April 24 2024

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Pegg: Star Trek 3 Less Trek-Y

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Rewriting the Star Trek 3 script was due to Paramount‘s desire to make more money, said Simon Pegg.

Paramount wanted to see box office returns more like those from Avengers Assemble and less like those from Star Trek into Darkness.

Avengers Assemble, which is a pretty nerdy, comic-book, supposedly niche thing, made $1.5 billion dollars,” said Pegg. “Star Trek: Into Darkness made half a billion, which is still brilliant.

“But it means that, according to the studio, there’s still $1 billion worth of box office that don’t go and see Star Trek. And they want to know why.”

According to the studio, the problem was with the script, namely that it wasn’t broad enough to entice non-Trekkies into the theater. “They had a script for Star Trek that wasn’t really working for them,” said Pegg. “I think the studio was worried that it might have been a little bit too Star Trek-y.”

“People don’t see [Star Trek] being a fun, brightly-colored, Saturday night entertainment like the Avengers. [So] make a western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters so it’s more inclusive to an audience that might be a little bit reticent.”

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33 thoughts on “Pegg: Star Trek 3 Less Trek-Y

  1. Net: Paramount does not care about the movie, just use a formula for getting more money. Oh, yeah, put a Kirk, McCoy and Spock character into it. Someone will swoon over it. WTF…

  2. We will find out whether “core fans” matter. If the formula works, core fans are irrelevant.

  3. I Have serious doubts for what they going to do in the next movie? Ill give it a chance to see what it will do….in case to not judge it to soon.

  4. Core fans (also known as “fans”) are crucial to this franchise, and Paramount is scrambling to alienate as many of them as they can in pursuit of an audience it’s never going to get.

  5. The writing’s been on the wall for two years now, but here’s further proof that Abrams Trek is not the huge success its defenders want everyone to believe it is. STD WAS the “less Star Trek-y” movie, and Paramount’s still trying to clear away the stench.

    Want to make money on these lobotomized Trek parodies, P? Bring them in at a reasonable budget, like you did for 20 years. Comedies shouldn’t cost over $200 mil.

  6. As much as it pains me to say this…we should probably be rooting for this film to flop. Star Trek is a television franchise. The movies are meant to expand on the tv shows, not supplant them. Paramount owns the movie rights, and they are the ones that have been holding back Trek from making its way back to television (which would be hugely popular right now, IMO). If this film flops and they suddenly no longer see profit in the franchise, they would likely be willing to sell the rights to CBS.

  7. Paramount has never understood Star Trek, and it really sucks that someone who doesn’t GET it is in charge of something that’s so dear to so many people.

  8. The original series was in fact supposed to be mass entertainment in an age that turned out such stuff weekly–“Balance of Terror”, after all, is a WWII submarine hunt, a plotline that would have resonated with the hypothetical 1960s viewer, and the show was sold as “Wagon Train to the Stars” and “Horatio Hornblower in Space”. So the idea is not completely inane, and in fact may be what is needed. Make a good adventure yarn, one that doesn’t bend the characters too far from what they are/should be, and you may have a decent shot at a good movie.

  9. Don’t sweat it Pegg, Abram’s Trek has never been ‘Trek-Y”.

  10. I think the studio just wants an end to plots based on old references, e.g. NuKhan, NuCarolMarcus, Old Spock, Shatner guestie, etc. And considering the fans themselves have been saying “Do something new!”, that’s fair enough.

    For people who say Pegg doesn’t care about Trek, he said that when he and Jong were writing the script at his house, every night after work they would watch a couple of TOS episodes. Which shows he cares about and understands (or WANTS to understand) Star Trek.

  11. Amen to that. If Paramount doesn’t understand why Star Trek movies don’t take $1.5bn at the box office, then there’s no hope for it. No hope, no hope at all.

  12. Eh? CBS owns the rights to television Star Trek. Paramount owns the right to film Star Trek. The two have nothing to do with each other. CBS, as Frakes explained the other week, have zero interest in bringing Star Trek back to television. If Trek has any future at all, it lies with the Paramount hacks who sadly have no idea what they’re doing. It lies with the fans as to whether they want shit new Star Trek or no new Star Trek at all.

  13. I don’t think you understand Pegg’s point. He is saying that STiD did not get the box office returns because it was not ‘less ‘Trek-y’ enough. In other words, ST3 should have the same box office appeal that Guardians of the Galaxy had, and that the previous script for the next film was too niche to be profitable (ie. too Trek-y). Sorry, but your analysis is off the mark.

