Continuing the coverage of Paramount missing the point of ‘Star Trek’ is a recent interview with Simon Pegg, where he discusses taking on the role of writing the screenplay for ‘Star Trek 3,’ and the reason for the dismissal of both Roberto Orci and his script from the project. In his own words:
“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 Assemble’, which is a pretty nerdy, comic-book, supposedly niche thing, made $1.5bn dollars. ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ made half a billion, which is still brilliant…But it means that, according to the studio, there’s still $1bn worth of box office that don’t go and see ‘Star Trek’. And they want to know why.”
Overlooking the fact that the Disney/Marvel film is actually called ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ (only worth noting as Joss Whedon has publicly stated that he does not want the words “Avengers, assemble” associated with his ‘Avengers’ films), the key point of Pegg’s statement is the idea that Orci’s ‘Star Trek’ scripts have been “..a bit too ‘Star Trek’-y” according to the studio, which to them explains why ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ made about $1 billion more than ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness.’
Isn’t this typical? I’ve previously written on Paramount’s insistence that ‘Star Trek 3’ be more like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and now that ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ has come out, it seems Paramount is once again casting a jealous eye on another franchise and wondering what they have that Paramount lacks.
You want the answer?
Good leadership. Marvel has a plan, and while they ensure writers and directors maintain their continuity, they allow their filmmakers to create their own movies, while also staying true to the source material. There is no one at Marvel looking at another movie and saying “Let’s just copy that,” or “we’re not successful unless we do exactly what they are doing.” And saying something is too “Trek-y” is beyond ridiculous, as that is the core audience of the movie! Can you imagine if DC or Marvel pulled a script from one of their movies for being too “Superman-y” or too “Iron Man-y.” It’s absurd. I’m not saying ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ was ‘Citizen Kane’ or anything, but it was relatively successful ($467.3 million), especially when you factor in the fact that it was the 12th sequel to a 50 year old franchise that has not had the best track record in the box office. If anything, fans complained that ‘Into Darkness’ was not “Trek-y” enough, wanting to see more Klingons and space exploration (which is what the Federation actually is actually for, it was never intended to be as warlike as seen in ‘Into Darkness), which sounds exactly like what Orci was going to be bringing us for ‘Star Trek 3.’
So now, on the 50th anniversary of the franchise, we have a studio attempting to pump out a major hit while alienating its core audience, celebrating 50 years of Trek fandom while ensuring the movie has as little ‘Trek-y-ness” in it as possible.
Here’s hoping Pegg’s talent as a writer and Justin Lin‘s propensity for bringing quality to franchise films will bring ‘Star Trek 3’ out of the mire Paramount has it sinking into, and bring us something worthy of the 50 years of ‘Star Trek’ history and fan devotion.