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Marvel Director S.J. Clarkson to Helm Next ‘Star Trek’ Movie

Boldly going where the film franchise hasn’t gone before.
Star Trek Beyond
By  · Published on April 27th, 2018

Women are constantly coming out on top as more established franchises are beginning to support their growth as artists behind the scenes, and it’s a great feeling! Variety has the scoop that S. J. Clarkson of Jessica Jones and The Defenders fame will be taking up directorial duties on the untitled fourth film in the rebooted Star Trek movie series.

Despite the fact that women have helmed television episodes of Star Trek over the years, none of the feature films has seen a female director in the captain’s chair. So, this really is a feat for the saga. Clarkson will direct the installment from a screenplay by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, both uncredited writers on the third installment of the franchise, Star Trek Beyond.

Clarkson’s resume mostly comprises television credits, but her work has been promising so far. She notably proved her mettle by crafting the chilling, self-aware opening episodes of Marvel’s Jessica Jones. While the grimness of that show might give the detractors of Star Trek Into Darkness — aka the unnecessarily dark and “twist”-driven middle chapter of the series — some pause, Jessica Jones also demonstrates a fondness for asking complex questions of its characters. Of course, figuring out how to balance that out with the overall action-adventure vibe of the rebooted series is a different beast, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Sj Clarkson Directing The Defenders

S.J. Clarkson directing Sigourney Weaver in ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’

Star Trek 4 has been stewing at Paramount since before Star Trek Beyond even hit theaters. The film is still expected to more prominently feature Chris Hemsworth‘s George Kirk, aka Jim Kirk’s dad. Rumor has had it that the movie involves Chris Pine‘s Jim running into his father as part of a time travel plot line. Wherever the rest of the Enterprise crew fit into this family-driven scenario remains a mystery, but they are slated to reprise their roles (sadly, without Anton Yelchin, RIP).

The return to the concept of time travel could possibly mean something for the timelines in the series yet again as the primary impetus behind the events in the Star Trek reboot involved time travel in the first place. The 2009 film has Leonard Nimoy’s Spock Prime essentially creating an alternate timeline, allowing the new series to flourish without the restraints of old continuities. Hence, the reintroduction of time travel to the saga may or may not mean that some kind of rebirth is going to happen now that two Kirks are likely going to meet again out of their regular timelines. After all, wouldn’t meeting your dad in his prime potentially mess up your own future to some degree?

Whatever the case may be, the shift in focus towards Hemsworth’s character does seem to be a no-brainer financially speaking, given the actor’s enormous star power that only seems to keep growing. Not to knock the absolute brilliance of Pine as a fantastic white Chris, but Hemsworth is in high-profile movies basically all of the time. There was no way that Paramount could have predicted Hemsworth’s added appeal after the release of Thor: Ragnarok either, but the renewed interest in his role in the MCU just brings with him free publicity at this point.

Star Trek 4 is one of two upcoming Trek movies that Paramount has in the works, as the studio confirmed this week in their presentation at CinemaCon. The second project down the pipeline will be that Quentin Tarantino movie that shockingly made it past pitch, although that one is still being written at the moment. Star Trek 4 can be expected to move into production first.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)