In recent years, Star Trek has moved back into its original home of television with Star Trek: Beyond, Lower Decks and the upcoming Strange New Worlds. Paramount clearly has big plans for their ever-expanding universe and a fourth film in the rebooted franchise is part of it. JJ Abrams, the director of the first two instalments confirmed the news, but it was just as shocking for the stars as it was for the fans.
In a statement, Abrams said: “We are thrilled to say that we are hard at work on a new Star Trek film that will be shooting by the end of the year that will be featuring our original cast and some new characters that I think are going to be really fun and exciting.
“We’re thrilled about this film, we have a bunch of other stories that we’re talking about that we think will be really exciting, so can’t wait for you to see what we’re cooking up. But until then, live long and prosper.”
Rumours have circulated about the fourth film for years. The last entry into the Kelvin-timeline saga was Star Trek: Beyond from 2016 – 6 years ago. Everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Discovery’s Kalinda Vazquez has been reportedly involved in developing new projects.
Despite the new announcement, fans are confused over the news that the stars were not aware of it.
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According to The Hollywood Reporter, a source has confirmed that almost all members of the cast were completely unaware development on it had started. This includes Captain Kirk’s Chris Pine, Spock’s Zachary Quinto, Bones’ Karl Urban, Uhura’s Zoe Saldaña and Sulu’s John Cho.
To make matters worse, they had no idea they could be shooting the movie later this year.
Pine is reportedly already in negotiations for the role, as he is crucial to getting the project off the ground. It isn’t clear what will happen if a deal isn’t made, whether the studio will recast or drop the film entirely.
It is aiming to hit a December 22, 2023 release date, but production will need to commence soon in order for that to be feasible. The script is currently being finalised and the budget is yet to be determined.
Previously, Scotty star Simon Pegg, who co-wrote Beyond, cast doubt on the future of the franchise due to budgetary concerns.
Speaking to GamesRadar+ and Total Film, he explained: “The fact is, ‘Star Trek’ movies don’t make Marvel money. They make maybe $500 million at the most, and to make one now, on the scale they’ve set themselves, is $200 million. You have to make three times that to make a profit.”
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Tragically, Chekov star Anton Yelchin died in 2016, something Pegg has stressed was a major factor in the stalled start on part four.
He added: “They didn’t really take advantage of the 50th anniversary. The regimen at the time dropped the ball on the promo of the film. And we’ve lost momentum. I think losing Anton [Yelchin] was a huge blow to our little family, and our enthusiasm to do another one might have been affected by that. So, I don’t know.”
However, he did previously say: “I know we’re doing more. I’d love to – I love those guys.”
Previous plans for a fourth instalment included bringing back Chris Hemsworth, who made a brief appearance in the first film as Kirk’s dad. It would be a classic time-travel affair for the Star Trek universe, but Pine and the Thor star both dropped out of the project.
It did little to sway producer Adi Shankar though, who said: “Losing Pine and Kirk is not a big deal and kind of cool. Actors don’t matter, stories do.”
So perhaps if the young-Kirk star doesn’t sign this new deal, it will be full steam ahead regardless.
Star Trek and Star Trek: Beyond are available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.