Following the long-awaited unveiling of the new Star Trek Beyond trailer and those two cool new posters, a new interview with Simon Pegg has been released in which the actor opened up about the upcoming movie -- a movie in which he not only co-stars as Lt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, but which he also co-wrote with Doug Jung (Big Love, Dark Blue, Banshee).
Speaking to Collider, Simon Pegg explained where in the Enterprise’s five-year mission we find the crew, how the franchise had to evolve on the big screen to match current film trends, and why he keeps the names of the dead redshirts from The Original Series in his phone. Yes. Really.
“We felt like the first two films, chronologically take place before the five-year mission. Obviously, as we’ve said with this one, we wanted it to be, certainly, about them on that five-year mission — in fact, two years into that five-year mission and have that impacted on them personally and what it meant to be out in space for that long. We liked the idea of, also, on the 50th anniversary, looking at Roddenberry’s vision and questioning it — you know, the whole notion of the Federation and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, or how productive is inclusivity. What is the true cost of expansion, that kind of stuff. So we went in with some big, philosophical questions to ask.
You know, Star Trek’s had to evolve in order to exist in the current marketplace. A film that was totally in the mood of the original series would not be made today or make money today, because people want event cinema. They want things to be a little more brash and action-oriented, so we’ve had to fold that into the Star Trek brand. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that can’t be fundamentalized by all the tenants of what Star Trek is and how all of those characters have evolved over the years and to really give its DNA an authenticity. So that’s been a really interesting thing, and that’s something we really wanted to do.
So Doug and I would always, at the end of a day’s — when we were really happy at the end of day’s writing, we’d sit and watch a couple of episodes of the original series — just for fun, not to get ideas. A couple of things like, it’s always good to get names from the original series, like dead Red Shirts. I have a list of dead Red Shirts on my phone somewhere, just so that those same people exist in the universe. But this is our universe. It belongs to us now. J.J. very cleverly was able to establish the story again without damaging or affecting what went before, and it’s ours now. Anything can happen. Anyone can die. It’s not the same events.”
The Shaun of the Dead actor also touched on the fact that even though Star Trek Beyond is a completely new narrative as opposed to the first two films that kept referencing the original series A LOT (for example: Star Trek Into Darkness was basically a “remake” of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), there will still be things there for Star Trek fans to chew into:
“I mean, there’ll be things in there for every Star Trek fan. It is the same world, so some of the points of reference will be the same. But they are off in a part of the galaxy that they’ve never been before. They’re far away from the usual suspects, I think. As such, it’s not them meeting up with an old adversary or someone they’ve met before. And we toyed with that. You look at the great episodes and think, “Oh, why don’t we do ‘Mirror, Mirror’? Or why don’t we do ‘Arena’?” But, you know, that was Galaxy Quest, so that’s off the table. [Laughs]”
Most interestingly, however, was Pegg’s answer when he was asked about J.J. Abrams making the first Star Trek more like Star Wars (because we all know by now Abrams was a fan of Star Wars and knew almost nothing of Star Trek going in) and now that Star Wars (which Abrams finally got to direct with last year's The Force Awakens, kicking off a whole new series of films set in a galaxy far, far away) had returned to the big screen, how this new Star Trek film will be different than Star Wars:
“Yeah. I think it’s interesting when you look at the original Star Trek, because it is about an idealistic young farm boy who goes off to fight in outer space. There are similar beats in it. It’s no secret that J.J. was always more of a Star Wars fan. I think you just try to create a hybrid. You know, Star Wars is science fantasy, and Star Trek is science fiction, and they’re two different things. People often confuse Star Wars and Star Trek — and they’re not the same thing at all. It’s a bizarre and wonderful thing that you can be in Bad Robot now and hear Chewbacca in one room and someone talking about Spock in the other, but they are still very, very different things.
I think what you have to maintain with Star Trek is that it’s rooted somewhere in our reality and our universe and in humanity. Star Wars is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The thing that makes that Star Trek kind of more science fantasy is that it does get — you know, there’s a lot of special effects and fighting. Star Trek could never really afford that in a way, which is why it had to concentrate on other aspects of production. We can do both now. So I think it’s kind of finding a way of having that really fun, spectacular event cinema but grounding it in kind of a — because explosions don’t mean a damn thing if you don’t care about who’s involved in the explosions. You can see the most incredible fireworks on a cinema screen, but if you don’t fundamentally care about the people who are in jeopardy, then they’re so unimpressive. You see it time and time again these days.”
What do you think of Simon Pegg’s comments regarding where we find the crew of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek Beyond and his views on Star Trek vs. Star Wars?