How do you say “Valar morghulis” in Klingon?
‘Star Trek 4’ – or whichever sans-colon-subtitle it eventually adopts – was formally announced in the weeks leading up to the 2016 release of ‘Star Trek Beyond’. Along with the film itself, it was also announced that Chris Hemsworth would be returning to the franchise to reprise the role – that of Captain Kirk’s father – he played in the opening moments of J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot. The plan was for the elder Kirk to team up with his son, presumably by way of time travel. Everything seemed to be going well, as the cast voiced their eagerness to return and S.J. Clarkson was tapped to direct, making her the first woman to helm a ‘Star Trek’ film. In August, though, everything changed, as both Hemsworth and Chris Pine walked away from contract negotiations, allegedly in response to efforts by Paramount to reduce their salaries.
In the months since, there has been precious little word on the status of the production. In fact, the most common bit of news – as relayed by Karl Urban at NYCC and more recently by John Cho – is that there is no news, or at least none that the cast has been privy to. But now, it seems, we may finally have an update. Unfortunately, it’s not the one many fans were likely hoping for.
The news came from the most unlikely of places – a Deadline report on HBO’s upcoming ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel. The story, which includes the news that S.J. Clarkson has been hired to direct and executive produce the series’ pilot. On the subject of Clarkson’s availability, the authors had this to say:
“I hear Clarkson was recruited by HBO for ‘GOT’ after she recently became available. Earlier this year, Clarkson was the first female director tapped to direct a ‘Star Trek’ movie when she was hired to helm the fourth feature in the current series. That project has since been shelved.”
“That project has since been shelved.” And there it is, buried in the middle of an article about pre-production on another franchise’s spinoff. Given the radio silence that has defined the studio’s public statements on the subject for the last several months, it’s not entirely out of left field, but to cancel (or even substantially delay) a tentpole project like this is no small thing. In fact, if true, this raises questions not only about the future of the reboot series generally but of the other ‘Star Trek’ film that Paramount has in development. That, of course, would be the one based on a pitch by Quentin Tarantino. While it was never entirely clear whether or not the Tarantino ‘Trek’ was meant to take place in the reboot timeline or feature the associated cast, the fact that it was being developed in parallel with ‘Star Trek 4’ certainly suggests that that was the intent. And of course, the thing about the two films being developed in tandem is that bad news for one is unlikely to be good news for the other.
I would, however, urge you to take all of this with a grain of salt. If true, the cancellation of a ‘Star Trek’ film would be a pretty big deal, to say the least. And when the implications that a piece of news has for the future of a franchise as big as ‘Star Trek’ are this substantial? Let’s just say you might not want to take it as gospel truth until someone at the studio is willing to publicly attach their name to it.
That being said, Deadline is nothing if not reputable, and their status as one of the major trade publications does lend this a certain measure of credence.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on ‘Star Trek 4’ and other upcoming ‘Trek’ projects, including the second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’.