Who would have ever thought that the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise would produce some of the hottest filmmakers in the industry today? Two names that were very influential in turning that series around are now connected to two of the most popular properties in all of pop culture. This week, we heard that James Wan of ‘Furious 7’ would join the DC Cinematic Universe and helm ‘Aquaman’. But prior to that announcement, Paramount Pictures revealed in December that Justin Lin would takeover for J.J. Abrams as the director of ‘Star Trek 3’. Now, Lin reveals just how much this next gig really means to him.
At this point, it’s common knowledge that Abrams is a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan. He has acknowledged that fact on multiple occasions, so it surprised absolutely no one when he left the sequel to ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. So when it came to replacing Roberto Orci as the director of ‘Star Trek 3’, it was only right to find someone with as much passion for ‘Star Trek’ as Abrams has for ‘Star Wars’. Luckily, it seems that the search resulted in the perfect choice. While being honored at the TCL Chinese Theatre by leaving his handprints at the revered Hollywood landmark, Lin spoke to Deadline about heading to the final frontier for his next project:
“I was in the last week shooting ‘True Detective’ when J.J. Abrams called last December. He asked me, ‘Do you like ‘Star Trek’? If you do, you should take this, be bold, and just go for it.’ I thought about how much a part of my life ‘Star Trek’ was. Growing up, my parents had this little fish and chips restaurant in Anaheim in the shadows of Disneyland, and they didn’t close until 9 PM. As a family, we didn’t eat dinner until 10 PM, and we would watch the original ‘Star Trek’ every night at 11. My dad worked 364 days a year, only took Thanksgiving off, and from age 8 to 18, the only time I could hang out with my parents was by staying late. And every night, it was ‘Star Trek’ on Channel 13 in L.A. That was my childhood. All my friends were ‘Star Wars’ kids but I didn’t go to the movies, so I was the ‘Star Trek’ kid. Thinking about this, it became a very personal and very emotional decision.”
When bringing people onto films, it certainly helps when they carry a strong connection to the material. With a connection and a passion like that, it’s certainly clear that Lin will handle the ‘Star Trek’ franchise with care. But what exactly does he have planned? He went on to explain his favorite parts of the series that may or may not happen in the upcoming film:
“As great as J.J.’s films were, there’s still a lot to be mined from these characters. They haven’t really gone on their five-year mission, so what we experienced in the TV show hasn’t been touched on yet. That sets up an opportunity for exploration and the deeper you go, the more you are examining humanity. Those are the things that I absorbed as a kid and hope to tap into and embrace and celebrate. By the time this movie comes out, ‘Star Trek’ will have been around for 50 years.”
Finally, as one more quick tease, it sounds like Lin has decided to venture into some uncharted territory with the latest incarnation of ‘Star Trek’ by exploring some other alien races in his film:
“It’s all new and fresh. The Klingons, Romulans, and other species are great, but it’s time to go further. It has been fun to focus on creating whole new worlds and species.”
Just as ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is a dream project for J.J. Abrams, it’s clear that ‘Star Trek 3’ will be the same for Justin Lin. But time will tell if he can do for Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise what he did for ‘The Fast and the Furious’.
What do you think about Justin Lin’s approach to ‘Star Trek 3’? Do you think that his passion and emotional connection to the material will help him produce a ‘Star Trek’ film that’s received warmly by fans old and new alike? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.