July 14 2024


An archive of Star Trek News

Pegg: I Quit

2 min read


For Simon Pegg, the pressure of co-writing Star Trek Beyond was initially so stressful that he quit more than once.

But J.J. Abrams was able to talk him back down from the ledge.

“I quit like three times, I think,” said Pegg. “Every time, J.J. Abrams said, ‘Oh come on, Simon.'”

Pegg and co-writer Doug Jung had to write quickly. “It’s been a very truncated process because of the time frame was a lot shorter than we’d normally have,” said Pegg. “It’s really forced us into action, you make use of the time you have.”

The duo was up to the challenge, in fact they wrote too much. Forty-five pages of script had to be cut, to get the movie down from three hours to two hours and fifteen minutes.

Pegg is relaxed enough now to joke about writing for an odd-numbered Trek movie. ”

“Funny, I remember there was a line in Spaced about certainty,” he says. “I said, ‘As sure as eggs is eggs, as sure as day follows night, as sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is shit…’ – and I am now writing Star Trek 13. I think I would have been apoplectic with the irony of it all, you know. And I love thinking about that, the circularity of having been a fan of these things as a kid and now being part of them. And I feel very lucky and I feel – in my quietest, most private moments – proud of myself.”

Star Trek Beyond will debut next July.

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35 thoughts on “Pegg: I Quit

  1. Don’t worry, Mr. Pegg. Star Trek 3 was a good movie, and Star Trek 11 was muuuuuch better than Star Trek 12. Perhaps with the reboot movies, it’ll be the EVEN numbered ones that don’t suck. 🙂

  2. If he wants to leave, just let him leave, along with everybody else working on this BS!

  3. I think the odd-even thing flipped starting with Star Trek Nemesis… or maybe you have to add the digits together now. Nemesis is 10, 1 and 0 is one (odd), Star Trek is #11, 1 and 1 is 2 (even) and so on.

  4. This “BS” totally reinvigorated a dead franchise. Got people at large interested in Trek again. I don’t understand why that’s a bad thing. The 50th anniversary actually means something now, with Trek actually alive and kicking.

  5. The problem is the reboot doesn’t feel like “Trek,” it’s more like a cliche space-action adventure popcorn film that shoehorned in iconic Trek characters. The anniversary would be more meaningful without the new film next year because then the focus would be on prime universe Trek, which despite its faults and shortcomings, is far superior in storytelling and resonance than the new films (especially Into Darkness, which was awful).

  6. It bugs me that JJ is still involved when it’s obvious he couldn’t care less about ST. The recent Comic Con proved that in spades. He never cared that much about ST and has run the franchise into the ground once again.

  7. I’ve been watching Trek since 1973 and I’ve seen it all (multiple times). The Abrams movies have been more “Trek-like” than anything but a handful of episodes from the spin-offs, if we’re using TOS as the template. I get that, for many, TNG-onward is “their Trek” and how, to them, the Abrams films are not sufficiently “Trek-like”. However, given the new films are based on the TOS template, I have to wonder sometimes if people are watching the same movies I am. Until the Abrams films came along, nothing after TOS had ever made me feel the way I did when watching TOS the first time around. Ah well, different strokes and all that.

  8. Sad that as we approach the 50th anniversary of Trek we’re reduced to a badly fractured template (or borderline parody) of TOS, now featuring the triumvirate of Capt. Overgrown T. Fratboy, his emo Vulcan first officer, and henpecking girlfriend. But, ah, different strokes indeed.

  9. Way to judge a movie that hasn’t even been made yet. You must be psychic or something.

  10. Haven’t you seen the pic of JJ wearing a Star Trek jacket while filming Star Wars? You have to at least appreciate the outrage that will generate among the SW community.

  11. Judging them by their track record is the rational response. Into Darkness was bad Trek (the increasingly militarism of Starfleet, the lack of the story being about “something,” ridiculous science with the DNA Khan super-blood, cringe-worthy homage attempts, and the reduction of iconic and meaningful characters into caricatures) and just flat-out boring as a space-action adventure. Could they surprise me with a great film and great Trek? Sure, it’s possible, but using the rational judgment of their past actions, I am dubious. The fact that Pegg tried quitting the script three times just arches my eyebrow even higher.

