Noah Hawley has made his bones on television with popular and eclectic FX series like Fargo and Legion, the latter based on the character from Marvel’s X-Men comics. His recent foray into feature films with Lucy in the Sky, starring Natalie Portman, didn’t fare so well. Even so, Variety is reporting that Hawley is now on tap to write and direct the next Star Trek movie with J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot once again producing. This would be the fourth movie in what fandom calls the “Kelvin timeline,” created by Abrams’ 2009 movie.
Now, I’m semi-hesitant to classify this news as another case of a White man failing upwards, especially since I kinda liked Hawley’s debut feature Lucy in the Sky. I even interviewed Noah Hawley, and he seemed like a nice enough bloke.
But Lucy in the Sky was a bonafide bomb. It was raked across the coals by critics when it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, and it only made $319,000 in theaters, despite an attempt to give it a semi-wide release by Fox Searchlight. It was out of theaters in less than a month. Any other director would be put into the fabled “director’s jail” or, in Hawley’s case, sent packing back to television where he had some success. (Hawley went right back to making the fourth season of Fargo for FX even before the movie’s release.)
At one point, Paramount Pictures had hired the first woman to direct a Star Trek movie with S.J. Clarkson, who also came from the world of television and would have made her feature directorial debut. Clarkson had directed episodes of some of Netflix’s most popular series, Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones and its spinoff The Defenders, as well as Bates Motel. She was announced in April 2018 but then she was tapped to direct the pilot for Game of Thrones prequel pilot that didn’t take off. Her leaving Star Trek made the thought of a fourth movie seem less likely.
Earlier this year, Quentin Tarantino spoke out about wanting to make a Star Trek movie, and he had apparently already sat down with Paramount and the holders of the Star Trek reins to pitch his take on the series. Nothing much has come of that as Tarantino continues to promote his ninth feature, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. Variety states that Hawley’s movie would be something completely separate from the movie Tarantino is producing with Mark L. Smith writing the script.
The big question is how much of the cast from the previous three Star Trek movies are still under contract to do another movie in the Kelvin timeline? Zoe Saldana, who played the new Uhuru, will be particularly busy making a bunch of “Avatar” sequels with James Cameron, as well as (presumably?) returning for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 when James Gunn returns to the Marvel franchise. (Yes, there were events in Avengers: Infinity War that might presume she won’t be back but events in Avengers: Endgame that she might. Either way, Gunn might need her to shoot some flashbacks.)
Either way, she, Chris Pine, Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto are expected to return as their characters, although Simon Pegg, who played Scotty and co-wrote the last installment Star Trek Beyond, was not named in the Variety report. Chris Hemsworth was meant to return to the franchise as Kirk’s father with Clarkson’s planned installment, either in flashback or more time travel nonsense, but there’s no word if that’s still happening either.
What’s interesting is that Star Trek has once again taken off on television with the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery – currently filming its third season – and the upcoming Star Trek: Picard, starring Sir Patrick Stewart and launching in January. Obviously, Paramount Pictures doesn’t want to completely lose the brand to television, especially when there are more stories to tell with the Abrams cast.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Noah Hawley being the latest filmmaker brought onto the USS Enterprise.