Star Trek 4 could be in for a major shakeup. The upcoming Star Trek sequel (one of a few Trek projects in development at Paramount Pictures) was set to feature the return of Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk in a time-traveling adventure that would see Chris Pine’s James T. Kirk teaming up with his deceased father. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, both Pine and Hemsworth have exited talks to star in Paramount’s upcoming Trek sequel after salary negotiations fell apart. The project is set to be directed by S. J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones, Succession), the first woman to direct a Star Trek film in franchise history.
Deals for the rest of the cast members, including including Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and John Cho are expected to make, which puts Star Trek 4 in one seriously tricky position. Do they make a Star Trek movie without Captain Kirk? Can they get away with recasting the character and his father, who was introduced in the prologue of 2009 franchise reboot? Both of those scenarios are all but impossible to imagine, especially without the star power of the superhero headliners (Pine co-stars in DC’s Wonder Woman films, while Hemsworth leads Marvel’s Thor franchise).
Per the report, the talks fell apart over money and salary negotiations between the actors and the two companies behind the upcoming Trek films, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media. Pine and Hemsworth are said to be asking for the studios to stick to existing deals, while sources tell THR that Paramount is holding firm to a budget, insisting that the Trek franchise is not successful on the level of something like Marvel. Meanwhile, the actors are reportedly of the opinion that’s they’re being forced to take pay cuts on existing deals after the last film’s subpar performance. Star Trek Beyond grossed only $343 million worldwide on a budget of $190 million.
Pine has had a deal in place for years, having signed up for a fourth movie when he made his deal for Star Trek Beyond. Hemsworth has been attached to the film since 2016, when the project was first announced. Paramount also has their Quentin Tarantino-scripted Star Trek film in development, so it will be interesting to see how they play their hand with Star Trek 4. Would they consider making it without Kirk? Or are they willing to pony up a little more cash to bring it all together? Sound off int he comments with your thoughts.