After years of false starts and potential projects, it looks as though Paramount has figured out where it wants to take its Star Trek film franchise, and has brought in Star Trek: Discovery writer Kalinda Vazquez to pen the script.
While CBS’s revitalized TV franchise has been taking off with the likes of Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and a bunch of other spinoffs, the film franchise has floundered a bit in recent years. The last big film hit theaters in 2016 with Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond, which followed J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Since then, a fourth “Kelvin Universe” film has eluded the franchise, in part because Paramount wasn’t willing to pay for the salary increases that stars Chrises Pine and Hemsworth were asking for.
They had signed on for a fourth film—to be directed by director S.J. Clarkson (who would have been the first woman to direct a Trek film), but that project was eventually shelved. Quentin Tarantino had an idea that he brought to Paramount, which also seems to have been in a bit of limbo. And finally, Legion‘s Noah Hawley was brought on to direct a fourth film in 2019, which reportedly would have followed a new crew tackling a deadly virus.
But a year later, Paramount hadn’t moved forward on that, and had reportedly put the franchise in a bit of a holding pattern while its leaders worked to figure out what direction to take things in after a change in leadership at the company. Paramount hired former 20th Century Fox president Emma Watts to head up its movie division, and her main priority was to overhaul the plans for Trek. That’s no small concern: Paramount seems to be positioning Star Trek as its dominant franchise for its streaming service, and it’s up against heavy hitters like Disney, which has Star Wars.
Amidst all that, it looks like they’ve figured out what to do next—throw out the other projects and start anew. Vazquez has an extensive record in television so far: She was a producer on Once Upon a Time, Hulu’s Runaways, Fear the Walking Dead, and Star Trek: Discovery (and wrote for many of those projects as well), as well as the recently-announced George R.R. Martin series, Roadmarks. Deadline reports that her project is an “original move that she hatched, one that expands her role in the Trek universe.”
J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot studios will produce the film. It’s early in the development for the project, so we don’t know who’ll be directing, or even if it will be set in the Kelvin Timeline that Abrams set up back in 2009.