  14. You’re exactly right. I hope the next film flops if it sucks, and, unfortunately, it probably will (early signs are really poor). Then maybe we’ll get a house cleaning of the people who green-lit the failure, and then maybe we’ll get a new TV series, which is where Trek is best. It’s a lot of maybes, but I’d rather have the chance (even if it’s slight) of getting a good new Trek TV series or even no Trek at all, than films that are Trek in name only and poor. Here’s hoping for a huge flop.

  15. CBS has interest in bringing Star Trek back to TV, just not old TNG Trek… September 2016….

  16. If Avengers was a “pretty nerdy, comic book, supposedly niche thing” and it made oodles of cash, how does that justify making Trek generic? It’s a tempest in a teapot anyway, they can’t do a proper Star Trek because that would exceed the scope of their (Bad Robot) license from CBS, which owns TOS. If they really want to make it less Treky, lose the iconic Enterprise, bridge, and the TOS uniforms and see how that works. Make it less Treky but call it Star Trek?

  17. There are so many clueless, reactionary, immature people posting mock outrage to this thread, without even understanding what it is that Pegg actually said. It’s no wonder the media mocks Star Trek fans.

  18. No, I think he did get Pegg’s point. You seem to have not gotten T.D.’s point. Had Into Dumbness been any less “Trek-y” it literally would not be Star Trek at all! It’s like this: if Paramount wants Avengers money, they need to not turn to Star Trek. It’s just not that kind of franchise if it’s done right, but that OK. Not every franchise has to be a billion dollar prospect to be “good”.

  19. To be fair to Pegg, Orci and Abrams, it’s not all their fault for why JJ-Trek sucks. The bigger issue is the state of Hollywood today, and how all popular I.P.’s HAVE to produce billion dollar movie franchises OR ELSE!

    As much as I love Star Trek, it’s just not the same kind of franchise as anything coming from Marvel or DC Comics, at least so far as the silver screen goes, but that’s OK. Star Trek works best on TV. Start Trek works best when it deals with ideas and not action. Billion dollar movie franchises however, while they can deal with ideas, are more about action. Star Trek at it’s best literally attracts the “wrong” audience compared to billion dollar movie franchises.

    I can’t see Paramount ever making Avengers level money on a film with “Star Trek” in the name. Just waiting for the powers that be to figure that out. Even on the TV side, things have changed just in the ten years since Enterprise has gone off the air. I have a hard time seeing most longtime Trekkies ever being happy with a new production with the “Star Trek” name ever again, or at least for now. Just like Superman, modern audiences have moved on from the ideals that make Star Trek “Star Trek.”

  20. GOTG was a monster hit in large part because of its Marvel pedigree. We’re at a point in time in which ANYTHING with the Marvel brand name is guaranteed to make insane amounts of money, even a movie with a talking raccoon. Avengers? Hell, we’re talking about one of the biggest films of all time. We’ve known since ’09 that Paramount wants Trek to be a billion-dollar franchise. They wouldn’t have sank the kind of money they did into STD otherwise. But Trek is never going to be that huge.

    Paramount’s current business model with Trek is a recipe for only marginal profits at best, and that’s what they don’t seem to be getting. Trek can be a big box-office success, sure. That was proven throughout the ’80s. But TMP was a big box-office success in 1979-80, one of the biggest films of the year, and yet the film series still nearly ended right there because P couldn’t justify the risk of making more Trek films that cost so damn much. Today, they can either get their budgets for Trek under control so that $450 million worldwide grosses will actually do something for them; or they can keep spending upwards of $250 mil per film, boiling the core elements of Trek down even further into unrecognizable mush, trading in an existing loyal fanbase that goes out and buys shit after it’s left the theater for one that doesn’t give a second thought to Trek during the years in between movies, and hoping this somehow all translates into the next Avengers.

    The Avengers didn’t make a billion and a half by trying not to be The Avengers.

  21. No, he didn’t. If he did, he needs to look at the situation from the inverse to get to the root of the problem (which there are, even though I liked STiD, btw).

