Exclusive: Star Trek Looking For Female Director, Black Widow Director Approached

That would be a change.

By Michileen Martin | Published

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star trek female director

Though there’s been a bit of confusion about when production will start and what seems to be an absolutely epic lack of communication between Paramount and its cast, Star Trek 4 is on the way. Our trusted and proven source has reached out to let us know that the studio wants the next Star Trek movie to have a female director behind the chair. On the short list of candidates is Cate Shortland, who directed 2021’s Black Widow, and the studio has already spoken with her.

Cate Shortland could prove a perfect fit for Star Trek 4. The Australian female director and screenwriter has tackled a healthy variety of projects; including action films like Black Widow and The Silence, and more comedic television fare like SMILF and the Australian show Bad Cop, Bad Cop. The only thing that might give fans pause is that professionally speaking Black Widow is about as close as Shortland’s come to science fiction, but the filmmaker’s already proven her range. Not to mention the Kelvin Timeline films have always been more action-focused than the previous features or the TV shows, and action is a genre in which Shortland clearly knows what she’s doing.

It may not be a coincidence that Paramount is found looking for Star Trek 4 to be helmed by a female director shortly after the passing of Nichelle Nichols. Being reminded of how the late actress was a trailblazer not only for Black representation, but specifically for Black women, may have driven home one specific area in which the usually progressive Trek is lacking. Between 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond there have been 13 features in the Trek film franchise, and not one of them has been directed by a woman. They even let William Shatner direct one of them and we all know how that turned out.

roxann dawson
Roxann Dawson as Lt. B’Elanna Torres of Star Trek: Voyager

If for whatever reason Cate Shortland doesn’t prove to be the right choice, Paramount may be served well by looking at Star Trek’s own history for a female director. For example Roxann Dawson — who played the part human, part Klingon Lt. B’Elanna Torres on Star Trek: Voyager — has become an accomplished director since her time playing Voyager’s Chief Engineer. Along with episodes of Voyager and Enterprise; she’s helmed episodes of some of TV’s most acclaimed series including The Americans, House of Cards, Lost, Heroes, The Morning Show, This Is Us, and Foundation.

Not to mention that Star Trek has enjoyed a long list of female directors in its current crop of series. Just looking at the most recent seasons of Trek’s live-action shows reveals the producers’ commitment to finding more female voices. Almost half of Discovery‘s fourth season was either directed or co-directed by women, while over half of Strange New Worlds‘ first ten episodes had female directors. Only two of Picard‘s second season episodes were directed by a woman, that woman happened to be Leah Thompson of Back to the Future fame.

Beyond those who have already helmed Star Trek stories, there are a growing number of female directors making action features who could be a fit for Star Trek 4. Both Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) seem to be busy for the foreseeable future, but Paramount might be smart to strike up conversations with Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard), Cathy Yan (Birds of Prey), Chloé Zhao (Eternals), Mimi Leder (Deep Impact), and Lexi Alexander (Punisher: War Zone) among others.