Is Chris Pine Returning? 5 Things We Know About the Next Star Trek Film | Mahannah's Sci-fi Universe

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Is Chris Pine Returning? 5 Things We Know About the Next Star Trek Film

Posted by Sean Mahannah on

In 2009, JJ Abrams breathed new life into the cinematic Star Trek universe. His version gave us a new look at iconic characters like Captain James T. Kirk, Spock, Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy, and the rest. Featuring young actors, dramatic special effects, and a plot device that established an alternative timeline, the stage seemed set for decades of boldly trekking where no one had gone before. The most recent film in the reboot series was released in 2016, and many fans are wondering about the next Star Trek film.  

5 Things We Know About the Next Star Trek Film

Star Trek benefits from one of the most loyal fan bases of any film franchise. A well-made Star Trek film is one of those rare properties that is virtually guaranteed to become a successful studio investment. However, the politics of Hollywood can turn even a slam dunk into a missed shot. When a studio decides to scrap a plan and go in another direction, it creates a ripple effect that can produce many problems. Actors have ongoing shooting schedules, and delays can make it problematic to get an ensemble cast back together.

Rumors and innuendo are sometimes released by the studio in order to maintain a media buzz. In the age of digital marking, studio executives are well aware that social media discussions provide the kind of visibility no amount of traditional advertising could ever buy. Therefore, it's necessary to read between the lines and verify the information at hand.

1. The Reboot Series Has Been Financially Successful

One of the rumors surrounding the next Star Trek film is that executives were dissatisfied with the performance of 2016's BeyondBeyond was the first reboot film not to be directed by JJ Abrams, with Justin Lin of Fast and the Furious taking the helm instead. Beyond was also the first of the reboot films that began to make an effort to stand on its own reputation, rather than excessive reliance on callbacks to its predecessors.

Beyond's box office performance trailed the first two reboot films but didn't represent a catastrophic drop. 2009's Star Trek pulled in 385.7 million on a 150 million budget. Into Darkness released in 2013 grossed 467.4 million on a 190 million dollar budget. By comparison, Beyond managed 343.5 million on a 185 million budget. When adjusted for inflation, Beyond establishes itself as one of the most successful films in the franchise. Although the slight drop in revenue might have added to the delay in the next Star Trek film, Star Trek remains a safe and lucrative studio property.

2. There Will Be No Checkov

Throughout the reboot series, the role of Pavel Checkov has been played by Anton Yelchin. Tragically, in 2016 Yelchin was killed when he became pinned between his Jeep Cherokee and a brick mailbox. As a tribute to Yelchin, the producers indicated that they would not recast the character and that Checkov would not appear in further installments of the franchise. Beyond was released posthumously.

3. There Will Be No Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth has become a household name due to his performance as Thor in the Marvel universe. However, prior to his breakout role as the hammer-wielding Norse god, Hemsworth had his first major screen appearance as George Kirk in 2009's Star Trek. Hemsworth had originally auditioned for the role of James Kirk but had been rejected by JJ Abrams reportedly on the grounds that he was too tall. However, his performance as George Kirk created the kind of impression that left fans of the series clamoring for more.

One of the initial plans of studio executives was to capitalize on the popularity of Hemsworth and bring him back for Star Trek 4. Time travel and alternate realities have long been a staple of the franchise both on television and the silver screen. However, budget restraints and a lack of enthusiasm on Hemsworth's part have caused the studio to scrap the idea for the time being.

4. Chris Pine Will Be Back

Although it is disappointing that the next Star Trek film will not further explore the relationship between James and George Kirk, it is a relief to know that Chris Pine is eager to reprise his role as captain of the Enterprise. Star Trek has always had an emphasis on the relationships between its primary characters, and the chemistry that develops both on and off-screen over time. Although William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy sometimes seemed to have a contentious relationship, there was always a clear foundation of a sense of responsibility and respect for the franchise between them.

One of the advantages of the original cast was that none of them achieved a level of celebrity that precluded their Trek involvement. Similarly, the major players of the reboot all seem satisfied to continue with the films. With the possible exception of Zoe Saldana, no Trek star has become so popular that they can afford to opt-out of their iconic roles. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban are the triumvirate of critical characters to make the next Star Trek film, and the rest of the cast has gone on record as expressing enthusiasm for continued involvement.

5. No Tarantino for Now

One of the most interesting and polarizing rumors that has been floating around is that Quentin Tarantino, the auteur behind such classics as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, has expressed interest in putting his own unique stamp on the next Star Trek film. In 2017, Tarantino pitched an R-rated Trek concept to JJ Abrams, and screenwriter Mark Smith has been working on a script in the meantime. The initial plan was that Tarantino would do a rewrite after his press tour for Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.

In more recent interviews, Tarantino has seemed to indicate that he is becoming less inclined to take on Trek. Although Tarantino's visual style and flair for language don't necessarily seem to mesh with the Trek concept, Tarantino is certainly an example of a gifted film artist who grew up in the era of Trek influence. That Tarantino might not produce the kind of Trek film fans might expect is highly possible, however considering his background and considerable talent, the result would probably create a healthy buzz and a sense of curiosity.

The Next Star Trek Film Is Happening

Although it's easy to become concerned at the rumors of budget problems, studio uncertainty, and accommodating the schedules of critical actors, it's important to take note that a lot of organization is going on behind the scenes. It would be far more worrisome if there were no Star Trek rumors because that would mean no executives were discussing the project. Even with stops, starts, and changing directors, it's comforting to know that the next Star Trek film is constantly in discussion.

With a commitment from Chris Pine and the rest of the starring cast, and the chance to build on the developing chemistry that has begun to take center stage in the reboot films, there is a clear path to success for Star Trek 4. The longer fans have to wait for the next installment of the franchise, the better the final box office numbers are likely to be. For more discussions on all things Star Trek, check out Mahannah's Sci-Fi Universe.

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