Matt Shakman No Longer Directing Star Trek 4

Hot on the heels of taking the reins of the new "Fantastic Four" movie in the works at Marvel Studios, "WandaVision" series director Matt Shakman is leaving behind another major franchise project. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Shakman will no longer be at the helm of "Star Trek 4," the next installment of the sci-fi franchise that was rebooted by J.J. Abrams back in 2008. 

Shakman was hired for the sequel in July of 2021, and it was said to be on the fast track towards production, but apparently, things aren't moving fast enough to avoid scheduling conflicts with "Fantastic Four." Paramount Pictures released a statement saying:

"Matt Shakman is an incredibly talented filmmaker, and we regret the timing didn't align for him to direct our upcoming 'Star Trek' film. We are grateful for his many contributions, are excited about the creative vision of this next chapter and look forward to bringing it to audiences all around world."

Shakman has clearly made a name for himself in Hollywood if he was in the running for two major franchise projects like this. Obviously, his work at "WandaVision" impressed all the right people at Marvel Studios (not to mention earning 23 Emmy nominations, of which the show won three awards), hence his hiring for "Fantastic Four." If his continued work at Marvel proves to be just as fruitful, you can bet we'll see Shakman taking on plenty more blockbusters in the years to come.

Now what?

This is yet another bump in the road for the "Star Trek" franchise starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Karl Urban, and Simon Pegg. A fourth installment was once in the works years ago with a time travel storyline that would have brought Chris Hemsworth back into the fray as Captain James T. Kirk's father George, who appeared in the opening sequence of the first movie in the "Star Trek" reboot back in 2008. But complicated negotiations with the cast resulted in the project falling apart. Since then, there have also been attempts by Quentin Tarantino and Noah Hawley to get different "Star Trek" movies off the ground, but neither of them came to fruition.

As of now, "Star Trek 4" needs a new director. Since Paramount Pictures had made "Star Trek 4" a high priority, they're likely already looking for a replacement. Hopefully, it's not just a gun for hire who will bend to the will of the studio, and it's a filmmaker who will bring something special to the final frontier. As of now, the project has a script from Josh Friedman and Cameron Squires ("Terminator: Dark Fate," "Avatar: The Way of Water"), with the previous version having been written by Lindsey Beer ("Godzilla vs. Kong") and Geneva Robertson-Dworet ("Captain Marvel").

Here's hoping Paramount is able to wrangle a new director who will impress them as much as Shakman. If the studio keeps struggling to get a new "Trek" off the ground, Shakman could be finished with "Fantastic Four" and may be able to circle back around to "Star Trek." But we're betting there's a filmmaker out there waiting for a big opportunity like this. It's up to Paramount Pictures to make it so. (That's a "Star Trek" reference!)

As of now, "Star Trek 4" is slated for release on December 22, 2023, but we'll have to wait and see if this change in director results in a delay.