  12. The “increasingly (sic) militarism of Starfleet” was a story point used to argue AGAINST militarism more generally (the movie is quite clearly a critical commentary on both rising militarism and, more specifically, drone strikes as policy–whether one agrees with the film’s points, they are clearly there). The “ridiculous science” charge can easily, and repetitively, levelled against any iteration of Star Trek (not enough hours in a week to enumerate them all). Of all the complaints raised against Abrams’ films, this is by far the weakest. “Cringe-worthy homage attempts”? Perhaps–but certainly not universally deemed as such (I found nothing “cringe-worthy” about anything in Into Darkness or Trek ’09–something I cannot say at all in good conscience about the rest of Trek, not by a long-shot. Doesn’t prevent me from being a fan of each iteration, if not equally across the board.). “Iconic and meaningful characters into caricatures”–A) rather overblown description of the characters in the first place and B) an overly harsh criticism of the same characters in the second place. The characters were never so sacrosanct as to be above a little revision, and the newest versions are hardly “caricatures”.

  13. Yes, JJ Abrams “couldn’t care less about ST”. That is why, even though he IS busy with Star Wars, he takes the time to encourage the writers of Star Trek… yeah, he must really hate ST… NOT!

  14. …and yet, the fanboys still want to bash him as “hating Star Trek”. Go figure.

  15. The militarism of Starfleet is exactly what Roddenberry was against (in TNG he made the phasers look distinctly not like a conventional gun). Into Darkness makes Starfleet into a military organization (even the uniforms) with corrupt officers spoiling for war and developing super soldiers. What happened to the optimism for the future of humanity? These humans at the highest levels of Starfleet are as “bad” as the ones today (Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al). That is unTrek.

    The argument that all of Trek is science fiction so it doesn’t make a difference when they do something ridiculously against science is a hollow argument (that gets refuted every time someone raises it, sigh…). There is pseudo-science that is future plausible such as transporters and warp speed because it is set so far into the future that it is “possible” to imagine these advancements being invented. We know by science what DNA is possible to do and what it cannot do. There is no such thing as super DNA, it is ridiculous. Yes, Trek has been guilty of this in the past too (especially on Voy and Ent), but when it’s particularly egregious and/or ridiculous then it’s cringe-worthy.

    You didn’t cringe at the swapped roles of Kirk’s hand on the glass meeting Spock’s? It had no emotional resonance and was embarrassing to watch. And Khan being played by a white guy (and Cumberpatch is whiter than sour cream) was beyond stupid.

    Another poster above got it right that the characters have become caricatures with Kirk the frat boy, Spock the emotional wreck, and his hen-pecking girlfriend Uhura. Part of the problem is that film characters in general tend to be caricatures (there’s not enough time to full develop them, especially in an ensemble cast), which is why Trek should be on TV (and not on the big screen) in the first place.

  16. Wow, what a good sign for the film. Let’s pretend this is a good sign and shows how his heart is deeply invested in this project.

  17. Er, it’s his job. He’s getting a nice check for it and needs to make sure things run smoothly. It’s certainly not out of benevolent kindness.

  18. Yup, lots of people don’t agree. You’re welcome to like that shoddy crap and we’re welcome to think you have hideous taste.

  19. Sorry, I didn’t realize you had a degree in mind-reading. How long have you been able to peer into the hearts of men and decide their motives? Yeesh!

  20. Will you haters not be satisified until there is just no star trek period?


  21. The films are based on TOS. And TOS had a militaristic Starfleet (complete with uniforms, military ranks, heavily armed ships, a number of weapons that looked like, well, weapons, etc.). TNG and beyond is IRRELEVANT to a TOS setting. TOS had corrupt officers (as did TNG, if you’re in dire need of TNG references). When they were encountered, they were A) a minority and B) defeated by the intrepid crew who did not share in their militarism and corruption–as happened in the Abrams films.

    The charge of “ridiculous science” applies to every iteration of Trek. Your attempt to dismiss it for all but the Abrams’ films is laughable (I’m quite happy for you, as you seem to have some special insight into what we can possibly know about DNA three centuries from now, based entirely on current knowledge, while simultaneously allowing for outlandish things like transporters and warp drive…must be nice to be you). In any case, my point is that EVERY iteration of Star Trek has egregiously bad science at some point, so it is spurious to focus on that as a flaw of the Abrams films.

