Paramount is casting a wide net with the ‘Star Trek’ films these days. The film franchise has been in uncertain territory ever since the release of ‘Star Trek Beyond’ back in 2016. Some of this is due to the fact that ‘Beyond’ underperformed at the box office, a particularly stinging blow given that it came in the franchise’s fiftieth anniversary year. But as more time has passed, it’s begun to seem more and more as though there’s a certain degree of creative uncertainty at play too, as if the powers that be are unsure of where they want to take this thing next.
This has been a difficult conclusion to escape for anyone who’s been following the development of the upcoming fourth film. First announced just ahead of the theatrical release of ‘Beyond’, the film was said to feature the return of Chris Hemsworth, who (briefly) played Captain Kirk’s father in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot. And then, after a year plus of radio silence, we learned that Quentin Tarantino had pitched a ‘Star Trek’ film to Abrams and that development was now underway on that film. That seemed to be that for the Hemsworth-starring version of ‘Star Trek 4’ (written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay), as Mark L. Smith was assigned to write a script based on Tarantino’s pitch. And then it got out that Paramount had at least two ‘Star Trek 4’ scripts that were being developed in parallel.
But now we can begin making sense of this. This week at CinemaCon, Paramount officially announced that they are working on two new ‘Star Trek’ films. To be clear, that’s not “two competing scripts,” it’s “two movies.” Speaking at the conference, Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos confirmed that the studio has partnered with Skydance to produce both films. Though Gianopulos did not specify, every indication is that this means we will see both the Payne/McKay and Tarantino/Smith films realized.
No word yet on when (or in what order) the two films will be released, but be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on these and other ‘Star Trek’ projects as it becomes available.