Star Trek 4, a.k.a. the untitled fourth entry in J.J. Abrams’s rebooted Star Trek films, gained momentum with the recent (surreal) rumor that idiosyncratic action auteur Quentin Tarantino is eyeing involvement. From that intriguing idea spawned the narrative that – like all of Tarantino’s films – this Star Trek take would manifest as the first R-rated project in the history of the 50+ year franchise. However, franchise writer and Scotty himself, Simon Pegg, may have just put the brakes to the latter idea.
Indeed, Simon Pegg doesn’t quite think that Tarantino’s presence (in whatever capacity it will prospectively occur,) will necessarily mean that the next Star Trek film – reportedly set to be written by The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith – will be R-rated. In a red carpet interview with HeyUGuys at the 2018 Empire Awards, Pegg, who’s set to reprise his role this summer as Benji Dunn in the upcoming spy sequel, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, provided an interesting answer to the inevitable Star Trek/Tarantino question, explaining:
“I don’t think [Tarantino has] written an R-rated Star Trek script. I think what happened is he went to J.J. [Abrams] with an idea that he’s had for a while. I remember he told us about it a long time ago. I think he told me and Edgar [Wright] about it a long time ago. He just put it to J.J. and I think J.J.’s just considering putting it into a writing room. We got an email just saying ‘Guess what? Guess who came into the office the other day?’ So, I don’t know much about it other than it’s in the mix, so we’ll see.”
Pegg’s comments do substantiate a recent report’s claim that franchise boss J.J. Abrams is deferring to a writer’s room for the story conception phase of Star Trek 4. One such meeting, held in early December 2017, saw Tarantino participate and pitch his ideas (which date back to 2015,) for a Star Trek film, joined by the aforementioned screenwriter, Smith, along with Lindsey Beer (Chaos Walking), Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) and Megan Amram (The Good Place).
While Pegg’s dismissal of the rumored R-rated status of Tarantino’s Star Trek isn’t quite on the same level as, say, confirmation from Tarantino himself or J.J. Abrams, it’s an opinion that does carry weight when considering his increasing role in the franchise. While onscreen, Pegg embodies U.S.S. Enterprise chief engineer Montgomery Scott, he’s been giving it all he’s got behind the scenes as a screenwriter, having co-written – with Doug Jung – the generally well-received third film in the franchise, 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. Indeed, Pegg could very well have a say regarding the direction of the next film.
Of course, the idea of Quentin Tarantino handling Star Trek remains a shocking one, potentially leading one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises down new narrative paths (some of which could be cringe-worthy). However, it’s very possible that Tarantino – should he be handed the directorial reigns, as rumored – could come into the project with enough reverence, using it as a rare chance to show a new side to his repertoire, especially if, as Pegg thinks, the film won’t head down an R-rated route.
For now, though, the idea of Star Trek 4 is still stuck in a proverbial Starfleet shipyard. Yet, fans can take solace in the fact that key personnel and stars, such as Dr. McCoy himself, Karl Urban, very much want this film to hit Warp 9.