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Things Are Reportedly Getting Complicated For The Star Trek Reboot

Gene Roddenberry's wide-eyed Star Trek franchise is enjoying a modern renaissance of sorts, though not every universe benefits from the same clarity of vision. While the Prime Universe continues on at Warp Speed, the stylish Abramsverse films appear to be suffering from a little quantum uncertainty.

Star Trek Discovery on CBS All Access was a welcome television homecoming for the space opera, popular enough with fans to merit multiple spin-offs, including the franchise's first animated series since 1974. It's easy to forget that the Prime Universe relaunch may never have happened if not for the success of J.J. Abrams' rebooted films. Given the synergy between the two halves of the now-bifurcated franchise, you might think Paramount would be eager to get the next Abramsverse movie out the door. According to a Deadline exclusive with Paramount film chief Emma Watts, you'd be wrong.

Despite the fact that Paramount appeared to settle on Fargo creator Noah Hawley to helm the next Star Trek Movie (past reports suggested that Hawley would write and direct Star Trek 4), per Watts' own admission, the studio is still "in the process of figuring out which way to go." Watts reports that the Hawley project has been placed on indefinite pause, even though the writer-director was already in "soft prep" mode, mulling over creative materials for the film. This announcement became the source of much speculation that Hawley might jet from the project, though by all accounts this has not yet come to pass. The filmmaker was attached to Star Trek back in 2019. The same love of the property that drove him to hop aboard the Starship Paramount is likely what's keeping him engaged despite the runaround.

Another shakeup may be looming for Star Trek 4

Star Trek 4 is beginning to have the feel of one of those moribund projects that Hollywood kicks around for a decade before any real progress is made toward a finished project. That kind of trajectory can be especially complicated when a franchise is thriving in other media. Imagine how much the Star Trek universes can change over just a few years with three or four streaming series running simultaneously.

Before the Hawley pause, there was another false start with Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino. Reporting at the time attached Tarantino to the project with The Revenant scribe Mark L. Smith signed on to pen the screenplay. Although the Tarantino project never advanced past the script stage, one of the stories the director floated was an adaptation of an episode of the classic TV series from the 1960s that saw the crew of the Enterprise exploring a planet run by 1920s-style prohibition gangsters.

Both the Hawley and the Tarantino projects were supposed to be reboots of the reboot, with new casts in familiar roles like Spock, Kirk, and Dr. McCoy. At least one filmmaker attached early on had the intention of bringing back the Chris Pine-led team from the first three Abramsverse films, but S.J. Clarkson quickly abandoned ship to sign on with Game of Thrones.

The only thing this latest development explicitly means for Star Trek is a delay in the release of a fourth film. That said, Star Trek has become a real cash cow for ViacomCBS, so another feature film at some point is all but inevitable.