noah hawley star trek update

At one point, it seemed very likely that Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley would be involved with both an Alien TV series and Star Trek 4. But these days, both projects are looking less and less likely. In a new interview, Hawley confirms that there’s next to no movement on either property. As Hawley tells it, he hasn’t really been involved with anything regarding Alien for a few years, and while Star Trek 4 came “very close to production,” things ultimately fizzled out.

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Alien TV Series

In 2019, Noah Hawley revealed that he had pitched Fox an Alien TV show, with the idea being that the series could end up on Hulu. Hawley’s pitch was, uh, interesting, primarily because it didn’t seem to really involve the goo-dripping Xenomporhs. In other words, it was an Alien show without an alien. At least not right away. Speaking with the Observer in September 2020, Hawley said: “As I did with Legion, the exercise is: Let’s take the superhero stuff out of the show and see if it’s still a great show. What’s the show about? Let’s take the Alien out of the show. What’s the show about? What are the themes, who are the characters and what is the human drama? Then we drop the Aliens back in and we go, ‘This is great. Not only is there great human drama, but there’s Aliens!'”

In any case, Hawley said Fox passed on the idea because they were still committed to making new Alien movies. Of course, there have been no new Alien movies since Alien: Covenant, an underrated film that seemed to sound the death knell for Ridley Scott‘s prequel series. Scott still talks about making more movies from time to time, but so far, we’ve heard next to nothing regarding the franchise.

In a new Deadline interview, Hawley was asked if he had any new info on the proposed Alien TV show. Hawley’s reply: not really. “I know that there’s an effort to reshuffle a lot of things post-Disney takeover and it was a conversation that I had a couple years back,” Hawley said. “And I have not in the last few weeks been having those conversations about it. But I know that like any studio that there’s a great desire to make the most of one’s library so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like that.” When pressed as to whether he still had any involvement with the idea, Hawley replied: “I have conversations from time to time but I’m not committed.”

So what does the future hold for Alien? In 2019, Fox’s Emma Watts told the audience at CinemaCon that new Alien movies. But Watts resigned from Fox – then rebranded as 20th Century Studios – in January of 2020. Meanwhile, in September of 2020, Ridley Scott continued to keep hope for the franchise alive, although he added that when and if there’s a new movie, it would probably ignore the storylines set up in Prometheus and Alien Covenant. “We went down a route to try and reinvent the wheel with Prometheus and Covenant,” Scott said. “Whether or not we go directly back to that is doubtful because Prometheus woke it up very well. But you know, you’re asking fundamental questions like, ‘Has the Alien himself, the facehugger, the chestburster, have they all run out of steam? Do you have to rethink the whole bloody thing and simply use the word to franchise?’ That’s always the fundamental question.”

Star Trek

Paramount’s Star Trek movie reboot series did great at the box office – at first. The 2009 J.J. Abrams-directed film garnered good reviews and even better box office – $385.7 million worldwide. Then came the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness. The reviews weren’t as good, but the financial success was even greater – $467 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing entry in the Star Trek franchise. And then came Star Trek Beyond. Even though most folks agree that Beyond is much better than Into Darkness, Paramount considered the sequel a box office disappointment (if you can call $343.5 million worldwide a disappointment, I guess).

And with that underperformance at the box office, the future of Star Trek movies has been in question. At one point, S. J. Clarkson was hired to helm Star Trek 4, with a plot involving time travel that would reunite Chris Pine‘s Captain Kirk with his father George, played in the first movie by Chris Hemsworth before anyone really had any idea who the hell Chris Hemsworth was. And then everything fell apart. Both Pine and Hemsworth backed out of the sequel, with salary negotiations being cited as the reason. Later, Hemsworth added that he left because he didn’t like the script.

Then things got even weirder, as it was revealed that Quentin Tarantino had pitched an R-rated Star Trek movie to J.J. Abrams. Abrams liked the idea so much he took it to Paramount, and for a while there, it looked like Paramount was really going to make the flick. Then even brought in a writer –  Mark L. Smith – to expand on Tarantino’s pitch, with the understanding that Tarantino would eventually direct the movie. But by the end of 2019, Tarantino said he was “steering away” from the film, suggesting it would never happen.

But Star Trek is big business, and Paramount isn’t about to give up on future films. So in 2019, the studio hired Noah Hawley to write and direct a new Trek film, which was said to be a completely new story in the Star Trek universe, with new characters. “Star Trek is such a special story about exploration and empathy and diversity and humanity at its best and creative problem solving,” Hawley said at the time. “It was never designed in its origins as an action series. It was always about humanity having to fit into the universe and solve problems through diplomacy and outsmarting their opponents. So I’m excited to get back to that.”

But by the summer of 2020, the project was on hold. Paramount’s Emma Watts (Remember her, from the Alien segment above? Well, she works at Paramount now, bringing this entire story full circle in a weird way) was said to be weighing the studio’s options as to which potential Star Trek movie they might make next. Also complicating things: Hawley’s script reportedly involves a “plot centering around a virus that wipes out vast parts of the known universe,” and since there’s a very real virus still raging across the globe, Paramount is hesitant to make a big Star Trek movie with that particular story element.

So has anything changed? According to Hawley, nope. It looks like his Trek project is on the backburner, indefinitely. “It doesn’t appear to be in my immediate future,” Hawley told Deadline. “I think when Emma came in, she took a look at the franchise and wanted to go in a different direction with it. But you know, life is long, we were very close to production but in this business that doesn’t mean much. You got to get out of the gate to be in the race if you know what I mean.”

In the meantime, CBS All Access continues to add more and more Star Trek content, so if you’re a fan, you’ll at least have that to fall back on until Paramount decides what they want to do with future films.

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