    Pegg stated that the reason why the studio thinks STiD failed was that it was “too Trek-y”, and therefore did not do as well as the studio wanted it to do. And what is the standard of being Trey-y? Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That’s followed by Star Trek: The Wraith of Khan, followed by Star Trek: The Voyage Home and so forth. So, a pure Star Trek film, in the eyes of Paramount, would be the first and second movie of the film franchise; it would also mean tailoring to a niche market, and from a marketing standpoint, that means low box-office returns…in the eyes of the studios (remember: a successful AND profitable film has to make 3x its investment, which STID did not make). Pegg also stated that, in light of his comments about dumb action schlock (and how the general audience tends to gravitate towards them in droves), that he wants to write a script that respects both the Trek legacy and makes the profits that the studio wants. From all that, I have feeling that Paramount is attempting to micro-manage the production of the next film, and had seen Orci’s script and concluded that it was “too Trek-y” for studio’s liking, hence a change of script writers. It’s a lot of pressure that Pegg is going through, even as we’re about a month from the start of shooting, and his fear is that he might have to sacrifice what makes Trek uniquely Trek, in order to assuage the concerns of Paramount.

    As for his comments on Abram’s treatment of ‘Trek: I think that blaming Abrams for STiD’s lack of profitability is not his fault. Otherwise, Paramount would not have extended Bad Robot’s contract. In fact, Star Trek ’09 was more profitable than the sequel, not to mention that Kathleen Kennedy wouldn’t have hired Abrams to direct the next Star Wars film if there was a problem. No, the problem was the weakness of the script, and you can pin that to Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof, who didn’t respect the source material enough to craft an original story. Even though I personally liked the film, STiD felt like going through the motions, especially with the big reveal. If Khan had to be used at all, an this is strictly my opinion, he should have been a MacGuffin of sorts, with the plot revolving around that element. Cumberbatch should have played Joachim, Khan most loyal minion, who wanted to avenge his leader’s “demise”. But. again, an original story would have been a better route, since it would not have alienated older fans who are know their Trek better than anyone else. IMO, of course.

    At any rate, I think it is better to actually break down the problem, that is the current state of the Trek franchise, rather than go on a knee-jerk reaction, by playing the blame game, that’s all.

  22. My first thought was if it’s less “Trek-y”, why would I, as a dedicated and loyal fan, want to go see it? Then I reflect and remember the whole reboot, alternate universe premise, and then I just shake my head and move on… I’ll just stay in the “real” Trek universe. But thanks anyway! SMH.

  23. In my opinion, I think JJ didn’t care about Trek in the first place. In many an interview, he has clearly stated that he was not a Trek fan and didn’t know much about it. He has always been a Star Wars fanboy. JJ directing Trek was only a means to direct the new Star Wars movie. Wherever JJ says he didn’t want to direct Star Wars is a flat out lie just to hide his geekrection at the possibility. Trek was just his demo reel for Star Wars. Watch the Honest Trailer on youtube if you don’t believe me. As to everything else, I hope 3 is good, but I have lost so much faith in all the news and rumors coming out lately. I have no other opinion on this argument.

  24. So, in order to have a “good” Star Trek film, the director has to be a fan of the franchise? It is interesting that you would state this, given that Nick Meyer wasn’t a fan of the franchise before doing Star Trek (TWOK), and that Stuart Baird wasn’t a fan of the franchise before doing ‘Trek as well (NEM). And yet Rick Berman was a fan of the Star Trek franchise, and had hired Baird to do NEM, even as Leonard Nemoy was a fan of the franchise (TSFS, TVH), William Shatner was a fan of the franchise (TFF), Jonathan Frakes was a fan of the franchise (FC, INS) and David Carson wasn’t a fan of Star Trek until he had his stint as director on a few Trek episodes (GEN). In other words, the quality of film has nothing to do with whether or not the director likes Star Trek. And while I can accept the idea that Abrams is more of a fan of Star Wars than Trek, his work has to be judge on their own merits. Personally, I liked both films, but felt that STiD had a weak script, thanks to Damon Landelof inability to write a coherent resolution and disjointed plot. I also blame the studios (both Paramount and CBS) for mismanagement of the franchise, who are suddenly interested in ‘Trek due to the success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Sad state of affairs, I think.

  25. Just stop making them altogether… i’d rather there be no Star Trek at all than see it limp on in this insulting and degrading manner.

  26. This movie is going to suck so bad. Paramount has never cared about the real fans of Star Trek. I understand you have to make money but ruining a franchise to do it is not too bright. Thank goodness we have fan films.

