It sounds like Noah Hawley's Star Trek movie won't be happening any time soon. Hawley spoke to Deadline primarily about the end of the latest season of Fargo on FX. During the interview, he also touched on his Star Trek project, which was close to entering production before being put on hold. "It doesn’t appear to be in my immediate future," Hawley said. "I think when [Paramount Pictures President Emma Watts] 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 another recent interview, Hawley talked about some of the business challenges that come with making a franchise film like Star Trek when the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing. "One of the biggest challenges that anyone has right now is, 'What is the feature film business?' Certainly, we're at a moment where the movie theater experience is dormant, at least, for a year or two," Hawley told Collider, "and the only way really to make your money back on a $100 million+ movie is box office, and if you can't rely on that, how do you run that business? Unless you have a really strong streaming play, which Disney tried with Mulan by charging $30 for it, you can make your money back that way. But it's yet to be proven that people will spend $30 for a home viewing experience. I think that's one of the biggest challenges of making a film out of a brand that people are already getting a taste of, just making sure that it's going to justify the expense of it."
Hawley also considered the suggestion of a smaller budget Star Trek movie that goes all-in on the sci-fi ideas and cuts out the big-budget set pieces. That comes with a different set of problems.
"I think that's possible, although what you get into, especially with the film companies that don't have a strong streaming play, is that they're not in the business of making a little bit of money," Hawley says. "The only business they can be in is the making-a-lot-of-money business, so it's the tentpole business. If you were to offer them a $20 million that could at best earn $80-90 million, it might not even be worth the price of admission for them. Now, I'm sure you could go to CBS All Access or whatever and say, 'Let me make a two-hour Star Trek movie for streaming.' That might be worth it. But the theatrical experience, that's the challenge that I think we're going to find in the next 5-10 years."
Hawley's film would have introduced a brand new Star Trek crew and presented an existential challenge to the Federation's existence. It is one of three Star Trek movies in consideration at Paramount Pictures.