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Set phasers to stunned: ‘Star Trek’ film reboot on hold, but could still happen

EXCLUSIVE: Looks like Paramount’s plan to next make the “Star Trek” movie that Noah Hawley wrote and plans to direct has been put on pause for a moment. New film chief Emma Watts, who managed many a franchise at Fox, is in the process of figuring out which way to go.

The pause on the Hawley project, which had been in soft prep, prompted rumors this week that the filmmaker might exit, but that has not happened yet, sources said. Deadline revealed in 2019 that Hawley made a deal on “Trek” — the “Fargo” and “Legion” EP was driven by his love for the original series, just like JJ Abrams when he directed the first installment. The other two possibilities are the one that “The Revenant”’s Mark L. Smith wrote for Quentin Tarantino to direct (Deadline broke that one late 2017), and another that was going to bring back the original cast — at one time with talk that Chris Hemsworth would return and play Chris Pine’s father in a time travel narrative. S. J. Clarkson was attached to direct but exited for “Game of Thrones.”

What we’re hearing is that both the Hawley pic — which calls for a new cast and might be about a deadly virus which might feel awkward given current circumstance — and the Smith version — Tarantino dropped out as director, but the project is still viable based on an episode of the classic “Star Trek” series that takes place largely earthbound in a 30s gangster setting — might serve the franchise best as “Logan”-like spinoffs when the core franchise has been revitalized. But that the other one might have the cleanest path toward a relaunch, with an emphasis on boosting overseas gross numbers which have never been the franchise’s strong suit. These decisions will take place over the next few weeks.

“Star Trek” continues to be a monster franchise for ViacomCBS, so they want to make sure they get it right. One reason the Hemsworth-Pine version stalled is the high price of keeping the original cast in place. Between “Fargo” and a book he is completing, Hawley (who made his directing debut on the arthouse pic “Lucy in the Sky”) has plenty to keep him occupied. Stay tuned.

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