  27. I just recently read Nick Meyer’s book “The View From the Bridge” and he himself admits that, for years prior to his involvement with the franchise, the limit of his Trek knowledge was “that’s the one with the guy with the ears, right?”. He was genuinely reluctant to get involved with it.

    To this day, he’s revered by a vast majority of the fandom for single-handedly revitalizing Trek with Khan after TMP almost killed it, and went on to write and/or direct 2 more of the arguably better films in the TOS Trek series. I plan on giving Pegg the chance he’s due. “Young minds, fresh ideas…”

  28. Kill it. Kill it now. The modern moneymen can’t be trusted with Trek. Maybe time to lay it to rest for now. It’s obviously too intelligent for Paramount right now. They don’t want Star Trek. They want some big super hero blockbuster with a big name tacked on so that they can sell it.

    The Star Trek novels seem to be continuing the story nicely. Not all of it is to my personal taste. I think some of the novels are a little too dark for Trek but then that’s just me. The point is these novels are written by people that understand Star Trek. Or it the very least, they understand how to write a good STORY.

    Some of these authors wrote for the shows, one or two starred in them. These are good proven Star Trek writers. Then you get authors come along who’ve never done Trek before, perhaps they’ve already done some sci-fi before perhaps not. The point is they are good writers. Pocket books doesn’t just let anybody through the door.

    Once through the door they have to write a Star Trek story. An unashamed true Star Trek story. Paramount seems stuck on the notion that Star Trek is too nerdy. That to be a Trekkie is the be an object of ridicule. They’ve bought into a silly social phenomenon and it’s hurting the franchise and ultimately their precious bottom line.

    It is true, Star Trek is a little nerdy, and ‘Trekkies’ have been the object of ridicule at times. But if no one watched Old Trek for those reasons, why did they make ten movies and five series over the course of 40+ years? And who where these millions that watched it? Who spent millions on the merchandise?

    No on watches internet porn either aparently yet it is quite literally thee biggest thing on the internet and has been for decades. But no one watches it oh no.

    But let’s be fair to Paramount. It costs insane amounts of money to make a movie and that’s liable to make folks nervous. They like to play safe, they like to stick to what works right now.

    Perhaps it’s time to return Trek to the small screen. Slightly less financial risk (he says with a trace of irony) therefore slightly more creative freedom. A chance perhaps to bring in some tallented writers who aren’t ashamed to write a Star Trek story. Maybe we could even learn a thing or two from fan productions like ‘Axenar’.

  29. I agree. You don’t have to be a fanboy to make good Trek; however, look at JJ Abrams and his panel at Comic Con, now that we can see more on Star Wars. That is a fanboy who is treating that franchise with respect. Look around the web at how he is shooting the sequences, creating characters and making visuals. He is sticking to puppets for characters and not overloading with cgi, which I give him credit in Trek, because he did mostly the same thing. He is using super detailed models for many scenes to give a real feel for picture. He is going above and beyond to give Episode VII a great movie. That is passion. A director like that would be good for Trek, which Lin may be because of his interview more recently saying how he grew up on Trek. The problem is exactly like you say, the writing was the problem. That is because fanboys shouldn’t write for franchises they love, in my opinion. That is why we got rehash Trek II in STD that didn’t come off good. But to your question, I think yes, a director should be a fan of the franchise. This is because of the reason I stated above with JJ and Star Wars and to your examples. First contact was great because of Frakes, a fan. Insurrection was less stellar than First contact, but again, that was the writing. Ronald D. Moore and Braga with Berman on First Contact as opposed to just Berman and Piller on Insurrection. And before you say that Moore and Braga were fans, were they back before they worked on Next Gen? Nimoy produced two great Trek films, a fan. Berman wasn’t a director so that point is moot. Baird wasn’t a fan of Trek so that proves my point. How many fans liked Nemesis? Exactly, because it bombed. And Spiner doesn’t count for writing as Nemesis is his only credit for writing. Shatner had no business directing anyway, but if memory serves, they had to let him direct because of Shatner’s wily contract negotiations. So that leaves Meyer. The exception that proves the rule. All your examples show that fanboy directors produce better. So absolutely. Director should be a fan but the writers should be somewhat outsiders to give fresh and new stories.

  30. Let me clarify, because it sounds kinda like I’m contradicting myself. You don’t have to be a fanboy to make good Trek, but the track record definitely proves that is helps a whole hell of a lot.

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