Exclusive: Danai Gurira Talks About Her “Cool” Role In The Shelved Chris Hemsworth ‘Star Trek 4’ Movie

(Getty/Paramount)

Paramount is still working on a fourth Star Trek movie set in the Kelvin universe, but the current “Star Trek 4” project is actually the second attempt at a direct sequel to 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. Back in 2018, Paramount was working on a different concept, and there was a report that actress Danai Gurira was up for a role. TrekMovie was able to confirm those reports and got the actress to open up a bit about her almost-brush with Star Trek.

Danai Gurira was almost in Star Trek 4

Shortly before Star Trek Beyond was released in the summer of 2016, Paramount announced plans for a follow-up film which would include actor Chris Hemsworth. By 2018, producer J.J. Abrams had a script, hired a director (S.J. Clarkson), and had plans to start filming in early 2019. In July 2018, it was reported that Danai Gurira was in talks for a role. At the Saturn Awards on Sunday, TrekMovie talked to the actress and she confirmed the Star Trek discussions:

“I was in talks… I don’t know how far along they were, but that was looking to happen. I was quite excited about it, but then that entire film didn’t happen.”

Gurira confirmed that the Star Trek 4 she was in talks for was the version of the film that featured Chris Hemsworth reprising his role (from 2009’s Star Trek) of George Kirk, father of James T. She didn’t offer specifics on her potential role but talked about why she was drawn to the character:

“I was very excited to do it. She was going to be very different from me in many ways. You know, it’s Star Trek, man. It was cool… It was a very exciting idea and story and I was excited about the character.”

While Gurira was in talks for Star Trek, the actress was getting a lot of buzz for her role as Wakandan general Okoye in the mega-hit movies of the year Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. Just a month after she was first reported to be in talks for Star Trek the project started unraveling after salary negotiations with Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth stalled. Even though that Star Trek 4 project fell apart, the actress told TrekMovie she is still interested in playing a role in a Star Trek movie.

Danai Gurira in Black Panther (Disney)

Gurira also said she has kept up with her former The Walking Dead cast member Sonequa Martin-Green, who has led Star Trek: Discovery for five seasons:

“She’s my friend. She’s my sister. Yeah, I love Sonequa… Yeah, we check in with each other, she’s amazing. She doing it [Star Trek]. She’s done it.”

Gurira will next be seen in The Walking Dead spinoff series The Ones Who Live, where she reprises her role as Michonne and reunites with Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. She offered her pitch for why Walking Dead fans and beyond should check it out when it premieres on AMC on February 25:

“If you love The Walking Dead, you will love it, becuase it’s The Walking Dead plus this epic love story. The forces that within love in a world that is as apocalyptically against you as The Walking Dead world, so it’s all the things you love 2.0. And even if you never watched it, it’s still going to be a compelling story that will take you for a ride. It’s a ride!”

Gurira was at the Saturn Awards with other cast and creatives from The Walking Dead to receive the Dan Curtis Legacy Award for the franchise.

Embed from Getty Images

After that first Star Trek 4 project with Chris Hemsworth fell apart, Paramount pivoted to a smaller budget Trek film with a new cast, to be written and directed by Fargo’s Noah Hawley. We recently learned that Hawley was in the middle of casting Cate Blanchett and Rami Malek before Paramount shut that movie down in 2020, pivoting back to a new direct sequel to Beyond. The latest news is that Paramount and producer J.J. Abrams are still hoping to make the “Star Trek 4” movie as the last film with the cast led by Chris Pine, and they are also developing an additional “origin film” set decades before that “expands on the Star Trek universe.”

More to come from the Saturn Awards

TrekMovie spoke to more Star Trek presenters, nominees, and winners at the Saturn Awards so come back for more interviews and updates.


Find more news on all the upcoming Trek movies at TrekMovie.com.

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The star power passed up as a result of these film misfires is a shame. I’d love to get a chance to read/get a synopsis of some of the scripts which never saw the light of day, starting with Orci’s.

Given the number of Star Trek novels that come out, I really don’t understand why some of these old screenplays can’t be either given to the original writers (if they want to do this) or given to an established Trek novel writer like Cox or Mack, so that we can get the stories still. I think these would be wildly popular. And this could go way back to stuff that was considered for alternate Trek concepts like Planet of the Titans and the Tarrantino Trek movie.

Maybe they’re just not that good? I guess this one was over salary but someone said it wasn’t like it wasn’t anything special.. that it wasn’t a return to great Trek stories so many were hoping for. Seems like it was an excuse to get Hemsworth back in the fold so they could cash in, and the film felt like it.

Here in the Trek Movie comments section, Orci summarized his original script for the third Kelvin movie. It involved Kelvin Kirk and Spock meeting Prime Kirk and Spock and all of them working to stop a bad guy from destroying both time lines. Orci said that he discussed the bad guy role with Brian Cranston. He would not say anything about what alien species the bad guy was.

