowned for his work on the Fargo television series. Fargo has a style far removed from any past Star Trek movies or television series, so Paramount may view Hawley as a breath of fresh air that can give new life to the franchise. At least, that was the plan; development of Hawley's project has been temporarily suspended while Paramount gets its operations in order behind the scenes, although the director remains confident that the movie will move forward in the coming months.
'We’re not doing Kirk and we’re not doing Picard,' says Noah Hawley of his Star Trek film— Fandom (@getFANDOM) September 15, 2020
'It’s a start from scratch' where the connection to canon isn't obvious until later as a way to 'reward the audience with a thing that they love'
(via @Variety | https://t.co/Tacs8QVTRH) pic.twitter.com/UFamiLxn4E
Hawley conducted an interview with Variety in mid-September 2020, where he confirmed that his script was completed and that he had commenced the process of hiring designers. Hawley also re-iterated his intentions to introduce a brand new crew, declaring that "we’re not doing Kirk and we’re not doing Picard". This decision to cut ties with the most famous names from Star Trek lore is no doubt a conscious effort to emerge from the shadow of beloved films and series from years gone by.
To boldly go where previous crews have gone before
Any new Star Trek crew will inevitably invite comparisons with hallowed characters from the past, such as Captain Kirk and Spock made famous by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy respectively. Pine and Quinto were understandably compared with that duo, given that they continued the narratives of the same characters, but a new Star Trek crew will also be held up against the cherished crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Leading that television series was Patrick Stewart, an actor whose diverse career hasn't stopped him from becoming synonymous with Star Trek. There is a famous quote from the actor where he bemoaned the popularity of his Jean-Luc Picard character, noting that film directors would say "I don't want Jean-Luc Picard in my movie". That highlights how the appeal of the Star Trek franchise took Stewart to stratospheric levels of fame.
The cast of the new movie could similarly become superstars, but the success of previous Star Trek media means that they'll inevitably be held up against Stewart, Shatner, and even Pine. While the former two may be well-established as Star Trek legends, the trilogy led by Pine's Kirk has also enjoyed mass crossover appeal. Given that Hawley's film will be most heavily be compared to Abrams' work, a high bar has been set.
For example, Abrams' trilogy has inspired two novels released in 2020, David Mack's More Beautiful Than Death and Alan Dean Foster's The Unsettling Stars. These novels introduce new stories based on Pine's Kirk, Quinto's Spock, and Zoe Saldana's Uhura. That trio of characters, plus Karl Urban's Bones, also feature strongly in the Star Trek: Expeditions board game, published by WizKids. Mimicking the nature of the movies, players are expected to work cooperatively as a crew in order to fight off a Klingon threat.
It's the same group of leading characters visible on the reels in IGT's Star Trek slot, which is considered one of the top Vegas-style games among the best online slots. The slot incorporates visuals from the first movie in the trilogy, while each character on the five reels brings their own distinctive bonus spin feature to the action. Digit Game Studios takes those characters into the world of video gaming with Star Trek Fleet Command, a role-playing mobile strategy title. Fleet Command continues the stories of Star Trek Beyond, allowing players to explore the film's universe to pick up new missions.
That diverse set of spin-offs into other media has established these rebooted characters as instantly recognizable, which is proof that it is possible for newer Star Trek faces to command similar levels of popularity to Stewart and Shatner. Hawley will face a massive challenge to differentiate his new crew from everyone that has gone before. After all, trekkies will need a compelling reason to watch Hawley's flick over existing Star Trek media.
Yet the move away from famous names could bode well for Hawley's movie, as nobody will be able to contend that characters like Kirk and Picard aren't being portrayed effectively: they won't be there at all. The risk is that the movie loses its Star Trek identity, but fans will no doubt look forward to this film with intrigue once Paramount resumes production.