Star Trek director and actor Jonathan Frakes, who played William T. Riker in The Next Generation and more recently reprised the role in Picard, recently revealed what advice he would give to Paramount boss Emma Watts when it comes to Star Trek films.
Speaking with Trek Movie, Frakes was asked what advice he would give to Watts regarding which Star Trek projects she should greenlight.
Frakes responded, “I say greenlight the Tarantino and Noah Hawley, if you are lucky enough to get either of them. And if they are too busy to direct, I’ll be available. [laughs]”
However, Frakes would reveal that he believes the fourth Star Trek film with Chris Hemsworth returning to his role as George Kirk is the one more likely to get greenlit.
He explained, “Well, that’s probably the one that has the most hope of being made first because there’s already an audience.”
“After Paramount shut down Star Trek for five years, J.J. [Abrams] relaunched it, and in my taste, very successfully. It captured the zeitgeist again. They spent a lot of f***ing money so it was a BIG movie. His first one [Star Trek 2009] in particular was great,” Frakes continued.
He then added, “I wasn’t crazy about Idris Elba wearing a mask [Star Trek Beyond]. And I love Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan [in Star Trek Into Darkness]. And I love that cast….”
“So my opinion is that that movie with J.J.’s cast is the one, if I were betting, that would be greenlit,” Frakes stated.
Later in the interview, Frakes would return to this question and elaborate on his previous points.
He relayed, “Yeah, that’s a great question to which I’m not sure I have the answer. I think that my interest as a fan would be in what would what kind of movie does Tarantino make.”
He then stated, “And as a fan of Hawley, what’s that writing going to be like? But as a businessman, I would think you would bet on Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth, wouldn’t you?”
Frakes would also discuss what he knew about Quentin Tarantino’s pitch. Frakes detailed it would see the Abrams cast including Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, and John Cho reprising their roles.
He stated, “Nothing. I was under the impression that it was going to be the original cast.”
However, he then relayed that Patrick Stewart told him that the movie might involve the cast of Next Generation.
Frakes said, “And then Patrick [Stewart] led me to believe it might have been developed for the Next Gen guys.”
Little is known about Tarantino’s pitch other than Tarantino confirming it would be an R-Rated movie. Tarantino told Empire Magazine, “Oh Yeah!” It’s an R-rated movie. If I do it, it’ll be R-rated.”
Karl Urban did provide some more details during an appearance at Trekonderoga. The Dr. McCoy actor stated, “You shouldn’t worry that it is going to be full of obscenity and stuff. He wants an R-rating to really make those beats of consequence land.”
“If it’s not PG, if someone gets sucked out into space, which we have all seen before, we might see them get disemboweled first…It allows some some breadth…gives him some leeway to do that,” he elaborated.
However, it seemed the chances were slim that the pitch would ever become a film as Tarantino told Consequence of Sound that he was moving away from the project.
Back in December 2019, he stated, “I think I’m steering away from Star Trek, but I haven’t had an official conversation with those guys yet.”
As for Hawley’s planned Trek film, he recently told Variety that the film was still alive, but in stasis.
He also went on to provide some details as to what the film would look like. He explained, “We’re not doing Kirk and we’re not doing Picard. It’s a start from scratch that then allows us to do what we did with Fargo, where for the first three hours you go, ‘Oh, it really has nothing to do with the movie,’ and then you find the money. So you reward the audience with a thing that they love.”
Hawley previously told Deadline that his film would get back to what he loved about the franchise. He elaborated, “Going back to what I loved about the series Next Generation, when a lot of franchises focus on ‘might makes right’, Star Trek is about exploration and humanity at its best, and diversity and creative problem solving.”
As for a possible fourth Star Trek film with Hemsworth and Pine, that movie allegedly stalled out due to contract negotiations with the actors. Although Pine did recently indicate he hopes to reprise his role of Captain James T. Kirk.
Pine stated, “I know that Paramount is coming out of having restructured a bit and kind of a major corporate restructuring. So hopefully when all that dust settles, something concrete will come out of it and we’ll get back to work.”
Hemsworth would also rebuff reports that he walked away from Star Trek 4 over contract negotiations instead claiming it was over the film’s script.
Back in May 2019, Hemsworth told Variety, “I didn’t feel like we landed on a reason to revisit that yet.” He added, “I didn’t want to be underwhelmed by what I was going to bring to the table.”
What do you make of Frakes’ advice when it comes to Star Trek films? What advice would you give to Emma Watts regarding the state of Star Trek on the big screen?