A new Star Trek feature film from Paramount finally has a release date. We don’t know what it’s about, who is in it, or even which universe it’s set in. But we do know that it is going to be released in theaters on June 9, 2023. The announcement came via an “incoming transmission from Starfleet Command” on the official Star Trek site. Further reporting from io9 suggests that J.J. Abrams is back as a producer, which suggests a fourth film in the Kelvin timeline. Kalinda Vazquez was recently announced as writing a Trek film script, but the report suggests it’s not that one that’s being made just yet.
The Star Trek franchise has been growing faster than ever on TV. There’s Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and soon, Strange New Worlds and Prodigy. But the movie side of things has stalled when 2016’s Star Trek Beyond underperformed at the box office. A report from Deadline is shedding light on what’s been going on in the Final Frontier. Paramount chief Emma Watts knows she needs to get Trek flying on the big screen again. This means some tough calls will soon be made about which version gets the go-ahead.
First off, the film set to be directed by Fargo and Legion’s Noah Hawley has been cancelled, so it’s not likely going to be that one. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hawley’s script would have dealt with a galaxy-wide pandemic. In these coronavirus times, it would have felt more than a little tone-deaf. Hawley’s take would have also featured a new cast of characters, which also possibly made Paramount a bit nervous.
Meanwhile, the script The Revenant’s Mark L. Smith wrote for Quentin Tarantino to direct is apparently still in play, despite rumors to the contrary. It seems QT has moved on from the notion of directing that one however. That script is taking place in “largely earthbound in a 30s gangster setting.” This suggests a reimagining of the classic series episode “A Piece of the Action,” or maybe even “The City on the Edge of Forever.” The third script is a reuniting of the cast from the J.J. Abrams trilogy for another adventure. These last two seem the most likely.
Star Trek as a film franchise is always struggling in foreign markets, especially in countries where the TV show wasn’t an institution. The wisest thing Paramount could do is make mid-level budget films, so a new Trek movie doesn’t have to rely on huge foreign box office to be profitable. This tactic worked great in the ’80s and ’90s. Paramount might want to look back at that success as a guidebook on how to successfully bring Star Trek to life again on the big screen.
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures
Originally published on August 20, 2020 with updates on April 9, 2021.