Before Paramount’s most recent attempt at a follow-up to Star Trek Beyond there was a “Star Trek 4” project being developed that would bring back Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk. That project was close to production including having a director, but fell apart in 2018 due to salary negotiations with Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine. Now the writers of that original planned Beyond sequel are revealing details about their movie
The writing duo of J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are currently the showrunners for another big genre franchise: Amazon’s ambitious The Lord of The Rings: Rings of Power. Their Trek script from 2016 would have seen James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) reunited with his long assumed dead father George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth). They recently spoke to Esquire about their careers, Rings of Power, and of course Star Trek came up. The writing duo shared a few details about that script for the first time.
Like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in space
Patrick McKay: The conceit was that through a cosmic quirk in the Star Trek world, [Pine and Hemsworth’s characters] were the same age. It was going to be a grand father-son space adventure—think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in space. We were really thrilled about it. We had an original villain and a really cool 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque sci-fi idea at the core. We worked on it for two and half years with Lindsey Weber, our non-writing executive producer on Rings of Power, and an amazing director, S.J. Clarkson. The movie eventually fell apart and it really was a heartbreak for us. It’s part of what led us here, because it got us thinking, “Gosh, with a big IP title, big movie stars, and a story that we all felt had the chance to be terrific, it couldn’t come together.” We felt the winds were shifting against big movies, which is part of what made us start taking TV seriously. That led us to Rings of Power. But we would have loved to make that movie. I want to spoil a piece of it that’s exciting—how they end up together. Can we do that, JD?
J.D. Payne: Sure, why not? There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Relics” where they find Scotty, who’s been trapped a transporter for a couple of decades, and they’re able to have cool adventure with him. Our conceit was, “What if right before the Kelvin impacted with that huge mining ship, George Kirk had tried to beam himself over to his wife’s shuttle where his son, Jim Kirk, had just been born? And what if the ship hadn’t completely exploded—what if it left some space junk?” Think about when you send a text message and you’ve typed it out, but you haven’t quite hit send. On the other side, they see those three little dots that someone has typed. It’s like the transporter had absorbed his pattern up into the pattern buffer, but hadn’t spit him out on the other side. It was actually a saved copy of him that was in the computer.
Patrick McKay: So the adventure is that Chris Pine and the crew of the Enterprise have to seek out the wreckage of the ship that his father died on because of a mystery and a new villain. In the ship, they stumble across his father’s pattern. They beam him out and he has no idea that no time has passed at all, and that he’s looking at his son. Then the adventure goes from there.
For years we’ve wondered what sci-fi gimmick they were going to use to get the two Chrises together, and now we finally have a bit better idea of how they’d do it. What do you think?
Keep up with all the news on Star Trek 4 and upcoming Trek films at TrekMovie.com.