Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk (Chris Pine) face destiny head on in Star Trek.

Director Matt Shakman Ditches ‘Star Trek’ for ‘Fantastic Four’

Shakman is no longer boldly going where no man has gone before.

Matt Shakman is abandoning the final frontier for Fantastic reasons. The WandaVision director was attached to direct Star Trek 4, the long-delayed continuation of the Kelvin Timeline film series. But according to The Hollywood Reporter’s sources, Shakman has jumped (star) ship to direct Fantastic Four for Disney and Marvel. Apparently Shakman had to leave Star Trek over scheduling issues, as Marvel plans to release Fantastic Four in November 2024 as the first film in Phase Six of the Marvel cinematic universe.

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Paramount Pictures released a statement saying, “Matt Shakman is an incredibly talented filmmaker, and we regret the timing didn’t align for him to direct our upcoming Star Trek film, … We are grateful for his many contributions, are excited about the creative vision of this next chapter and look forward to bringing it to audiences all around world.”

Shakman had directed episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Game of Thrones before going on to direct WandaVision. A creative highpoint for the MCU, WandaVision earned critical raves and 24 Emmy nominations (winning 3 awards). So it’s no surprise that every studio in Hollywood wants to work with Shakman. After Jon Watts (who directed the Tom Holland Spider-Man trilogy) dropped out of the Fantastic Four film, it was rumored that John Krasinski would step in as director and star as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. And while Krasinski appeared as a multiverse variant of Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he remains unattached to the upcoming film.

Shakman leaving Star Trek is another blow to the franchise, which has seen many delays since it first launched with Star Trek in 2009. The film starred Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldaña as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, and Simon Pegg as Scotty. J.J. Abrams directed the first film and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Justin Lin (F9) directed 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, which received favorable reviews but was the lowest grossing of the films.

Star Trek 4 has gone through multiple directors and delays, as well as the tragic death of Anton Yelchin (Chekov) in 2016. There have been salary disputes with franchise star Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth, who had planned to return as George Kirk. The series would have seen its first female director in S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones), but the film was shelved and Clarkson moved on. Noah Hawley (Fargo) was then attached to write and direct, but that film was halted due to the pandemic. Even Quentin Tarantino was rumored to direct the Star Trek movie, but that also never came to be.

Paramount Pictures finds themselves back at the drawing board with the departure of Shakman, and it’s unclear whether they will continue to move forward with the film or shelve it for the time being. Filming also presents a challenge for scheduling, as the A-list cast has since committed to several different projects. Time will tell whether Star Trek 4 will happen, or whether Paramount will boldly go in a different direction for their film franchise.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.