Simon Pegg Recalls Being A Little Salty When J.J. Abrams Left Star Trek For Star Wars

Simon Pegg as Scotty in Star Trek Into Darkness
(Image credit: Paramount)

Actor Simon Pegg and filmmaker J.J. Abrams go way back, with the latter having recruited the former onto Mission: Impossible III to play Benji Dunn, a role Pegg continues to play. Abrams also cast Pegg to play Scotty in 2009’s Star Trek, and these two worked together again within this sci-fi franchise on 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness. After that though, Abrams dropped the Star Trek directorial reins to work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which led to Pegg feeling a little salty.

Although J.J. Abrams was still involved with 2016’s Star Trek Beyond as a producer and will carry out that same duty on the yet-to-be-titled Star Trek 4, it obviously became necessary for Star Trek to take a backseat to his work of the first entry in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. During a visit to Sirius XM’s Jim Norton & Sam Roberts, Pegg recalled to the title hosts how he felt upon learning that Abrams was directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, saying:

Well it was J.J. Abrams that was doing it…When I found out that JJ Abrams was doing Star Wars, I got an email about it. I was feeling kind of jealous, like ‘Oh, dad’s leaving us for the other kids.’ Because he directed Star Trek. He’s gonna fuck off to Star Wars now…that’s nice [sarcasm]. But then we had dinner and he said, ‘Oh, do you want to come and play a blob fish?’ I was like, ‘Sure.’

While there’s certainly no shortage of people in the world who enjoy both Star Wars and Star Trek, some still see an unofficially rivalry that exists between the two franchises, much like there is between Marvel and DC (though Patrick Stewart and Mark Hamill aren’t among those people). So with that in mind, I don’t blame Simon Pegg for feeling a little jealous that Abrams now had his attention turned primarily to Star Wars, especially considering that the director’s work on Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness played a big role in revitalizing that franchise. Still, this is Star Wars we’re talking about, so you can’t fault Abrams for seizing the opportunity to leave his stamp on a galaxy far, far away.

Luckily for Simon Pegg, just because J.J. Abrams boarded Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn’t mean Pegg didn’t get to join in on that bit of fun. He was cast in the Star Wars movie as Unkar Plutt, a Crolute junk dealer on Jakku nicknamed The Blobfish. Although we learned in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that Rey was left in Plutt’s care when she was left on Jakku as a child by her parents, but by the time she was a young adult, the two had a contentious relationship. Within the final cut of The Force Awakens, Rey ended her time with Plutt by stealing the Millennium Falcon from him, but there was also a deleted scene where Pegg’s character cornered her on Takadona and got his arm ripped off by Chewbacca.

Even having played Unkar Plutt, perhaps there will come a time where Simon Pegg is able to play a different character in the Star Wars universe, and this time we’d see his face. As far as the Star Trek franchise goes, while Pegg is expected to reprise Scotty in Star Trek 4, which we know is slated for December 22, 2023, there’s still a lot of questions surrounding the production from both the public and the starring actors, including when filming will begin. As Pegg admitted in January, he’s “just quietly waiting for news basically” on the next Star Trek movie.

In the nearer future, we’ll hear Simon voicing Bob in the animated Apple TV+ movie Luck, and he’ll also jump back into action as Benji in Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One and Part Two, which respectively come out on July 14, 2023 and June 28, 2024. For information on films coming out sooner, look through our 2022 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.