Why The Kid Who Would Be King’s Joe Cornish Didn’t Direct Star Trek Beyond

Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in Star Trek Beyond
(Image credit: (Paramount))

This weekend, families will be flocking to theaters to see Joe Cornish’s The Kid Who Would Be King, a contemporary take on the mythology of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and Merlin. The new adventure is Cornish’s second directing project since 2011’s Attack the Block, though he was once in talks to take the Star Trek helm when Star Wars got in the way for J.J. Abrams. Here’s why it never came to be for Cornish on Star Trek Beyond:

I talked to J.J. about that pretty early on, but then decided I wasn’t ready for it. Because it’s a big old franchise, and I’ve had friends who’ve gone straight from indie movies into big blockbusters, and have come out the other end a little bit bruised and battered, and not necessarily feeling it’s their film. I love the idea, but then eventually I thought that if I had the opportunity to do something of scale, that it would be cooler to do my own thing.

The director has a bit of a point: taking on the mantle of a highly-beloved franchise that already had some ownership by J.J. Abrams and his production team at Bad Robot is a tough project would be difficult, especially when it comes to taking creative liberties.

Back in 2013, Joe Cornish’s name drifted through reports during the search for a replacement for J.J. Abrams as he took on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it was later announced he was no longer attached to the project. Fast & Furious 6’s Justin Lin later took over what would become Star Trek Beyond. All went well, and now Cornish has found another project to call his own and do what he pleases with.

The Kid Who Would Be King centers on a young boy (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) who stumbles upon the legendary Excalibur sword, must form a team of knights and meets Merlin (Sir Patrick Stewart) to fight off the sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). So far the film has received positive buzz, with CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg gracing it with a four-star rating in his review, boasting that it has plenty of charm, heart and a positive message.

Though it’s been quite some time since Joe Cornish made his directorial debut with the alien invasion versus inner-city teens tale, Attack the Block, he has been a frequent collaborator with Edgar Wright on the screenplays for The Adventures of Tintin and Ant-Man.

Since Star Trek is seemingly a none-stop franchise, maybe there’s room for Joe Cornish in a future film? As of now, after Star Trek 4 has been in development hell since 2015, so it may not happen anymore at all. Cue Spock’s raised eyebrow.

The Kid Who Would Be King is in theaters everywhere now.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.