Saturday, 27 August 2022

New STAR TREK movie loses director to FANTASTIC FOUR

The extraordinarily convoluted saga of the next Star Trek film has taken another twist, with director Matt Shakman dropping out to helm Marvel's Fantastic Four.

The next Star Trek movie, the fourteenth overall in the franchise and the fourth produced by J.J. Abrams, has been in development hell ever since the release of the last instalment, Star Trek Beyond, in 2016. In the six years since then - during which time the franchise has made a hugely successful return to television - plans for a new movie have swung between a continuation of the Abrams incarnation to yet another reboot to various side-stories involving different characters. Even Quentin Tarantino was on board for a while, musing a feature-length remake of the classic series episode A Piece of the Action.

After a huge amount of development, Paramount settled on a script by Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson, with WandaVision director Matt Shakman signing on to direct in July 2021. The film originally had a slated release date of June 2023, but this was delayed as the Chris Pine-led cast from the last three movies only signed on to reprise their roles on the film in February this year. However, pre-production had not yet started, apparently a result of the studio having to wait until the schedules of the ultra-busy cast had aligned. This delayed production so it would not be possible for Shakman to direct both the Star Trek picture and Fantastic Four, which now as a locked-in release date of 8 November 2024.

Marvel has been developing Fantastic Four for the last couple of years, which will mark the fifth live-action film to feature the classic Marvel superhero team but the first to bring them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jon Watts, who had helmed the Sony-Marvel Spider-Man trilogy starring Tom Holland, had been attached but apparently received a counter-offer from elsewhere within the Disney empire to work on a Star Wars TV show instead. Marvel had apparently held talks with other directors, both inhouse (Ant-Man helmer Peyton Reed was reportedly considered at one point) and from outside, before landing on Shakman as their preferred option after his work on Game of Thrones, The Great and WandaVision showed he could handle epic productions, the latter two earning him Emmy nominations as well.

Paramount have now resumed their hunt for a new director. J.J. Abrams remains attached to produce, with actors Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana and John Cho all confirmed to return. The studio has also confirmed that the role of Chekhov, played by the late Anton Yelchin who sadly passed away in 2016, will not be recast.

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