Noah Hawley, creator of the widely acclaimed FX series Fargo, had been lined up to direct a new Star Trek film, and he recently talked with The Hollywood Reporter about how and why the project fell apart. In 2019, following the collapse of the sequel to Star Trek Beyond due to contract negotiations with the cast stalling out, Hawley had been brought on by Paramount to do a brand new film in the franchise with a new crew and a different take on the universe. However, changes in leadership at Paramount in 2020 put an end to his planned Star Trek film project.
Noah Hawley’s Ideas Were Too Strange
While Noah Hawley went into the new Star Trek film with multiple Emmy Award nominations and one win to his credit, his version of the movie was summarily halted when new leadership at Paramount decided his were not the right hands for the venerable franchise to be in.
That leadership change came when Wyck Godfrey was replaced as head of Paramount’s Motion Picture Group by Emma Watts. It was Watts who determined that Hawley’s idea for the next Star Trek film was too strange and that the idea of trusting the Star Trek movie franchise to an untested crew—both on screen and off—was too great a risk for the studio to take.
Lucy In The Sky
Notably, before taking the reins of Star Trek, Noah Hawley had made his feature film directing debut at Fox Searchlight with Lucy in the Sky. The film fared poorly, both at the box office and with audiences, despite Hawley’s success with both viewers and critics in his television work. Watts had just left Fox when she joined the team at Paramount, and that could have had some influence on how she viewed Hawley.
Another One Bites The Dust
Whether or not that particular factor led to Noah Hawley losing his place in Star Trek history we don’t know, but it is clear that this is another instance of a promising film being killed by studio execs who are more risk-averse than creative.
The Opposite Of What Star Trek Seeks To Accomplish?
This kind of fear-based decision-making and propensity toward projects that are viewed as safe has led to an ever more bland cinematic landscape as studios refuse to take risks and try to bank on things that they see as more like what has gone before. For a franchise that’s supposed to be about going where no one has gone before, this seems an approach that is thematically antithetical to the material.
More Cancellations On The Way?
Indeed, Noah Hawley wanted to take Star Trek, in many ways, back to a more core concept of humanity proving its worth and defending its right to exist in the universe, as opposed to making a more action-focused film. While the films in the Kelvin Timeline series certainly dealt with character developments and themes that echo across the franchise, they had taken a notably more action-oriented approach, which Hawley sought to scale back with his project.
While many fans were looking forward to this new entry in the series, things have long since moved on at Paramount, and we hope that the kind of decision-making that led to the project’s cancellation will start to become less commonplace.