    I did not cringe at the “reversed scene”, not for a moment. Sorry to disappoint. I find it more compelling than most of TWOK, to be honest. As for Khan being played by Cumberbatch–Khan is an artificially engineered test tube baby. He can have any look he wants. Furthermore, Cumberbatch is no less appropriate for the role than a Mexican actor. Lastly, TOS was NOT an ensemble show and I have zero interest in watching it become one via the films or any other medium. And film characters are not, a priori, caricatures because of film run-times. I’ve seen nearly 10,000 films in my life and the number of fully realized characters in them number in the four figures. Moreover, the TOS characters were not all that multi-layered and deep (nor were any other Trek characters, really, despite all the screen time given them). If I want deep, I’ll read actual philosophy. The flash card elementary school variety from Trek is not among its most compelling characteristics.

  22. Paul is right that STID was arguing against militarism. And in fact Starfleet has always been a military force, that or space cops. Carrying heavy weapons, wearing uniforms, enforcing Federation directives … fighting wars.
    (All that said, I DO think STID was a big step down from ST09, but that’s no reason to piss on the new movie.)

  23. So you think Pegg wanted to quit because he hated Star Trek, and not because of the pressure of limited time and heavy expectations? Perhaps you think it went something like this:

    -“I can’t do it any more, JJ. I hate these characters, I hate science fiction, I hate the fans, I just hate it all.”
    -“Come on, Simon. Someone has to write the script, and it has to be completely terrible. And I know you can do it, because Paramount makes a point of only hiring mediocre hacks. (Everyone knows all the real talent is in fan films.) So here, I’ll throw a whole bunch of extra money at you; you know, the money we don’t have because STID was a terrible flop and this production isn’t really happening?”
    -“Thanks, JJ. I now feel more motivated to produce worthless garbage in order to insult the true fans. Because that’s the only reason we’re doing this, right?”

  24. Yes, STID is arguing against militarism but what the writers got wrong about Trek is they positioned the militarism literally within Starfleet (the agency of enlightened rationality and ethics that humans have achieved in the future) rather than metaphorically through contact with an alien civilization. That is what is unTrek as they destroyed Roddenberry’s optimistic view of humanity’s future and Starfleet as a moral force for good.

  25. You’re not answering my arguments but talking around them to obfuscate so there’s no point in attempting further discussion and wasting my time. I am happy for you that you enjoyed the new films and I’m sure you’ll like the next one too. Cheers…

  26. I’d rather have no Trek that something that bears the name Trek but doesn’t live up to its underlying ideals, history and philosophy.


  27. Perhaps, you should have stayed around for Kirk’s final speech. In short, we’ve been through all of this. Now, it’s time to start exploring again. Then, the crew of the USS Enterprise starts its 5-year mission. Roll credits.

  28. Kang certainly agrees as far as 2009 Trek is concerned. As for Star Trek Into Subdural Haematoma, it is certainly comparable to classic TOS episodes such as Catspaw or Spock’s Brain. It’s even on a par with such modern classics as The Omega Directive (molecules, particles, whatever) and that one where they have to rescue Geordi from the space retards.

  29. Kang is pretty sure the quitting was over the high pressure and short time frame.

  30. …putting the characters right back at where they were at the end of the 2009 film. That is Kang’s single biggest problem with Star Trek Into Character Development? Never Heard Of It.
    Despite the character growth in Trek 2009, the maturity the crew had obtained, the lessons they had learned, their hard-won respect for themselves and each other, their newfound ability to cooperate and compromise and work together as an effective team… in the very next film they were right back to square zero, or in Spock’s and Uhura’s cases completely off the map. The only character that actually stayed in character the whole film was Scotty, who basically got fed up of getting his orders from an immature, irresponsible jackoff.
    In terms of the characters, it was a waste of a film. The crew followed the same arc and learned the same lessons they did in the previous film. There was no need to spend another film getting ready for the 5 year mission. At the end of 2009 Trek, they were there.
    It is lazy, desperate writing by hacks who have always produced inferior sequels. Those knuckleheads have no idea what they get right or how, and adding a third hack to the mix to try and beat the deadline just made it worse.
    Kang is actually damn glad Pegg is the head writer now. There is nowhere to go but up.

  31. I don’t doubt that. But discord and upheaval in the writers’ room usually doesn’t lead to cohesive and cogent scripts.

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