The Star Trek film universe isn’t dead after all. Noah Hawley — best known for creating and writing the anthology series Fargo, and the superhero drama Legion — is reportedly in final talks to be hired as the writer and director on Star Trek 4, which will continue the Trek reboot film series started by J.J. Abrams in 2009. Hawley and Abrams will produce the as-yet untitled Star Trek movie through their respective production banners, 26 Keys and Bad Robot. Hawley’s Star Trek is separate from the one being developed by Quentin Tarantino, which was the only Trek movie on the slate prior to this revival.
Deadline was the first to bring word of Hawley’s involvement with Star Trek, claiming the new writer-director would helm an Enterprise crew led by Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, and Karl Urban. It’s unclear if Deadline is simply listing the cast members that have been part of the Trek reboot series or whether all of them are on board to return, given Pine had ended salary talks last August after he was asked to take a pay cut. Hawley and Paramount Pictures — which holds the Trek film licence — would need to convince Pine to return if they wish to continue the story.
Pine wasn’t the only one involved in those negotiations, with Chris Hemsworth — who was to return as the father of Pine’s Captain Kirk from J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot — also turning down the offer. In May this year, Hemsworth claimed he “wasn’t sold on the script” and added: “I didn’t feel like we landed on a reason to revisit that yet. I didn’t want to be underwhelmed by what I was going to bring to the table.” But with Hawley now coming on board as the new writer, it remains to be seen if his version of Star Trek 4 will even have a place for Hemsworth’s character.
Trek’s troubles on the big screen largely have to do with the fact that it’s not a big earner. Despite budgets resembling what is spent on the likes of Marvel and Star Wars movies, the earnings are a far cry. Abrams’ 2009 reboot Star Trek earned $385.6 million worldwide off a $150-million budget, his 2013 follow-up Star Trek Into Darkness picked up $467.3 million with a $190-million budget, and Justin Lin’s 2016 sequel, Star Trek Beyond, grossed just $343.4 million off a $185-million budget. Meanwhile, Disney regularly makes upwards of $700 million with Marvel and Star Wars.
In addition to Fargo and Legion, respectively based on the Coen brothers’ film and the Marvel comic book character, Hawley has co-written and directed Lucy in the Sky — his feature-length directorial debut — starring Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm. He is also a best-selling author in the US, having published five novels, one of which has been acquired by Sony Pictures for a possible adaptation. Hawley is currently filming Fargo season 4, which stars Chris Rock. He has won an Emmy for his work on Fargo.