There has been a lot of talk in the last few months about the fourth Kelvin timeline Star Trek film, with a script being reportedly done, financing being lined up, a director hired, and predictions of production starting in early 2019. However, a new report puts a major wrinkle into developments.
A Chris crisis
The story of the follow-up to Star Trek Beyond started two summers ago, when Paramount announced the next film in the Star Trek franchise would reunite Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) with his father, played by Chris Hemsworth in 2009’s Star Trek. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, both Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth have balked at Paramount’s attempt to renegotiate previous deals in an attempt to cut the budget for the film. According to THR, both actors are “walking away from the table.”
The Star Trek 4 announcement, and presumably the deals associated with it, came before the release of Star Trek Beyond, which under-performed expectations. There is a concern that the Trek films have a ceiling and and the studio can’t budget them at the same levels as other tent poles. THR cites insiders saying the Paramount “contends that Trek is not like a Marvel or Star Wars movie and is trying to hold the line on a budget.”
It is certainly true that both Hemsworth and Pine have had bigger franchise film success outside of Star Trek. Pine is currently in production on the sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, which brought in over $821 million worldwide. In that same year, Hemsworth starred in Thor: Ragnarok, which brought in $854 million. These numbers dwarf 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, which made $343 million, even though all three films were similarly budgeted. Even if the next Star Trek film can get closer to Star Trek Into Darkness’ $467 million, that still is shy of the typical Marvel and Star Wars film.
Paramount still moving ahead
According to the report, next steps are “unclear,” however their studio insiders are saying that the Star Trek 4 project “remains a priority development and is not being put on hold.” THR says that deals for Star Trek stars Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and John Cho “are expected to close.” Negotiations with Hemsworth and Pine could restart, but the report also suggests the possibility of recasting James T. Kirk and George Kirk. Without Pine and Hemsworth, that would certainly be the only way to move forward with the script developed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
Paramount has yet to fill out its 2020 calendar, but in a conference call just yesterday with analysts, Viacom CEO Robert Bakish trumpeted a turnaround for the studio and promised next year’s slate of releases “will nearly double the number of worldwide theatrical releases compared to 2018 and consistent with the flagship strategy we unveiled last year.” Bakish has previously cited Star Trek as one of the key franchises for the company. And in April Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos shook the world of Trek by announcing the studio had not just one, but two Trek films in development.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to TrekMovie for all the updates on upcoming Star Trek movies.