Why SJ Clarkson Will Be the Most Unique “Star Trek” Movie Director of All Time

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Paramount)

Finally, “Star Trek” is coming back. After JJ Abrams resurrected the franchise with his 2009 movie, and summarily killed it again with “Into Darkness”, it seemed as if the entire series was doomed.

Sure, we got Justin Lin’s “Star Trek Beyond” in 2016, but following the mess that was “Into Darkness”, audiences didn’t really seem to care. A fourth movie in the series was discussed, but it ultimately fizzled out entirely.

Now, it’s been revealed that there’s not one, but two “Trek” movies in the works. Quentin Tarantino is coming up with whatever ridiculous thing he’s planning for his take on the franchise. We’re also getting the film that’s being called “Star Trek 4”, a possible continuation of the series that Abrams set in motion last decade.

Star Trek Beyond Alien
Source: Paramount

What’s particularly exciting is that this movie now has a director, in the form of SJ Clarkson.

This is garnering attention, as it’s the first time a woman has directed a “Star Trek” movie. Considering the franchise’s long history of attempting to foster equality and diversity, this isn’t too surprising of a move – especially as pretty much everyone in Hollywood is scrambling to find female directors following the success of “Wonder Woman”.

As an aside, I’m really, really glad that for once, movie studio executives have learned the right lesson from the success of a film. Apparently, the message got through, and studio heads have realized that audiences genuinely do want to see movies that are filmed from a woman’s perspective.

On top of this, I’m interested to see what kind of movie Clarkson will come up with. She’s not, thus far, a movie director, but she has been very prolific on TV for a long time.

“Star Trek” Belongs With a TV Director

“Orange is the New Black”. “Jessica Jones”. “Bates Motel”. “Collateral”. “Life on Mars”. Clarkson has been involved in shows both noteworthy and niche, and she’s proven herself as a solid creator while working with these engaging episodic stories.

Jessica Jones
Source: Marvel

How that will translate to movies remains to be seen. I’m optimistic about Clarkson’s talents, and I expect that she’ll bring some fresh energy to the project. “Star Trek 4” could be very different to any movie in the series that we’ve seen thus far.

At the same time, I’m always wary when a big studio pegs a relatively unknown director for a tentpole film. I’m hoping that Paramount’s plan isn’t to boss Clarkson around, taking advantage of her obscurity to try to push her to make the movie they want.

This can happen, and the “Star Trek” series isn’t exactly known for always being on-point, so there’s a danger that the studio will want to keep Clarkson on a tight leash.

Something tells me that Clarkson won’t be a pushover. I’m very hopeful for this project (more so than for whatever Tarantino is working on) and I’m excited to see “Star Trek” truly embrace the future of cinema.