With the announcement of a new original Star Trek film being made, many people are now asking… what about Star Trek 4 with the crew of the Enterprise in the Kelvin Universe? In short, it’s still happening. Both films are being producted by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot under the Paramount banner.
Star Trek 4 is still in development and is will supposedly be the “final chapter” of the Kelvin Universe movies with Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. This story began in 2009 when Star Trek introduced fans to Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Captain Kirk and Spock. They were joined by Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Doctor McCoy, John Cho as Sulu, Simon Pegg as Scotty, and the late Anton Yelchin as Chekov. Originally, Star Trek 4 was set to also feature Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, the father of James T. Kirk. The original idea for this movie is that Captain Kirk would cross paths with his father, “a man he never had a chance to meet, but whose legacy has haunted him since the day he was born.” This idea seems to be no longer being utilized, though.
In February 2022 for a Paramount Global Investors Day presentation, J.J. Abrams announced that there were plans for a new Star Trek movie with Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk and crew would be filming before the end of the year. This was reportedly news to the actors who had no clue about the movie at the time. Eventually, it was dropped from Paramount’s schedule.
As of now, it appears that there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Star Trek 4. J.J. Abrams said in the spring of 2023 that the search was underway for a director and that he was excited about the story they have for this film. On the flip side, Chris Pine has said the franchise is “cursed.” So as time has gone by, the film has gone through different iterations of stories and different directors.
Simon Pegg (Scotty and co-writer of Star Trek Beyond) perhaps nailed the problem most accurately. “The fact is, Star Trek movies don’t make Marvel money,” said Pegg. “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.”
This, coupled with the fact that the current crew of the Enterprise is in much higher demand now than when the franchise was rebooted means that the price for Star Trek 4 is not getting any cheaper. On the Paramount+ side of things, there are multiple Star Trek series that have been very popularly received by fans, which continues to raise the bar. It has led to many people wondering if Star Trek just simply belongs on the small screen. Currently, these series are seeing some new and old characters being embraced by Star Trek fans and getting a level of hype that the franchise really needed.
While not a lot is known about where Star Trek 4 is in the development process, it is important to remember that the Star Trek franchise is a business venture for Paramount. While as much as fans would like to believe it comes down to good stories, compelling characters, and a beautiful ship (one can hope right?), it really comes down getting selling tickets to the film and turning a profit. It is quite possible that the equation for this just simply isn’t there. While J.J. Abrams and the crew of the Kelvin Universe Enterprise might like the idea for Star Trek 4, the financials to make it happen in a way that will satisfy movie-goers and accountants might simply not be there.
At this point, with so little officially shared by Paramount about Star Trek 4, everything is speculation. It appears that there is some level of resolve to make this movie happen. Will this turn into a final film with Chris Pine as Captain Kirk? That’s anybody’s guess. At this point, it appears like it is a definite possibility. It also seems at this point that the original story that takes place decades earlier has a better chance of being seen in theaters than this one. Only time will tell.
What do you think will happen with Star Trek 4? Do you think it will actually make its way to theaters or will it just be this new original story that brings Star Trek to the big screen again? What do you think Star Trek 4 should be about? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!