Something like this would work well if they were considering the next movie as the last of the Kelvin cast.

agreed. hopefully the next movie will be adapted from the Orci ST3 script

and ‘Generations’ era Kirk Prime could be recreated via AI/CGI with Shatner voiceover :)

The technology is not quite there yet

But Nimoy is sadly deceased and Shatner’s in his ’90s? No, I don’t think so

along those lines yes, the bad guy wanted to change the timeline back to Prime timeline via an ancient time device everyone is after (which would’ve obviously meant wiping out the Kevin timeline which he considered an abomination, I’m guessing he was abit Soran like in his motivations, and perhaps it was abit of a meta commentary on Trek fans!) creating a dilemma for Kirk & Spock, let the kelvin timeline be wiped (thus restoring Vulcan, Spocks mother, Kirks father) or protect what they know. (with Shatner Kirk Prime helping them, presumably having been resurrected or plucked from the Prime timeline somehow)

Orci also said Alice Eve would’ve returned as Carol Marcus, Shatner would’ve been CG deaged slightly (presumably to Generations era), and it would not have been called Beyond

The dilemma between 2 timelines if for some reason 1 had to be wiped would be great. I think the story would work great by including Shatner in some way if this were to come out around the 60th anniversary. It works great if this is the final Kelvin movie. However, in the same breath the want to expand the universe with the other Kelvin movie announcement. Then ending it may not be the right way to go. This is all moot anyway until they get real serious about making this movie.

So when was the War with the Klingons set up in ID gonna happen?

That would be a good question for Orci. I have not seen him post here in quite awhile, but maybe someday he will reappear.

The script for Into Darkness still hasn’t been released. I’ve read 2009 its a pretty good action script actually, if you ignore the writer swearing a lot. The alternate scenes for Shatner are very good. A shame they weren’t filmed and voiced.

Bro we have had way more news talking about all the failed cancelled movies in the last two years than any updates about the supposed movie they keep saying they are making now. 😂🙄

At this rate in another two years there will be articles coming from writers and director how that movie was a-l-m-o-s-t made until it wasn’t.

What is up with Paramount??? Why can’t these clowns get one movie off the ground? I don’t care about JJ verse at all or any movie that much in general but why has this become so ridiculously hard? They made 13 of them in the past. Yeah Beyond failed but it wasn’t the biggest bomb of the century either.

Just make a cheaper movie. If JJ verse can’t happen because they can’t make one for under $150 million or whatever just scrap it and come with something new. It’s already been 8 years, most of the fans have moved on long ago. At best it will probably make $300 million and be on Paramount+ in a months time if they are lucky. The hype died over a decade ago now. They obviously know that because everyone is too scared to just make another one lol.

Wait this isn’t fair of me. We did get several updates about the new movie in the last two years. The first is that the director quit the movie and the second was they pulled it off the schedule.

And we haven’t gotten a single update since lol. These clowns have turned it into a farce because no one seems to have a clue what to do with the franchise. But now we’re supposedly getting another prequel movie nobody wants that will probably go nowhere either.

It’s comical but sad at the same time.

You said it, “comical but sad” is exactly right!

This is nothing more than the elusive Rian Johnson Star Wars trilogy Disney kept talking up like it was a real thing for years even though most fans knew it was nothing more than a troll job.

They kept going on about it since 2017. It wasn’t until last year Kathleen Kennedy finally said it wasn’t happening but they kept the charade up for six years anyway.

Sadly this charade has been going on even longer. A movie still without a director, budget, starting date or cast, but it’s definitely happening any year now.

Comical but sad indeed.

looks like rian a bit busy now with his streaming shows, films

Yeah, Rian Johnson was the best thing that happened to the new trilogy. Took some risks at least. Would have enjoyed seeing more.

Alt reality Kelvinverse:

2016 Orci ST3
2018 Hemsworth ST4
2019 Tarantino Trek

Orci would have had Shatner. I think Tarantino’s would have too.

I don’t see an 85 year old Shatner being able to do the action required for what we heard the QT movie was going to be about.

QT is such a huge Shatner fan. I was thinking he would find something for him to do.

Tarantino loves Chris Pine as Kirk. He said the first movie was him just doing Shatner and he loved it. I really agree. He’s in no way over the top about it, but there were several instances in Trek 09 where I felt like he was subtly channelling Shatner.

Damn I love her 😍

lol these articles are kind of getting comical and sad at the same time. So many exclusives about what “almost” happened and “could have been.” Like, this could be a book or documentary all its own. I appreciate TrekMovie bringing attention to it though. Now, just get … something … made Paramount!

This is how Hollywood works. Not every script makes it to camera, and that’s a good thing.

ehhhhhh, four publicized false starts is a little out of the ordinary even for Hollywood

Really? Nothing is a false start if the camera isn’t rolling.

What’s up with so many news about what’s not happening with Star Trek and what almost happened with Star Trek. I miss actual news about what’s actually happening with Star Trek.

Sadly, until the dust settles around the Paramount deal, it’s not likely there will be much. So much of what has gone on is about financing and the decision makers at the top changing so frequently. JJ can bring scripts, but ultimately he has to get buy in from the studio. Seems like he’d get that, would move down the road, and then someone new comes in and shuts it down.

I bet someday in the future these movies will see the light of the day via A.I.
Along with Planet of the Titans, The God Thing and the Phase Ii series as they were supposed to look like in the 70s…

Fascinating.

Wow! I never heard anything about her involvement in that film. She’s fantastic.. would’ve loved to see what this was, but from what some supposedly in the know have said.. it’s not like this would’ve been the kind of Trek so many of us have been hoping for. I’ve really soured on JJ as a storyteller the past few years, but he has been fantastic at casting.

I wish Paramount stop waisting it’s time with this Abrams garbage and get back to making real Star Trek movies again.

It’s all been a sad waste since 2009 when they tried to turn TOS into theme park rides with these inane movies instead of focusing on science and character relationships. These movies are shallow and dumb.