The “news” that Pine was referring to, of course, was the surprise announcement by Paramount back in February 2022 that Star Trek 4set in the Kelvin timeline with that cast, was indeed on the launchpad for a December 2023 liftoff.
The revelation was a surprise especially to the cast of the previous three films, including Pine, Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban (Dr. McCoy), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), and John Cho (Sulu), who apparently had not been informed of this development nor made offers to appear at the time. All that is moot now, at least for the immediate future.
Fortunately, there is perhaps more Star Trek available now for fans than at any time previously in the franchise’s 56-year history. There are no less than five TV series currently streaming via Paramount+, with more potentially in development. Not all have met with the same degree of acclaim or success, but no one can argue that the Trek universe isn’t thriving on whatever smaller screen you watch it on.
However, another bite of the theatrical apple – the first since 2016’s largely misconceived, mismarketed (but not that bad) Star Trek Beyond pretty much flopped at the box office – remains elusive for the property and the parent studio. It’s not like they haven’t tried, though: a fourth picture starring the Kelvin cast was literally announced at the press junket for Beyond. But now that Star Trek 4 doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon, here’s a, pardon the expression, timeline of the movie’s long, frustrating, and now unresolved journey.
The Return of Chris Hemsworth
This writer was at the press junket for Star Trek Beyond in 2016 when publicists for Paramount literally handed out a press release stating that a fourth film, featuring the return of Chris Hemsworth as Captain Kirk’s father (who, played by a then-unknown Hemsworth, died in the prologue of 2009’s Star Trek), was already in development with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay penning the script.
Producer J.J. Abrams said at the time that all of the original cast would return with the tragic exception of Anton Yelchin (Chekov), who had passed away earlier that year. No director was announced and it wasn’t clear if Star Trek Beyond helmer Justin Lin would be offered the chair.