Whatever form the fourth entry in the rebooted ‘Star Trek’ film series takes, it’ll certainly have taken an interesting road to get there. While the headlines over the last several months have been dominated by the news of (and reaction to) Quentin Tarantino’s involvement, the film has been in development ever since ‘Star Trek Beyond’ arrived in theaters. The movie has gone through several incarnations to date, but in a recent conversation with ET Canada, reboot star Zachary Quinto revealed that there may be more going on with this movie than we’d realized:
“First of all, I think there’s a couple of scripts. Because there was a script being written before Quentin Tarantino came up with his idea for a potential film. And so I think they are kind of developing more than one. So I don’t know what is going to happen. Quentin is off doing another movie. So I feel like we are in a state of anticipation. All of us are really excited about the idea of working with Quentin on a ‘Trek’ film, but I know Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, who wrote the last film, are writing a script and there are another set of writers writing a script. So I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
So to break all of that down, the fourth installment was originally around the theatrical release of ‘Star Trek Beyond’ in 2016. This, you may recall, brought with it the news that Chris Hemsworth was set to return as Kirk’s father, though the nature of his role in the film was never elaborated upon. At the time, the J.D Payne and Patrick McKay had been tapped to write the script. And then… nothing. Following more than a year of near-total radio silence, the news broke in late 2017 that Quentin Tarantino had pitched a story and a writer’s room had been assembled. From that team, Mark L. Smith would ultimately be tasked with writing the screenplay.
That all seems fairly straightforward, right? Well, don’t forget the Simon Pegg/Doug Jung script! It’s not entirely clear where this one fits into the bigger picture. We know that the duo is (or was) working on a script for a fourth installment, and Pegg told Geek.com last month that “There’s a script that’s been written.” This is in addition to the Tarantino version, but it’s not clear whether Pegg was referring to his own script or the Payne/McKay iteration.
Whatever the case may be, there are at least three versions of ‘Star Trek 4’ floating around. While only the Mark L. Smith script (based on Tarantino’s pitch) is confirmed be currently be in active development, Paramount and Bad Robot clearly have plenty of options on the table. Of course, this scattershot approach and the radio silence that followed the original 2016 announcement can’t help but leave this writer wondering how confident the powers that be are in their plans (such as they may be) for the film.
Regardless, work is underway, and whatever form it takes, a fourth film is clearly still in the cards, and Karl Urban has remarked that he expects production to begin at some point in the next year.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on ‘Star Trek 4’ as it becomes available!