Star Trek Beyond: Justin Lin Recalls Intense Production

Justin Lin calls 2016’s Star Trek Beyond the most difficult experience in his directing career.

Per Dark Horizons, while taking part in the Happy Sad Confused podcast’s watch along of his breakout movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Lin recalled how quickly the third installment of the Kelvin timeline series came together.

“I’m shooting True Detective in Ventura, and it’s a Thursday. I get a call from J.J. Abrams, and he’s like, ‘Hey man, just curious, do you like Star Trek?. I’m like, ‘I grew up watching Star Trek with my dad, it has so much meaning,’” Lin recalled. “He said, ‘Would you happen to have an idea for a Star Trek movie?’ And I said, ‘Aren’t you in pre-production?’ And he said, ‘’Nope, no, we’re shut down.’ He said, ‘If you have an idea, would you want to come by the office on Monday?’

Lin added, “So, on Monday, I sat down with J.J. and shared with him the idea of Star Trek Beyond. He’s like, ‘Great!’ And this is the end of January. He said, ‘Let’s do it, but we have to start production in June.’ No script. Nothing . . . It was tough. The toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

Lin continued by describing the frustrations he had with screenwriters Simon Pegg and Doug Jung to crack the script with very little time before cameras rolled. Tensions reached a point where the creative team considered quitting the project altogether.

“Simon and I joke about it now, but It was intense, I had quit three times, and Simon had quit four times . . . also we didn’t know each other. For me, Simon Pegg, it was a dream to have the opportunity to work with him, but he comes from a very traditional process . . . but I’m sitting there in Vancouver and I have to start building sets,” Lin said. “Star Trek is not like Fast and Furious, every idea you come up with is a build. And we had no time. I love Simon and Doug, but it was rough and I didn’t know if we were going to make it out of that first week.”

Ultimately, Lin and the screenwriters managed to put together an adventure story with the USS Enterprise crew stranded on the planet Altamid following an attack by the mysterious Krall (Idris Elba). Released in the summer of 2016, Star Trek Beyond was met with positive reviews from critics. However, the threequel carried a reported $185 million budget and only made $343 million worldwide, well below the $467 million of the previous entry, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Star Trek 4’s delays

The future of the Kelvin timeline franchise has been in limbo since Beyond’s release as efforts to bring Star Trek 4 to the screen have frequently stalled due to script and cast contractual issues. Chris Pine, who plays Captain Kirk, has expressed frustration with the delays while co-star Zachary Quinto expressed mixed feelings about potentially returning as Spock. Additionally, Paramount is reportedly looking to make an entirely new Star Trek reboot a priority following the end of the WGA strike.

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