Simon Pegg has confirmed that Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek movie idea is in active development, but isn’t sure that an R-rating is part of the package. Pegg took over the role of the USS Enterprise’s Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott starting in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek movie franchise reboot. He has since reprised the role in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, the latter of which he also served as cowriter on. Pegg was then recruited to cowrite a fourth installment in the relaunched Trek series (aka. the Kelvin timeline), but the project’s status became uncertain after Beyond performed beloved commercial expectations at the box office.
Even as CBS launched its All Access streaming series Star Trek: Discovery last fall, the Star Trek movie franchise appeared to have hit a roadblock that it couldn’t get past.
Then, everything changed this past December with the unexpected news that Tarantino was developing a Star Trek movie with screenwriter Mark L. Smith (The Revenant), with the intention of directing it himself. It emerged shortly thereafter that, like all of his directorial efforts thus far, Tarantino’s Star Trek film would carry an R rating – a first for the Star Trek franchise. While Pegg’s Star Trek costars John Cho and Karl Urban have expressed interest in the idea, Pegg himself is cautioning that the R rating might not be set in stone.
Speaking with HeyUGuys on the red carpet for the 2018 Empire Awards, Pegg spoke briefly about his upcoming role in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One and his return as Benji in this summer’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. He also provided a small update on Tarantino’s Star Trek movie, including its potential rating:
I don’t think [Quentin Tarantino has] written an R rated Star Trek script. I think what happened is he went to J.J. [Abrams] with an idea that he’s had for awhile. I remember he told us about it a long time ago. I think he told me and Edgar [Wright] about it a long time ago. He just put it to J.J. and I think J.J.’s just considering putting it into a writing room. We got an email just saying “Guess what? Guess who came into the office the other day?” So I don’t know much about it other than it’s in the mix, so we’ll see.
That the filmmaker responsible for movies like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Inglourious Basterds would be interested in making a Star Trek movie understandably caught many people off-guard. However, the idea didn’t come completely out of left field and Tarantino has publicly expressed an interest in directing a Star Trek film in the past. Specifically, he has mentioned two Star Trek TV show episodes – the Original Series’ “The City on the Edge of Forever” and Next Generation‘s “Yesterday’s Enterprise” – that could serve as the basis for the project.
The prospect of a Tarantino Star Trek movie is understandably polarizing, but Star Trek veterans William Shatner and Patrick Stewart have already voiced their interest in returning to the franchise if it means getting to work with the filmmaker. Even if the film winds up being rated PG-13 instead of R, it stands to reason that a Tarantino-helmed Star Trek adventure would have a harder edge than the more recent movies – which are already relatively gritty, by Star Trek standards. Discovery, as it were, has embraced a more adult tone than Star Trek TV shows past and helped to set the stage for a Tarantino spin on the sci-fi property in doing so. However, considering that Discovery has also proven to be somewhat divisive within the Trekkie community, that further supports the claim that Tarantino’s take on the property is destined for controversy.
For the time being, a Tarantino Star Trek movie still isn’t a certainty and is at least a couple of years away. The filmmaker will begin shooting his next original project – the Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio-headlined Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – later this year, with a Summer 2019 release date target. Smith will continue to develop the script based on Tarantino’s Star Trek pitch in the meantime, so hopefully more concrete details about the film’s expected tone and rating will emerge as he continues to do so.